5 Things Salesforce Partners Do To Stay Innovative
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5 Things Salesforce Partners Do To Stay Innovative

Salesforce's technical evangelism team provides AppExchange partners with expertise to stay innovative as the platform grows and new technologies emerge.

Successful partners aren’t building applications on their own. I’ve been on the AppExchange team for 12 years, working with passionate experts with the focus of helping partners build technology. Through these experiences, I’ve seen companies grow their business with Salesforce, using an engagement model within the AppExchange partner program.

Partners have the chance to go from idea to app, and launch it for the world to see. They tend to succeed by doing these five things.

1. They know the right Salesforce experts

Among the many resources available to partners in the Salesforce ecosystem is the ISV Technical Evangelism team. This team of Technical Evangelists (TEs), or Salesforce technologists and experts, are Salesforce employees with strong technical skills. They help app-building partners (known as ISVs) develop and distribute enterprise-grade applications in the Salesforce ecosystem. The TEs guide partners in architecture, best practices and the adoption of new technologies.

Platform expert consultants are similar to the solution engineers (SE) organization in that there’s Sales Cloud SEs, Service Cloud SEs, etcetera. This Salesforce employee role supports those interested in building on the platform. Platform expert consultants help partners take advantage of more technology and identify new goals and milestones as the partner grows.

Product development outsourcers (PDOs) are consulting partners and vendors with expertise in building commercial apps. They also help with training, funding, marketing, and selling partner apps. These specialized partners can help architect and design a commercial app, tackle specific areas of the build (such as third-party integrations), or simply augment a partner’s own development team.  

2. They seek information to stay modern

As you get distracted by current affairs, you can lose sight of what’s important, and fall behind on the innovations and technologies that come out of Salesforce. That’s why Salesforce TEs publish blog posts and Trailhead modules related to new technologies, best practices and technical information.

Tech Talks broadcasts every other Thursday at 11 a.m. PT, and are full of information about the latest partner and customer innovation. There are demos, product roadmap overviews and interviews with TEs.

Take a trail and complete more than 10 ISV Trailhead modules. If you’re getting started, take the Platform Trailhead modules, and begin with Salesforce Platform Basics. Work to complete all ISV-related Trailhead modules. Check out the ISVforce Guide for information on packaging, licensing, upgrading, trialling, and distributing your application.

3. They connect with other partners and Salesforce employees

The Partner Community connects you to other partners and employees. Similar to the Trailblazer Community and your Salesforce org, Salesforce teams actively monitor and moderate Chatter to ensure questions are answered. 

Some popular Chatter groups in the Partner Community include Alerts for Partners, Roadmap for Partners and AppExchange Partner Enablement, and my personal favorite, AppExchange & ISV Technical Evangelism. Join the Partner Community to get access to these groups and conversations. 

4. They have 1:1 conversations with technical experts

Partners meet with technical evangelists (TEs) at Salesforce on an individual basis to dive into their specific goals and product needs. A technical consultation includes reviewing a partner’s application architecture to ensure it is designed in accordance with best practices. The review looks at leveraging the latest Salesforce Platform technologies. These conversations also include the Salesforce roadmap and a focus on what’s coming next to ensure that partners build using the latest technology.

During these conversations, partners should share as much as they can about their goals and needs. The more TEs know about their partner’s business strategy, technology, and roadmap goals, the more they can share relevant updates and guidance. Also, these conversations should happen more than once. We recommend three times a year, one per Salesforce release. During these meetings, partners can share updates on product development, discuss technical issues/obstacles, provide feedback, and review product architecture.

TEs have a broad impact on partners through presenting at events, delivering webinars, writing blog posts, and working with Salesforce research and development teams to influence product roadmaps that meet partner use cases. Learn more about the AppExchange partner program benefits here.

5. They devour technical documentation

Technical documentation prepares partners for the latest Salesforce updates, which can be used to better your product as a partner. The most important Salesforce documentation is the release notes, and there are many release notes resources to help get you, and your customers, ready for what’s coming your way. Salesforce adds resources throughout the release.

Plan ahead with prerelease details. You can get early access to the brand-new features when you sign up ahead of time (note a new link is provided for each new release). From there, Salesforce will send login information for your new trial account. Here’s a tip: sign up for a Developer Edition prerelease org as those do not expire and get automatically upgraded to all subsequent releases moving forward.

To learn more, read the most recent release notes. See how Summer ’20 delivers innovations across the entire Customer 360 Platform to support you in times of change.

Successful partners are leading in technology footprint and innovation. They want to differentiate their products, and pioneering new technology is a great way to do that. Lead with innovation and be at the forefront of technology. Join the Partner Community to get access to AppExchange & ISV Technical Evangelism.