Salesforce poised to capture the marketplace with digital-first business
To create a 360° view of the customers, Salesforce is empowering companies of every size and industry to digitally transform. The company earns the trust of its customers through transparency, security, compliance, privacy, and performance. It strives to bring out the best in one another, deliver success to its customers, and inspire the entire industry through its actions. In a chat with VARINDIA, Charles Woodall, Senior Vice President Alliances and Channel Sales APAC, Salesforce delves deep in its digital-first business, future roadmap, its channel partners etc.
How Salesforce is building the digital-first business?
The digital imperative for Salesforce is something which has been fast tracked with most of our customer and partner base over the last two or three years. Small and medium-sized organizations are now truly adopting digital transformation at a higher rate than we have ever seen before changing the digital imperative from what was previously traditionally an enterprise level play.
We have seen businesses now show up where they are constantly thinking about digital and how do they actually make customers stay through a digital framework. In fact, according to a SMB customer’s survey, four out of five SMBs cited increased productivity as a benefit of being digital-first, followed by increased profitability (66%). Salesforce is well positioned to capture that marketplace if you look at the increase in profitability and productivity and the fact that actually most of our business is transacted in a virtual environment.
What is the roadmap in empowering SMBs in the country?
SMB is one of our biggest growth areas. In fact, we have changed our route to market in the Indian marketplace. Our partners actually are able to transact directly with our customer base on a day-to-day basis, even without Salesforce’s engagement. So, we are empowering the ecosystem to enable the SMB marketplace to grow faster than we ever had done before. This is the first market globally where we have actually carved out that segment specifically for the partner ecosystem to empower us.
How are you tailoring Salesforce for SMEs in India? Have you integrated with various PSUs and telecom operators in the country?
We are very much aligned and building up the ecosystem with government operators. We have a number of core initiatives which we have worked on with government agencies to build the health of the ecosystems here. One of the exciting parts of what Salesforce is not just looking at traditional methods of bolstering the ecosystem but to also create positive societal impacts. Hence, we are focusing on how we can empower university graduates and women returning to work from periods of absence from the workforce to join the technical force. We are also looking at the LGBTQIA+ community and empowering and integrating previously marginalized and varied groups into the technological ecosystem.
How are the channel partners important for the growth in penetration of Salesforce in India?
We have a partner first methodology. I was recently talking to our partner ecosystem which is growing almost 100% year-on-year in the Indian marketplace. And it is no longer an SMB or mid-market discussion. We have global partners in the marketplace, such as Accenture, Deloitte, Wipro, and Infosys and we all work on the domestic market now. We have seen this huge shift over the last two and a half or three years, where we typically have these global players in the marketplace, servicing the global market in America or Asia, Middle East and Africa. What’s actually happening now is that they have realized the market opportunity within India itself. Therefore, they have practices built up which are solely focused on developing the Indian domestic marketplace. It is extremely exciting for us.
What are the key priorities to address the channel partners in the country?
The number one ask from partners is actually to be bold. The investment that is required to take advantage is to invest ahead of the curve. The reality is that there is a crisis for talent on a global level. And that’s not exclusive to Salesforce but across the whole of the technology industry. We are doing everything within our power by enabling our partners to be able to capture that opportunity and growth that exists in the marketplace today.
What are the problems you hear from your partners in this visit?
The problem is “How do I grow fast enough?''. It's probably to capture the market opportunity. Salesforce itself has grown with a 360° view of its customer base. Digital transformation is a part of that. We look towards the integration layers, which we have through MuleSoft and Tableau. Our partners ask us how they can grow from being just a CRM focused organization into one which actually embraces digital transformation as a platform. I think that's an exciting opportunity for partners as well, but, their biggest ask is for education in that space.
What are the key focus areas to expanding your market in one year down the line, apart from your huge growth in the BFSI sector?
At the moment, Salesforce plays a role in all industries outside of the public sector. We have 12 industry clouds which are focused on taking the customer experience into each of those individual industries. Be it Manufacturing, BFSI, or Automotive, Salesforce plays a role in each of the specific industries. Across those 12 industries, next we have customer-facing IP, already pre-built into our platform for customers to enable themselves. We are across the board as far as the industry is over the next 12 months.
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