Avaya sees its new Master Agent channel as the primary route to market for new Online Store

Avaya believes its solution provider channel will also have some interest in the store, which offers Avaya’s UC and CC as-a-service options. They also confirmed that this online store is not a direct play.

Avaya Holdings has announced a new and upgraded version of the online storefront that it introduced earlier this year. While the original storefront sold Avaya Unified Communications as a Service [UCaaS], the new site offers Avaya Contact Center as a Service [CCaaS] as well. Unlike some online stores, this one is not pitched at end users, but is intended for channel partners, particularly for Avaya’s newly introduced Master Agent channel, which is largely focused on the SMB space. Avaya thinks that solution provider partners interested in selling the as-a-service offerings will be interested in this as well, although they are more likely to sell them to larger customers.

Avaya initially created its online store this spring, outside of the Avaya platform at www.avayamarket.com. That site is still live while the transition to the new one takes place.

“We enlisted some of the industry master agents to use this site to go to market and sell to the SMB market, and we have been transacting with them,” said Brian Snorthiem, Head of Agent Channel Marketing at Avaya. “They get a monthly residual  for bringing customers to Avaya, and they maintain the relationship with the customer, with us doing all the support work around the services.”

That original storefront was for the use of the Master Agents, not end users.

“Avaya wasn’t proactively driving traffic from an end-user perspective,” Snorthiem said. “We used the legacy storefront for master agents to be able to order, quote provision and manage customers.”

The Master Agent Community is a new one within the Avaya channel.

“We just started this model six months ago, and we are getting it up off the ground,” said Snorthiem, who is relatively new to Avaya, and came from within the Master Agent community. “Right now, it’s not a significant portion of the business.”

Snorthiem said that the Master Agent model is ideally suited to expand Avaya’s presence among SMBs.

“I think it’s a significant growing space,” he said. “The Master Agent community was really born on the voice side 20 years ago, to handle independent agents who sold voice toll-free minutes. None of the carriers wanted to deal with thousands of small agents. That’s how the master agents originated – basically as distributors for the carriers. Many of the Master Agents then developed relationships with data providers, and then 6-7 years ago, saw the opportunity with cloud and it fit well into their model.”

The Master Agent model is really limited to the SMB and the mid-market, however.

“For the enterprise space, it’s not a fantastic fit,” Snorthiem said. “The sub-agents and local agents are more local and regional players.”

While the Master Agent channel is the primary channel for the Online Store, Snorthiem said that it won’t be the only one.

“We don’t just want to box ourselves in with the Master Agents on this,” he said. “We are looking to bring new customer relationships to most our trusted channel partners through the storefront. We think that this will appeal to solution providers who want to sell as-a-service based offerings and evolve more monthly recurring revenue. Compensation has  been monthly residual since the inception of the program.”

So how is the new online store improved over the old, apart from its now being brought onto the Avaya.com site at https://www.avaya.com/en/products/cloud/small-business-solutions/? It has been expanded. In addition to UCaaS, Avaya’s CCaaS and Communication Platform as-a-Service have been made available. Devices can also be added to a monthly subscription through the site.

This week, Avaya also introduced a new Device as a Service [DaaS] offering. As both the new storefront and the new DaaS offering are brand new, the DaaS offering is not yet available through the storefront. That could change, however.

“Going forward, it has not been determined whether this will be added,” Snorthiem said. “It would strike me as a very good fit, however, and devices are fairly easy to transact.”

Service term options are available for one, three or five year terms with subscription-based models. Options are for built-in minutes per agent billed on a monthly basis, or unlimited minutes.