Channel partner programs, Channel technologies, CSPs, Enterprise, Venture capital

Salesforce Launches Trailblazer Investment Fund for Cloud Consulting Partners, Integrators

Salesforce had two pieces of news for partners today: the launch of an app designed to boost channel sales and a new $50 million fund to help cloud consulting startups grow their Salesforce services.

The CRM giant says its Sales Cloud Partner Relationship Management (PRM) app allows companies to close deals faster by building branded partner portals with “clicks, not code.” It is billed as a much-needed turnkey alternative to legacy partner portals.

“Traditional partner portals tend to be pieced-together legacy systems that are generic and disconnected from CRM,” Mike Micucci, senior vice president and general manager of Salesforce Products, said in a statement. “This results in substandard channel performance and ultimately a poor user experience.”

Meanwhile, the new $50 million investment fund from Salesforce Ventures, the company’s corporate investment group, provides cloud consulting startups with capital to build and scale their Salesforce services.

Several partners have already received investments from the System Integrator (SI) Trailblazer Fund, including 7Summits, a social community provider, Arxxus, an Australian provider of Salesforce services, and ATG, which provides quote-to-cash (QTC) advisory and implementation services.

“Consulting firms play a pivotal role in the Salesforce ecosystem, implementing Salesforce solutions that meet the needs of customers of all sizes, industries and geographies,” John Somorjai, executive vice president of Salesforce Ventures, said in a statement. “The new fund will foster the next-generation of SIs and supercharge the growth of the Salesforce ecosystem.”

Sales Cloud PRM

Sales Cloud PRM is generally available now with the Partner Community Cloud License for $25 per member per month, although some features will not be available until later this year.

Sales Cloud PRM brings together new and existing technologies, including:

  • New Guided Setup Wizard - Enables channel managers to configure, customize and deploy their apps in days and automatically assign partners into tiers for targeted promotions and custom content; available second half of 2017
  • Lightning CMS Connect - Allows channel managers to create customized, branded partner experiences by dragging and dropping existing website content graphics and videos; beta testing begins in June
  • Einstein Content Recommendations - Uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to recommend files, including logo graphics, product placement instructions and pricing documentation; expected to be generally available in the second half of the year
  • Channel Marketing Automation - Extends Marketing Cloud to all partners, enabling them to build, track and analyze email campaigns

In announcing the app and its features, Salesforce said it is critical to provide every partner, distributor and reseller with the personalized tools and information they need to sell faster and smarter.

The company noted that one-third of the average company’s revenue comes from their partners. The percentage climbs to two-thirds for companies in the high-tech, manufacturing and telecom industries.

SI Trailblazer Fund and Alliance

Thus far, partners are using investments from the $50 million SI Trailblazer Fund to further growth plans and expand services capacity.

In conjunction with the fund, Salesforce is launching the SI Trailblazer Initiative to provide portfolio companies with concierge resources, training and tools to build out their service capabilities. Participants will have access to an accelerated onboarding experience, marketing and sales mentorship, and implementation guidance.

The initiative was created because growing demand for Salesforce products has created a critical need for more Salesforce-trained consulting partners, the company said.