Intelligent Tech Channels Issue 44 - Page 61

CHANNEL CHIEF

MUKESH KUMAR , Alliances and Channel Director – Middle East and North Africa ( MENA ) at Salesforce , an American cloud-based software company headquartered in San Francisco , California , that provides customer relationship management ( CRM ) service and complementary suite of enterprise applications focused on customer service , marketing automation , analytics and application development . Kumar ’ s management philosophy focuses on building trusted relationships among the channel partner ecosystem . He explains to us how Salesforce is growing its investment in the MENA channel .
Describe your current job role and the parts that are somewhat challenging ?
As the alliances and channel director for Salesforce , I lead the development and growth of our partner ecosystem in the Middle East and North Africa ( MENA ). My time is heavily invested with partners to help build and support the development of a Salesforce consulting practice , with a strong team of certified resources who deliver our best-inclass solutions for customers in the region .
The more we understand our customers ’ business needs or industry challenges , the better we can leverage the Salesforce Platform to address those needs and finding partners that can help us be successful . Thus , we work very closely with channel partners to build strategic initiatives and stay abreast of our new product releases to deliver customer success through maximising value in Salesforce investment . This also presents a healthy challenge , as to ensure our partners are consistently trained and certified across the Salesforce Platform and industry solutions . During the pandemic , we have adapted very quickly and rapidly increased our partner activity with virtual enablement .
Can you explain how your company works with channel partners ?
The Salesforce partnership model is focused on our core pillars : customer success , innovation , growth and on social impact . We arm partners with technology , marketing and go-to-market resources , helping them build successful cloud businesses . The long standing success of our partnership programme is evident with our recently awarded Five-star partner programme by CRN , The Channel Company .
In the MENA region , Salesforce supports more than 70 active channel partners , covering implementation , consulting and independent software vendors ( ISVs ) who have built solutions on our Customer 360 platform for specific industries . Whilst we have witnessed many years of success in the UAE , the surrounding Gulf countries are developing strong partner growth in areas such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Egypt . This journey has led to building a community of Salesforce Trailblazers . We are constantly working with each of our partners to help develop Salesforce credentials .
On the Salesforce Trailblazer online community , from FY2019 to FY2021 , the number of UAE users has roughly doubled and the number of their “ badges ” collected for demonstrating knowledge on topics has grown by about six-fold .
What are the latest trends you see emerging across the channel ?
Across the MENA channel , we are seeing partners shift from selling solutions to becoming trusted advisors in enabling customers ’ Digital Transformation . As we globally emerge from the pandemic , partners need to fully understand their customer needs . As a result , many channel partners are shifting to specialising in industry verticals , such as banking and finance , government and public sector , and retail sectors .
Mukesh Kumar , Alliances and Channel Director – Middle East and North Africa ( MENA ) at Salesforce
INTELLIGENT TECH CHANNELS Issue 44 61