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Salesforce-Owned Slack Grows Partner Program

Wade Tyler Millward

‘The mantra is one program, one team – that’s gonna take a while to fully come to fruition, but we’re pretty far along that path,’ Richard Hasslacher, Slack’s vice president of alliances and channels, tells CRN in an interview.

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Recent Salesforce acquisition Slack has expanded its nascent partner program to include Slalom, Accenture, Deloitte, IBM and other Salesforce consulting partners, with more resources for Slack partners coming to Salesforce’s partner learning platform in the new year.

The investment in growing Slack’s partner program while encouraging existing Salesforce consulting partners to grow their Slack practices will help the San Francisco-based companies bring integrated solutions to the market, Richard Hasslacher, Slack’s vice president of alliances and channels, told CRN in an interview.

Before Slack announced the new partners, the communication platform’s partners in the Americas included Lakewood, Ohio-based Onix Networking; San Mateo, Calif.-based Cprime and Canada-based Robots & Pencils, according to Slack’s website.

“These organizations are driving hundreds of millions and billions of dollars in their services ecosystem around Salesforce,” Hasslacher said. “They understand that every single Salesforce cloud will have Slack as a component, and therefore every solution that an ISV brings to market or an SI brings to market needs to have Slack as part of it.”

[RELATED: Salesforce Closes $27.7B Slack Acquisition, Preparing For Microsoft Teams Battle]

Salesforce and Slack teams are engaging partners on building and advising customers on their first joint solutions, he said.

“The mantra is one program, one team – that‘s gonna take a while to fully come to fruition, but we’re pretty far along that path,” he said. “When we think about the digital HQ (headquarters) and what it means, product is one aspect of that, but transformation is really the – in many ways – larger component. That’s really where we rely heavily on our partners to bring that to life. The digital HQ doesn’t happen without partners. Period.”

Salesforce announced new integrations with Slack under the platform name of “Slack-First Customer 360” earlier this year. The companies announced more integrations this year, including ways for marketing teams to work with Salesforce data in Slack, for sales workers to work together in Slack to close a deal and customer service workers to collaborate and solve issues quickly.

The acquisition appears to be paying off for Salesforce. In the company’s fourth quarter earnings reported in February, Salesforce said that Slack collaboration applications generated $312 million in revenue in the fourth quarter for Salesforce and $592 million during the second half of fiscal 2022 – the period Salesforce has owned Slack following Salesforce’s $27.7 billion acquisition of Slack on July 21, 2021.

“Slack continues to exceed our expectations in every way,” Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor said on the earnings call. And repeating what Salesforce executives have said during recent investor presentations, Taylor said Salesforce does not anticipate any “material” mergers or acquisitions in the near term.

Mike Jortberg, global Salesforce practice sales director for Seattle-based Slack and Salesforce partner Slalom, told CRN in an interview that Slalom worked with an unnamed biotechnology company on a six-month engagement to bring 20 disparate Slack workspaces into a Slack Enterprise Grid.

The job included onboarding more than 2,800 employees and creating a simpler way to share data and converse across countries and time zones compared to using email while maintaining security and compliance needs.

While Slack has a reputation for an easy-to-use interface, the added complexity of getting the most out of Slack and Salesforce integrations creates an opportunity for consulting partners, he said.

“The use cases of people talking with less friction is irrelevant of industry, irrelevant of size, irrelevant of all the different things that you typically do market segmentation on,” Jortberg said.

Slalom is working on Slack- and Salesforce-enabled solutions around change management, analytics and business-to-consumer and business-to-business interactions, Katie Dunlap, Slalom managing director of global Salesforce capabilities and industries, told CRN in an interview. She sees the potential to deepen work with existing Slalom customers while gaining new customers through the new Slack practice.

“We are seeing that our markets can easily adapt and relate to how Slack can support their clients,” Dunlap said. “It actually spans across our entire existing clients, future clients because there‘s opportunity here that they can see and understand.”

Hasslacher said that every general manager of Salesforce’s cloud offerings has a roadmap to continue adding integrations with Slack, and partners will see more Slack-related learning content, certifications, badges and competencies become available by March 1.

“You’ll see additional badges and certifications and trails around that experience along with technical architect, learning, delivery, etcetera,” he said.

Tyler Prince, Salesforce’s channel chief, and Hasslacher told CRN in an interview that Salesforce and Slack partners can expect to see more integration announcements and industry-specific solutions from the companies and technology partners in 2022.

The companies and their partners have already begun rolling out and developing solutions to use Slack as a user interface for Salesforce data and to use Slack to automate tasks and make employees more productive. Prince has told CRN in the past that 90 percent of deal wins include Salesforce partners.

“There’s an opportunity for our partners to work with companies to think about that new way of working and what’s the impact on the employee, how do you bring more employees along on this digital journey,” Prince said. “We want Slack partners to thrive and take advantage of this massive opportunity that’s in front of them and leverage their expertise.”

Salesforce’s partner-facing employees will also work with partners on solutions using both companies’ capabilities, Prince said.

“From the top down, we‘ll make sure that every one of our partner managers, every one of our teams in the partner organization is asking what are you doing to benefit from and grow your capabilities around Slack,” Prince said. “I will manage this through the team in how we bring these partners along in their journey and be able to support them.”

Wade Tyler Millward

Wade Tyler Millward is an associate editor covering cloud computing and the channel partner programs of Microsoft, IBM, Red Hat, Oracle, Salesforce, Citrix and other cloud vendors. He can be reached at wmillward@thechannelcompany.com.

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