Get Skills for Next-Level Success as a Salesforce Partner

By Angelica Buffa

While we often associate success in technology partnerships with technical abilities, this is a misconception. In reality, the human aspect of these relationships heavily affects their outcomes. Trust, transparency, alignment, and accountability are key to building successful partnerships as they go beyond just technical competencies.

A partnership thrives when partners share common values, creating a healthy work environment that enhances team synergies. Of course, technological capabilities are important, but they are not enough – there needs to be an appreciation for each other’s contributions and shared principles.


Trust is paramount in any business relationship. Salesforce even lists it as its top value as it lays the foundation for effective collaboration.

Trust creates a safe environment where partners can express their inputs, thoughts, and concerns without fear or reservation. Furthermore, high levels of trust induce open and honest communication – allowing team members to be vulnerable with one another, promoting clear information exchange, and contributing to the resolution of misalignments. These are all vital pillars of a thriving business setting.

Vulnerability acts as a superpower as it keeps us genuine. In a professional environment, vulnerability is sometimes seen negatively since we feel the need to know all and never make mistakes. But this couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, we learn more from our mistakes as they teach us how to avoid repeating them in the future.

As for knowing it all, Salesforce’s three releases per year make that just about impossible. What is important is standing strong in what we do know and recognizing what we don’t know. We must be honest about that and feel comfortable learning and seeking solutions.


Transparency goes hand-in-hand with trust; one cannot be fostered without nurturing the other.

Being transparent means that companies openly share their plans and limitations, which ultimately boosts integrity, leading to increased trustworthiness amongst partners. It leads to discussions about how to make business collaboration smoother and easier.

Similarly, transparent environments promote open discussions and vulnerability leading to better-informed decisions thanks to the free flow of ideas amongst members – thereby improving overall collaborative efforts.


Alignment doesn’t necessarily mean total agreement but rather confluence on objectives and direction/outcome, leaving room for discussion regarding the route taken towards achieving goals. How exactly we can achieve our common goals is open to debate.

While we can’t predict whether or not we will be successful, we can be aligned enough to set ourselves up with the option to be successful. It is a shared journey, and being aligned demonstrates trust.

Alignment fosters a unified vision, increasing efficiency while accelerating results through coordinated strategies, reducing time spent on given tasks, and making mutual success attainable within shorter periods.


Accountability in the business world possesses a dual nature, comprising both prescriptive and cultural dimensions.

On the one hand, it functions prescriptively; it sets clearly defined roles, responsibilities, and expectations, accompanied by mechanisms for evaluation and measurement. This prescriptive aspect ensures that individuals and teams know what is expected of them and that there are systems in place to assess their performance, with appropriate consequences or rewards.

On the other hand, accountability extends beyond these tangible measures, deeply embedding itself in the organization’s culture. It is about cultivating a mindset of personal ownership and commitment, where employees take responsibility not just for completing tasks but for the outcomes and impact of their work.

In a culture of accountability, team dynamics are characterized by mutual support and collaboration, with an emphasis on transparency and trust. This cultural aspect reinforces a collaborative atmosphere, driving individuals and teams towards shared goals and fostering an environment where accountability is viewed as a collective value, integral to the success and integrity of the organization.

Connection Between Values

Trust as the enabler of transparency:

  • Trust creates a safe environment where partners feel comfortable being open and honest. This level of comfort is essential for transparency, as it encourages parties to share information, including sensitive or challenging issues, without fear of negative repercussions.
  • When there is trust, partners are more likely to be vulnerable, revealing their true intentions, concerns, and challenges, which is a key aspect of transparency.

Transparency as the pathway to alignment:

  • Transparency ensures that all parties have access to the same information and understand each other’s positions and intentions clearly. Open communication is crucial for achieving alignment – the agreement on goals, values, and methods.
  • Open dialogue made possible by transparency allows partners to identify areas where they are not aligned and work together to address these discrepancies.

Alignment enhances accountability:

  • When partners are aligned on their goals and how to achieve them, it sets a clear direction for the partnership. This clarity makes it easier to establish who is responsible for what, thereby fostering accountability. Each partner knows their roles and responsibilities and is more likely to take ownership of their part in achieving shared objectives.

Accountability reinforces trust:

  • By being accountable, partners demonstrate their reliability and commitment to the partnership. This consistency in meeting obligations and responsibilities strengthens trust, as each partner proves to be dependable and true to their word.

Strategies for Success

Fostering Trust

  • Regular interactions and getting to know each other on a personal level can help build trust.
  • Consistently meeting commitments and deadlines shows reliability, which is essential for trust.
  • Encourage open and empathetic dialogue and be honest in communications, even when delivering bad news.
  • Provide detailed case studies and references to demonstrate competence and reliability.

Other actionable steps:

  • Schedule frequent meetings to discuss project status, including challenges and opportunities, fostering a trusting relationship through continuous engagement and open communication.
  • Conduct sessions to align understanding and capabilities, building trust in each other’s expertise.
  • Engage in joint sessions to address challenges, enhancing trust through shared efforts and successes.
  • Build individual connections among team members to enhance mutual trust.
  • Engage in activities that are not strictly business-related to foster personal connections and trust.

Fostering Transparency

  • Regularly share both positive and negative information. Keeping partners informed builds a transparent environment.
  • Ensure that communication flows both ways and encourage feedback from all parties.
  • When things go wrong, own up to mistakes. This honesty fosters transparency and trust.
  • Establish clear policies about information sharing and decision-making processes.

Other actionable steps:

  • Implement systems for sharing key performance indicators, financials, and other relevant data.
  • Establish channels for unfiltered customer insights, promoting transparency in customer satisfaction and areas for improvement.
  • Define communication protocols and service-level agreements to maintain clarity and transparency in operations.
  • When problems arise, communicate them promptly and honestly. This openness in times of difficulty is a powerful trust-builder. Lack of trust is one of the most significant barriers to transparency. By building a foundation of trust, partners can feel secure in sharing information and ideas. This can be done by being honest and open in communication, following through on commitments, and showing empathy towards each other.
  • It is natural to want to present a perfect image of ourselves to others, but this can hinder transparency. Encourage partners to be vulnerable and open about their strengths and weaknesses. This can create a safe space for honest communication and foster a deeper understanding of each other.
  • Make sure that you are consistently communicating openly and honestly, setting clear expectations, and being accountable. This will help establish a culture of transparency within the partnership.

Fostering Alignment

  • Work together to define common goals and objectives at the start of the partnership.
  • Conduct regular meetings to ensure all parties remain aligned on goals, strategies, and actions.
  • Develop joint plans and strategies, ensuring everyone’s roles and responsibilities are clear.
  • When misalignments occur, address them immediately to realign efforts.

Other actionable steps:

  • Strategize together for shared customers or prospects to ensure alignment in sales strategies and goals.
  • Implement structured feedback to regularly align on partnership effectiveness and improvement areas.
  • Work together to showcase successful collaborations, aligning marketing and success narratives.
  • Work on joint marketing campaigns or co-branding strategies to align public-facing messages and values.

Fostering Accountability

  • Clearly define what is expected of each party in terms of deliverables, timelines, and standards.
  • Use metrics and KPIs to measure and track performance and progress.
  • Offer constructive feedback regularly, and encourage a culture where feedback is welcomed and acted upon.
  • Recognize and celebrate achievements, and use failures as learning opportunities.

Other actionable steps:

  • Clearly define and document the roles and responsibilities of each partner.
  • Establish and agree upon key performance indicators to measure the success and contributions of each partner.
  • Hold meetings to review progress against goals and address any deviations or issues.
  • Accountability thrives in an environment of trust. Focus on building trust through transparency, reliability, and mutual respect.
  • Use setbacks as learning opportunities. Foster a mindset where both parties can openly discuss mistakes, learn from them, and adapt strategies accordingly.


Ultimately, the success of Salesforce partnerships goes beyond technical prowess, relying instead on the foundational pillars of trust, transparency, alignment, and accountability. These human-centric qualities foster an environment where shared values flourish, allowing seamless collaboration and amplifying the impact of technical competencies.

To implement these principles, strategies for success underscore the importance of fostering trust through personal interactions, reliability, and open dialogue. Transparency is nurtured through the regular sharing of information, honest communication, and accountability for mistakes. Alignment is achieved through defining common goals, joint planning, and addressing misalignments promptly. Lastly, accountability is strengthened by clearly defining expectations, utilizing metrics for measurement, promoting constructive feedback, and recognizing achievements.

By prioritizing these human elements, technology partnerships can not only thrive but also evolve into resilient and innovative collaborations, resilient to the challenges of the ever-changing business landscape.

READ MORE: The 5 Hats of a Salesforce Consultant

The Author

Angelica Buffa

Angelica is the Co-Founder and CTO at Modelit. She is 12x Salesforce certified.

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