Brian Walsh
May 8, 2017

Why the new AppExchange Partner Program will accelerate time to market and bottomline growth for SaaS companies.

In internet years, 11 years is an eternity. So many companies, brands, and products burn out before they arrive at that age. So many exist in name alone, hollow shells of their former glory. So many never even made it out of the starting gate.

With awe, I look at the energy and enthusiasm that Salesforce continues to invest and build the AppExchange. It remains the #1 marketplace for B2B applications, and it appears to be just getting started. Last week's announcement of an enhanced partner program, new technology tools, and a $100,000,000 investment fund to continue growing opportunities for SaaS companies worldwide is a stunning declaration of commitment to Salesforce customers, the AppExchange, and their ISV partners.

Image credit: Salesforce

The Details

Let's dive into some of the specifics to explore just how amazing this new AppExchange Partner Program evolution is:

1) Reducing ISV partner revenue share (referred to as Percent of Net Revenue or PNR) from 25% to 15%. It's an incredible change that will have immediate impact to a partner's bottomline. 

2) Getting beyond ACV. The original ISV Partner Program had a single measurement to determine ISV status: ACV (Annual Contract Value). In other words: mo' money, mo' status. When I participated in early focus group sessions about the program changes months ago, I was thrilled by this proposal. While ACV will still play a key role, Salesforce certifications, Trailhead badges, new technologies leveraged, and participation at marketing events (like World Tours and Dreamforce) will also assist in determining status. This change is particularly advantageous to new partners as they can now ascend the ISV program before they have established revenue.

3) Investments in ISV tools accelerate time to market and revenue growth. First up is the Channel Order App (COA) - what ISVs use to place orders with Salesforce. The COA has a long history of creating consternation and aggravation for ISVs of every size. Not only is there a significant improvement but Salesforce is also, for the first time, exposing the underlying APIs so that orders can be automated. This. Is. Huge. Other changes include a new onboarding wizard to reduce manual data entry to a few simple, click-through screens, and a new AppExchange Partner Program dashboard where partners can see their Trailblazer score and their progress on the onboarding checklist at a glance. All contribute to easing the friction of going live on the AppExchange. The net net? Faster time-to-market for new apps. Look for more exciting new changes to be launched over the coming months that will be even better.

4) Word is there is a redesigned AppExchange to be released this summer as well. It's a long overdue overhaul that will provide better listings for ISVs and better shopping experiences for customers.

5) A Cloud for every vertical. When CodeScience began nine years ago, you could only build apps for force.com or Sales Cloud. Now? Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, App Cloud, Health Cloud, Financial Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and more are on the way. The remarkable thing about the majority of the clouds is the potential to re-use your code and components. For example, an App Cloud application can easily be extended to work with Health Cloud and Financial Cloud. 

6) $100,000,000. 

7) Sorry - need to post this twice. Salesforce Ventures has a new $100,000,000 fund for investing in SaaS companies "who are building intelligent, transformative apps and components on the Salesforce Platform." That is an impressive investment to fuel innovation in the best enterprise ecosystem, essentially doubling down after last year's successful Salesforce Lightning Fund

Betting the Future

Two years ago, we bet the future of CodeScience on the Product Development Outsourcing (PDO) group as we mostly shed our System Integrator practice. Our belief was that the opportunity of supporting the AppExchange ecosystem was not only vast but would require laser focus. We took that to the next step to become the first certified Salesforce PDO Master. Salesforce's continued commitment and increased investment are a fantastic acknowledgment that we made the right bet.

Final Thoughts

There has been no better time to build on Salesforce. I say this after having brought over 250 AppExchange apps to market with our partners. The new reimagined AppExchange Partner Program is going to accelerate the launch of our next 100 products.

What do you want to launch at Dreamforce '17 in November? If we start now, your product can be live at the biggest enterprise conference of the year. What are you waiting for?


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