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MME Technology Blog

How to Become a Salesforce Partner

To paraphrase Jane Austen: it is a truth universally acknowledged that Salesforce helps you serve your customers better, reach your objectives faster, improve your efficiency, and generate more revenue. And to reach the goal, many organizations rely on Salesforce Partners, who have exceptional skills and expertise in developing custom solutions and integrations, and help them implement features based on their unique requirements.

When you become a Salesforce Partner, you’ll not only be able to showcase your skills, but also provide a valuable service to your customers. Being a Partner also gives you access to Salesforce’s massive customer base and, in the process, allows you to grow your business.

In this post, we’ll look at Salesforce’s Partner Programs and show you how you can join them.

What is a Salesforce Partner?

Salesforce was the first company to introduce a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product when it launched its platform in 2000. Since then, the platform has grown immensely, and a significant contributor to this growth is that Salesforce uses an ecosystem approach instead of a classic subscription model.

As part of this ecosystem model, Salesforce has relationships with various companies and service providers as part of its Partner Program. These partners help organizations implement Salesforce, develop custom solutions, meet their objectives, and get the highest return on investment from using the Salesforce platform. That’s why 90% of all Salesforce customers rely on Salesforce partners in some way or another.

For Salesforce partners, the program means they’re able to grow successful businesses by providing expertise and guidance to help organizations solve complex business challenges and achieve greater success with Salesforce.

The Partner Program includes 4 classifications:

  • Consulting Partners, who provide consulting, design, implementation, and integration services.
  • AppExchange Partners, who develop custom software solutions on or that integrate with the Salesforce platform.
  • Reseller Partners, who sell Salesforce licenses to customers, but who are not necessarily involved in the implementation of the platform.
  • Managed Services Providers, who provide ongoing or recurring administration services. (To qualify for this program, you must already be a Salesforce Consulting Partner.)

Now, Reseller and Managed Services Providers are fairly straightforward programs. The real kicker are Salesforce’s Consulting and Salesforce AppExchange Partners.

Salesforce Consulting Partners

As a Salesforce Consulting Partner, you’re authorized by Salesforce to offer your unique expertise across Salesforce products, integrations, and industries to customers. In turn, the partner program enables you to build and grow your business by providing these services.

The program is based on different Partner Tiers: Base, Ridge, Crest, and Summit.

These tiers, in turn, are based on your specific contribution and performance against specific targets across four categories that are important to Salesforce and its ecosystem:

  • Customer Success
  • Innovation
  • Growth
  • Social Impact

Your performance in each category determines your tier and the range of benefits you’ll get from the Partner Program.

Ready to become a Salesforce partner for consulting? Read on as we’ll show you how to apply later on in the post.


Salesforce AppExchange Partners

As a Salesforce AppExchange Partner, you’ll develop custom applications on the Salesforce platform or solutions that integrate with Salesforce. In addition, you’ll have access to resources, technologies, and marketing opportunities that allow you to generate awareness about your product and launch it to the market successfully.

There are two partnership categories under the AppExchange Partner Program:

  • ISVforce. Your solution has a dependency on Salesforce technology and must be sold to existing Salesforce users.
  • OEM. In contrast to the ISVforce category, under this category, your solution does not have a dependency on Salesforce technology. Also, these solutions must not be sold to existing Salesforce users.

We’ll look at the process of becoming an AppExchange partner in more detail later.

Why Become a Salesforce Partner?

At its core, the Partner Program provides you with all the resources, training, and tools you need to gain skills and expertise in business operations, product areas, and industries to ultimately serve your customers better.

Joining the partner program also provides a market expansion opportunity. For example, if you’re a software developer, you could look into developing solutions for Salesforce as it’s a highly-profitable niche.

When you choose to become a Salesforce Consulting Partner, you’ll enjoy these benefits:

  • Development and design. As a Salesforce consulting partner, you’ll have access to firms where you can connect with other partners worldwide and share your experiences. You’ll also have access to Marketing Cloud demos, where you can test new features. In addition, you’ll also have access to Consulting Partner Research, Lightning CRM Enterprise Edition licenses, and Pardot +.
  • Selling and marketing. Salesforce Consulting Partners can access referral incentives for leads submitted through the partner community, the AppExchange Marketing Program, AppExchange chat, and more.
  • Service and support. You’ll have access to Partner Premier Success which provides unlimited technical support, free Trailhead certification exam vouchers, and discounts on training and bulk voucher purchases.

From an AppExchange Partner perspective, you’ll get access to more than 150,000 Salesforce customers worldwide and a wealth of Salesforce resources. You’ll also get access to Salesforce platform technology to help you create innovative and powerful solutions for your customers.


How Do You Become a Partner?

To become a Salesforce Consulting Partner, you’ll need to undergo an especially rigorous selection process to ensure that you meet the requirements for qualifying as a Partner.

Understandably, this process requires a significant time investment as well as training and certifications.

Your steps to becoming a Salesforce partner will look something like this:

  • Agree and accept the policies as provided in the Salesforce Partner Program Agreement (SPPA).
  • Once you’ve accepted the terms of the SPPA, you can apply to join the Salesforce Partner Community.
  • You’ll then receive a welcome email from Salesforce that sets out the minimum requirements you must comply with to be provisionally included in the program.
  • Prove that you’ve complied with these requirements within 30 days after you’ve received the welcome email.
  • Once you’ve proved your compliance, Salesforce will review your application and, if it meets their standards, you’ll be granted provisional partner status.
  • You’ll receive another email from Salesforce that sets out the requirements you need to meet to be included in the program on a non-provisional basis. These requirements include, for example, the certifications you’ll need and the fees. To qualify for the Salesforce Partner program, you’ll need a minimum of two Salesforce certifications. Also, as of 2023, annual fees are longer applicable, and you’ll only pay a once-off enrollment fee.
  • Prove that you meet these requirements.
  • Once you’ve proved compliance and everything is in order with your application, you’ll be admitted to the program at the base level.

Due to the extensiveness of the application process, it can take several weeks before you’re fully admitted to the program.

To become an AppExchange Partner, you must, similar to the process outlined above, join the Salesforce Partner Community. Once you’ve joined, you must agree to the SPPA. You’ll then build your solution and prepare documentation for it.

Once your solution is ready, you can start the initial AppExchange listing process by providing more information on your solution, including:

  • Name
  • Description
  • Price
  • The market you’d like to list it in

You’ll also need to complete and submit the required business questionnaires.

When you’ve submitted these business questionnaires, you’ll start the compliance process, where your solution will be vetted by Salesforce and its documentation vetted by the Salesforce ISV team.

When this process is completed, you’ll sign the partnership agreement and become an AppExchange Partner. Finally, you’ll submit your solution for security review, and if it passes, you’ll be able to list your solution on AppExchange after paying your security review and annual listing fee.

Ultimately, yes, the process of becoming a Salesforce Partner is lengthy. It’s not free, either. However, that’s why Salesforce-vetted AppExchange partners see higher app download and usage rates. Becoming a Salesforce Partner is a badge of credibility. If you’re serious about Salesforce, the Partner program is worth considering.

Two Top Tips to Ensure Success

Once you’ve become a Salesforce Partner, there are some things you can do to ensure you stay on track and reach your goals. Firstly, you should find your niche; decide on what Salesforce products you’ll specialize in. When you do, you’ll be capable of providing focused solutions and offering more value to your customers.

In addition, Salesforce releases consistent updates and new features to its platform. You’ll need to be agile. Keep up-to-date with these changes and adapt to them effortlessly when they happen. Of course, this requires a certain amount of flexibility in your business processes, but if Salesforce creates a significant portion of your revenue, it’s worth investing in.


Are You Ready to Partner up with Salesforce?

Now that you understand the process of becoming a Salesforce Partner, it’s time to make a decision! Sure, it takes time and effort, but ultimately, it’s worth considering the Partner benefits you’ll enjoy. If the Salesforce Partner program matches your business model, there’s no time like the present to join!

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