This post is part of our “Get Onboard with the AppExchange” series, showing first-timers the ropes. Here are entries to date:

Part 1: Choose Your Path
Part 2: Utilize Your PAM
Part 3: Introducing Your Partner Success Manager
Part 4: Interfacing with your Technical Evangelist
Bonus Track: Sales Engineers

I’ve been working with ISVs getting onto the AppExchange for the past four years now. Over that time, I’ve had many interactions with Salesforce that have provided context into the process of becoming a Salesforce AppExchange Partner.

For companies exploring the AppExchange onboarding process for the first time, the path to launch may seem daunting. But what if I could share my experience — and better yet, share first-hand perspective from Salesforce — to add clarity every step of the way?

The inspiration behind the “Get Onboard with the AppExchange” blog series is to provide aspiring partners seeking to list their app on the AppExchange with insights and clarity into the onboarding process.

Most launch-related content (including our own siteblogs and resources) focuses almost exclusively on the Security Review process. That’s often the most difficult part for first-timers, but it’s not the whole process. My objective behind these blogs is to clarify the onboarding process prior to your Security Review submission.

In this series, I’ll be spotlighting the different members of the Salesforce AppExchange team you can expect to interface with throughout the onboarding process, and how to best work with them in this stage. Naturally, no two partners will have an identical onboarding experience — but there are commonalities in process and benefits to learning about the roles involved.

Setting the Stage 

Below is the first part of an excerpted conversation between myself and Ryan Gibney, Manager of ISV Sales at Salesforce.

Me: Hi Ryan, thank you for taking the time to walk us through the partner onboarding process with Salesforce. I was wondering if you could start by introducing yourself and what you do at Salesforce.

Ryan: Hi, my name is Ryan Gibney, and I have been with Salesforce for four years now, where I am Manager of ISV Sales at Salesforce. I manage a team of ISV partner account managers (PAMs), and we cover a series of geographic regions — essentially all of the US and Canada.

Me: How do aspiring partners get into the program, and how does Salesforce engage with them once they’ve expressed interest in joining?

Ryan: You can start by going to the Partner Community, and fill out a form that gives us information so we better understand your company. The business development representative (BDR) that reviews your form, can then route it to the appropriate team. And at this point, the BDR will also reach out to the partner.

Me: How is that outreach made, and what is the nature of the communication?

Ryan: Usually, they will reach out via email to schedule a call with the partner. So the first contact would be, nine times out of ten, with a BDR from Salesforce.

Me: What is the role of the BDR in this process?

Ryan: To get a better understanding of what the partner’s objectives are. There are a variety of different paths a partner can take, one of them being Checkout, for example, which is kind of a self-service model best for highly transactional types of partners. Other ways to partner with Salesforce are more consultative and require 1:1 conversations. So Salesforce BDRs are trying to determine what fits best with the partner’s modus operandi, what aligns with their business objectives, and then also get a sense of what they’re doing — which is then communicated to the partner account manager.

Me: Then after this conversation, the partner should expect to meet with the partner account manager to continue the process?

Ryan: Each BDR works closely with an assigned partner account manager, or PAM. The PAM gets involved depending on the size of the partner. A partner going the traditional route would work with a BDR, a PAM, and a technical evangelist.

Final Thoughts

In closing, to get your process started with Salesforce, first sign up to be a partner on the Salesforce Partner Community. While there are several options available for you, including Checkout or the traditional partner program path, you can expect to be contacted by a Salesforce business development representative seeking to help you get started. This BDR will review the resources and opportunities Salesforce has to offer that are best suited to meeting your needs and objectives.

Depending on the path you take, you may also be introduced to a partner account manager. In the next blog, Ryan and I go into greater detail about this role — arguably one of the most important roles within your entire partner experience.


Seeking a PDO to get you to market or solve issues that are taking away product wins? We are formally recognized as providing the highest level of expertise with Salesforce solutions, including a demonstrated history of customer success. We help SaaS businesses thrive on the AppExchange. Let’s talk!