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Gaining Executive Buy-In for your Salesforce Partner Program

As a cloud alliance or sales leader, you probably already know the value that strong partnerships can bring to your business – from co-marketing opportunities to more pipeline. But while the benefits of working with partners might be obvious to you, it can take some work to convince your executive leadership and sales teams.

Whether you’ve successfully run a Salesforce partner program at your previous ISV or are launching a partner program for the first time, this guide can help you get executive buy-in for your leadership team. 


Busting Partnership Myths

Across many ISV leadership teams, the role of partnerships is misunderstood. Some common myths and misconceptions include:

  • Partnerships are a drag, wasting money and resources
  • They are all pay to play
  • Partners distract from sales – or worse, are viewed as a threat from internal reps
  • Partners are stealing deals  


According to Monique Hui, an ISV Principal PAM at Salesforce who joined Invisory for a webinar in May, this is simply not the case. According to Salesforce’s own research, the benefits of selling with partners on the AppExchange include: 

  • Accelerating sales cycles by up to 20%
  • Reducing prospects’ security and due diligence time by up to 80%
  • Achieving the same marketing outcomes with 30% fewer resources 
  • Cutting infrastructure management costs by up to 75%


Salesforce has a lot of whitespace ISVs can fill, but no ISV can solve every pain point alone. When you start reframing your strategy to ISV+ISV+Salesforce = Success for all, you open the doors for new growth opportunities that can help you scale your business up. With Partners you can do more with less, diversify your pipeline, and reduce risk. 

But you’ll need buy-in across the organization, from the CEO and other C-Suite members down to individual sales reps. 

If you’re looking for more tips on getting executive buy-in, check out our eBook

Understanding your leadership team’s experience with partners

If your leadership team has seen success with partners in the past, they’re more likely to double down and invest. On the other hand, if they see partnerships as a waste of time, you’ll need to craft a strategy that convinces them otherwise. 

To help move beyond any objections, craft your story early using facts (not feelings). Surface how partner generated and partner influenced deals perform vs. direct. Do they close faster, close for me, improve chances for renewals? This should also includesetting expectations and creating a long-term plan to not only drive pipeline, but to measure the success of each individual partner relationship. 

Once your executives are bought in, you’ll also want to ask for:

  • Seat at the table or exec sponsor
  • Executive attendance at QBRs with external partner leader and PAMs
  • Outside leaders to validate case for a partnership, such as a Salesforce PAM leader
  • Budget for marketing spend, co-marketing, events, and enablement 

When thinking about budget, be sure to speak the language of your CRO and CFO, who will have an added interest in transforming your partnership and marketplace relationships into a reliable revenue channel.  Where does your partnership save money and drive revenue? 


Setting goals and partner program KPIs 

Successful partnership looks like a pipeline full of leads, but that won’t happen in a quarter. Before you jump into using pipeline as your only metric of success, consider tracking partnership leading indicators to ensure you’re measuring success along the way to revenue-generating partnerships:

  • Meetings with a customer per quarter introduced by a Salesforce AE/PAM
  • Number of meetings with Salesforce AEs / SEs 
  • Industry or cloud focused team meetings 
  • Number of deals past a certain stage that are influenced or generated by partners
  • Number of co-marketing initiatives each quarter


As you grow more mature, consider the following partnership KPIs:

  • Health of accounts
  • Progress of install or implementation
  • Metrics around operational efficiency 
  • Revenue generated or influenced by individual partners 
  • QBR reporting on cross-department metrics 


Keeping your Salesforce PAM engaged

Once you’ve got internal executive buy-in, a strategy, and KPIs to measure, you’ll need to work with your leadership team to build a strong relationship with your Salesforce PAM (partner account manager)

Salesforce PAMs manage sometimes hundreds of ISV partners, so getting their attention can be challenging. If you can get your alliance team leader to connect with your PAM monthly or quarterly, your PAM will better be able to understand how the product is developing, what pain points you solve, and who your ICP is. Your PAM can take this information and introduce your solution to new potential customers or partners.

Now that’s what I call a win-win.


Why Invisory for your Salesforce AppExchange GTM journey

Getting the attention of PAMs doesn’t just happen overnight. To succeed in the Salesforce ecosystem, you’ll need to not only build an app, but create a GTM strategy around its launch. Once your strategy is set, you’ll need to create an operational plan around your new AppExchange listing. 

Sounds complex, right?

That’s why ISVs like Veeam, Amplify10, and Stipe are working with Invisory to transform their AppExchange listing into a reliable revenue generating stream. Curious to learn more? Reach out today.  

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