ENOUGH IS APPARENTLY never quite enough for AvePoint. Aided by exploding adoption of cloud solutions in recent years, the SaaS and data management vendor billed some $223 million worldwide in its most recently completed fiscal quarter and grew annual recurring revenue 34% year over year. That sounds pretty good, but AvePoint thinks it can do even better by ramping up partner-led sales.
“We are wildly successful, and a good chunk of our business goes through the channel,” says Heather Murray (pictured), who became the company’s channel chief last summer. “Now we’re talking about scaling it and taking it to the next level.”
Taking AvePoint’s partner program to the next level has been job one for Murray since stepping into her new role, following 24 years at Tech Data and TD SYNNEX.
“The idea is the easier we are to do business with and the more we invest in helping them grow their business, the more business we’re going to grow together,” she says of partners.
Simplicity and—especially—investment are watchwords for the program as a result. Members slot into one of three tiers: authorized, invested, and managed. Authorized partners, which tend to purchase through distribution, have access to standard perks like a portal, MDF, deal registration, and round-the-clock support. Invested and top-tier managed partners enjoy personalized attention too.
“You really want to partner with us? That’s when it changes, and my partner experience team comes in and we really talk about how we go to market together,” Murray says. AvePoint will be adding 15 channel account managers, partner development managers, and partner account managers to that team this year in North America alone to accommodate more such conversations.
“We really want to create this unique experience for the partners where they really want to work with us because we’re invested in them,” Murray says.
As that goal implies, Murray is more interested in recruiting committed partners than partners generally. “I’m a big believer in quality over quantity,” she says. “I’m not goaling the team on having a specific number of partners transacting with us.”
She’s also not goaling partners on revenue. “If we meet and we build a plan together and the revenue isn’t there yet, you could still be an invested partner with us, because it’s literally around that investment of time, energy, and effort that we’re going to go to market together,” Murray says.
Dedicated resources aren’t the only extra benefit enjoyed by higher-level partners, who also get lead sharing, enablement assistance, and access to “white glove” live training and an intellectual property co-creation program, among other things. Murray’s always open to discussing a different mix of rewards too. Prefer upfront rebates to MDF, for example? Bring it up with your account manager.
“We might look at a dozen different things that make sense,” Murray says. “It’s certainly not cookie cutter.”
AvePoint leans on the breadth of its portfolio in addition to that flexibility to attract new partners. Like other vendors, the company offers cloud-to-cloud backup and Microsoft 365 administration products. “The differentiator we have is that we’re more than just that,” Murray says, pointing to AvePoint’s data migration, compliance, and license management solutions, among others. Some of those systems support Salesforce and Google in addition to Microsoft, moreover, and others will acquire multicloud functionality this year.
Now Murray just needs to get the word out, not only about AvePoint’s products but its redoubled commitment to partners as well. “My No. 1 challenge is awareness,” she says. “I can make the most flexible partner program out there, but if no one knows who we are and they don’t know to come looking for us, then I’m the best kept secret in the market.”