Eric Martorano has moved from Microsoft’s general manager of US channel sales to Intermedia, one of their large partners, as Intermedia’s new SVP of worldwide sales. He talked with ChannelBuzz about what he is looking to do in his new role.
Cloud IT services provider Intermedia has announced that Eric Martorano will be joining the company as its new Senior Vice President of Worldwide Sales, as of September 15th. Martorano comes to Intermedia from Microsoft, a key partner of Intermedia, where he had been General Manager of US Partner Sales. He said he will talk with partners and solicit their views before making any changes, but also indicated that he believes the company needs to increase its investment in partner enablement.
Unusually, Intermedia’s press release announcing Martorano’s appointment contained statements from two Microsoft executives, Stephen Boyle, Vice President of US Partner, and Carlos de Torres, General Manager of Hosting & Cloud Services, praising Intermedia’s hire of their departing employee.
“That speaks to the degree of the partnership between Microsoft and Intermedia,” Martorano said. “These are statements from people with whom I have worked closely, and whom I will continue to work closely with at Intermedia as well. It’s a little bittersweet moving, but it’s a good thing for the Intermedia channel. Microsoft doesn’t see me going to a competitor. They see me going to a channel partner. Intermedia is one of Microsoft’s most strategic partners and one of their largest cloud partners.”
Eric Weiss, Intermedia’s SVP of Marketing, indicated that Martorano’s hire wasn’t one where an executive moved between two collaborating companies, but a purely arms’ length placement. He noted that other people were interviewed as well, but that Martorano dazzled them in interviews.
“I had been at Microsoft for almost nine years, and a couple of months ago, we started discussions about a need Intermedia had, and their commitment to the channel, and they intrigued me,” Martorano said.
Martorano said that while he won’t be remaking things out of the gate, he sees some ways that Intermedia’s channel management can be improved.
“I’ve been in the channel for over 20 years, and I’ve learned that you don’t jump into something like this and make quick decisions,” he said. “The first thing I will do is listen to partners first, and hear what they think will make them have the most success. Then I will work with the leadership team at Intermedia to define what the priorities should be.”
That being said, Martorano definitely has some ideas for changes that he believes will help partners.
“Having seen Intermedia’s success over the years, I believe there are certain things Intermedia needs to continue to do, but that there are also new ways we can serve our partners as we evolve our channel programs,” he said.
“That begins by amplifying the tools and resources necessary to partners’ success. We need to invest more in readiness and enablement to help them transform their businesses. Having done that at Microsoft, I can help with that here at Intermedia as we continue to drive our channel-first approach.”
Martorano emphasized that he sees these changes as evolutionary, and as enhancing existing programs rather than reworking them.
“There won’t be a complete re-engineering, just an evolution,” he said. “Intermedia has already shown that they are a channel-focused company, which offers significant value with things like our private label offerings. We just need to do more for partners in enablement and activation, to drive increased demand for the channel.”
One key priority will be in the area of digital transformation.
“We need to better prepare partners to be successful in digital transformation,” Martorano said. “Many partners know they need to go there, but they don’t know how. We have to give them the tools. This will be one of the first things that we invest in and work towards.”
Intermedia has a direct business, but sees it as complementary to the channel rather than competing with it.
“The vast majority of new sales comes from the channel,” Weiss said. “We also use our direct business for the benefit of the partners. It generates leads for partners, and we co-sell with partners.”
“Intermedia in appointing me is making an absolute commitment to the channel in their go-to-market strategy,” Martorano emphasized. “We will put the partner first in a channel-first approach.”