CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Heather Allen

Sr. Director Security Product Sales and Marketing, Westcon-Comstor

Location: Louisville, CO


Number of years in current position: 9

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 19

Fun Facts:

Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Is an extrovert
Has climbed a mountain
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
With nearly two decades of channel development expertise, Allen serves as Senior Director of Security Product Sales and Westcon Marketing. She is tasked with driving sales growth initiatives and strategic marketing programs across leading security and unified communications vendors such as Check Point, F5, FireEye, Forescout, Palo Alto Networks, Symantec, Avaya, Juniper and Polycom. Her teams develop, drive, and execute marketing and business development activities - working in conjunction with inside and field sales teams, and corresponding across vendor channel organizations and reseller partners. Her team of Inside Business Development Managers, Marketing Managers, Product Sales Managers and Pre Sales System Engineers are responsible for setting business strategy for vendor partners, recruiting and onboarding new partners, supporting pre-sales technical assistance and proof-of-concept programs, building channel awareness and executing demand generation programs. Prior to Westcon, Heather served in Product Management and Marketing roles at Avnet - responsible for spearheading channel development and vendor relationships to improve business opportunities, profit contribution and market share. She also held a Director of Vendor Management position at General Electric's Access Division. Her education includes a BS in Marketing from Bentley University and an Associate's degree in Communications and Public Relations from Champlain College.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
With nearly two decades of progressive channel development expertise, my organization is tasked with driving channel growth strategies across leading security and unified communications partners. Over the past year this has included: • Setting the business and growth strategy for our vendor partners that resulted in over achievement of financial revenue and gross profit targets; • The development and execution of program/campaign management that drove new pipeline and end-customers; • Recruiting and onboarding new partners through sales and technical enablement programs; • Supporting pre-sales technical with build-of-materials assistance and proof-of-concept programs, including vulnerability assessments, demos and evaluations; • Building sales positioning elements and channel testimonials for market awareness through multi-pronged communications to increase brand recognition for our vendors and technology solutions.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
My goals for 2018 are to establish new pathways within our marketing organization for partner development with new sales and technical enablement offerings such as: maximizing profit opportunities; increasing business opportunities with core vendors; and creating demand generation programs and technical sales forums. • Expanding new routes to market • Strengthening competitive differentiation • Recruiting new customers, enabling existing customers, and extending market reach • World class creative marketing campaigns resulting in pipeline conversion and new accounts I am committed to creating growth by developing strategies and creative programs that our customers can benefit from and grow within their organizations.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
In September 2017, I was promoted by our EVP, Andrew Warren, to a new executive role overseeing the North American Marketing organization. For the past 8 years leading the security product sales organization, my passion always pulled me towards strategic marketing and creative program/campaign design. Developing this organization of creative designers, vendor channel marketing, and full service marketing production and event management has given me the ability to take all my sales leadership and strong marketing background and apply the team towards a successful marketing partnership to support our organization in over-achieving sales goals and market growth objectives.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Lynn Murphy has helped me become the executive I am today. I often find myself pausing to recall the many skills and assets she shared with me such as finding that confidence in our male dominated industry; building a strong personal brand; and staying focused on what we can accomplish as a team. Being a strong leader in her Westcon-Comstor tenure, she taught me to strive for success, and push through the challenges with my core values always at my forefront. She taught me many things to get through tough days and reminded me that laughter is important.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
My advice to young women would be to focus, focus and focus. Work hard and help motivate others. It is important to strive for success not only within your own organization, but also across multiple organizations including your business partners and customers in order to network and build strong relationships. Also, know that no one is entitled to achievement or success. Respect is earned and not given. Those were instilled in me early on and I think provide a strong foundation for success.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
To develop a social media strategy. I feel as if I am behind on promoting myself, successes, and thought leadership in the rapid world of social media. I stick to the old fashioned, "Facebook is for personal use; LinkedIn is for professional use." I would very much like to overcome my fears of "pushing the submit" button and building a strong cadence for using those mediums and beyond.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath. I picked up this book last year after a recommendation from a business colleague. I liked the philosophy that our strengths are what builds who we are and how we drive success. While our areas for development are not our strongest skills, we have worked to overcome them more so than develop our strengths. After taking the test, I like the focus on developing our strengths even more and fit better into a culture where leaders rely on mixed skills to bring together winning teams.

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