TP-Link building Canadian channel presence

TP-Link has strong global market share in the wireless LAN market, and is now focusing on getting its story out as it builds it team here in Canada.

Mark Macaulay, senior director of sales for TP-Link Canada

Mark Macaulay, senior director of sales for TP-Link Canada

China-based consumer and SMB networking vendor TP-Link is building up its presence in Canada and looking to court key VARs and retailers as it grows its channel.

At the beginning of the year, the company brought in Mark Macaulay to head Canadian sales operations as senior director, and over the last six months, he’s built up a channel-facing team and a new partner program that aims to make the company a serious contender in the small business networking market.

In Canada, Macaulay said TP-Link is pursuing a multi-channel strategy, with traditional SMB-focused VARs and regional retailers as well as ISPs, online retailers, and big box retail. The company, he said, is 100 per cent channel everywhere it does business, and has worked its partner program structure to ensure all partners get “better than average gross profits.”

Many of the company’s early attempts to grow market share and presence in Canada were directed primarily from China, and those efforts met mixed results, Macaulay said. But with Canadian leadership in place and a ramped-up team including some Canadian channel veterans, things are starting to click.

While TP-Link may well be a challenger in the Canadian market, it is certainly not a startup or small entity – the company has 40 per cent share of the global wireless LAN market. Now it’s just a matter of getting its story told here in Canada.

“We need to tell the channel that we’re an established organization in 120 countries globally, and we need to let people know about the 100 per cent channel go-to-market we have, and the value that we bring,” Macaulay said. “We’ve got a unique story around performance, quality, reliability, and margins. Those things packaged together bring excellent value for our partners’ customers, be they consumers or small business. We’re well positioned for value leadership.”

Currently the company is bigger on the retail side of the business, he said, but is still developing further VAR relationships to bolster the SMB side of its business. The company prides itself in flexibility in working with partners, and Macaulay said it remains easy to become authorized. It’s looking for VARs with a networking competency and experience in building out networking solutions for customers, and who target the same sectors it does, being unapologetically focused on the SOHO and SMB markets.

“We don’t try to be everything to everyone,” he said. “The market is very fragmented and segmented, so we want to be where [customers] want to buy.”

Over the balance of the year, the company plans to introduce retail programs for the key buying seasons of back-to-school and Christmas, as well as launch its first foray into the increasingly popular on-the-go device chargers market as part of a mobility push. It also plans a new fammily of routers, and more built-in-Canada channel program and training initiatives. But perhaps more crucially for TP-Link in the Canadian market, it will be turning up the volume on making sure current partners are engaged and new partner prospects are aware of its presence.

“We’ll be out in the marketplace telling our story,” Macaulay said.