The Top 10 SMB Superstars Of 2011

As part of CRN’s annual Top 100 Executives report, we’re spotlighting the people that have served as advocates for the SMB market, making sure solution providers targeting that market segment have the product lines, channel programs and support they need to be successful.

Here’s a look at the Top 10 SMB Superstars of 2011.

10. Kent Plunkett


Plunkett has upped Intronis' SMB superstar DNA considerably in the past year, putting the company at the vanguard of the cloud computing backup and recovery revolution. Plunkett's sales, marketing and management savvy have helped bring Intronis a number of industry awards, including 2011 Vendor Of The Year honors from SMB channel mainstay The ASCII Group.

9. Jess Trotter

Vice President, U.S. Channel, SMB Sales
Oki Data Americas

A 16-year channel veteran, Trotter has consistently shown the ability to think outside the box to drive SMB channel gains. His latest creation: a Web portal designed to allow partners to drive services revenue from printers -- and not just Oki printers -- connected to networks. That's what we call an SMB channel game-changer.

8. Sheila O'Neil

Vice President
Channel Sales
Panasonic Solutions

A fiery and relentless advocate for a 100 percent channel model for SMB partners, this 21-year channel veteran has always had partners' backs. This year, she led the charge for partners to expand their Panasonic product portfolio with products like the award-winning 3-D plasma display for digital signage solutions.

7. Ted Cole

Vice President, Channel Sales

Old reliable. A consistent provider of solid channel programs, service and support. Cole understands that winning in SMB means providing channel programs and products that deliver more bang for the buck. He's constantly pushing the channel envelope and Adtran and its channel partners are both registering record SMB networking sales because of it. Look for an even better year from him and his company in 2012 with the acquisition of virtual wireless LAN maker Bluesocket.

6. Barbara Spicek

Vice President, Worldwide Channels

Being an SMB Superstar means being innovative. Check out the subscription pricing for data center products and reference architecture for virtual desktop infrastructure that Spicek championed this year at Brocade. Both are lessons in how to provide high-margin incentives to get partners to skate to where the puck is going. Score them as a goal for Brocade partners.

5. Gary Gillam

Vice President, Channel Operations, North American
Reseller Sales

One of the old masters of the art of the channel. He has helped partners navigate one treacherous channel turn after another and is now leading the Xerox managed print services charge. Over 21 years at Xerox, Gillam has consistently provided game-changing programs and the high-touch channel infrastructure to ensure partner execution.

4. Nancy Reynolds

Senior Vice President
Corporate Sales & Support
Kaspersky Lab

Being an SMB superstar means delivering big sales gains for partners. That's just what Reynolds has done at Kaspersky Lab, which ranked as one of the top vendors for boosting revenue and profit in the UBM Channel Annual Report Card survey. Look at the numbers: Reynolds' 20-year SMB track record speaks for itself.

3. Frank Vitagliano

Senior Vice President, Partners Americas
Juniper Networks

There is no vendor channel executive with a better SMB channel track record than Vitagliano. He is a master of channel alchemy, knowing what to add to the mix to get partners to climb the next rung of the information technology ladder. Call him Juniper's not-so-secret weapon in the cloud computing channel wars.

2. Eric Martorano

Senior Director, U.S. SMB Channel, Online Services

Microsoft has made more SMB cloud computing gains in the past year than it did in the preceding five. The reason: Martorano. The senior director of U.S. SMB Channel Online Services has delivered the right channel program dynamics to get Microsoft's cloud engine firing on all cylinders.

1. Michael and Dan Schwab

D&H Distributing

How do you become an SMB superstar? By pushing the envelope year in and year out to deliver a higher level of services and support to your SMB customers. That's what Michael and Dan Schwab have done since they took the helm as co-presidents three and a half years ago. Solution providers say there simply is no one that does SMB better than D&H. One reason for the brothers' success: SMB sales and service is part of their DNA. The Schwab brothers represent the third generation of the Schwab family leading the 93-year-old, employee-owned company. D&H wrote the textbook on how to succeed in the SMB IT business with the mantra: "Our success is your success." And Michael and Dan are adding new chapters each and every day. Vendor executives that want to get an education in just what it takes to deliver technology solutions to cost-conscious SMB customers would be wise to spend a couple of days at D&H with Michael, Dan and the rest of the employee co-owners.