How to Scale as a Salesforce ISV

By Stuart Longley with special guest Heather Mason

Just like the universe, your Salesforce Independent Software Vendor (ISV) business has unlimited potential to grow and expand, but it requires a well-crafted plan and constant evolution. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on various ways to scale your Salesforce ISV business and achieve astronomical success. In addition to my guidance, I’ve also asked  Heather Mason, Founder of ISV Accelerators to add “One Thing You Can Do Today” (or, “OTYCDT”) for each area I touch on, so there’s no excuse not to take action!

1. Develop a comprehensive marketing strategy

Marketing is essential to the growth of your Salesforce ISV business. It’s not just about having a website and social media presence. A comprehensive marketing strategy includes understanding your target audience, crafting consistent messaging, creating relevant content, optimizing your search engine rankings, and effectively utilizing advertising channels. Remember, the universe is vast, and you need to make sure your voice is heard.

OTYCDT: Set up your AppExchange Lead Collection (and verify it works!) This will send a lead to your Salesforce org when a prospect takes action on your listing (installs your solution, test drive, watches a demo, clicks Free Trial or Learn More (Need help? See HERE).

2. Build strong partnerships

Collaboration is key to scaling your Salesforce ISV business. Partnering with complementary Salesforce ISVs, system integrators (SIs), or consulting partners can expand your reach and help you penetrate new markets. The universe is full of diverse entities that have formed partnerships to achieve extraordinary results.

OTYCDT: If you have a Partner Account Manager (PAM), ask them to recommend and introduce top SI partners that focus on your kind of customers. I.e. “Top 5 partners in Med Tech Enterprise” to help you get started.

3. Enhance your product offering

Your product is the core of your business. Continuously innovating and enhancing your product can help you stay ahead of the curve and differentiate your business from competitors. Be open to feedback from your customers and prospects, and use that feedback to make improvements. Remember, the universe is constantly evolving, and so should your product.

OTYCDT: Keep an eye out for Salesforce Product Roadmap calls. If there aren’t any in the near future, the next best action is to check out the Industry Blueprints (they can be found in the Partner Community). This will give you an idea of where Salesforce has products to fill a business need, and where there is whitespace (from Salesforce’s perspective).

4. Invest in customer success

Investing in customer success is vital to scaling your Salesforce ISV business. Happy customers are more likely to refer your product to others, leading to more revenue and growth. Providing excellent customer support, regular training, and educational resources can help you build a loyal customer base. The universe is timeless, and so should your customer relationships.

OTYCDT: Assuming you’re all over this one (as any ISV should be – it’s a HUGE component of this year’s Trailblazer Score!), your next step is to leverage it with your prospects. There’s no better testimonial than a happy customer, so requesting a review on your AppExchange Listing is critical. Not only will this make your app appear more credible (“see, you’re not the only one looking at us!”), but a good rating will add up to 75 points to your Trailblazer score, AND help to boost your search engine ratings, allowing for prospects to find you easier!\

5. Explore new markets and geographies

Exploring new industries and geographies can help you expand your customer base and diversify your revenue streams. But remember, every market is unique, and it’s essential to understand the nuances of each market before expanding into it. The universe is boundless, and so are the possibilities of colonizing new territories.

OTYCDT: Maybe you’re not 100% ready to dive head first into a new industry (or “vertical” as Salesforce often refers to them). A great first step is to take your current messaging, tailor it to a specific vertical, then test it out. Talk with your Partner Account Manager to see if they can connect you with someone in that vertical to try it out on and get feedback.  Also, see what Salesforce has in that area- would you compete or complement?

Scaling your Salesforce ISV business requires a combination of effective marketing strategies, strong partnerships, continuous product innovation, customer success, and exploring new markets. The universe is vast, and there’s no limit to how much your business can grow and evolve. So, let’s boldly go where no ISV has gone before!

*Bonus OTYCDT*:  Follow Stuart Longley and Heather Mason on LinkedIn for even more tips and tricks!  If you have additional questions on any of the OTYCDT’s, join ISV Accelerator’s “Office Hours” every Wednesday at 12pm EST. 

Stuart Longley is a Salesforce pentuple threat having held positions as a Salesforce client, ISV, employee, SI and PDO. He operated an ISV app owned by roudnCorner for five years until roundCorner was acquired by Salesforce in 2019. Today, Stuart and the Agile Cloud Consulting team are one of the few Salesforce Product Development Outsourcers (PDOs) partnering with ISV to build and deploy apps for the AppExchange. The Agile Cloud team is the only PDO to have successfully operated an ISV to acquisition by Salesforce. 

Heather Mason has been in the Salesforce ecosystem for 10+ years, both as an ISV partner and as a Salesforce employee. Purposefully working in both the SI and ISV sides of the Salesforce’s Alliance and Channel org while “inside,” has allowed her to fully understand how Salesforce goes to market with the ecosystem, what works, and what does not.  She is passionate about helping new, high potential ISV partners navigate the ecosystem, maximize their results and delight customers. Check out ISV Accelerators to learn how they can help you meet your business goals!

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