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If you buy or sell cloud services, chances are you do business with a reseller.  Because the channel is quickly becoming a central player in the cloud services marketplace.  As the middlemen between cloud services suppliers and their enterprise customers, channel partners such as VARs, MSPs, integrators and hosting companies are often the linchpins in the sale of cloud services contracts.

The complexity of some cloud solutions is one major reason for this.  As more and more companies claim to sell cloud services, deciphering the specifics of each provider’s offerings can be challenging.

“The channel has become so much more important in the cloud market over the past few years,” explains Kenny Ash, AVP of National Channel Sales at TierPoint. “VARs and MSPs and integrators are becoming trusted advisors to customers who are trying to make sense of all the cloud services out there.”

A good indicator of how important the channel is becoming in cloud services is the growth of the Channel Partners conference and expos, which has expanded from 4,500 attendees in 2015 to over 5,500 this year.  The upcoming Channel Partners Spring 2017 conference and expo, April 10 – 13 in Las Vegas, will bring together thousands of cloud IT providers—VARs, MSPs, integrators, consulting firms and cloud services providers—to share ideas and network with professionals from cloud industry companies such as Microsoft, AT&T, Verizon and CompTIA. Sessions will cover topics such as DRaaS, IoT, SD-WAN, cloud security, mobility and growth strategies.

“It’s a tremendous education and networking opportunity. We’ve been going to this show for several years. The channel is such a strong component of our growth strategy,” says Bob Buchanan, Tierpoint’s VP of channel sales at TierPoint, noting that TierPoint’s channel partners have seen exponential growth over the last few years.

One of our partners, and a sponsor at the Channel Partners spring show, is Avant. The Chicago-based company is an example of the growing role that channel partners are filling in the cloud industry.  Avant is a distributor of cloud services, with dozens of cloud service providers and resellers in its portfolio, as well as an agent for resellers who need Avant’s sales training and support to help them sell cloud services to their own clients.

Avant serves as a matchmaker between resellers or suppliers and their potential customers, providing cloud expertise, administrative infrastructure and sales support to help resellers be better “trusted advisors” to their own customers.

“Companies like Avant become educated on who the cloud services providers are, how they compete, their reputations. They have the infrastructure in place to enable other resellers to make sense of the different services,” explains Buchanan.

AVANT and TierPoint are jointly sponsoring two events at the Channel Partners Spring 2017 show. They include:

The AVANT Lounge:  If you’re looking for a comfortable place to relax, listen to music, and have a drink, head for the AVANT Lounge. There will be plenty of cocktails, comfortable seating, lots of networking opportunities and AVANT agents available to answer any questions. TierPoint will have a table setup key team members will be on-site and available for in-person discussions.

The AVANT Party: On Wednesday, April 12, an AVANT Party will take over the 1923 Bourbon Bar, a 1920s-themed “speakeasy” inside the Mandalay Bay Casino.  Flapper costumes are optional.

In addition, Tierpoint is sponsoring the AVANT BattleLab, a channel sales enablement center that broadcasts sales training and technology briefings.  Avant will be showcasing their capabilities with demonstrations of the BatteLab.  Show attendees are encouraged to visit the lounge and request a demonstration.

If you are at Channel Partners this week, please reach out to our team to schedule a time to meet and discuss how we might work towards a partnership or to share stories/insight.  We look forward to seeing you at the show.