CRN 2017 Women of the Channel Details

Debra Sperling

Director, National Partners, NetApp

Location: Sunnyvale, CA


Number of years in current position: 12

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 22

Twitter Handle: @debsperling

Fun Facts:

Enjoys public speaking
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Has a personal mantra
Had a lemonade stand

Biography and Background:
Debra Sperling is the Sr. Director of the NetApp National Partners and The Converged Infrastructure business. Deb is responsible for strategic relationships, go-to-market differentiation, and overall sales contribution of the National partners, the largest revenue contributors in the NetApp Americas partner ecosystem. Prior to this role, Deb was the Director of Data Center Alliances for NetApp, responsible for a team of business development managers focused on the selling of FlexPod, the industry's #1 converged infrastructure solution. While in this role, Deb provided oversight & guidance of sales & support, including the management of relationships with Cisco, VMware, Microsoft, and Citrix. During her tenure, the FlexPod business doubled year-over-year. For the previous five years, Deb was responsible for managing the NetApp channel business in the Southeast Region. Deb Sperling has more than 25 years of IT industry experience in sales, marketing, channel management and distribution. Prior to NetApp she was the VP of East Region Sales for Avnet Computer and spent over 17 years at Compaq and Digital Equipment where she held several roles including VP for Distribution for Avnet, East Region Storage Sales Manager, and South East Channel Manager.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I am responsible for National Partners and the Converged Infrastructure business in NetApp Americas Geo. I have focused on growing our largest business partners by leveraging our leading FlexPod, Flash and SolidFire technologies as pathways to the cloud. I worked closely with Cisco to develop and execute our joint, co-funded FlexPod Advantage Program, providing Flash FlexPod leads, demand generation, and incentives that were tied to the partners' performance. To date, the FlexPod business is up 12% and the Flash FlexPod business is up 40% over the previous year which can be attributed to this targeted program. I also worked closely with our top partners to develop flexible investment programs that allowed them to maximize this investment with a customized approach that fit each partners respective go-to-market approaches. The next version of this program will continue its flexible and predictable approach while adding growth components.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
I will be focused on assisting my partners in transitioning portions of their business on a journey to the cloud. This will require new selling skills, different product and software portfolios, and new revenue models. We need to develop programs to enable our partners to broaden their managed services business. Exploring different revenue models will be the key. With the changing industry landscape, it is important that we continue to develop the partner eco-system by enabling new partner relationships that bring value to our more traditional partners, helping them take advantage of the growth opportunity

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
I admire Christiane Amanpour. Instead of merely reading the news in an unemotional, disconnected, and "unbiased" manner, she seeks the truth, often at great personal risk to herself. She is not afraid to speak the truth to those in power. My favorite quotes from her include: "Be truthful not neutral", "Objectivity means giving all sides a fair hearing, not treating all sides equal" and "If we the story tellers, don't report this, then the bad people will win." She is strong, smart, and hardworking - and her work has definitely impacted the world.

What advice would you give to young women who want to begin careers in technology?
Three critical things upon which a young woman should focus: 1. Have a passion for what they are doing 2. Find a strong mentor 3. Develop your personal brand Say yes to opportunities that are presented and you will be surprised at how far you can stretch and succeed! Most importantly be yourself and trust your gut!

If you could be any movie character for one day in real life, who would you be and why?
I would want to be Dr. Ryan Stone in Gravity. I would jump at the opportunity to travel to space but hopefully it would be an easier trip with a different outcome!

If you could travel to a city you've never been to before, all expenses paid, where would you go and why?
I would go to New Zealand! This trip is on the top of my bucket list, it would be a great adventure, educational and fun! I want to see the majestic landscape; geysers, volcanoes, marine life and experience the culture and the great wine.

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