**Editor’s Note: “7 Minutes” is a feature where we ask channel executives from startups – or companies that may be new to the Channel Partners audience – a series of quick questions about their businesses and channel programs.**
You might know Cradlepoint from its routers that integrate a landline with LTE to provide wireless failover or from its NetCloud aggregated SD-WAN offering. It works closely with network operators including AT&T and Verizon and has been the subject of IPO speculation along with SD-WAN competitors Aryaka, FatPipe Networks and Silver Peak. But Tony Puopolo, VP of Cradlepoint’s North America channel sales, says the company’s attention is on competing in branch failover, mobile security and IoT, with the help of about 1,000 partners.
In March, Cradlepoint secured $89 million in funding and announced plans to use it to expand its SD-WAN, advanced 4G and 5G wireless connectivity, and enterprise IoT products as well as for investments in its partner program, including new hires on the channel team, marketing development funds and partner program incentives.
Channel Partners: Tell us what customers love about your product or service. What’s the secret selling sauce?
Tony Puopolo: Our customers have always loved our hardware for IoT, mobile and branch applications; however, the real secret sauce is the simplicity combined with the power of Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Platform. Through our single-pane-of-glass NetCloud Manager, customers can easily configure and manage any number of devices. They can deploy enterprise-level firewall rules, monitor cellular data plans, track their assets and much more.
Additionally, we just released our new NetCloud Perimeter solution, which completely secures all of a customer’s IoT devices. IoT devices rarely come with any level of security, yet many customers put them on the same networks as their critical infrastructure. With NetCloud Perimeter, we can completely isolate and encrypt IoT networks from end to end, protecting not just the IoT device, but everything else on the network. When we combine all this value in a simple-to-use and simple-to-deploy format for our customers, they become huge Cradlepoint fans.
CP: Describe your channel program — metal levels, heavy on certifications, open or selective, unique features?
TP: The Cradlepoint Authorized Channel Partner Program is designed to reward channel partners who bring the most value to our mutual customers across the Cradlepoint solution portfolio. The program offers multiple tiers for our channel community. They can move up the partner-program tiers by increasing volume of sales, getting technical certifications, bringing deals to Cradlepoint and for other value-added activities. In order to reward partners for bringing Cradlepoint deals, we have built a world-class deal registration program.
Additionally, Cradlepoint provides partners with online access to sales tools, marketing collateral, technical training, sales support and MDF opportunities. We offer on-demand, web-based training/certifications from any location, instructor-led training/certification and technical boot camps.
CP: Quick-hit answers: Percentage of sales through the channel, number of partners, average margin. Go.
TP: We’re a 100-percent channel company and fully committed to our partners’ success. We have …