Catching Up With Salesforce.com’s Channel Partner Strategy
Salesforce.com may be best known as a cloud CRM provider. But thanks to its cloud app ecosystem, consisting of the Force.com PaaS, ISVforce application management platform and AppExchange marketplace, Salesforce has been making serious inroads into the ISV world. I had the chance to talk to Salesforce.com VP for ISV and Channel Partners Ron Huddleston, and came away with some insights into the company’s ISV momentum – and where resellers fit into the equation.
My first question was simple, and the answer was equally so: The first-day partner keynote at Dreamforce ’11 was nice, but why didn’t Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spend any time hyping the cloud company’s partner efforts on stage? Huddleston says that Dreamforce is very much a customer-focused event designed to hype the cloud model in general, and as such Benioff preferred to focus on the big picture rather than taking up valuable minutes of stage time by highlighting partner apps.
That was a nice segue into getting some more insight into Salesforce’s channel momentum. Currently, Huddleston says, Salesforce.com has over 1,400 active partners signed. Most of those are ISVs, but apparently, around 30 percent of that 1,400 offer the full-use Salesforce license that makes them Salesforce VARs, too.
As to why Salesforce is experiencing so much momentum, Huddleston says that it’s really because of his team’s philosophy when it comes to working with the channel – “We don’t succeed until you succeed.” Salesforce’s sales staff don’t count anything as a win until an ISV or a partner turns their first profit.
And on the technology side, the ISVforce platform gives the developer “special insight” into customer management and deployment. There are other PaaS offerings and other app marketplaces, but Huddleston says that ISVforce is a true differentiator when it comes to helping cloud app developers run their business.
Huddleston is promising to keep TalkinCloud in the loop when it comes to Salesforce.com’s partner strategy, so rest assured this is just the tip of the iceberg.