Molly Walsh
Feb 8, 2018
In this series, we’re breaking down key findings from our 2018 State of AppExchange Partners Report, highlighting how successful SaaS companies leverage the Salesforce AppExchange. Download the full report here, or check out these other posts for insights:

Part 1: Product and Company
Part 2: Growth
Part 3: Technology and Development


Through our series of deep dives on success in the Salesforce ecosystem, we’ve covered what companies are offering, what’s happening to their businesses because of that, and how they’re building products. Next is arguably the most important component: How can you use the many opportunities within the Salesforce ecosystem to maximize your investment?

After surveying leadership at companies thriving on the AppExchange, we’re able to say that ecosystem is ripe with opportunity. These are the trends we surfaced from our data focused on how to make Salesforce work for you.

Talkin’ ‘Bout Lead Generation

What would it be worth if your company could increase new opportunities by more than a third?

If you are a company on the AppExchange, 38% of leads on average are generated from the Salesforce channel (AppExchange listing, partner resources, Dreamforce, World Tours, etc.)

Sean Hogan, Sr. Director of Technology Alliances at Nintex, credits the AppExchange for effectively connecting SaaS companies with solutions that fit their needs.

“The AppExchange ecosystem plays an important role in fueling new revenue growth for technology partners,” Hogan says. “Salesforce ISVs are leveraging offerings to meet the needs of their customers, reduce deployment costs and increase overall client retention and satisfaction.”

Spend Trends

What events are top partners finding most valuable in lead generation? There’s a big clue in the data behind what Salesforce opportunities they’re investing in.

Dreamforce seems to become more and more gigantic each year, and the research shows no signs of that slowing down: 40% of respondents are increasing their Dreamforce spend. In comparison, 25% of respondents are planning to increase their World Tour spend.

Salesforce AEs are A-OK

With awareness and proven success, Salesforce Account Executives provide a significant boost in prospecting on your behalf.

On average, Salesforce’s AEs generate 16–20% of leads when Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) is between $500k and $100M. (It’s amazing to note that the percentages stay relatively consistent across wide variance in ARR.) From small-fry to Fortune 100, companies get a lift from AEs.

The more you enable AEs with knowledge of your product, market and types of customers, the more you can expect them to succeed on your behalf. We prioritize this with our clients, and emphasize the importance in communication like this blog, full of tips for selling your app to Salesforce AEs -- so they can sell for you.

Partner Perceptions

Recently, Salesforce has implemented a number of changes to its Partner Program, including:

  • New Business Model: Salesforce is lowering the baseline percent-net-revenue (PNR) model for all new AppExchange Partner Program partners from 25 percent to 15 percent. Existing partners are eligible for the new PNR terms upon renewal of their current contracts.

  • New Technology Tools: platform updates, Salesforce DX and free Heroku access

  • New Platform Fund: Salesforce Ventures launched the Salesforce Platform Fund with $100 million in new funding.

We asked respondents how these changes have impacted their company.

45% of respondents reported that the changes to the partner program had no effect on their relationship with Salesforce. This is not surprising as the majority of the changes will not affect existing partners until they renew their current contracts. However, 36% of respondents already report a positive to very positive impact.

Show Me the Money

Amid all of the investment and sponsorship opportunity, channels and incentives, the most important way most companies gauge value in the context of Salesforce is in cold, hard revenue.

This stat is dramatic: 45% of respondents said that participation in the Salesforce AppExchange increased their company’s revenue at least 20% to greater than 50%. That correlates with the increase in lead volume (and often exceeds it), indicating that Salesforce-channel leads are high-quality in aggregate.

Making the Pledge

In an effort to drive philanthropy through business, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff asks companies to commit product, time and resources in the Pledge 1% program.

It’s a big ask to donate important resources, but some top partners on the AppExchange have taken the pledge, with others thinking about joining them.

25% of respondents currently participate in the Pledge 1% program, with an additional 19% considering adoption of the pledge.


We’ll have one more breakdown in this series, focused on investment within leading-partner companies, coming in late February. If you’re itching to learn before then, download the 2018 State of AppExchange Partners Report for our research highlights.

Want to put our insights to work? Let’s find time to talk opportunity in the Salesforce ecosystem.

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