Q&A: Microsoft's Martorano on His Expanded U.S. Channel Role

Exec will manage National Systems Integrators, Licensing Solution Providers and Microsoft Surface sales.

While Phil Sorgen's role covers all Microsoft partners around the world, including the United States, there have been some big changes in the U.S. subsidiary's partner organization for FY2014, as well.

Last month, U.S. Partner Sales and Programs Vice President Jenni Flinders consolidated management of the Microsoft National Systems Integrators (NSIs) and Licensing Solution Providers (LSPs, formerly Large Account Resellers) into one organization called the U.S. Partner Sales Team. Then she added responsibility for selling Microsoft Surface devices through the U.S. channel into the mix to make the position even more consequential.

To fill the role, Flinders brought Eric Martorano over from Cindy Bates' organization, where he had led the small to midsize business (SMB) channel business for three-and-a-half years. We caught up with Martorano in early September (read more from our discussion with Martorano here).

Scott Bekker: What should partners know about your background?
Eric Martorano: I've been in the channel business now for about 20 years. I started out as a VAR/SI in Southern California, working two-tier distribution. I did my stint in the dot-com days with startups. Prior to Microsoft, I worked at Sage Software in sales and marketing in channels. And then I came over here about six years ago. When I went over to Microsoft, I had responsibilities for partner marketing and channel incentives. Then, about three-and-a-half years ago, I was asked to lead our SMB channel business -- distribution partners and our VARs. Now, I'm excited about the new opportunity we have where I'll be taking on the role of general manager of the U.S. Partner Sales Team.

SB: How does your previous job experience play into your new role?
EM: I think my experience shows I understand the partner ecosystem, I understand solution selling, distribution and VAR. I'm an active, hands-on leader who likes to get involved. I understand our portfolio. I'm also not new to the LSP community; I have experience with them from when I started with Microsoft working in channel incentives. If you take a look at how I engage, too, I think I have an amazing team that I'm inheriting. I think they've done a phenomenal job, specifically bringing LSPs and NSIs to a phenomenal level here.

There's so much opportunity here for us. My responsibility as a leader is to enable both my team and our ecosystem to realize their full potential. I know I have Jenni's support, I know I have Dave Willis' support as a new leader. [Willis was tapped for Phil Sorgen's former job as corporate vice president, U.S. Small and Midsize Solutions & Partners -- Ed.]

SB: What should partners know about the metrics that will determine your performance and bonus?
EM: Absolutely customer and partner satisfaction. I need to make sure I'm doing whatever I can to make sure my partners are continuing to grow, develop and get the best experience possible, and make sure they're being supported.

I'm a sales leader, and I have a sales number to hit. For products, it depends on the partner. My responsibility is every product that Microsoft puts into the market. What I do need to do is take a surgical approach with each partner. There are significant opportunities with Windows XP end of life, and significant opportunities around Surface, Office 365 and Windows Server. We have a very robust set of solutions that I honestly think are by far the best in the industry.


About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


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