Cradlepoint Channel Executive Pumped About Wireless WAN

Network edge solutions meet partner opportunity.

Lynn Haber

June 11, 2020

6 Min Read
Wireless communication

Earlier this month, Cradlepoint channel executive Eric Purcell announced a major overhaul of the company’s partner program. The program redo came on the heels of the vendor announcing aggressive European expansion plans. These plans and channel investments signal new opportunities for Cradlepoint partners.

Almost all of Cradlepoint revenue and enterprise business goes through partners.


Cradlepoint’s Eric Purcell

With big undertakings afoot at the provider of network edge products and services, Channel Futures met with Purcell, senior vice president of global partner sales ad technology alliances, to discuss the company’s strategy and the role for partners.

Channel Futures: Cradlepoint just announced a significant global partner program overhaul and expansion plans. What’s up at the company?

Eric Purcell: Taking a step back, Cradlepoint is a leader in the delivery of 4G, and soon to be 5G, wireless networking solutions. We have intelligent endpoint in the router. But these routers are purpose built for branches, for the back of vehicles, such as first responders — police, fire trucks, mass transit have a Cradlepoint device for mobile. So we design specific devices for mobile and also, endpoints designed for IoT solutions.

That’s managed by our NetCloud service. The special sauce for Cradlepoint is our knowledge for wireless – 4G, LTE, and 5G – that differentiates our solutions.

From a company perspective, we have over 600 employees and we’ve been growing about 30% year over year. We’re growing globally and we added a new leader in Canada, another in EMEA, and make investments in Asia Pacific.

CF: So why now for the investments and overhaul of the partner program?

EP: It’s the timing in the marketplace — the adoption and market opportunity around wireless. We have a saying that everything that can be wireless will be wireless. There’s hockey stick growth around the use cases of mobile. And the current environment, as unfortunate as it is, has accelerated a lot of those use cases.

Keep up with the latest developments in how the channel is supporting partners and customers during the COVID-19 crisis.

We also are aligned and have strong relationships with the global carriers. A lot of the solutions we deliver with Cradlepoint channel partners are available today over 4G as well as gigabit LTE, and parallels the turnup of 5G around the globe.

With the turnup of 5G networks, both public and private LTE, it’s coming together as a perfect opportunity to accelerate the go-to-market with our partners.

CF: What about the expansion overseas?

EP: We brought on James Bristow in EMEA. He’s continuing to ramp up and bring on new team members to expand our partners Europe. Another investment, we highlighted a bit last year is that we onboarded a new distributor, Tech Data, in Australia. So, we have additional resources to support our partners in APAC as well. And we’re hosting our first APAC Partner Summit …

… yesterday and today. So we’re actively working with our partners in APAC, and that’s highlighted by our go-to-market with Telstra. We’re launching our go-to-market and entry into the 5G market with Telstra in Australia, as we speak.

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CF: Talk about your partners.

EP: At a high level we have couple of thousand partners in our ecosystem. The majority today are in the Americas, and we’re in the process of expanding that. Our partners fall into three main categories: resale, service partners, IoT partners and mobile partners; MSPs; and our technology partners — and we just formally announced our new Technology Alliance Program (TAP). We’re also in conversations with global systems integrators.

We also have regional or local partners that we support with inside partner teams as well as regional partner managers.

CF: Tell us about the new partner program.

EP: Our last major revamp of our partner program was about four years ago. This revamp was to focus on getting our partners to velocity with Cradlepoint. So we looked at a program that aligned with partner models – resale, managed services or technology alliance – and globalizing the program.

In doing so, [one of] the two things we announced most recently is providing partners with the tools and resources to lead the conversation with customers around 5G. 5G is going to cover incredible opportunities and use cases. And, a lot of those use cases are actually capable today on 4G. We launched the industry’s first 5G for enterprise branch specializations. We’re launching it APAC now and It will come to the Americas in the second half of the year.

That provides partners with a methodology and a framework for both consulting opportunities all the way through the delivery of 5G, which in all candor is inherently different. When wireless becomes primary for a business – voice, video and critical applications – it requires different needs in the design of that, and also, the technology is different. It could be sub-6 in some areas. It could be mmWave in other areas, and there’s also private LTE. So we felt it was important to deliver that in a specialization framework. That allows our partners to build a true wireless WAN practice.

The second big move is TAP, our technology alliance program. It puts structure around how we come up with reference architectures for our partners that allows them to solve customer needs, whether that’s around a vertical solution or a particular solution.

We’re going to continue to make program investments and enhancements. We invested in a marketing platform and new demand-generation campaigns. We also invested in a business intelligence platform, and we’re investing in support and people. And we have added experts in public sector to help partners enhance their public sector practice. Cradlepoint also added solution architects to work with our partners to help them design and develop their solutions.

Regarding our partner program, it’s a tiered program based on certifications and a partners’ investments and results in working with us. It includes training and enablement through Cradlepoint University, our online training platform.

CF: How does Cradlepoint help partners develop a wireless WAN practice? 

EP: One of the fastest things we’re seeing is partner certifications with Cradlepoint. We have Cradlepoint Sales Associate, a certification for both presales and post sales engineering. [There’s also] a Network Associate, Network Professional and Network Expert for everything wireless.

The partners we work with, including the ones we’re onboarding, clearly see this as an opportunity for them to develop a wireless WAN practice and differentiate themselves in the marketplace.

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About the Author(s)

Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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