CRN 2018 Women of the Channel Details

Deborah Purfurst

VP National Channel Sales, Xerox

Location: Castle Rock, CO


Number of years in current position: 10

Number of years involved with indirect sales: 29

Fun Facts:

Sits on a company board
Has an advanced degree (a degree higher than a bachelor's degree)
Has an MBA
Has worked for a solution provider organization
Has a mentor
Is a mentor
Loves Instagram
Can ride a horse
Has always wanted to be a teacher

Biography and Background:
I have been in the channel since I graduated from College in 1989. I started my career out as a software trainer working for a VAR in Colorado Springs, CO where I would train end users on various Microsoft programs. I then took over their purchasing/marketing team for 4 locations. I became a buyer at Intelligent Electronics for HP in 1992 and worked my way up to Director of purchasing/Marketing after becoming exposed to 100s of manufacturers. During that time, I achieved my MBA at the University of Colorado. In 1990, I went to work for Tektronix. I was hired to create a distribution channel for their Resellers. I launched the Ingram Micro relationship and then worked by way up to Director of Distribution. I was the only woman Director in the channel for 4 years at Tektronix. In 2000, Tektronix was bought by Xerox and I became the Director of National Resellers and launched our relationship with many partners such as CDW, PC Connection, PC Mall, etc. In 2008, I became the VP of Channel Sales and Distribution and remain in the role of VP of National Channel Sales today and have now been at Xerox for 23 years.

How have you personally helped advance your company's channel business over the past year?
I joined Xerox in 1996 and there were only about 40 people out of 100,000+ in the channel. We were a very small piece of the overall business and most of the internal people struggled with how to deal with a channel division. We had to fight and scrape for investment and support. Over the years, we continued to education internal contacts and expand the channel by creating a robust Var channel program that has won many consecutive years of the best channel program. I helped to expand our distributor from 3 to 7, as well as add more National partners outside of the core 3-4. In 2006, I was in charge of creating our etail channel that involved an entirely different way of thinking about we content, promotion and SEO. When I was promoted to a VP of Sales in 2008, I was then able to educate my counterparts of the advantages and leverage points of the channel. Today, Xerox is in a large transition from a direct to indirect model and I was instrumental in creating the business plan for 2018 for our channel expansion to double in size from a people and investment perspective.

What are your goals for your company's channel business over the next year?
Xerox has expanded its channel coverage and investment substantially in 2018. We have hired 22 additional sellers and created a Mid-Market channel coverage model broken into 3 regions and 15 people. The goal is to grow our current market share and become a top player in the print industry for SMB. We are enhancing our distribution relationships to leverage access to new Resellers and help us manage the long tail of our Var partners as well as doubling down on our key National partners via MPS and A4 expansion.

What honors, awards, or commendations have you won over the past year?
In my personal life I have been very involved in FBLA and Deca through my children's high school. I have taught business classes and judged state and district competitions. Professionally, I am on the CDW parntner advisory council and the only one still standing from the original group.

Outside of your family, please name a woman you admire and why:
Anne Mulcahy was able to turn Xerox around from the brink of bankruptcy. I had the opportunity to meet with her on various occasions personally as well as have her in multiple partner meetings. She was extremely intelligent and charismatic. What I admire most is her belief in people and instinctual understanding that if she took care of her employees, they would take care of her. She was very humble, blunt and a great listener. She was respected both within Xerox and in the overall print industry. She is definitely one of my key role models.

What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?
Be more assertive and Be yourself. Have more self confidence. You are smart and relevant and your voice needs to be heard. Hold your head high and be humble and genuine. Be patient and embrace diversity. Not everyone is like you and that is a great thing. Learn from those who are different and surround yourself with folks that are not the same as you.

If you could master any new job-related skill, what would it be and why?
I would like to master public speaking. Although I have done many speeches, trainings, events, I still have the "fear" in me and self-doubt. If I could really refine solid speaking skills it would enable me to round myself out more as an executive professional and have a larger voice in the IT channel.

What's the best book you read this past year and why did you like it?
Good to Great by Jim Collins. Xerox is going thru a huge transition of channel expansion and I wanted to get some key nuggets help make me more successful in this transition. Having the right person in the right seat of the bus is a critical concept. It is crucial that the right folks are hired for the right job. The concept of "brutal facts" is also critical. The truth can be hard to hear, but if I don't go after my role and the new Xerox with an open mindset and willingness to change, we will not be successful.

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