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Dreamforce: Back to basics for Benioff with 'CRM for everyone'

19th Nov 2013
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“Customer relationship management has just never been more important than it is today.”

It’s back to basics for CEO Marc Benioff on day one of the annual Dreamforce jamboree in San Francisco which this year kicked off with the milestone announcement that the firm has now reported its first billion dollar quarter.

It’s only a few years since the firm turned in its first billion dollar year, but now it’s looking ahead to next year and predicting that its run rate then will be five times that total.

At this year’s Dreamforce - claimed registered attendees now topping the 130,000 mark - the strapline is the Internet of Customers, the latest extension of the company’s self-proclaimed status as The Customer Company.

“You have got to be ready to sell, to service, to market to your customers regardless of where the customer touch point is,” explains Benioff. “This is really the internet of customers, where companies connect to their customers through the next generation of devices, apps and services.”

The main announcement on Day 1 was Salesforce1, a new look to the firm’s platform offerings. Or as Benioff pitches it: “A radically new customer platform that was built from the ground up to deliver the speed, agility and power of Salesforce, but re-imagined for a social, mobile and cloud and connected devices world. A world that we call the internet of customers.

“It's the world's first CRM platform for everyone, for developers, for ISVs, for admins, for end-users and, most of all, for your customers. So you can go social, mobile, cloud and get connected.”

He adds: “In today's world, everything has changed. One of the key tenets of Salesforce1 is that was built API first. It was built mobile first. It was built first for the phone. It was billed first for the tablet.”

Expanded footprint

A few years ago at Dreamforce Benioff the showman plucked phones and tablets from every pocket of his suit, climaxing by heaving an iPad out of the back of his trousers. Mobile devices are all the more important today, he insists.

“I don't use a laptop anymore,” He declares. “I don't even use an iPad. I only use the iPhone 5, and I need to run the company from that and I do. That’s the power of Salesforce1, which is just tremendous capability. You got tremendous support for developers, tremendous support for ISVs, tremendous support for admins, tremendous support for end users. Finally, tremendous support for your customers because with Salesforce communities that is the glue that connects everybody back into Salesforce1.

“The phone dominates how we use computing today, but has enterprise software made it to the phone besides email? I don't think so, but Salesforce1 does it and it's a phenomenal product.” has expanded its product footprint over the years but its return to its CRM roots is opening up access to the upper echelons of its target customers. “A couple years ago that we were really focused on defining the social and enterprise and that was very exciting to us- a highly collaborative enterprise built on social technologies,” explains Benioff.

“But what we recognise was, when we went into a customer, who is the buyer of the social enterprise? It was a little tricky to find that buyer. Now when we go in to find the Sales Cloud buyer, the Service Cloud buyer, the Marketing Cloud buyer, the platform buyer, we know who they are and that has been an accelerator on our growth.

“We bundle that together in this approach called the Customer Company. We are really the first enterprise software company to be focused on customer technologies because we know who the buyers are and our customers for customer technologies and that has really been an accelerator for us, a focuser for us.

“It lets us cross sell because we have a clear point of focus with our employees that we are the Customer Company. We are the company that helps you to connect with your customers in the new way with the Sales Cloud, the Service cloud, the Marketing Cloud and the platform built entirely on Salesforce1.”

App gap

While Microsoft remains a bitter rival to, Benioff echoes the sentiments of that firm’s Kirill Tatarinov when he proclaims: “Most companies don't know who their customers are still. I know that's hard to believe and that most companies feel that they are not ready for this social-mobile-cloud world.

“There is that app gap, which is the half of all companies who want to build and deploy mobile/tab apps or mobile apps to their employees, customers or partners, don't know how and we are going to fill that gap and that's a huge part of Salesforce1.

“The world has changed it has gone cloud, it's gone social, it's gone mobile and it's gone connected. The companies that are struggling in the market today have not gone cloud, they have not gone social, they have not gone mobile, they have not gone connected. They are still trying to sell the same old stuff.”

Benioff cites an interview with outgoing Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer over the weekend in the Wall Street Journal in which he declared it is time for him to move on because he is too representative of the past.

“I think for a lot of companies that quote could be about them. I thought that he articulated it really well,’ he declares. “There is an old philosophy of computing and those companies that are executing that old philosophy are not growing and they are not competing and they are not succeeding and the companies that have adopted the new capability. My message to them is the same as before which is the future is cloud computing.

“The future is social computing, its mobile computing and it's all about this new connected world or what we call the Internet of customers.”


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