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Salesforce.com looks for vertical expertise

Salesforce.com looks for vertical expertise

Software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendor, Salesforce.com, will look to recruit partners with vertical market expertise as part of efforts to broaden adoption of its on-demand platform.

The vendor recently released its Wealth Management application in the US, and identified financial services and media as strong areas of take-up.

However, senior vice-president of global channels and alliances, Bobby Napiltonia, said the local team had not yet invested in a vertical market model.

"That's something we don't have - we're vanilla CRM," he said. "We're looking at the landscape of verticals and trying to pick the right partner. The next one might be construction, or healthcare - and that's where the partner can take their deep SME, domain or subject matter expertise and really make an impact with SaaS."

Napiltonia said it was also reaching new channels by utilising its technology partner relationships. Earlier this month, it announced a new initiative with Cisco in the US to educate the networking vendor's VARs on unified communications and how to combine both technology sets. The partnership will be rolled out locally in the coming months.

"The value for those VARs is not just installing the phone, but having integrated solutions that are going to work with it," he said. "Cisco is trying to push its resellers into selling VoIP and further up the stack so they don't get marginalized by just having the hardware push."

Salesforce.com's partner program is broken into several tiers. At the low end it has referral partners, such as marketing or sales consultants. At the next level, consulting partners undertake application, customisation, configuration and extension work. These are broken down based on capabilities and geography. It also maintains technology partners such as Cisco, Informatica, and Cast Iron. And on the ISV front, AppExchange partners are producing applications on top of the Salesforce.com platform.

"Any one of those partners can elect to be all. So there's this blending and blurring of what you are where traditionally you were one of those," Napiltonia said.

Salesforce.com has also recently pushed out its knowledge centre, providing an information stack of presentations and information to its channel.


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