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Salesforce talks about investments, customer success and collaboration with ISVs and consultant partners at Dreamforce.

Lynn Haber

November 7, 2017

5 Min Read
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SALESFORCE DREAMFORCE — The Salesforce economy, which has a projected value of $859 billion by 2022, is expected to fuel strong growth in the company’s partner ecosystem of ISVs and consultants.

This year, it already has. So much so that at this week’s Dreamforce 2017 event, Salesforce dedicated a keynote to each of the two distinct partner types, outlining where it’s making investments, creating opportunities and laying out some new initiatives.

The AppExchange ISV keynote, “Winning Together in the Salesforce Ecosystem,” focused on new program changes, new technology and the new AppExchange.

Leyla Seka, executive vice president, AppExchange at Salesforce, delved into the new AppExchange Partner Program that the company launched in May. The new partner program replaced the existing ISV Partner Program. A key feature is a $100 million Salesforce Platform Fund, launched by Salesforce Ventures to supercharge new AI solutions.

Some other program features that Seka pointed out are the new Trailblazer Scorecard, a point-based system that supports partners for growth and a variety of activities, such as customer success, product success, team readiness and giving back via the company’s Pledge 1% program.

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Salesforce’s Andrew Albert

Andrew Albert, vice president, AppExchange and ISV technical enablement at Salesforce, talked about Lightning, Einstein for ISVs — including Predication Builder and Einstein.ai; and, new technology for ISV developers, such as Platform Events, Big Objects, and Salesforce DX.

Vlocity CEO and founder David Schmaier exemplifies the innovation ISVs bring to Salesforce. Five years ago, there weren’t vertical industry apps for Salesforce; now there are. Vlocity, an industry-specific cloud and mobile software company, delivers Industry Cloud Apps for communications, energy, insurance, health care and government sectors.

“Those are the industries that we all know from personal experience that have the worst customer service, so they really need our help,” Schmaier said.

In its fourth year of operation, the company hit $50 million in revenue and expects to double that next year.

“It would take you $50-$100 million and years to build something like Salesforce. And we got here by using the world’s No. 1 platform and CRM apps,” he said, who noted that it’s free, it scales and it’s trusted.

Vlocity has built an impressive customer base including companies such as T-Mobile, Anthem, Delta Dental, MetLife, and Farmers Insurance, to name a handful. Two years ago, Vlocity invested in Salesforce Analytics, last year Lightning, and most recently, Einstein.

“We definitely think the future is in greater intelligence and AI, and that couldn’t be more important than for verticals,” Schmaier said.

Tyler Prince, Worldwide Alliances and go-to-market executive vice president at Salesforce, opened the Consulting Partner Keynote, “Driving Lasting Customer Success,” pointing out that there’s room for 250,000 more consultants in the Salesforce partner ecosystem; however, partners face …

… a number of challenges today from skills, to technology, to collaboration.

He outlined the keynote topic with three bullet points: how to scale the workforce; shape and bring innovation to the customer; and reimagine customer success to bring value to customers. Keith Block, president, COO and vice chairman of Salesforce, joined the discussion.

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Salesforce’s Keith Block

Block pointed to investments that the company is making to add value to partners and how to help partners have a workforce that can deliver. The vendor’s journey to a skilled workforce includes a focus on K-12; Trailhead training and workforce engagement; Vetforce; and using AI, alongside existing workers — as in man, woman and machine.

How Salesforce and partners can work together around workforce development was addressed by Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, senior vice president, partner and industry innovation. She told attendees to watch for a Trailhead for Student Talent Hub, expected to go live early next year, and she hinted at other announcements to come later this week. She also said that partners can hire the Vetforce Heroes and could find information on Trailhead, via the Military Veteran Recruitment trail.

Dan Smoot, executive vice president, global partner sales, outlined three engagement paths that Salesforce will take to help partners drive customer success. The first involves Salesforce sharing its Data Smart Selling methodology. This methodology looks at customer behavior and their propensity to buy. Salesforce also is going to help partners with Health Check practices by sharing customer insight; and the vendor will recognize partners for specialized customer-success practices, carried out in collaboration with Salesforce’s Customer Success Group, which creates and delivers Salesforce services. This will be done via the delivery of enhanced metrics within Salesforce to make sure that the company is focused on partner success, and by compensating its services leadership based on that success, Smoot said.

He additionally pointed out that the Customer Success Group will share more information and services with the partner community, such as the implementation architect, when dealing with complex organizations. Externally, Salesforce will launch Partner Accelerators, something the company has offered customers for the past couple of years. The accelerators are one-on-one discussions that partners can take advantage of to help solve complex solutions inside their implementations and services practices.

Finally, Compass is a Salesforce methodology for customer success that the vendor will share with partners.

“It’s a blueprint for an execution plan and we’re no longer just going to do this within Salesforce; we’re going to give the same content to you,” Smoot told the audience.

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Lynn Haber

Content Director Lynn Haber follows channel news from partners, vendors, distributors and industry watchers. If I miss some coverage, don’t hesitate to email me and pass it along. Always up for chatting with partners. Say hi if you see me at a conference!

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