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Post Microsoft, Martorano Readies for Intermedia Sales Leadership

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**Editor’s Note: Click here to see which channel people were on the move in August.**

One of Microsoft’s top channel leaders has left the company for Intermedia, but his relationship with the technology giant is only expected to grow.

Intermedia last week announced Eric Martorano will be joining it to serve as vice president of worldwide sales, after several years of working as general manager of U.S. partner sales for Microsoft.

Intermedia's Eric MartoranoIntermedia CEO Michael Gold praise Martorano’s channel and cloud experience in a Channel Partners article, while Microsoft executives wished him well and called his appointment a positive step for the channel community.

Martorano spoke to Channel Partners about his new job. The interview transcript has been edited for length and clarity.

Channel Partners: What made you decide to leave Microsoft and join Intermedia?

Eric Martorano: Microsoft’s been working with Intermedia for a number of years, and I’ve actually personally known Michael Gold, the CEO there, for about five years now. They’re one of Microsoft’s most strategic partners. We continue to see significant growth out of the company. They’re well respected, highly known in the channel. Their brand in the partner community is really strong. I think they’ve got an unbelievably sound and stable customer base. I think one of the differentiators they have out there is their Private Label option. It’s really unique, and I think an important differentiation to our partners and a competitive advantage for them. The channel-first approach is really in my belief a perfect fit from my … 20-plus years of channel experience, understanding the capability that the channel can provide a company like Intermedia in respect of scale. I’ve got strong belief in Intermedia’s business model. Their transformation and movement with the cloud — that’s really where the industry is going. I thought that was important, the financial success and stability of the company … and I think the solid acquisition history that they have with things like Access Line and moving into that cloud PBX space leaves a tremendous amount of untapped potential. Then lastly, I’d say the culture of the organization itself. I’ve had the pleasure of working with them for a number of years. I’ve gotten to know many people over there. The amazing leadership that they’ve been able to assemble, led by Michael Gold, has been pretty unique. It’s one of those special teams that I can see myself fitting right into and doing some special things with.{ad}

CP: What is your role going to look like in this new position?

EM: I’ll be senior vice president of worldwide sales, so I’ll have the opportunity to lead an amazing team of sales professionals. I’ll have management and leadership over ..

{vpipagebreak}

… some of our most strategic alliances, and ultimately I will be the chief advocate for our channel community and lead that on a global basis.

CP: What did you want the next step to be for your career?

EM: I believe I’m entering into an opportunity where we can build something special. I’ve been part of a company in Microsoft now for nine years, and I think I’ve been a critical piece [in] maintaining that machine and helping to grow it over the years, and I see a significant amount of untapped potential within Intermedia, and I really want to build the next big machine. And as we go out there, I think my experience and my background, as it relates to 20 years of channel, will be a great fit for a company like Intermedia.

CP: What are your highlights from Microsoft, and what do you hope will carry over to Intermedia?

EM: If you take a look at the time I’ve been at Microsoft, I’ve been fortunate to be part of the introduction [of] Office 365 into the market – Surface as well. I helped lead a lot of the programs and initiatives that went with that. Microsoft’s been one of those companies that’s really been visionary in paving the road for the industry. I’ve had the ability to participate with some amazing leaders here to build what today has been in my opinion one of the most highly successful companies in this industry. When we started and the cloud was really starting to get going, we built programs like the Cloud Champions Club, which enabled partners to start moving from their traditional on-prem business to a more hybrid approach. I believe those levels of experience to be beneficial to a company like Intermedia, as well as when we brought Surface to market. Prior, it was more of a direct play, but with my advocacy and belief in what the channel community could do, we brought that to the commercial market through the channel, and we’ve seen a tremendous amount of success there.{ad}

CP: What is the balance between direct and indirect sales at Intermedia?

EM: I’d say the vast majority of our sales and our revenue come from the channel. Our direct-sales play is more of an inbound play and a web play. It’s also an opportunity for us to test messaging and seeing what works, but for the most part, the majority of our investment, the majority of our resources and the majority of our focus, is on channel. Even the direct business has a significant amount of partnership with our IT consultants.

CP:What is your partnership with Microsoft going to look like?

EM: Microsoft’s relationship with Intermedia has always been strong, as we’re one of their most strategic partners and one of their …

{vpipagebreak}

… largest cloud partners. I see this continuing to get even closer. It’s continued to evolve over the years – I have some absolutely wonderful relationships within the company — and I plan on working very closely with the senior leadership team here to make sure we’re doing all we can to meet the needs to the customer through our channel community.

CP: What should we look for from Intermedia in the future?

EM: We need to continue to evolve our channel programs, continue to take a look at how we can support the channel community, particularly in the area of readiness and enablement, as well as activation. We need to engage a lot deeper in the field with our partners on the front lines, building pipeline with them and closing sales opportunities. But it all starts with making sure that we’re preparing them for success. One of my first initiatives was to go out, meet with our partners, listen to what their needs are, hear it firsthand and then work with the leadership team to make sure we’re supporting them as best as possible.{ad}

CP: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

EM: I just want to emphasize the opportunity right now. I really do believe that Intermedia is at the forefront of something special. With solutions that they’re bringing to market, there’s so many of dimensions of growth opportunity out there, particularly in the area of cloud, voice, with the cloud PBX solution, backup, with SecuriSync. When you bring things with the Private Label Option as a unique and important differentiator, I think Intermedia is on the brink of something unique and poised for significant growth.


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