Molly Walsh
Feb 14, 2017

At a time when an AppExchange app is installed every minute, and 83% of all Salesforce customers use at least one AppExchange product, it seems particularly salient for SaaS businesses to understand how to succeed in this potentially foreign territory. I attended an insightful session at SaaStr Annual 2017 featuring partners making significant inroads into the Salesforce ecosystem. Participants included:

  • Ian Dunckel - Senior Product Marketing Manager, Salesforce
  • Gadi Shamia - COO, Talkdesk
  • Amanda Kahlow - Founder & CEO, 6Sense
  • Ray Hein - Founder & CEO Propel

Here's a summary of the session's highlights:

Integrate (or not) with Salesforce? The answer: do it and do it quickly.

“We waited too long to integrate with Salesforce. All of our customers are pretty much target Salesforce customers. When we think about our customer market, and where they are going for workflows, we should have had our app integrate with Salesforce earlier. If we’re not in our customers' Salesforce instance helping them with their workflow, we’re missing a huge opportunity. It’s a big chance to capture revenue.” - Amanda Kahlo, Founder & CEO

“We had a Salesforce integration for years, and it was pretty deep, but it was not unique. We decided a year ago to go all in and become formal partners. We built a managed package, listed on AppExchange in June 2016, and the results were pretty great. However, there’s no magic - it still takes work. What happened is two-fold: the product is much better, it demos better, and has single sign-on. Plus, all of a sudden, our sales teams came to us and said, 'Wow, this is much better than the typical call center we use, despite the fact we never built for this use case.' We essentially doubled our customer base to service AND sales with this integration.” - Gadi Shamia, COO, Talkdesk

“I’ve seen the power of the Salesforce partner program and AppExchange when you get the full wheel working. I saw that happen when I was at Apttus. I realized that it’s not just about design, development, or tech. If you can leverage the full platform, go-to-market resources, and the partner ecosystem, you can get that force multiplier that you don’t get building on another tech stack. Getting on the AppExchange is the fastest way to get through for an enterprise class app. We were able to go to Dreamforce, demo the product in the Startup area to get buzz and leads at less than six months old.” - Ray Hein, Founder & CEO, Propel

“Integrate with or build on Salesforce. If you have an app, start to integrate. Even if you don’t want to get listed on AppExchange, look at integrating, because your customers will start asking for it.“ - Ian Dunckel, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Salesforce

The Platform Advantage

“What would take your IT team months if you were off platform, it takes just days to integrate. Not only that but compare Oracle's provision system for example. It takes weeks. You can do a channel order on Salesforce in a day and spin up customers much faster.” - Ray Hein, Founder & CEO, Propel

How to Make the Salesforce Ecosystem Work for You

"Here’s what you buy into when you decide to integrate: you get an opportunity to gain access to the Salesforce ecosystem. The rest is up to you. Opportunity means you get inroads to specific things. You get to speak to the Salesforce AEs and pitch your product. But success won’t happen on its own. It’s critical that you understand the value prop for every piece of this process. Salesforce AEs have thousands of Salesforce products and seven bazillion partners with products. First you have to figure out why your product matters to those AEs, and then you have to work to get access to them. How? Sponsor Dreamforce, participate in the many World Tours, represent at SKOs, foster lunch and learns, and build relationships via face-time. - Gadi Shamia, COO, Talkdesk

"Salesforce wants to have integrations wherever customers are. Strategically nurture Salesforce AEs to explain your value proposition. This is how you get the most out of Salesforce.” - Amanda Kahlo, Founder & CEO

“It’s two sales efforts: your customers and Salesforce AEs. You will miss opportunities if you don’t approach it that way.” - Ray Hein, Founder & CEO, Propel

Final Thoughts

At CodeScience, one of our key differentiators is helping SaaS businesses navigate the labyrinth that is the Salesforce ecosystem. We've spent years building relationships and understanding the intricacies of the platform. Want to get to market faster? Or, want to take your simple integration to a full managed package that scales? We've brought 250+ products to market on the AppExchange. We can help you. 

Get a free consultation today on how to get to market on the AppExchange 3x faster. Let's talk.

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