Intermedia Lands Three Microsoft Execs, Revamps Sales Structure As It Aims To Become A $400M Player

Cloud business applications provider Intermedia has snagged three former Microsoft leaders and is launching field sales and sales engineering practices to double the company's revenue within four years.

The Mountain View, Calif.-based company, No. 189 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, is growing its sales organization from 91 to 150 people to boost annual sales from $200 million to around $400 million to $500 million in the next few years, while maintaining strong EBITDA growth, according to Eric Martorano, Intermedia's senior vice president of worldwide sales.

"I wasn't coming over [to Intermedia] to maintain the machine," said Martorano, who started at the company in September. "I was coming over to build it to another level."

[RELATED: Intermedia Bought By Private Equity Giant After Landing Key Leaders From Microsoft, Dropbox]

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Martorano said Intermedia would launch a sales enablement and engineering practice to expand the company's partner focus beyond inside account management to field engagement and co-selling. The company plans to have more than 30 sales positions in its sales engineering, channel enablement and field sales organizations this year, according to Martorano.

"We haven't at all had a field presence," Martorano said. "I just need more soldiers out there on the front lines with me."

Intermedia will also ramp up its business insight and strategies unit from one person today to a staff of five, Martorano said, with new the staff responsible for thinking strategically about improving sales and channel programs, systems and tools, and sales incentives and compensation.

Beefing up staffing means that each of Intermedia's inside sales representatives will go from managing 400 or 500 partners today to just 100 partners in the future, Martorano said. Each member of Intermedia's new field sales team will be tasking with managing 30 partners, Martorano said, while scale partners will have one or even two reps dedicated fully to them.

"We believe we have the right solutions to do that," Martorano said. "We've built in a ramp, and I think the company culture is evolving,"

Only a couple of Intermedia's voice partners – such as Pacific Office Automation – fit the company's scale classification today, Martorano said. Corey Nagel, Intermedia's new director of partner development, will be responsible for establishing more scale relationships, Martorano said, by either onboarding new partners or strengthening ties with some of Intermedia's largest existing partners.

Nagel spent seven years in Microsoft's sales organization, culminating in a role leading strategic business development activities for Somerset, N.J.-based SHI International, No. 13 on the CRN Solution Provider 500, Microsoft's largest licensing solution provider partner.

Eric Roach will be Intermedia's new global vice president of field channel sales and distribution, responsible for managing the company's field channel sales organization and engaging partners in co-selling opportunities. Roach spent nearly a decade at Microsoft, where he was primarily responsible for managing the vendor's relationship with Irvine, Calif.-based distribution giant Ingram Micro.

Bob Neal will be Intermedia's director of distribution and strategic communities, Martorano said, and will manage distributors such as Ingram Micro, master agents such as Ideacom, and strategic communities such as HTG. Neal spent four and a half years at Microsoft driving the company's SMB distribution cloud sales strategy and leading reseller-focused Surface sales efforts.

Intermedia will be holding a sales kickoff in San Francisco next week for all 175 to 180 members of its sales and marketing teams to educate and prepare them for the company's new channel-centric strategy, Martorano said.

The company also plans to be far more visible to channel partners in the coming year, Martorano said, with plans to attend 40 third-party industry events in 2017. That's up from just four such events in 2016, Martorano said, providing Intermedia with many more opportunities for one-on-one engagement with channel partners.

All told, Martorano said Intermedia wants more than 70 percent of its new revenue coming from channel sales. Just half of Intermedia's revenue today comes from its more than 6,000 channel partners, Martorano said, with the remainder generated by direct sales.

To drive more channel investment, Martorano said Intermedia's sales organization would be structured around five centers of excellence: sales enablement and engineering; partner management and development; sales operations and channel operations; business development; and customer development.

The announcement comes four months after Madison Dearborn Partners acquired Intermedia from fellow private equity firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Martorano said Oak Hill had deep enough pockets to make this type of investment but was employing a different strategy than Madison Dearborn.

"Madison Dearborn has bought into that you have to invest in the channel to make top-line growth happen," Martorano said.