Why did we pick Salesforce as our platform after many years of professional careers at Microsoft? What opportunities did we see by committing to Salesforce.com? And why did we build Convercio on Force.com?. These are the typical questions that we, as founders, get from investors, partners, prospects, and friends.
We made this choice more than a year ago, today we believe we made the right decision and so far the journey has validated this. Many start-ups end up building their product/MVP on their own platform trying to be agnostic to the existing B2B SaaS platforms. As a result, they have to build connectors that will help them to integrate with key players in the market. Connectors require customization and high maintenance cost, which might be difficult at an early stage. In our case, We evaluated the obvious options like Salesforce.com, SAP, Microsoft and Oracle, but in reality, the pros offered by Salesforce tilted the balance in their favor. As Guy Kawasaki says: "Polarizing people is ok", having a unique point of view allows you to focus on those customers that align with your value prop.
In our platform decision, you need to weigh many pros and cons. This was our criteria:
- Building a Cloud solution: Salesforce was born in the cloud and they understand well our challenges and opportunities in developing an enterprise-class solution in the Cloud. By having the customer already on Salesforce.com, we don't need to manage security and SLAs which are two big objections by the IT department.
- Leverage their market leadership: Salesforce is the leading CRM platform today, which means a ton of potential users for Convercio. We can build a company that can scale and grow at a fast pace and continue to grow as Salesforce grows.
- A win-win Go-To-Market strategy for partners: Salesforce AppExchange is the engine that made them successful in the cloud in the same fashion as the Apple App Store did with the iPhone, but for the enterprise business. The AppExchange offers key elements of any GTM strategy:
- Integrate into your sales funnel: they are a key component of your lead generation effort by passing leads and providing the connection with your prospects around your solution.
- Provide a Marketing portal: A place to expose your value prop, connect with inbound prospects, and expose feature via search/solution category.
- An established, strong Partner community: We can work with other partners to provide a complete E2E solution for common customer needs with the final goal of improving their business outcome and not just working in specific features.
- Great ISV partner program: The new announcements around investment & reward program help early stage companies like Convercio to establish a win-win relationship with Salesforce.com. They know that our success is their success.
- Effective Operational cost: running on force.com means we run in the customer's salesforce environment with a low cost of deployment and operation for us. Since the data lives in the customer environment, there is no need to extract/duplicate and store data out of the customer environment and build out our own infrastructure, resulting in lower costs.
- Leverage Salesforce innovation: Salesforce has been great in adding new capabilities to the platform. For example, we plan to develop part of our predictive insights by leveraging Einstein without the need to extract data to different foreign services like Azure or AWS. Also, lighting components have matured in the last 12 months and we are planning the migration to make the UX/UI change over time. In summary: you can take advantage of an integrated platform that allows you to build an E2E solution from the backend, analytics, and front end. Recently, they announced Salesforce DX to enhance the best dev ops/practice into Salesforce focusing in dev productivity and agile collaboration to build high-quality enterprise solutions.
- A true readiness ecosystem: They have a truly modern learning platform (gamification, learning path, micro-learning, etc). Salesforce has removed the barrier to access training, content, and community thru their Trailhead ecosystem.
I know, you have another question: What might we lose by staying locked-in with Salesforce.com? Most of you might think: "The ability to sell Convercio in other CRM platforms". While true, that is not our goal in the near future, we believe there are still plenty of capabilities we can add to Convercio while remaining on Salesforce. That, in addition to their sustained growth, and some of the limitations on the other platforms allows us to have solid roadmap to continue to add value to customers.
Do not hesitate to contact us to hear your point of view and please, visit our web site to learn more how Convercio can help your sales team to improve performance.