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Salesforce ISV/OEM Portals & Self-Service

I have a couple of questions regarding the use of the customer portal / partner portal / sites – as it pertains to an ISV and channel partner self-service.  


a. We are an ISV/OEM in the process of building a standalone native application embedded in WITHOUT any integration into SFDC CRM objects.

b. Our application will be created as a managed package using the “Distributed Org” model (where our customers can install the application into their own production environments / orgs).

c. We plan on using the CRM for ISV with the 2 free Enterprise Edition licenses with the LMA installed to track licenses of our Trialforce downloads and our live production customers.   


Our customers manufacture parts, and distribute them thru distributors/resellers.  Our goal is to have these distributors/resellers login (username + password), to our native application installed at our customers orgs so that the distributors/resellers can view their data stored in the custom objects of our application. 


Reseller ABC logs into our Customer 123 to view their data stored in custom objects

Reseller ABC logs into our Customer 456 to view their data stored in custom objects

Reseller DEF logs into our Customer 456 to view their data stored in custom objects 

Questions: (Please note: These questions are from the perspective of a ISV/OEM ecosystem partner). 

1) In order to achieve the scenarios described above for our application, should we use the SFDC delivered customer portal, partner portal, sites, self-service.  Will any of these work?? OR do we have to build our own portal type solution as a part of our delivered application?? 

2) If 1 of our customers (eg Customer 123) has 10 employees that use our application internally and 1000 distributors that login to view (read-only) their data, and the license fee charged by SFDC is $15/user/month for the “combined solution” (i.e. + our native app), does that mean we (as the SFDC ISV/OEM partner) have to pay $150/month + $15,000/month for a total of $15150/month….. – (btw: at this point our solution won’t sell).  OR do we have to pay SFDC $150/month for the 10 internal employees that use our application? 

I have combed thru the help documentation, partner portal info + discussion forums and have been unable to find any concrete information that sheds light on a solution & pricing, that enables an ISV/OEM’s customer(s) to allow their channel partners (ie distributors/resellers) to login via the web into the ISV’s native application to view data stored in custom objects. 

Thank you kindly.


So it sounds like the same reseller will log into multiple customer orgs to see their data, or did you want them to have one login for all? In terms of the pricing, have you talked to our partner team, you can join the program here and a representative will reach out.





Hi Sati,


Thanks for your prompt response!! 


1. We do have access to the ISV/OEM partner portal.


2. To address your question above, a single distributor/reseller (channel partner) needs to be able to login to multiple customer orgs with a separate username + password.  The reason is the channel partner (Reseller ABC) resells parts from BOTH our Customer 123 AND our Customer 456.



We have already wrapped up the paperwork w/ SDFC to become an ecosystem ISV/OEM.  I will contact our Business Development Director at Salesforce (Matt Panning) to understand the pricing implications.  I imagine it is free otherwise as it does not seem logical to charge such high fees for a periodic login from a reseller via the web.  The service order for our VAR contract with SDFC that shows the pricing per user per month using the Embedded Edition is $15/user/month.  If it is not free it will pretty much blow our business model out of the water…  I just want to confirm that the $15/user/month is for OUR Customers internal users of our native application and not for each of our Customer's resellers too.


It is important for us to be able to deliver this functionality to our customers as a key capability of our application.  You see – our prospective customers may not be running a SDFC CRM instance as we have no integration to SDFC CRM objects.  In addition if we cannot deliver this capability of reseller self-service, we will be unable to offer a turnkey solution that runs totally in the cloud on



Assuming there is no fee for Reseller ABC  to login our Customer 123 and our Customer 456 to view their data, does it make sense to use the partner portal / customer portal / sites ??  Would any of these SDFC delivered features solve this Reseller self-service scenario?



Since the resellers need to log into multiple customer orgs (that have your app installed), then I would recommend using Customer Portal. It sounds like all your objects are custom, so you should have access to those objects with the Customer Portal license. If you have anything not requiring authentication, you can throw Sites pages on top. This article explains how to add authentication to Sites pages using Customer Portal.


Hope that helps,



Hi Sati,

 Thanks again for your prompt response.   You are correct, we only have custom objects in our native application.


I read thru the link you posted above regarding the Customer Portal and integration w/ sites. 




1) Does this mean that each of our Customers (eg Customer 123 and Customer 456) would ALREADY have to be running a SFDC CRM instance using either the EE (Enterprise Edition) or UE (Unlimited Edition)?  This link states that the Customer Portal is ONLY available for these 2 editions (see bottom of page 3). 


2) The link above on Authenticating Users on Sites states the following

Authenticated users are represented inside your environment as both a Contact record and a User record for each user of the portal. In other words, if someone registers for a login account, you can navigate to Setup | Manage Users | Users and manage them appear there. You'll notice that you can navigate from each User record to the associated Contact record using a lookup field. The Contact records are also associated with an Account record. Because they are your "customers", this also allows you to effectively limit the data that they can see using account sharing rules. “


This would also mean that our native application would have to integrate with SFDC standard objects (Accounts & Contacts) in order to use the Customer Portal.  In effect, our application would not be a standalone application on  Am I correct in this assumption? 


shillyershillyer Enterprise Edition (what you would be using with your ISV/OEM relationship) is based off of the Enterprise Edition org, so it allows for the Customer Portal functionality and includes the standard objects Accounts and Contacts. So you should be good to go. :-)