Sergey Nivens - Fotolia

Salesforce leaning on partners in enterprise push

Channel thanked for the progress made so far but sizeable market opportunity is still there to address

Salesforce has indicated that it is looking to work with more partners as it grows its enterprise business and has thanked the channel it has made so far.

The vendor has been holding partner and customer events in London this week and used them as a platform to share the progress made by large SIs and resellers.

Leon Mangan, vp alliances & channels at Salesforce EMEA, said that it had seen the company grow out of the SME market and gain more enterprise business.

"At the top of our partner event I stood up and said thank you because Salesforce is all about family and our ecosystem is our family and the majority of our implementations are not done by us but they are done by partners," he said.

The top five partners include Accenture, Cap Gemini and Deloitte but it also works with smaller firms to reach customers.

"When you think about customer success, which is one of our core values, we really do rely on customers driving that," he added.

Mangan said that the market had grown and as a result the need to work with more partners had increased and it was still open to extending its channel.

"Partners were always engaged at the very low end but our ecosystem has grown up with us," he added "The SIs have grown the enterprise business and we have hundred of boutique partners still doing our SMB business."

"With cloud about seven years ago the story was 'no software, no services' and that was a real worry from the channel partners," he added that those fears had not come to pass and it was now working to get partners involved with the sales process even earlier on.

"We work with them in pre-sales, they engage with the C suite and they are evangelising about Salesforce," he added "Our partner ecosystem has rapidly grown up wrapping around services and delivering ROI."

The reason for the need for additional partners is the continued market growth with IDC forecasting that the addressable opportunity for Salesforce and its ecosystem is not far off a trillion dollars over the next three and a half years.

"We are scaling and we grew 31% in constant currency in EMEA last year and we can't achieve that success and growth without our partners," he said.


Mangan is also keen to encourage channel partners to do more to widen diversity and has urged more effort to engage with women and minorities.

"Salesforce or our partners will not succeed unless we think outside the box with our expansion of our capacity. It's the resource and the talent pool," he added "We want to have this big hyper connected ecosystem that is not just taking resource from one partner to another and driving up the day rates."

"We want to be able to go out to the talent pools that we haven't typically addressed. We want to get more women into the STEM subjects, we want to get more people with abilities that are traditionally called people with disabilities which is an untapped pool. We want more gender balance and people from more diverse populations to come and work for Salesforce because if they have talent we should be tapping into that and that's the message I'm giving to my partners," he said.

The channel has seen quality people being poached and Mangan said that it was not the answer to keep circulating the same talent.

He said that most partners are already on that path and there were already efforts to recruit army veterans, mum's returning to work and people who are terminally ill who had a lot to offer to the channel.

Read more on Channel Partner Programmes