Jacob Rouser
Mar 13, 2020

An Improved Model Focused On Customer Success, Transparent Pricing, and New Technology

At Dreamforce ‘19, Salesforce’s Woodson Martin, EVP and GM of the AppExchange, announced that some big changes were underway for the Partner Program. Since then, we’ve been eagerly awaiting the full announcement of the changes.

At the start of March, Salesforce dropped a formal press release that highlighted some of the changes and detailed the new tools partners will have available to them, in addition to hosting a three-part webinar series diving into the program enhancements. We’re bringing all these resources together and sharing what we’re most excited about here at CodeScience.

What was highlighted before, during, and after each presentation was how the changes to the Partner Program were grounded in customer success and how these changes were fueled by the feedback from partners who desire the ability to scale rapidly.

Economic Model and New Marginal Royalties

The first reveal examined an area we heard a ton of questions about during the AppExchange Partner Keynote at Dreamforce ‘19 — the change from a fixed royalty rate to a marginal royalty rate.


Woodson kicks off the first webinar to explain why they are changing the economic model. 

“We are after two primary goals here: we want to improve transparency for our partners...The other is we frankly want to make the partnership with Salesforce and the AppExchange more profitable for our partners.”

As he discussed at Dreamforce, the impact of this change is to help those who are generating more revenue for the partnership will see better margins for new bookings.


But what does this actually look like?

It is important to note that policies, rates, and eligibility are subject to change. You should always refer back to the Partner Program policy for the latest information. (A partner login is required to view the PY21 Partner Program policy).

Important Notes

Only New Deals Are Booked at New Royalty Rates: Once you hit a revenue threshold, new deals will be booked at your new royalty rate. It is important to note that your previously booked agreements will renew at the previous royalty rate. This is due to the fact that by changing the royalty rates, it could drop you from your previously achieved revenue threshold.

Existing Partners Are Not Required to Participate: Salesforce acknowledges that for some partners, this is a significant change, and they are not required to participate in this new model. For those who wish to opt-in, they must express interest and contact their PAM.

Royalty Rates Only Apply to Royalty Products: For Partners who have additional fees in their product portfolio (e.g., a Connector fee) that are not part of the royalty model will count towards revenue thresholds, but will not be part of the new royalty rates.

New Partner Technology

Part two of the series looked at the new technology for partners to take advantage of with the new innovations to the program.

Adriana Santos, Senior Product Marketing Manager of the AppExchange at Salesforce, kicked off the session by sharing the vision for the new technologies available for partners.


Leading with the oft-seen slide from Dreamforce, she explained that Salesforce’s goal for partners is “to make the Customer 360 platform available to YOU (partners) to help you to make your app stronger, be able to distribute those technologies to your customers, and also ultimately help you run a better business.”

Adriana states that this is a long-term strategy for Salesforce, and they will continue to make more of the technologies available for partners over time.

What’s available this year?

The new technologies available break down into two primary categories for ISV partners — Distribute to Customers (focused on OEMs) and Run a Better Business (included for ALL partners).


Do note that to utilize these new technologies, you must visit: https://sfdc.co/AppXProgramTech — select AppExchange (ISV) - General Questions, and log a case to have them added.


Technologies for OEMs

Einstein Analytics (Included): All OEM partners will be able to now bring the insights and interactive visualizations from the Customer 360 Platform to customers.

Einstein Analytics (Growth): A premium option for OEM partners who want increased functionality, data capacity, and the full Analytics Studio, which includes declarative dashboards. 

Einstein Analytics (Plus): Includes all the above as well as predictive intelligence and artificial intelligence with machine learning — it is a full Einstein Analytics license.

Einstein Predictions (Included): As Andrew Albert, SVP of ISV Technical Enablement at Salesforce, puts it, “This is Einstein for custom objects.”

Lightning External Apps Starter (Included and Add-On): The primary community product for OEMs. Functions as communities for platforms. It is how you can enable your customers to reach their end-users. For customers who need more licenses, pricing has been simplified, reduced, and is based on PNR with a floor based on the volume of licenses you are purchasing.

Customer Communities (Add-On): Includes additional Community functionality: events, calendars, and notes.

Customer Communities Plus (Add-On): Same functionality as above, but includes advanced sharing, reporting, and delegated administration functionality. It is the full Communities License. 

Communities for Employees (Included): If you wanted to use the same capabilities for your own customers, you now can for free. This is now available for all OEM embedded licenses without the need to create a support ticket.

Platform Cache (Included): Let’s you increase performance and scalability for larger customers — the goal is to help OEM partners improve their apps and to sell more. Once included, your development team will need to leverage the cache in their Apex solution.

Salesforce Connect (Included): The seamless connection for non-Salesforce data sources to integrate into the Customer 360 user experience. Helps OEMs who leverage external data sources to incorporate that into their products.

Lightning Console (Included): For those customers who are interacting with multiple Salesforce records in a unified user experience. Like Communities for employees, this is already included, and no action is needed to leverage.

New Technology for All Partners

These new technologies are for all ISV partners and are intended to help partner improve their business functionality internally. For new partners, these new technologies will automatically be provisioned with the Partner Business Org Request. However, existing partners will need to log a case at https://sfdc.co/AppXProgramTech and select AppExchange (ISV) - General Questions.

Einstein Analytics: Help you gain insights on how your customers are using your app. This is expanding the App Analytics API with Einstein to help drive a better experience for your customers.

Apex Debugger: Real-time, interactive debugger for Apex sessions within your scratch org to see where code is failing.

ISV Debugger: Allows you to troubleshoot specific customer issues within customer sandbox environments. This will help your support and developer team to see what’s going on with what the root issue is for that customer’s codebase.

MyTrailhead for Partners: Let’s you create your own Trailhead. You can educate, enable, and engage your customers through the MyTrailhead system.

New Program Design

In the third and final session of the new Partner Program rollout, we learned about how Salesforce has reworked the Partner Program’s design, scoring, and benefits. The session led off with Leslie Tom, SVP of AppExchange Marketing at Salesforce, reaffirming the commitment to the Partner community and how the changes are “to grow your business faster and with Salesforce’s shared mission of customer success.”

Steve Lambert, Senior Director of Partner Programs and Experience at Salesforce, focused on highlighting the three core areas of the new Trailblazer Score model — customer success, innovation, and engagement. These pillars ultimately tie into your Partner Tier and provide a deeper level of transparency and accountability to partners.


The New Trailblazer Score

Maggy McDaniel, Senior Manager of the AppExchange Partner Program at Salesforce, walked partners through a deep explanation of how these points will be scored and why the changes were made.


The presentation provides thorough documentation of the scoring mechanisms, and Maggy gives examples of common scenarios Partners will face. She summarizes the section with the four points above. With Salesforce’s commitment to Customers, attrition rate and ACV growth present the greatest opportunity for partners to score, but their overall scoring has been balanced across the tiers. Additionally, with Salesforce’s commitment to bettering the world, partners who participate in the 1% Pledge earn a bonus 25 points to their Trailblazer score.

New Partner Tiers and Benefits


For partners who have been part of the program for a while, they should be very familiar with the “metallic” tiers. These tiers are being phased out for those on the right of the graphic; Base, Ridge, Crest, and Summit. Additionally, one significant change to the program is that the tier names will no longer be customer-facing. This is a commitment from Salesforce that the tiers represent benefit eligibility, not the partner’s qualifications — ultimately, it is ratings on the AppExchange that should demonstrate the partner’s competency.

Tiers will still be relevant for your conversations with Salesforce internally, but by the end of August 2020, much of the externally facing tiers will be gone.

The new benefits are broken down into three major categories: Design and Develop, Sell and Market, Service and Support.

Base Tier Benefits

Ridge Tier Benefits

Crest Tier Benefits

Summit Tier Benefits

In these tiers, you can see that much of what was outlined in the New Partner Technology section takes shape related to the tier that a partner qualifies for — specifically with the myTrailhead for Partners.

Wrapping Up

Salesforce has made a major commitment to partners by revamping the program. Now that the program is live and more partners are able to read the final documentation, we’ll be interested to see how the program continues to evolve from here. As always, CodeScience’s commitment to our clients is ensuring that we stay up to date with all things Salesforce, and we’re already having exciting conversations with clients how they can take advantage of all the new pieces available for them.


As the first and only company to receive the Master Navigator PDO accreditation from Salesforce, CodeScience is committed to helping partners Thrive on the AppExchange. No matter if you’re starting out and evaluating your opportunity or wondering if your app could be doing more for your business, we are here for you. Find us on AppExchange or Contact Us Today!

Stay in the know on all things SaaS and Salesforce with The Decoder.

Join Our Newsletter

See what our newsletter has to offer:

Check out a recent copy here!

Join Our Mailing List