IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Salesforce Needs Partners and Professionals

Growing even faster during the pandemic than before it, the cloud business apps leader desperately needs to attract more members to its partner program and more trained professionals to its partners, according to channel chief Tyler Prince (pictured). By Rich Freeman

How’s your pandemic been?

No one’s spiking the football about it at Salesforce by any means, but theirs has been pretty good. Fed by accelerating adoption of cloud solutions, including CRM and other business applications, the company’s top line grew 24% on an annualized basis to $21.25 billion during its 2021 fiscal year, which concluded in January. Salesforce partners have prospered as well, according to Executive Vice President of Worldwide Alliances & Channels Tyler Prince.

“We are seeing growth in every segment of our business, every industry of our business, and every partner category,” he says.

COVID-19’s disruptive effects on workflows, workplaces, and customer buying patterns, he continues, are the reason why. “Companies had to get help to figure out how do they accelerate their digital journey,” Prince observes. Partners stepped up to the challenge.

“I think it’s pretty amazing to see the amount of innovation that’s really been sort of packed into a relatively short period of time,” Prince says.

Salesforce did some on-the-fly innovating itself last year, starting with the introduction one year ago this week of Work.com, a coronavirus-inspired platform designed to support contact tracing, emergency response management, employee wellness assessments, and more. The company added new apps for communicating with employees and customers during a crisis to the product in October in a bid to turn Work.com into more than just a pandemic response system.

“It’s evolved into much more than that to be an ongoing tool to help you engage your customers and employees, to help keep them safe and help communicate to them,” Prince says, noting that businesses need to do that after a hurricane as well as during a pandemic.

Work.com and the vaccine management solution Salesforce shipped more recently are just two of many contributors to what Salesforce expects to be persistent high-speed growth.

“We’re on a path to $50 billion in revenue, which essentially roughly means doubling the company in the next handful of years,” Prince says. How big a handful depends directly on how quickly the company can recruit new partners, he adds, noting that partners play a role in 90% of Salesforce deals.

“We are definitely looking for any and every way we can to grow our ecosystem of professionals in the marketplace,” Prince notes.

Joining the Salesforce economy takes substantial investments, though, for channel pros new to business applications. To simplify the process, the company maintains a Partner Learning Camp, built on its Trailhead education platform, with curated materials for mastering the Salesforce platform. 

“It’s essentially the destination to go learn the skills you need to be a successful consultant or developer,” Prince says.

A new initiative called the Salesforce Talent Alliance that seeks to help partners add Salesforce-ready employees to their payrolls has been running since last September as well. “We’ve got this incredible demand for professionals, we have an incredible number of employment seekers, and we have an opportunity to really marry those things together,” Prince explains.

The program places particular emphasis on adding net new professionals to the Salesforce ecosystem. In exchange for training vouchers, priority registration for career events, and other benefits, Talent Alliance members must commit to reserving 20% of new Salesforce positions for recent graduates, career switchers, and other people not previously working in Salesforce-related roles. 

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