Salesforce Looks to Partners to Drive Growth Plans

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Print this article Print
Salesforce partner focus

As the SaaS company seeks to grow its industry expertise and international presence, SIs and ISVs will play a key role, according to a Salesforce executive.

The partners' role in the future growth of Salesforce will only get bigger, according to Prince. The company is determined to become more industry-focused, to offer applications and cloud solutions that target particular verticals. Given the disparate needs from one business to another, a greater industry-focus will be important.

"Engaging with a bank is very much different than engaging with a retailer and engaging within the life sciences," Prince said.

Most of the SIs have industry-focused practices within their businesses, and half the ISVs within the Salesforce partner ecosystem are increasingly vertically focused. Prince pointed to Vlocity and its efforts in particular industries, which also includes the government sector. Software makers that traditionally have had a horizontal focus are also beginning to target particular verticals, he said, noting digital transaction management vendor DocuSign as an example.

Partners also will be important in driving Salesforce's wider push into the international market. The vendor currently derives about 65 percent of its revenues from its U.S. business, Prince said, noting the significant growth opportunity in other regions. Local SIs and ISVs are present in areas of the world that Salesforce would like to get into.

"We can use partners to get a foot in the door" into these regions, he said.

Salesforce will continue to tap its partners to drive growth. An example is the Salesforce Fullforce Program announced a year ago, a component of the Cloud Alliance Partner Program that recognizes partners that have a proven expertise in industry- and cloud-specific services and solutions. Partners accepted into the Fullforce Program have to show a high level of customer success, building differentiated solutions and expertise and knowledge of Salesforce's vision.

Such partners can be recognized as a Salesforce Fullforce Master—a company that holds a Silver or higher status that passes the master program criteria and passes the application and review process for either a designated cloud product or a particular industry. They also can be recognized for a Salesforce Certified Fullforce Solution. This goes to a partner with a Silver or above status with an industry-focused offering that meets a certain criteria and passes a program application and review process.

Each company accepted into the Fullforce program is given a masters logo that accompanies its name in the Cloud Appliance Partner Program, Prince said. It gives the partner a particular status that customers can see. The program is not easy to get into, he added, noting that to date, about a dozen have been accepted into it.

Jeffrey Burt is a senior editor at eWEEK, a sister site to Channel Insider.