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Salesforce channel leader on fine tuning partner approach and the need for startups

Channel StrategySalesforce

In simple terms, Salesforce is refining, rather than changing up its approach to the Canadian channel.

It’s well known that the Software-as-a-Service provider has had a slightly different approach than most to the channel.  Today, Neeracha Taychakhoonavudh, Salesforce’s senior vice president of partner programs and marketing told CDN that of all the different types of partners out there, the cloud provider is looking most for consulting partners and… startups.

Well, in a way.

You may remember from a couple weeks ago Salesforce’s new partnership with Kitchener, Ont.-based innovation centre Communitech as part of the the company’s World Tour in Toronto, formalizing months of outreach efforts.

It seems that the move was not entirely without benefit to Salesforce’s own business.

“As the startups get closer to commercialization, then they enter the partner program as an independent software vendor,” Taychakhoonavudh said. “So they are an ISV who develops on top of the Salesforce platform so it’s platform as a service.  It’s everything from all the underlying infrastructure and all the additional services that Salesforce provides like security, identity, and other things clients generally need to feel comfortable jumping into the cloud.”

While Salesforce “can’t ever get enough” ISVs and consulting partners, she reiterated that resellers are not something that Salesforce tends to rely on in developed markets like North America and Europe.

What will be a shift in focus for Salesforce is its approach to industry by putting more emphasis on industry-specific solutions.  In Canada, Taychakhoonavudh said, Salesforce will continue to target the financial sector where the company sees large potential for growth.

She also noted that especially outside of the U.S., the company would renew its efforts in partner enablement, which has seen the most demand despite its budget tripling last year as well as transparency in its partner programs.  But really, she said, it’s all fine tuning at this point.

“We’ve laid out our goal posts,” Taychakhoonavudh said. “The culture of the company is that you don’t go into the back room and unveil something perfect.  It’s super iterative.  So, nothing revolutionary, but we’re making it easier to do business with us.”