Today, the company will announce its new Value Added Reseller (VAR) program as a way of helping outside vendors who often help local, small-to-medium sized businesses manage their hardware, software and infrastructure needs.
By launching this reseller program, Salesforce is providing some answers to the questions that economy-bruised small businesses are probably asking about how to save money in the cloud. Many small business owners, salesforce executives said, are still leery of the cloud but do trust the local support technicians and technology consultants who advise them on how to operate efficiently and save money. In an interview, Mark Trang, senior director for Global Partner Marketing at Salesforce. said:
Some people have counted the channel out when it comes to the cloud. I think this it's a vital piece of the channel chain. They have years of relationships with clients over the years, have trained their own teams, made educational investments and built out their domains. How do they translate all of this to the cloud? Should they move to the cloud? What should their strategy be?
The VAR program, Trang said, is designed to give consulting partners a way to make money in the cloud and maintain an on-going revenue stream by adding additional apps and features to the force.com platform that can sold to their customers - and renewed, with the channel partner - not salesforce - owning the customer relationship and contract renewal.
Pricing for the VAR program is $7.50/per month, per user.
In addition, the company said it plans to add services listings to the company's AppExchange, an online marketplace where developers and companies buy and sell applications for the salesforce platform. Not only does it provide the VARs with a forum for finding new apps to offer their customers but also gives developers an opportunity to interact with them - possibly building relationships that could generate custom apps or extra business down the road.
The VAR program launches Wednesday. The changes to the AppExchange will occur next month.