They lead the charge, take the fall, and always pass the wins on to their team. They solve unsolvable problems, drive growth, spike profits—and they do it all with one hand tied behind their back, sometimes two.

They call these people Chiefs for a reason. It takes a certain pedigree to be the coach, the ref AND the top scorer all in one. But that’s precisely why these individuals are the heart beating behind indirect sales.

Each year, CRN editors vet these elite execs and spotlight those whose professional achievements, dedication and innovations have gone above and beyond the call of duty.

This year, three of The Channel Company’s 2016 CRN Channel Chiefs are among our own: Kimberly Martin VP, Worldwide Partner of Sales and Strategy; Tammy Richards, Managing Director, Worldwide Partner Success; and Rafael Garzon, Managing Director, Partner Americas.

Together, these three leaders represent over fifty years of industry experience, untold frequent flyer miles and one all-important shared goal: putting their partners’ needs—and those relationshipsat the top of the to-do list.

Kimberly Martin

With fifteen years’ experience designing solutions for high tech companies—and a remarkable affinity for tackling tough problems head-on—Citrix knew that 2016 Channel Chief Kimberly Martin was the perfect candidate to galvanize the Citrix partner ecosystem in 2016. And the feeling was mutual.

After meeting all the members of the Executive Leadership Team, I could feel the palpable commitment to the partner community, and that, alongside the incredible culture at Citrix, are accomplishments at the very outset.

This new VP of Partner Strategy and Sales harnessed that synergy and hit the ground running last year, setting her sites on the untapped mid-market, where she saw competitors treating partners as an afterthought.

Her vision was to shift the entire incentive program and sales-accountable channel field model, so that partners who forged into uncharted mid-market territory are better rewarded for taking that risk.

Success comes from marrying the right partners to the right products, and ensuring those made-in-heaven matches stay heavenly. Personal touch is everything—like tailoring marketing tools and services to meet individual partner needs and facilitating nimble delivery of those services. No small feat, but Martin thrives on the end result: seeing partners’ lives and businesses transformed around Citrix.

“It’s a ripple effect,” she says.

Her numbers are making waves, too.  Average revenue per partner increased 20% in 2015 and the Citrix Service Provider business has seen 30% growth in subscribers.

Tammy Richards

2016 Channel Chief Tammy Richards lives the Partner First ethic every day. A nineteen-year Citrix veteran—and a Channel Chief for the last three—her wealth of experience in sales, marketing and channel were the driving force behind the 30% growth in Citrix Service Provider business last year.

Her vision is simple, literally.

Simplify. Streamline the path to success for partners. Develop products that are channel-ready for both mid-market and enterprise customers. Seek to strike a delicate balance between delivering value to the partner community while staying profitable.

And at the end of the day, Richards knows that closing the deal comes down to education. Being smarter than the other guys means customers will be too.

That’s why she and her team launched a suite of practical and easy-to-use marketing and training tools— such as Learning Paths and Citrix Marketing IQ—and the wildly successful Citrix Specialist Program which gives already highly certified partners access to world-class tech training—setting them head and shoulders above the competition. On top of being badged as best in breed, Citrix Specialists are rewarded for their expertise with a huge increase in incentives.

One of the secrets to her success?  Avoiding the one-size-fits-all approach.

You can’t just build a program to meet your company needs. Not all programs are right for all partners. Understanding various partners’ business models helps ensure we can drive success at all levels of the playing field.

Rafael Garzon

Also hitting it out of the park is 2016 Channel Chief Rafael Garzon, Managing Director of Partner Americas at Citrix. With eighteen years’ experience in creating technology solutions, Garzon’s innovation knows no bounds—much like his growing partner community. His platinum-influenced bookings have risen by 21%, and his transacting partner count in the Americas shot up by 76%. 

And since not all partners are created equal, Garzon is a master at developing and fine-tuning programs so that every partner feels equally important, no matter how high or low their margins. His Hands-on Workshops (HOWs) are held all over the Americas and have generated so much buzz that large waiting lists are always expected. This past summer, he tapped into partners’ creativity by encouraging them to send in demos addressing how to save money or improve the customer experience—and awarded cash prizes to the winning concepts.

While the ingenuity flooded in from all over the world, so did the rave reviews of Garzon’s Agree2Blitz initiative. This appointment-setting program connects his field sales team to the partner’s team onsite at the partner location. Agree2Blitz helps partners to network and build their pipeline of customers, while at the same time getting the training, tools and collaboration with Citrix that keeps everyone at the top of their game. 

“We listen to our partners and are adaptable,” says Garzon. He and his team put on their “partner shoes” each day and research the goals, priorities and DNA of the companies they want to represent.

Tweet to the Chiefs: Kimberly @_KimberlyMartin, Tammy @tlrichards99, and Rafael @CitrixAMChnlChf

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