The UK and Ireland (UKI) Salesforce ecosystem represents a growing opportunity and urgent need for talent within our customers, partners, and developers.

To learn more about the opportunity and relationships that we’re seeing in this region, we spoke to Jemma Byrne, VP of UKI Alliances at Salesforce, and Chris Hemingway, Regional VP ISV Sales at Salesforce, who shared their insights.


How would you describe the Salesforce ecosystem in the UKI?

“We’re in a very healthy place right now in UKI, with a great pipeline of new partners coming into the ecosystem — regional players who have been very successful outside the UK or Ireland and are now looking to establish themselves in this market,” says Jemma.

“It’s worth saying though,” she adds, “that if the Salesforce business continues on its current trajectory, we’ll need an even healthier ecosystem and significantly more consulting partners to implement and consult around our technologies — so there are lots of opportunities for the right partners.”

“There have been some tremendous successes too, from an ISV perspective, with the UK being one of the healthiest markets across Europe for tech investment particularly for Cloud-centric and strong industry-centric business solutions,” says Chris. “Partners have really been able to capitalise on the innovation that Salesforce offers them around the platform and we have seen some very successful outcomes from within the ecosystem.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a number of partners in the Salesforce ecosystem thrive, like FairSale being acquired by Sage and NewVoiceMedia being acquired by Vonage, in what is now a very buoyant market for ISVs. The UKI is probably one of the healthiest markets across Europe for tech investment with solid growth companies offering strong exit strategies downstream for investors.”


What challenges does the UKI partner ecosystem face?

Finding and recruiting the right talent is a big challenge right now and we can’t underestimate the challenges we have around skills and talent if we’re to maintain our planned growth trajectory,” says Chris. “IDC estimates that by 2024, there will be 4.2 million jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem, over 140K of these in UKI and we plan to work with partners to build a highly-skilled workforce, and to help inspire people to pursue careers in Salesforce.”

“There’s a vast amount of tech skill right across UKI,” he explains, “and we’re encouraging partners to find and utilise skills that sit right across the regions and not just within London. If COVID has taught us one thing, it’s that remote working allows us to successfully tap into talent anywhere in the country.”

“Talent is a continuous challenge, and always will be, unless we look for new people outside our usual ecosystems,” explains Jemma. “Back in September 2020 we launched the Talent Alliance — a programme designed to find talent in areas we wouldn’t typically be looking; an initiative that connects job candidates trained on Salesforce, to bring new talent in the ecosystem.

Supermums is a great example of this; a non-profit organisation for parents who have been out of the workplace looking after children and who now want to refresh skills and get back to work. Through the programme, individuals gain new skills and are then introduced to our partners who will put them forward for interview.”


Are you seeing opportunities in specific products or industries?

“There’s plenty of opportunity right now for partners and the best advice would be to stick with what you’re good at — don’t try to break into a market where you have limited expertise,” recommends Jemma. “Salesforce is a company that talks customer stories, and it’s important that partners have relevant use cases about specific industries and can talk from experience about industry challenges and how solutions have benefited these sectors. Once you can demonstrate a strong industry narrative and alignment, you’re in line with the Salesforce UK go-to-market model, making it easier to engage with our teams.”

“Think too about sub-industry expertise as a way to differentiate yourself business,” suggests Jemma. “There are lots of financial services partners, for example, so think about your levels of experience in a sub category such as insurance, and use this as your differentiator. Salesforce doesn’t have a limitless number of people in its sales team and can’t be expert in every industry and sub-industry; so bear that in mind as a way to differentiate yourself and help us scale. There’s a lot of whitespace and target addressable market out there.”

Similarly, from the ISV perspective, the industry narrative is really important. “ISVs help us in a number of ways,” explains Chris, “from extending our technology capability to extending our line of business reach into the back office. And ISVs also have an important role in helping us to extend our industry domain expertise. In the current world, the partners that have really focused their message, aligned it to an industry and used the right narrative for that industry have been very successful. We’d encourage ISVs with a horizontal focus to think about giving their story an industry narrative which will resonate with customers and set you up for success.”


Why join the Salesforce Partner ecosystem?

There has never been a better time.

“There is a tremendous business opportunity ahead of us all, with organisations now accelerating plans for digital transformation, and Salesforce offers a very comprehensive technology platform, broadened further with a number of exciting acquisitions,” says Chris.

“We’re no longer just a CRM company — we’re in a unique position where every conversation can lead to any number of solutions that we offer. The breadth of our platforms, both Customer360 and Digital360 are really driving customer transformation. And there are components that can be added to extend the value to our customers and to help them reach their own customer base. It’s here that we rely on ISVs to take that to market faster and deliver the solution in combination with our consulting partners.”

“Having all these service solutions pre-built and out of the box from AppExchange is bringing rapid time to value for customers”, says Chris. “So, as we grow our platform, the number of solutions that partners develop can increase, and the opportunities for partners grows exponentially. There’s a huge amount of opportunity in that space for partners.”

“There’s also the opportunity for partners to align with our core values”, encourages Jemma. “We’re passionate about working with partner organisations that share these same values, allowing us to demonstrate to customers that strong value permeate throughout Salesforce and the entire ecosystem. We’re seeing a growing number of partners supporting our philanthropic efforts and hope to encourage more partners to do the same.


Sound interesting? Find out more how partners can support our customers by exploring our AppExchange