Do you know how partner marketing can effectively transact with customers via enterprise cloud Marketplaces? We caught up with Leslie Tom, Senior Vice President, AppExchange Marketing at Salesforce to find how Salesforce has evolved over the many years of engaging with customers and partners in their marketplace. 

Leslie, tell us more about AppExchange

AppExchange is the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace. It’s an ecosystem of over 6,000 ready-to-install apps and expertise, nearly 100,000 peer reviews, and nine million customer installs to help solve any business challenge. AppExchange formally launched in January 2006, and I’ve spent the past 15 years overseeing its growth and evolution. There’s a story behind it: our founder Marc Benioff was mentored by Steve Jobs, and he challenged Marc to build a partner ecosystem. AppExchange is the result. 

What impact has AppExchange had on traditional sales?

App Exchange augments all our Sales activities. Our partner apps and expertise extend the power of Salesforce across the board. Today, partner ecosystems are recognised as critically important for any company, as a way to provide more options for customers. AppExchange is now to Salesforce what the App store is to the iPhone. It also offers opportunities for collaboration to ecosystem participants. We have apps and expertise across every line of business and industry. Everyone can find an app to help them extend their Salesforce implementation.

How do you manage ‘onboarding’ partners into AppExchange?

We recruit and onboard two types of partners to the AppExchange: partners who build apps and partners who deliver expertise.  Our on-boarding process for both partner types is a combination of on demand enablement in our Partner Community site coupled with one-to-many partner engagement to deliver best practices to support partner business growth and customer success.

How does the Marketplace tie in with your partner program?

Customers use AppExchange to find trusted, tested, and ready to install and use apps and expertise that are right for them.  Partners join our Partner Program before listing on the AppExchange to learn how we support their business growth and how they can deliver customer success.  Further, to support our value of Trust, partner apps require a security review to ensure that their app won’t negatively impact a customer’s organisation. As part of our partner program we measure our partners quarterly with their Partner Trailblazer Score that includes their scores in three categories: Customer Success, Innovation and Growth.

How do you measure the effectiveness of AppExchange?

We have both external and internal metrics for the marketplace and for every partner.  On the AppExchange, you can see our real time, lifetime app install number.  For every app listing, you’ll see total number of customer reviews and rating.  For consultants, you’ll see customer reviews and rating, projects completed and details on certified expertise.  Internally, we measure marketplace visit, partner leads and reviews and ratings. 

How do you manage lead tracking and analytics?

We measure leads and analytics through our AppExchange, build on the Salesforce Platform, measuring visits, leads, security reviews, installs and more.  Last year we launched Marketplace Analytics for partners, providing data including activity metrics, trends and visualizations to show how customers find and interact with their AppExchange listing. 

How do you research and improve the user experience of the marketplace?

We conduct listening tours with our customers, focus groups and panel discussions. This helps us understand how we can improve the customer and partner experience with AppExchange. One of our priorities is to bring more human engagement to AppExchange, especially because there is a lot of digital fatigue at present. For example, we are piloting partner chat, offering direct partner engagement with AppExchange visitors. We anticipated the digital transformation trend a long time ago, and we see AppExchange as being part of that trend. We want to build human engagement without being physically in front of the customer. 

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  1. Pingback: Marketplace community engagement via Twitter – the Salesforce AppExchange way – Partner Cafe

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