For many entrepreneurs today, technology platforms offer a fast route to bring ideas to life and accelerate business development. However, choosing the right platform poses its own challenge. While many help founders to drive success in the early stages, finding an offering that has the desired impact for your product and company long term, requires a deeper level of analysis.
The Salesforce platform has been accelerating success for founders and helping bring their visions to life for over a decade. The question is: how does a long-standing platform manage to stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the ever-evolving requirements of new founders?
In this conversation with Marc Kuster, Senior Director, Technical Evangelism at Salesforce, he shares how the Salesforce platform is supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs, why it’s important to maintain a cadence of innovation, and how Salesforce’s new Business Builder program is helping founders execute their visions, faster than ever before.
What challenges can entrepreneurs overcome by choosing to build on the Salesforce platform?
In my mind, there are three big challenges faced by entrepreneurs that the platform supports:
- Money – Without the money to get an idea off the ground, progress is slow. Salesforce’s sharing revenue program allows founders to build for free, accelerating this process without needing to source investment or raise funds.
- Time – On the platform, a prototype can be built in a couple of days, saving vast amounts of time that can instead be invested in the GTM strategy and getting the product into the hands of customers, quicker.
- Resources – As a low-code to no-code platform, founders have the autonomy to deliver an application without even relying on the help of a developer. There are also resources, such as Trailhead, to accelerate your learning path and continue driving business success.
What aspects should founders consider when selecting a platform?
The question is, what impact do you want your technology to have? I often see startups choosing a platform based on criteria such as: features, security, flexibility, innovation, ecosystem, and cost. You have to really analyse and evaluate whether the platform can embrace the entire product life cycle, or if the technology just meets one or two criteria. Can your choice of platform not only benefit product development, but provide capabilities that can be leveraged to design and operate an optimal sales cycle, for example, too?
This sense of continuity is integral to the Salesforce platform; we look at the broader landscape, going beyond the product life cycle in order to improve the company life cycle. Salesforce is not just a technology platform it is platform for success. When founders join, they get ‘business in a box’; a very advanced, integrated offering that includes the same technology that Salesforce itself is using to grow as a company, allowing partners to grow at the same rate.
How does the Salesforce platform help founders go from idea to execution, faster?
Usually, a founder has to spend time researching and investigating the best technology to turn their idea into reality. The Salesforce platform accelerates this process by providing pre-developed, low code technology that means founders can simply share an outline of their idea, and Salesforce delivers the rest. With scalability, security and reporting taken care of, the transformation from idea to the application is fast-tracked.
And building the application is just the start. Next, founders face the challenge of finding customers and reaching the target market. The platform offers more than just technology, it is a program for founders, guiding them beyond product creation and providing go-to-market (GTM) accelerators. This begins as soon as the product is listed on Salesforce AppExchange – the world’s most trusted enterprise cloud marketplace with over 150K+ customers, each already using at least one AppExchange application. Through internal Salesforce teams, you also get huge exposure to a global pool of customers that trust and rely on Salesforce services. Really, it all comes down to having the people, expertise and guidance that can support the process from start to finish.
How does the platform facilitate innovation and help partners stay ahead of the curve?
The Salesforce platform provides a linear roadmap of innovation. Three times a year there is a seasonal release of 300 new features developed by Salesforce product managers, developers and engineers. With this regular cadence of innovation, founders can be assured that their customers are regularly receiving platform updates, delivered to them directly with each new wave of innovation, at no extra cost.
Other innovative features are shared with founders and can be leveraged if they choose, using low code or no code. There are regular pilots to share new features with founders, letting them trial them before release and define how they want to incorporate them. Along with pre-release and sandbox trials ahead of production, these previews help founders engage with a constant output of innovation, allowing them to keep exploring and researching new ways to stay ahead of the curve.
How is Salesforce supporting the next generation of founders and entrepreneurs?
The entrepreneurial spirit is growing – especially in the next generation. They want to work for themselves and bring their visions to life using available technologies. What they need is a platform that can accelerate their ideas and that allows them to ‘click and go’, without any coding needed. Salesforce supports these young entrepreneurs in this way and is working to create teams of accelerators that really understand their needs, and ensure that we are speaking the same language in order to build trust.
Who is a Business Builder? Can you tell us a bit about the new Business Builder program?
A business builder, fundamentally, is someone who has an idea. What we are looking for in applicants, is a proven or promising entrepreneur with the ambition, talent and team to build a significant business. In terms of the idea, those that demonstrate unique product insight, impacting a sizeable market, stand out from the crowd. Alignment with Salesforce values is key, as well as compatibility with the B2B or B2B2C roadmap, and previous experience with the Salesforce platform is a bonus.
Once an application has been accepted onto the Business Builder program, layers of acceleration are applied to rapidly transform this idea into reality. There are a suite of benefits to guide and support the founder throughout the journey, and a dedicated team providing a concierge experience to connect founders with supplemental resources. It goes from zero to one hundred. We recognise that time is of the essence for founders to bring these ideas to market, and the Salesforce platform enables this process.
Are you an entrepreneur leading a B2B SaaS software company that is about to be founded or at early-stage funding? Do you have a powerful product that drives transformation? Reach out to the EMEA Business Builder team directly at Isvbusinessbuilder@salesforce.com to start the conversation.