The way Salesforce’s vice president of alliances and channels sees it, the global COVID-19 pandemic has not only been a time to prove his company’s technology for remote work and the safe return to offices. It’s also been a time to prove the strength of Salesforce’s channel partner relationships.
“Without our partners pushing us, without our partners contributing to us, without our partners building services and software around what we do, I’m not sure we’d be in the position we’re in,” Tyler Prince told CRN in an interview. “And we welcome and appreciate that.”
The San Francisco-based vendor likes to say that 90 percent of deal wins include Salesforce partners, and the vendor has seen impressive growth despite global uncertainty. For its fourth quarter, the company reported its revenue rose to more than $5.8 billion, up 20 percent year over year. For the 2021 fiscal year — which ended Jan. 31 — revenue was $21.25 billion, up 24 percent year over year. Salesforce predicts fiscal 2022 revenue of $25.75 billion, 21 percent projected growth year over year.
Some Salesforce channel partners have reported growth alongside the vendor. Kai Yu Hsiung, chief growth officer at New York-based Silverline, told CRN he sees increased momentum around Salesforce Industries, formerly Vlocity, plus the Marketing and Experience clouds.
“Our early investment in these areas of focus by Salesforce will allow us to sustain our growth projections in the quarters ahead,” Hsiung said. “We are seeing considerable momentum around Customer 360 and looking to build capacity to meet that demand.”
Hsiung applauded several recent moves by Salesforce to give channel partners a leg up. One move last year was to drop program tiering to describe partners outside of the company — with tiers including Base, Crest, Ridge and Summit. The renewed focus on capabilities and specializations gives partners like Silverline the chance to show differentiators in a more meaningful way through Salesforce cloud marketplace AppExchange, Hsiung said.
“We are also excited about the increased support and offerings from the Partner Marketing Center,” he said.
Salesforce’s “Better Together” initiative to collaborate with partners on complex digital transformation jobs is also a positive, as is the recent hiring of Eric Berridge as an executive vice president to help partners and customers get the most out of the Salesforce platform. Berridge, co-founder of IBM-acquired Bluewolf, started his Salesforce job in December, according to his LinkedIn.
Hsiung said he’d like to see more investment from Salesforce in creating a larger pool of potential job candidates. “There is limited supply in the ecosystem and the growth in capacity is far exceeded by demand,” he said. “The only viable strategy continues to be poaching from our competitors while at the same time seeing our competitors poach from us. This is not a sustainable framework for growth and we look forward to innovative solutions from Salesforce.”
Prince tackled some of these changes in his CRN interview. Here’s what you need to know.