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Salesforce Industries: A Guide for Salesforce ISVs focusing on an Industry

Salesforce has been moving towards industries for many years after successfully launching HLS and FINS vertical strategies in the 2010s and successfully servicing the non-profit & higher education verticals via until folding that group back into Salesforce in 2019. The Vlocity acquisition by Salesforce in early 2020 for $1.3B has furthered their commitment to bringing specialized solutions to specific industries. Bret Taylor, in the recent Q421 earnings call, described the reason for the strategy with a baseball analogy “And our vertical solutions are a big part of it because it means we essentially are starting all of our customers on third base with the industry-specific processes that are important to them.”

Veeva (NYSE: VEEV) with a market cap of over $42B and nCino (NSDQ: NCNO) with a market cap of over $6B have demonstrated that ISVs and OEMs in the Salesforce ecosystem can be well-served by focusing on a very specific industry. You’ll even notice that other horizontal players like DocuSign and Conga, who have achieved significant growth, are getting on the industry bandwagon if you visit their websites.

salesforce ISV industries crossing the chasm.png


Industry-specific messaging is no longer an option for ISVs, its a requirement. If you are reading this and think your solution is a horizontal application so you don’t need to put in the work, I couldn’t disagree more strongly. By taking an industry-specific approach, it doesn’t preclude you from offering solutions outside of the industries that you focus on. It is all about nailing your niche like Geoffrey Moore talks about in his best-selling book Crossing The Chasm.


Partnerforce FY22 – The New Industries


Industry Go-To-Market Checklist from Salesforce.png

At the annual Partnerforce event in February 2021, Salesforce launched a number of new industries to their partner ecosystem. The sales team is continuing their trend of segmentation based on industries and Salesforce ISVs would be wise to take notice with their product marketing, sales materials, and even products themselves. A great breakout session, “The Art of Moving into an Industry Vertical for ISVs” (click On Demand Content and Launch to vie), shared a checklist about how to get organized for a concerted industry effort that is a great place to start but my belief is that there is an even better framework that ISVs can follow to launch a new industry focus within a four month project that I will outline in the next section.

Salesforce Industries for ISVs at Partnerforce.png


The new industries include:

  • Media Cloud

  • Communications Cloud

  • Public Sector Solutions

  • Energy & Utilities Cloud


Accelerate your ISV journey with Salesforce


Chances are high that you have a group of customers in one of the new industries that were launched to the ecosystem this week. If that’s the case with your ISV, you might be wondering how to get started in taking advantage of this focus from your most important partner so that you can draft behind their it and subsequent momentum. As I mentioned above, Salesforce shared a checklist on how a partner would take advantage of the newfound focus but if you have at least 10 customers in an industry and need assistance in getting the work done quickly with high quality, I’d like to introduce you the our ISV Industry Accelerator framework where we can help you launch an industry within four months. It’s important to note that there will be a first-mover advantage for ISVs that are agile here as the re-organized sales teams at Salesforce will have fewer ISVs reaching out to them with sales-ready messaging.

This framework is designed for successful, in-market ISVs. If you are wondering if your team would get value from this engagement, here is some guidance:

  • Outcome – Within 4-months you can have marketing materials, demo story, persona definition, and sales plays through the lens of the industry blueprint that are focused on a new Salesforce industry

  • Outcome – Achieve a first-mover advantage with newly formed go-to-market teams within new industries

  • Challenge – This is likely unplanned work for the cross-functional team internally. Are you able to prioritize effort from Sales, Alliances, Marketing, Product on a short timeline? We can help!

  • Required – Executive Sponsorship at VP+ level with cross-functional alignment between Sales, Marketing, Product, and Alliances

  • Required – At least 10 successful customers currently using your solution in the target industry

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