trailhead

Maintain Integrity Within the System

Learning Objectives

After completing this unit, you’ll be able to:
  • Outline fair competition laws.
  • Define insider trading.
  • Describe international trade laws and regulations that apply to Salesforce business.
  • Explain how to maintain the integrity of your business records.
  • Identify how to raise ethical concerns with Salesforce.

Fair Competition As a Salesforce Partner

Just as things like bribery and conflicts of interest reduce the fairness of the ecosystem, there are some trade practices that can give partners an unjust advantage. Specifically, Salesforce expects partners to compete fairly and follow antitrust and competition laws. These laws ensure fair competition between organizations.

Let’s take a look at a scenario.

Frank is the president of PolitiCloud Services, a firm that develops apps for government organizations. Claire heads up a PolitiCloud Services competitor, Oval Industries. Both are Salesforce consulting partners.

Claire and Frank with a tabet computer The Capitol building

Claire and Frank were former colleagues and talk to each other on a regular basis. They’re the two biggest government verticals on the market, and they want to keep it that way. When the latest PolitiCloud Services and Oval Industries products are released, Frank and Claire make an agreement to sell at a lower price point to stifle any other competition.

This practice, known as price-fixing, places an artificial restriction on the market. It’s one of many illegal trade practices you must avoid as a Salesforce partner. Some other violations of fair competition laws include:

  • Bid rigging, where competitors agree to bid in a way that allows a certain bidder to win
  • Dividing or allocating markets, where competitors agree to limit their sales presence to certain markets
  • Boycotting, where competitors collectively agree to avoid particular customers or suppliers
  • Agreements among competitors not to hire their respective employees

Agreements like these don’t have to be part of a contract. Even an informal agreement or oral understanding can violate fair trade laws. If any of these issues arise while you are talking with a competitor about Salesforce, stop the conversation immediately and report it.

And if you have questions about competition laws, consult your company’s legal resources.

Insider Trading

Being a Salesforce partner means you might have access to material, non-public information about Salesforce or other companies. Material information is anything that a reasonable investor would consider important in deciding whether to buy, sell, or hold a company’s shares, bonds, or other securities. You must never buy or sell securities while aware of material, non-public information or provide that information to others who may trade on it.

Here’s an example.

Dorothy works for Twister, a Salesforce channel partner. She attends a meeting at Gold Brick Bank, one of Twister’s biggest customers. In the meeting, she learns that Gold Brick hit record earnings this quarter thanks in part to Twister’s product. Gold Brick plans to announce its financial results publicly later in the week.

A meeting around a table with lots of papers

After the meeting, Dorothy takes a look at Gold Brick’s stock. Incredibly, it’s trading at an all-time low. Given the information she got in the meeting, she is tempted to buy some stock.

Fortunately, Dorothy knows that buying stock while in possession of material, non-public information is considered insider trading and is illegal. She knows to wait until Gold Brick discloses its financial results publicly before trading in Gold Brick stock.

Location, Location, Location: Import and Export Controls

Salesforce expects its partners to comply with all international trade laws and regulations that apply to Salesforce business. These laws can place restrictions on technology, software, intellectual property, and technical information. As a result, it’s important to pay attention to the people and places you’re selling to.

Export control and economic sanction laws apply to Salesforce’s international transactions of software downloads and providing software-as-a-service. Technologies are controlled because they use encryption to secure data. Some of these technologies include:

  • Desktop clients
  • Mobile clients
  • Secure transport
  • Collaboration cloud

Additionally, the U.S. government maintains various lists of denied parties. Partners are prohibited from doing business with individuals, companies, or other entities that appear on the list, wherever they are in the world.

There are also some countries where partners can’t do business with individuals or organizations because of U.S. embargoes or trade sanctions.

The lists and related regulations are subject to change, so consult your company’s legal resource regularly to make sure you’re compliant.

Financial Integrity, Records, and Accounting

If you’re in the business world, you know the importance of keeping accurate, detailed books and records. In essence, books and records include any document or communication created in the course of business. Salesforce relies on books and records to report financial results, make required legal filings, and make business decisions. So it’s important that our partners keep accurate records of business dealings with Salesforce.

Let’s take a look at the story of Skyler. She’s the head of accounting at Bizeke, a Salesforce channel partner. Bizeke’s CEO is trying to close a deal between Salesforce and an end-user company, Heisen Inc. It’s the biggest deal of the year for Bizeke, so the CEO asks Skyler to exaggerate Bizeke’s assets and cashflows. He wants Bizeke to look financially healthy and capable of taking on a big project.

Skyler with a tablet computer

Against her better judgement, Skyler complies. Bizeke closes the deal using falsified books and records.

A few months later, Bizeke collapses under the financial pressure of such a large project. They have no choice but to declare bankruptcy and drop the project with Heisen.

Bizeke deceived both Salesforce and Heisen by presenting inaccurate financial information. Further, Bizeke’s actions were illegal and have profound adverse consequences for all involved. As a partner, you must provide the best possible report of your financial status to avoid situations that can negatively impact Salesforce, your company, and your customers.

Raise Questions and Report Concerns

Salesforce counts on our partners to help us maintain our ethical standards. To help you help us, we’re committed to creating an environment where you feel safe raising concerns or getting help.

If you observe questionable behaviors in your own company, another Salesforce partner, or Salesforce employee, you can contact our EthicsPoint Reporting Line.

EthicsPoint is Salesforce’s hotline for reporting violations of our Supplier Code of Conduct policies. It’s available 24/7 and depending on local law, may allow you to voice your concerns anonymously. Keep the EthicsPoint contact information on hand so you can address suspected violations quickly.

We expect that our third-party partners will not retaliate against anyone who makes a good faith report of a potential violation. No retaliation means that Salesforce partners can’t strike back against someone who makes an ethical or legal report honestly and sincerely, even if the report turns out to not be true.

Salesforce investigates and responds to every report filed in EthicsPoint. We expect any partners who are involved in the investigation to cooperate fully and share any information available. We do everything we can to protect the reporting person’s confidentiality and, if applicable, anonymity in the course of an investigation.

Sum It Up

We’ve covered a lot of ground here. We discussed everything from bribery to insider trading. Most importantly, we’ve discussed what it means to behave ethically as a Salesforce partner.

Salesforce requires partners to read and abide by the Salesforce Supplier Code ofConduct. Be sure to give the Supplier Code of Conduct a complete and careful read, and share it with your colleagues.

We encourage you to attend our quarterly ethics training webinars for third-party partners. If you’re interested in attending, your Salesforce point of contact can help you register for the next one, and you can find more information on the Salesforce Partner Community.

And remember, if you have questions about specific policies or laws, the best course of action is to contact your company’s legal resource.

Report Your Concerns to EthicsPoint

We mentioned the importance of reporting ethical and legal issues to Salesforce. We rely on our partners to keep our ecosystem functioning in a fair and harmonious fashion.

If you ever suspect a violation of any of the policies described here, use EthicsPoint, our ethics hotline, to file a report with Salesforce. EthicsPoint is available around the clock.

Thank you for your commitment to maintaining the ethics and integrity of the Salesforce partner program.

retargeting