Sales to small and medium size businesses through its U.S. distribution partners have surged almost 40 percent over the past year, Cisco Systems reported on Monday.

The taking of more than 1 million orders is a record for the company, Cisco said.

U.S. distribution partners for Cisco’s efforts to drive more sales to the small, medium (SMB) business segment are Comstor, Ingram Micro and Tech Data.

“Distributors are the backbone of our SMB channel strategy and last year when we announced an increased focus on the SMB market we knew that if we executed properly we would see a spike in annual distribution order volume,” said John DiLullo, vice president, of worldwide distribution at Cisco.

“However, hitting the million order milestone in a single year came much quicker than we anticipated and it’s due in large part to our distribution partners,” he added. “They provide personalized ordering services, competitive pricing, and technical pre- and post-sales telephone support for even the smallest customers. We would need to hire an army of people to provide this level of support.”

Cisco has over the past 18 months introduced more than 30 products focused on the SMB segment as well as signed on 1,200 channel sales partners and offered more support services, financing, applications and training.