In a recent interview with CNBC, Salesforce COO Keith Block discussed the transformation of Salesforce since he joined 4 ½ years ago. Based on FY 2019 Guidance, revenue will have roughly trebled during his tenure as the firm transformed itself into a multi-cloud platform supporting companies of all sizes.
“We’ve moved very, very aggressively, both globally, in terms of our international expansion, as well as moving into the enterprise,” said Block. “And if you look at our business mix, you can see that the enterprise business has been on fire.”
SFDC also adopted a verticalization strategy last year beginning in financial services and healthcare. The initial offerings focused on wealth management and a Health Cloud, but the firm recently announced a retail bank solution. “So, we have deep industry expertise, deep industry knowledge. Our customer-facing teams are focused by industry. We’ve released products specific to those two industries.”
Over the past 24 months, Salesforce has emphasized CEO-level discussions concerning digital transformation. “We have a steady drumbeat of CEOs who are coming to us to talk about: What does digital transformation mean in my industry? What is your point of view? What is disruption? How can I leverage all these amazing technologies of cloud, mobile, social, data science, artificial intelligence in changing our business model? And it is a regular dialogue with the CEO.”
Block described his biggest challenge over the past few years as one of market awareness. “Some companies thought we were just in sales force automation and clearly we’re not; we are a customer success platform.”
The firm also has undergone a cultural change “to think differently about the life cycle, the relationship, the strategic nature of going after those customers.”
Internationalization was also key to supporting global enterprises as enterprise companies need to provide global service.
Salesforce has also benefited from three annual releases instead of big bang offerings every few years. Block noted that both technology and markets change too rapidly for such approaches. “Increasingly, customers are embracing the notion of agile, very quick.”
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.
Salesforce is expanding the vision of the AppExchange to a “full blown ecosystem,” said Leyla Seka, EVP of AppExchange. Along with Lightning Bolts and Data, the firm is also adding intelligent search results, personalized recommendations, industry collections, and Trailhead online learning tools associated with apps. While 87 percent of customers have deployed apps, the new search and personalization tools will help customers “find the right solution and potentially solutions they didn’t know were available.”
With over 4,000 partner solutions, improved search and recommendations are necessary, particularly as they are merging the various AppExchange stores. According to Salesforce VP of Marketing Leslie Tom:
“The way that the AppExchange worked was that there were separate stores, such as a separate store for apps, a store for components, and a separate store for consultants — so consultants stayed within their own store; you couldn’t put the consultants in line with the apps and components and the other tools that people are using. In the new AppExchange, we’ve combined all of those things together to show the power of the full ecosystem.”
Salesforce evaluated B2B and B2C marketplaces when redesigning the AppExchange. “Our aspiration is to be as much like your consumer life as possible in buying your enterprise applications. [To that end, we] tried to bring as many of the best practices from marketplaces into the AppExchange as we could,” said Heather Conklin, Salesforce VP of product management. “We’re really anchoring this around the idea of being the Salesforce store – the store you need for everything that you do with Salesforce. It’s not just about apps anymore; it’s really so much bigger than that.”
Salesforce has yet to provide a roadmap for Data.com, so we will likely have to wait until Dreamforce for details. While legacy customers continue to receive Dun & Bradstreet content, new customers are limited to the Salesforce / Jigsaw company and contact file. However, the firm announced a set of Lightning Data partners that will support ongoing account enrichment as native Salesforce Apps.
InsideView was an original partner on the AppExchange but was disinvited after Data.com rolled out. While hidden from AppExchange searches, the InsideView for Sales solution continued to be available to joint customers as a private solution. Furthermore, the firm built additional AppExchange marketing products to supplement InsideView for Sales. These services included Target, a company and contact prospecting platform, and Refresh, a data hygiene service that matched and enriched account records with InsideView intelligence. The two companies share over one thousand joint clients.
As an initial partner in Lightning Data, InsideView is offering two services: Append account record maintenance toward the end of Q4 and Discovery account prospecting in Q1 2018. Both are native Salesforce applications. Unfortunately, Lightning Data only supports Account record enrichment and prospecting. Thus, InsideView clients looking for prospecting against InsideView’s 13 million global companies and 33 million contacts may wish to evaluate InsideView Target instead of InsideView Discovery.
InsideView positions itself as a leader in Targeting Intelligence due to their capabilities across three dimensions: company and people intelligence (Who), business triggers sourced from the news and social feeds (Why), and network connections which support warm introductions (How).
With the launch of their new Lightning Data solutions, InsideView will have strategic relationships with the two most important CRMs: Saleforce.com and Microsoft Dynamics.
InsideView CMO Tracy Eiler will be speaking at one of the Lightning Data sessions at this year’s Dreamforce as will other Lightning Data partners.
DataFox is offering twenty-two curated data points and five proprietary fields for DaaS enrichment. Amongst the curated fields are standard firmographics, tech stack, and funding data including investors, total funding raise, and last funding round details. Proprietary data includes signal count over the past year, industry keywords, and similar companies. Datafox’s “AI-sourced, human-audited company data” covers over two million companies. Pricing starts at $3,500 per year.
MCH enriches accounts with medical facility details. Institutions include hospitals; medical practices; dental practices; nursing homes; home health and hospice; ambulatory surgery; diagnostic imaging; community health; urgent care; and public health departments. Data is updated via a team of researchers annually who populate over seventy attributes across 636,000 facilities. Pricing starts at $500 per year.
MCH has a broader sales intelligence solution in development which will support prospecting and access to two million medical practitioners and support staff.
Clearbit enriches accounts with over forty fields including firmographics, Alexa Rank, Social Accounts, and Technology. The service also includes company news. Pricing starts at $499 per month.
HG Data populates technology product, vendor, and product category information across account, contact, and opportunity records. Also included is an account ranking score based upon deployed technology and workflows based upon complementary or competitive products. Pricing starts at $5,000 per year.
There are multiple reasons to enrich records with third-party reference data sets. These include shorter web forms with lower abandonment rates, improving segmentation via standardized data with fewer data gaps, ongoing data maintenance, and enhanced targeting.
Sales rep benefits from enrichment include reduced data entry, improved lead scoring and routing, and improved intelligence for account qualification, planning, and messaging. By enriching company information within the CRM workflow, sales reps have accurate, on demand account intelligence.
Salesforce announced the launch of two new AppExchange partnership categories offering native Lighting functionality: Lightning Bolts and Lightning Data. Bolts are Lightning Components which offer customer data and business logic.
Lightning Data provides new Data as a Service (DaaS) partnerships in the wake of the non-renewal of the Dun & Bradstreet – Data.com licensing partnership. Three of the partners were announced as Data.com Exchange partners at last year’s Dreamforce:
Initially, Lightning Data only supports ongoing match and enrichment services for Account records. As many AppExchange partners offer batch and continuous services for Account, Contact, and Lead records, Lightning Data will need to round out its enrichment capabilities for it to become a full hygiene and enrichment solution.
Lightning Data is an indication that Salesforce never really bought into the idea of being a DaaS company. Since August 2011, they have promoted Data.com, but never fully committed to the data ecosystem they promised when they launched Data.com. The original idea was to take the Jigsaw file they purchased in April 2010 for $142 million and integrate it with the D&B WorldBase company file. They were then going to partner with other leading data companies to integrate third-party data matched to either Data.com contact intelligence or D&B Account intelligence. These data sets were to be delivered via Data.com Prospector sales intelligence and the Data.com Clean match and append service.
It was the right idea at the right time. They were playing catch up with OneSource for Salesforce, InsideView for Salesforce, and Access Hoovers, but had the technical and financial resources to quickly leapfrog these offerings (Access Hoovers was phased out as part of the D&B deal). Furthermore, they had a first mover advantage in cross-selling Data.com to their customer base. It could have been a home run, but they rarely hit the ball out of the infield. What’s worse:
The Jigsaw file was never truly internationalized. It remained a U.S. contact file with underwhelming executive coverage for nine other countries.
The Data.com contact counts increased, but only because they were adding contacts at the same rate as they were decaying. Meanwhile, their top two contacts competitors, NetProspex and Zoominfo, continued to expand both their active and inactive coverage in the U.S. and internationally.
They never added biographic details or social links to the contacts file
Prospector features remained underwhelming. They would add small features such as improved industry and geographic screening, but not anything significant until 2016.
They quickly dropped all discussion about an ecosystem.
Then at Dreamforce 2015 and 2016 they seemed to have found their mojo, addressing key weaknesses such as pricing, sales intelligence (Hoovers profiles, First Research industry overviews), and a data ecosystem.
Data.com hit a few doubles and outlined an aggressive 2017 and 2018 roadmap. It looked good. It sounded good. But then Salesforce severed their partnership with Dun & Bradstreet and now only legacy customers have access to Dun & Bradstreet content. For everybody else, there were nine months of deafening silence until yesterday’s announcement of Lightning Data.
The devolution of Data.com will not have a significant effect on Salesforce’s bottom line as it represents perhaps one percent of company revenue (hence, the lack of urgency in replacing Dun & Bradstreet content). Furthermore, the legacy offering will continue to be supported for several more years so the revenue decline will have little material impact. Perhaps we’ll hear about replacement content at Dreamforce, but Lightning Data suggests they are leaving B2B DaaS to partner companies.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Artesian Solutions CEO Andrew Yates and discuss topics including how they fit into the sales intelligence space and being “customer curious.” Artesian provides a social selling solution for the UK, US, and Canada. Their sales intelligence is delivered via a web browser, Salesforce.com, and their Ready mobile app.
Michael: How do you view yourself versus firms in the sales intelligence space?
Andrew: I had a chat with [CEO] Henry [Schuck] from DiscoverOrg just recently. It took us a while to realize that we didn’t really compete with DiscoverOrg. We might compete for share of wallet. Certainly, some of the words on the website are saying [similar things]. Fundamentally, we’re two different types of organizations.
I think there are companies that make data, curate data, sell access to curated data. I would include in addition to DiscoverOrg, RainKing and InsideView.
I talked to Henry. I said, “Somebody would buy your service because they would want to get the inside track on when the projects are coming up, on particular types of initiatives. Who’s who in the zoo? What’s their phone number and email address?” The stimulus would be, “I’m contacting you to talk to you about this project on which I can help you.” [That’s] The bit where we take over guiding the conversations which follow over the remainder of the sales cycle, we can do that.
We use natural language processing, machine-based learning and AI to take data from people who already aggregate it. Then we take it through our own process because there isn’t anything out there that has anything like the superior capabilities we’ve got around topic classification, tagging, and all the things that go with our value proposition. As I said to Henry, “We’re never really going to compete directly because we’ve got no intention of hiring a bunch of people to build various specific data.”
I think he’s on fire at the moment…In the States, there’s a real shortage of quality contact insight. Where we take over is where DiscoverOrg leaves off. At the point where you’ve identified an opportunity in a customer and then you want to build that relationship and keep that relationship going over time not just maybe sell them one product or service but sell them multiple products or services and keep going back. That’s the area we’re really, really good at.
Michael: Okay. Right, so basically being aware of what’s going on in that organization and maintaining the relationship.
Andrew: Yes. That’s why we look for organizations, customers that we sell to who have a relationship management model at their heart. This “customer curious” concept came from one of our customers, NetApp. The chap that was running Europe came up with the phrase. He drew me this picture and said, “There’s three ways we can differentiate ourselves in the market. We can differentiate ourselves with products,” he said. “And NetApp’s got the same product that three or four other companies have got. We can do it with price, but that’s a race to the bottom or we can do it with service. We want to do it with service, and we want to be the best. The best company in this space. We can have a product that is good or better than anyone else’s, but we’ll differentiate ourselves by being customer curious.”
There’s nothing like getting inspiration for where your headed from a customer.
Michael: This topic is near and dear to Salesforce CEO Mark Benioff: being customer obsessed.
Andrew: Yes. Being customer obsessed is where we try to complement Mark Benioff’s vision. The Salesforce platform is an excellent system of record, and I think people buy CRM expecting it to help them sell, and it does. It helps them sell by getting more organized and orchestrated with the customer at the center, but it’s not a system of engagement. That’s really where we feel we come in as a complement and supplement to that system of record.
The interview will wrap up on Monday with a discussion of how Artesian maintains a very high engagement rate amongst its users.
A few months ago, Salesforce.com purchased team productivity tool Quip. This month’s Dreamforce show was SFDC’s first opportunity to broadly promote Quip and their vision of productivity tools. Quip’s mission is to “change the way people work together,” according to Quip CEO Bret Taylor. Unfortunately, “the way that all of our teams work has completely shifted over the past decade, but the tools we use at work just haven’t kept up.”
The “path forward” is away from email attachments, meetings, and continuous monitoring of email inboxes. Taylor was the CTO at Facebook when it transformed from a browser platform to a mobile first platform. As this transformation took place, he realized that Facebook users were enjoying cutting edge apps running on a mobile phone while the state of the art inside the company was working with 8 ½ x 11 virtual documents and attaching them to email. When founding Quip, he threw out the “preconceived notions” around productivity software and asked “what would productivity software look like in a decade if you were to start from scratch” if you designed it around mobility and communication?
One of the problems with building such a tool was that productivity has been defined by Microsoft and its Office Suite and has been framed by this unitary vision for decades. They concluded that the goal of productivity tools was to “enhance communications.” Thus, typewriters let anyone set copy and photocopiers let anyone run a printing press. Likewise, the Office Suite digitized communication tools that already existed (e.g. typed documents to Word, overhead slides to PowerPoint, calculators to Excel). Email then made it easier to attach virtual documents and transmit them globally in milliseconds.
But with the smartphone, productivity has failed to keep up. Users have shifted to thumb typing emails on their phone instead of using productivity tools. “All of us have willingly given up thirty years of R&D in the word processor to thumb type emails for one simple reason: it’s more important that the recipient of what you’re writing can click reply than that you have footnotes or fonts. Communication is the most important feature of productivity and that’s why communication is the foundation of Quip.”
The goal of Quip was to avoid email entirely, otherwise they would simply be creating another attachment file type. “Quip combines communication and writing in a single integrated product experience so you can work and communicate with your team without going back to our email inbox.”
Quip allows multiple simultaneous editors on any device with a chat thread attached to each document,” said Taylor. “In Quip, that forty-email chain in making a decision is a shared document with a state of the decision right there for everyone to see. And all the conversation that went into that decision is attached to it.”
Quip is based on four key values:
Quip is built for teams with every feature “designed to move teamwork forward faster.”
Quip was designed mobile-first. While not all documents will be created on phones, they all will work on phones. “With Quip, you can truly run your company from your phone.”
Quip is deeply integrated with the Salesforce productivity cloud. A Lightning module allows Quip documents to be embedded within SFDC records so that “all of the spreadsheets, documents, and discussions about an opportunity are attached to the opportunity itself.” Salesforce fields can be pulled directly into documents and spreadsheets with automatic updating.
Quip is collaborative.
A customer survey found that Quip reduced daily meetings by 28%, cut time to project completion by 28%, lowered email communications by 32%, and raised team communication by 43%. The net was a 38% increase in team productivity.
Quip does not offer multiple tools, but instead provides a single app for mixing and matching checklists, spreadsheets, text, and images within a single canvas. An integrated checklist provides a meeting notes canvas with assigned tasks via @mentions. By tracking actions within the meeting notes, follow-up meetings are reduced.
Spreadsheets are embedded within documents such that “documents don’t need to be a separate file attachment that can live right in the context of the project you are working on. And the data in spreadsheets isn’t trapped within a spreadsheet. You can reference the data from spreadsheets inside of your document,” said Taylor. “And it means that you can have an executive summary that automatically updates when the finance folks update the spreadsheet. It’s a really connected platform.”
And because each document includes an integrated conversation, teams can work entirely within the document without returning to their email.
Quip is priced at $30 per month for a team of 5 and $10 per month for each additional person. The Enterprise edition is priced at $25 per user per month.
Quip customers include Facebook, Electronic Arts, Ultimate Software, Instagram, CNN, Snapchat, Airbnb, and Pinterest.