New Cradlepoint channel chief to refocus strategy, partner program for ‘Pathway to 5G’

New Cradlepoint SVP of Partner Sales and Alliances Eric Purcell discusses changes to the company’s channel policies under consideration.

Eric Purcell, Cradlepoint’s SVP of partner sales and alliances

Networking edge vendor Cradlepoint has announced a pair of new senior executive appointments to drive them further along what the company is terming their ‘Pathway to 5G’ strategic initiative. Mark Pugerude joins Cradlepoint as their new chief sales officer, while Eric Purcell becomes the new senior vice president of partner sales and alliances. Purcell talked with ChannelBuzz about his plans to fine-tune Cradlepoint’s channel strategy for the developing market opportunities.

Purcell has an extensive and varied channel background around networking and telcos. He is from upstate New York, and while he started in the wireless world with NYNEX, he joined Cisco while at grad school and stayed there for over 13 years.

“I worked my way up from channel manager, and when I left, I was running partner sales for borderless networks channel when they were bringing Meraki into the channel,” he said. “In my roles at Cisco, l really learned the power of the channel.”

Purcell then moved to Box in 2013 when they were just starting to develop their channel, and built out their partner structure around telcos.

Cradlepoint represents a return to his roots.

“I met them six years ago, and have followed them since,” Purcell said. “I have always had a passion for wireless and cloud and emerging technology.”

Purcell described Cradlepoint as committed to a partner-based Go-to-Market model.

“We do have a direct sales organization, but 90 plus per cent of sales go through partners,” he said. “We have a vertically-focused segment where partners are fully on their own and a whole segment of partners who are more downmarket. In the midmarket and enterprise, some work with our salespeople to deliver to the marketplace.”

Purcell described Cradlepoint’s channel as large, and fairly diverse, which includes a mix of original machine-to-machine partners. Assessing that channel, and how best to optimize it going forward, is a key part of his job.

“We are re-evaluating the channel, in something of a prescriptive approach,” he said. “We are on a pathway to 5G, and focusing on the ecosystem of next generation wireless, technology, which includes private LTE and the Internet of Things. As we do this, we are in the process of evaluating and making enhancements to the program.”

Part of the programmatic changes will involve greater harmonization.

“We want to evolve the partner program with a consistently scalable partner framework,” Purcell said. “We will evolve based on market opportunities by geo, by segment, and by solution, on a global scale. Most of our revenue is in the Americas but we have business in EMEA and APAC. There are some slight differences in geos, representing unique things in specific theatres. We are  looking to see where we can simplify and standardize.”

Another priority is adapting the channel and the program to the shifts that are taking place in the nature of mobile opportunities.

“These include things like moving from wireless as a failover to Pop Up networks, and Day Zero networks,” Purcell indicated. “We are seeing an acceleration of opportunities there. FirstNet for first responders is a strong market opportunity and private LTE is another one as well. Those have both been happening a little faster than anticipated, and we need to optimize the ecosystem to deliver that.”

At Cradlepoint’s annual Connect Partner Summit, held in San Diego last month, Cradlepoint highlighted their new strategic initiatives, including their recently announced Internet of Things collaboration with Microsoft.

“Partners left the summit clearly understanding our vision and strategy, as well as the leadership and differentiation we have in mobility,” Purcell said. “We just launched a Mobile App for NetCloud Manager, and just seeing that is important for partners, as part of our enablement on the path to 5G.”

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