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Your ISV Marketing Needs to be Different for the Salesforce Ecosystem

ISV Product Marketing for the Ecosystem <> to Product Marketing for your Customers

If your messaging is the same for customers as it is for Salesforce, SIs, and other ISVs, you are doing it wrong. All of your messaging should roll up to your vision that relates to the problem your organization solves, but it should also flex to the audiences that all have unique WIIFM (What’s In It For Me).

This framework can and should be operationalized it to help ISVs resonate better in the ecosystem.

 

Strategize, Create, Execute.

 

If you skip the strategize and/or create phase of developing your product marketing for the ecosystem, you shouldn’t be surprised when leads and collaboration don’t happen. Many ISVs we speak to ask, “How do I get more leads from Salesforce?” The answer they don’t want to hear is that it takes work to build to that.

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What Matters to AEs

 

Read this article from Dan Del Degan before continuing. With more than 8500 applications on the AppExchange from more than 2000 ISVs, Salesforce AEs get bombarded with pitches from partners asking for their help. You need to empathize with this fact and the reality that they make 100% of the products Salesforce sells vs. 15% PNR from your application. Here are ways to get their attention (in order of effectiveness):

  • Source: Bring them an active lead from a company that doesn’t have Salesforce yet and is in their territory, and you will get alignment and probably an email back within 15 minutes. This could also mean bringing them an opportunity for CPQ/FSL/Communities if your application complements these or requires them.

  • Enlarge: Does your application help them sell more seats of existing product? For example, maybe your application is focused on the customer success team and requires them to purchase Sales Cloud for this group of users.

  • Accelerate: Does the sale of your product help to close a deal in their pipeline more quickly?

  • De-Risk: By purchasing your product, does it improve the stickiness of Salesforce within the customer overall?

 Focus, Focus, and then Focus Some More.

Once you have your messaging created and working for the ecosystem as a whole, this can lead you to the next phase, which is aligning it to Market Segments & Industries you have found success in and the TAM currently uncaptured by your application is of interest to pursue.

Here, I draw on the lessons learned from reading (and re-reading) Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey Moore. You need to pick your niche, your “Normandy” as he describes it in his book, and nail it. It will oftentimes feel counterintuitive to limit your TAM within the greater ecosystem because you have traction in many areas and view your application as a horizontal offering, but focus will lead to more success faster.

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This work is critical for an ISV to build momentum in the ecosystem, but it takes time and a lot of focus. ISVs can spend many months, even years, treading water. You can also read our co-marketing strategy.

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