I have been experimenting with posting LinkedIn Newsletters, so I have not been placing my content here for the past month. I posted a pair of articles about HubSpot, which held its annual INBOUND conference in Boston.
HubSpot Brings GAI to Its Hubs
Like many other RevTech vendors, HubSpot is all in on Generative AI (GAI) and infusing it across its Hubs. CEO Yamini Rangan and Product EVP Andrew Pitre emphasized GAI in their INBOUND keynotes, emphasizing GAI’s ability to foster customer connection and please the customer.
Rangan stated that the “most intelligent way to use intelligence is to drive customer connection,” which can be “scaled to hundreds or thousands or maybe even millions of your customers by observing their patterns, anticipating their needs, and offering them insights.”
A decade ago, vendors looked at SAP and Oracle as the second CRM they supported after building their Salesforce connectors. Five years ago, the momentum had shifted towards Dynamics following the 2016 launch of Dynamics 365 in the cloud. It seems that HubSpot is now vying with MSD to be the second-supported CRM.
HubSpot has long been viewed as a decent CRM for SMBs to start on before they grow up and require enterprise features, and research from Adam Schoenfeld at Keyplay backs up this impression.
IDC, which doesn’t include HubSpot in its CRM market share analysis, noted that HubSpot has been growing much faster than the overall market, with 31% growth in 2020 and 47% in 2021…
Salesforce continues to outpace its competitors in the CRM space, growing to 23.8% market share (2021) in IDC’s “Worldwide Semiannual Software Tracker, April 2022.”
Salesforce is now five times the size of its closest competitors: SAP at 5.4% and Microsoft at 5.3%. Among the top five, only Microsoft and Salesforce have consistently been growing their market share over the past four years.
Salesforce is the leading CRM for sales applications, customer service applications, marketing applications, model-driven application platforms, and enterprise community applications.
Salesforce also leads across most of the major geographic markets: Asia-Pacific (including Japan), Latin America, North America, and Western Europe.
“In this digital work-from-anywhere era, companies need to adapt their business models to address customers’ evolving needs,” said David Schmaier, President and Chief Product Officer, Salesforce. “We are grateful to be recognized as the #1 CRM by IDC, underpinning how companies across every industry continue to engage Salesforce as a trusted digital advisor who can help accelerate their efforts to build direct relationships with their customers, employees, partners, and more.”
Salesforce positions itself as a digital transformation solution, with multi-year contracts commonplace. The firm takes a “land-and-expand” strategy where one cloud solution leads to multiple cloud licenses. “This quickly makes Salesforce a ‘sticky’ product, solidifying them as a key partner for their customers,” observed Ben McCarthy of Salesforce Ben.
The theme of this year’s Dreamforce was The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Following after revolutions driven by steam, electricity, and information technology, the fourth industrial revolution blurs the “physical and digital worlds” creating a wave of “innovation in technology” which is transforming the economy, society, and lives while creating new jobs, industries, and opportunities. This next wave is based upon intelligence. Elements include IoT, 3D printing, biotech, robotics, autonomous vehicles, nanotechnology, and quantum computing.
“This is what we call the fourth industrial revolution,” said Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff. “There’s all these amazing new technologies, things like autonomous vehicles and artificial intelligence and nanotechnology and mobile computing and all these things are really hitting at once. And companies are really transforming themselves and bringing all these new technologies in really to connect with their customers in new ways.”
Thus, elevators loaded with sensors now communicate back to the manufacturer and predict failures, calling for service prior to trapping people. Likewise, with tires, “if the tire blows, nobody knows; but in the future, if the [smart] tire blows, everybody knows.” So, firms like Kone (elevators) and Michelin (tires) are now B2B2C companies. In the future, if a tire is about to blow, it will communicate to the autonomous vehicle to pull over.
“Every company is getting closer to their customers. We’ve been talking about this for years. It doesn’t matter if you’re a B2B company or a B2C company, everybody’s becoming a B2B2C company.”
Salesforce and its customers are “delivering personalized one-to-one engagement at scale,” said Stephanie Buscemi, EVP of Product Marketing. This is done “declaratively, with clicks and not code.” Through the Salesforce Data Management Platform, ads are customized and delivered cross-device, allowing companies to redisplay ads or present new advertisements to their customers and prospects.
Benioff cited a series of companies providing customer service and support through Salesforce platforms including Louis Vuitton, Marriot, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, Adidas, and Ducati Motorcycles.
“Behind all these things…behind everything is a customer. And that’s what all of us do. We are working to connect with our customers in an incredible new way.”
Simplified customization, development, and branding were emphasized during the keynote. A set of customizable products provide a “smarter, more personalized Salesforce”:
MyTrailhead service supports custom branding, content, and learning paths that allows firms to onboard and train employees on desktops and phones. Tools include quizzes, reference links, trails, and badges. Salesforce Trailhead content is also available.
MyEinstein provides an artificial intelligence layer driven declaratively by “clicks, not code” supporting “smarter capabilities including bots.”
MyLightning customization provides an app builder with custom pages, a Lightning theming and design system, Lightning Flow, Components, and Bolts which operate automatically on both desktops and phones. Designers will have access to dynamic components which are conditionally displayed.
MySalesforce branded “mobile apps without code” can be uploaded to the Google Play and App Store.
MyIoT supports native integration capturing real-time events, business rule automation, and low-code orchestration.
Based upon customer feedback, SFDC has shifted from IoT as a separate platform to an integrated feature of the CRM platform which also operates “declaratively without code.”
Benioff admitted that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating concerns and wondered whether it is “uniting us or dividing us. Are we more connected or somehow less connected?”
He also asked whether there is more or less equality in the World.
“There is this stress being created by this fourth industrial revolution. Yes, we have this promise of this new connected World. But what is it doing to us? And what are other actors doing around the World using these technologies? Are they changing our society? Are they changing our elections? What are they doing with this technology?”
Benioff is looking at the Trailblazers attending Dreamforce as the Customer Innovators, Technology Disruptors, and Global Shapers to ensure that the next wave is directed in a positive direction. “You have all these new tools at your fingertips, these incredible new technologies, but you are doing some amazing things in the World. You are changing your companies. You are steering this technology in the right direction. I’m so confident in who you are. I’m so confident in what’s in your hearts and where we are all going.”
Benioff noted that most technology is generally neutral in it effect upon society. It is therefore incumbent upon technologists, developers, and companies to deploy technology in a socially responsible manner which promotes greater equality. Benioff called for companies to fight for equality through equal pay, investing in schools, and opposing discriminatory laws. He also noted that it is the poor who are most hurt by environmental degradation and proudly stated, “we are a net zero cloud.”
Benioff was also proud to have founded and led the leading CRM with an 18.1% market share (2016 IDC) nearly double that of Oracle (9.4%). Salesforce has the top solutions for sales (34.2%), service (33.7%), marketing (9.9%), and Platform-as-a-Service. Within the marketing cloud, Salesforce claims to offer the leading Data Management Platform and commerce Platform.
What’s more, the firm is on track to be the fastest enterprise software company to hit $12.5 billion in revenue. They hit $10 billion this year and have FY19 guidance of $12.5 billion in year 20.
One of the issues facing businesses and policymakers is an increasing skills gap. Benioff proposed MyTrailhead as one of the tools to help address the problem of workers across many industries and skill levels. MyTrailhead provides a customized, branded training platform.
TechCrunch complained that this year’s Dreamforce lacked drama as it lacked new initiatives such as the social enterprise, artificial intelligence, and IoT. “They are a company that embraces the cutting edge, but this year lacked that kind of big announcement,” complained enterprise reporter Ron Miller. To be fair, though, the company has rolled out a series of new platforms, clouds, and acquisitions over the past few years. A year with few fireworks is not necessarily a year without forward progress for Lightning, Quip, Einstein, Trailhead, and platform customization.
The conference remains a monster with 170,000 registered participants joining in San Francisco and millions of online views.
A recent IDC survey of 200 sales and marketing professionals in North America found that the largest source of leads was the Direct Sales Force at 37% of organizations. The remaining top sources were generated by the marketing department. Direct Marketing was still the second most important source (21%) with digital ads (14%), corporate websites (10%), and trade events (7%) also generating significant leads.
Thus, any attempt to improve the quality of leads must include both sales and marketing departments. A focus on only those leads generated by marketing and stored in the marketing automation platform (MAP) means that a high percentage of your leads are not being impacted by your data quality efforts. Furthermore, even if the MAP is being regularly cleansed and enriched, once leads are sent to the CRM, they still need to be maintained.
The good news is that at firms which focus on sales rep lead identification, the percentage of bad leads (incomplete, inaccurate, duplicate) was only 22%. Only trade event focused companies had a lower lead quality rate (20%). So which programs generate a high percentage of bad leads? Those which are led by social content (49%), off-line ads (42%), and direct marketing (33%). In these cases, attribution issues and incomplete data are likely sources of errors and duplicates.
What is shocking is that four of every nine firms surveyed with at least one hundred employees have no data services strategy. Of these, 38% see no need for a working with a data services provider. 34% were put off by cost, but fail to recognize the cost of bad data is felt in sales, marketing, and downstream platforms with a host of both direct and indirect costs. What’s more, once bad data is propagated downstream, the remediation costs go up several fold.