CRM and business software giant Salesforce has revealed its global ambitions to shift 10 percent of its business to an indirect sales model.
For a company that trades 100 percent directly, 10 percent is a big target. As part of a trial in New Zealand, Salesforce engaged 10 resellers in the market, including Datacom and LavaBox, which were the first launch partners in the cloud reseller program, with Micado being the latest entrant.
If the trial is successful in New Zealand, the seller plans to open its reseller pool to Australian partners.
The current makeup of Salesforce’s partner ecosystem consists of four streams: consulting partners involving global and regional system integrators (SIs); independent software vendors (ISVs); agency partners in marketing technology and the latest stream: cloud resellers.
Currently, Deloitte and Accenture are among the top two of Salesforce’s global SIs in Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ).
Salesforce A/NZ vice president of alliances and channels told Tara Ridley: ARN and Reseller News that entering the reseller path was part of a strategy to access new geographies and markets, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
“I knew that to scale in the SMB and mid-market, a reseller strategy would drive incredible growth, and since we were just starting out, we wanted to choose partners with a very strong brand, customer propositions or current scenarios,” she said.
“We go through a pretty rigorous selection process because we want to make sure every partner that comes to market has a unique value proposition in the market, whether it’s an industry focus or they have a strong presence in the South Island where we have I have no employees or coverage.
“We have a dedicated team in New Zealand executing that strategy and the focus has been on real onboarding and recruiting, and this year has really been all about the pipeline and demand generation. We want to make it a huge success and then transfer it to Australia.”
All told, Ridley said it has about 200 consulting partners and 350 ISVs in A/NZ on the AppExchange.
“They are the partners who make the platform richer in terms of delivering customer experience and transformation,” she said. “Customer success is one of our core values as a company and customer success only really happens when the customer goes live on the platform.
“So it’s not just those who bought the software, it’s the partners who are lighting it up and actually transforming the customer experience, so customer success is critical and to do that we need to make sure partners have the right skills, capacity and capabilities.”
In the A/NZ market, partners maintain more than 17,000 certifications across the various Salesforce platforms with approximately 4,000 certified individuals.
Ridley said Salesforce aims to incrementally grow more than 25 percent this year, in recognition of demand for the Salesforce cloud portfolio.
“We have a number of different initiatives that help our partners build from a capacity standpoint — how we attract new talent into the ecosystem to get them certified and promote career paths,” she said.
In 2019, Salesforce established the Talent Alliance in recognition of the skills shortage and diversity of talent in the market.
“When partners join the Talent Alliance, they commit to taking on at least 20 percent of hires that are new to the Salesforce ecosystem,” she said. “This year alone, we aim to attract another 500 net new people from different backgrounds to our partner ecosystem.”
Ridley said the software vendor will also launch Salesforce Days, offering instructor-led training to help people achieve certification.
“We expect to get more than 1,000 people this year. We need to find new ways to attract talent and thus increase capacity,” she said.
Ridley hinted that Salesforce’s go-to-market strategy this year focused on key sectors such as financial services, retail and consumer goods, communications, media utilities and the public sector.
“We really encourage our partners to specialize, create their own unique differentiation, build their own assets and use cases in those industries,” she said.
Another element of the strategy is central to engaging partners through the Partner Learning Camp, as new innovations are introduced to the market.
The Salesforce World Tour in Sydney introduced new service and marketing cloud features and innovations from the Customer Data Platform. Some of these new features include humanizing the customer experience with artificial intelligence-driven conversational intelligence and mobile offline access to relevant information.
“We want to enable our partners quickly when we release a new innovation and part of our strategy is to work with them under a ‘better together’ banner with our service team,” said Ridley.
“We have a small consulting team and we’re very focused on how we work with our partners to deliver a result to make sure Salesforce has skin in the game to deliver that customer transformation, but also transfer skills during the delivery. †
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tags sales force