CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Susan Thomas

North America - Distribution & Channel Sales Manager, Bitdefender

Location: Point Pleasant, NJ


Number of years in current position: 5

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 30

Twitter Handle: @bitdefender

Fun Facts:

Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra

Biography and Background:
Susan Thomas is the North America - Distribution & Channel Sales Manager for Bitdefender, Inc. Susan has been part of the of the Bitdefender organization for over 5 years. In her role, she's responsible for driving distribution and channel strategies including; annual distribution contracts, channel market development funds (MDF) / budget, channel spiff / budget, deal registration program, channel on-boarding, and channel quarterly business review objectives. Under Susan's direction last year, the NA channel grew more than 75% in 2016 and is expected to grow over 100% in 2017. Bitdefender has a rich history of providing award winning Anti-Malware - Next Generation Endpoint, Exchange, Hypervisor Introspection, and Mobile solutions. Bitdefender is a 100% channel based company. Susan has over 25 years of experience building and leading channel businesses at high-growth companies, including Symantec, Flexera and Gigaspaces. Prior to Bitdefender Susan was the Director of Channel Sales at Gigaspaces where she drove their successful channel sales initiatives. Susan was responsible for building channel sales and developing the channel program to drive their growth with Global SI's, and VAR's, and resellers. Susan held the role of OEM Sales manager with Flexera, and led their successful entry into the Software DRM market. .

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
One of Susan's top accomplishments was to drive the consolidation of the distribution partners. In an effort to reduce the complexity in the distribution channel, she reduced the number of distributors and streamlined sales. Susan also took the lead in revamping the entire partner on-boarding and training process to ensure their partners are better trained and completely prepared to promote and sell the Bitdefender solutions. Susan refocused efforts and resources around a set of fewer, more technically capable Enterprise partners to drive growth which requires the need for enablement, training and support. Susan dramatically shifted the mind-set that distribution is just fulfillment, and developed programs to further Bitdefender's branding and sales support to ensure distribution partners understand Bitdefender's go-to-market strategy.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Over the next year our commitment to the channel is to focus on providing the best and most comprehensive on-boarding plan offering support, education, and programs to our partners to enable an increase in recurring revenue and net new accounts coming through our partners. Our soul focus will be on strategically recruiting new smaller number of strategic partners by adding more qualified partners to take Bitdefender to the next level. This strategy will allow me to increase the amount of net new accounts through the channel partners quickly to reach our revenue goals of the United States.

What honors, awards or commendations have you won over the past year?
Susan was awarded the coveted "Channel Manager of the Year award for 2016" at the Bitdefender worldwide sales meeting held in Europe in January 2017. The presenter of the award was the SVP Global Sales and she received the award for increasing revenues by more than 75% YOY. Additionally, It's not just about revenue for this award. Susan was also recognized as taking a leadership role for new Channel Managers, consulting and working alongside field and channel marketing on channel pipeline campaigns, and creating out of the box training kits for both the channel management team and partner welcome kits.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
It may seem trival that I chose Mary Tyler Moore's character Mary Richards, but back in the 1970's there wasn't very many opportunities for women in the business world. Her character brought light to all single working woman who wanted a career before she decided to settle down. She offered American women a much-needed role model and represented independent and empowered women. As a single Mother myself I fully understood where her character came from and throughout the years how I evolved into a professional business woman.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
I'd advise someone getting into the channel today to research vendors who are investing heavily in their channel partners and take the time getting to know your customers and prospects. Understand your partner's priorities, their goals, and biggest challenges and develop deep relationships that will support your goals and your growth. Additionally, I encourage them to join as many networking groups that specialize in their technology and career.

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
Katniss Everdeen, "The Hunger Games": As a trilogy, there's a love story involved, but Katniss also takes care of herself - and her family. The empowered young female sets a strong example for young women. She's steely, scrappy, loyal to her family and a survivor who finds the odds ever in her favor, because she works hard and uses her knowledge to survive.

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I would love to travel to the Inca city of Machu Picchu because there is an incredible amount of interesting history. I love experiencing new countries and cultures and the ancient Inca ruins are some of the most beautiful and mysterious sites in the world and I can't wait to travel there.

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