Salesforce told its Data.com Connect customers that the product will no longer be available as of May 4, 2019. As such, the firm will not renew any customers after May 3rd of this year, and users will not be able to license any points, contacts, or plans after May 3rd. However, users will be able to earn points through community updates through the expiration of the product. While Salesforce has not announced shutdown dates for the native Salesforce Data.com Clean and Prospector offerings, their shutdown is “currently targeted for some time in 2020.”
Data.com Connect contacts data will continue to “used in the maintenance of the Data.com Clean and Prospector products,” said the firm. “After the Data.com end-of-life is complete, the contact database may be archived by Salesforce.”
Data.com Connect is the successor to Jigsaw, which the firm acquired in 2010 for $142 million. Connect Members either purchased plans or earned points through adding and maintaining records within Connect. After acquiring the database, Salesforce realized that Jigsaw company data was too weak to be sold and partnered with D&B (now Dun & Bradstreet) to deliver the WorldBase company file alongside Jigsaw contacts. This partnership was in place until early 2017 when SFDC announced the end of the licensing relationship. Legacy customers continue to receive Data.com WorldBase account data, but the firm is encouraging clients to evaluate Lightning Data partnership offerings from Dun & Bradstreet, Bombora (intent), HG Data (technographics), DataFox, Clearbit, MCH (healthcare), and InsideView.
Future Lightning Data partners include Thomson Reuters, Aberdeen (technographics), Datanyze (technographics), Compass, and Equifax.
“We’ve built a powerful, flexible set of capabilities into the Salesforce platform we call the Lightning Data Engine. It uses sophisticated matching algorithms and machine learning to make it easy to implement and deliver strategic data and insights from trusted, third-party sources. Lightning Data apps give customers next-level data quality, enabling them to create more intelligent processes built on better, more targeted data, which improves CRM user adoption and ROI. Best of all, seamless integration requires minimal ongoing maintenance, and makes data readily available on any device without IT involvement.”
Dun & Bradstreet said that it expects Data.com revenues to decline 30% in 2018. The announcement that the Data.com Prospector and Clean products will be shuttered in 2020 is likely to expedite the revenue wind down.
I attended the Salesforce World Tour Event in Boston yesterday and came away a bit underwhelmed. I’ve attended it for the past four or five years, so that may be part of the reason I didn’t stay for the full day.
In attending, I had several topics top of mind:
What is the future of Data.com? Will it be phased out and when? If they are attriting 30% of their revenue this year (a Dun & Bradstreet estimate), how are they guiding their customers to AppExchange solutions in lieu of Data.com?
How is Einstein being infused into their Sales Cloud? How are they ensuring that Einstein Insights are based on accurate and timely data?
What is the future of SalesforceIQ CRM technology (it is being decommissioned in 23 months)?
Meeting with Sales and Marketing Intelligence vendors on the floor.
I stopped by several of their sales and platform booths, but nobody had any answers on Data.com. This is the second year in a row in which there was no mention of data or the future of B2B prospecting, data enrichment, or sales intelligence at the event. Salesforce has never been much of a data company. They botched Data.com from Jigsaw acquisition through decommission. A few months after announcing a detailed roadmap at Dreamforce, they cancelled their Dun & Bradstreet content partnership in early 2017.
But if you are going to build analytics into your platform, license the iconic Einstein name for it, and tout it as an enabling technology for all of your clouds, then maybe you should have a strategy for ensuring that Einstein Insights are based upon quality data.
I did get to see a quick demo of Einstein Insights for the Sales Cloud. It provides lead scoring with recommendations so a sales rep can see whether a lead is likely to convert (or other goals) and review the top reasons for the score. It even goes so far as to recommend additional contacts but fails to justify those names. It appeared the names were mined using the SalesforceIQ technology, but all that was demonstrated was the name — no title, level, or reason to reach out to that individual. Salesforce is on the right track here but needs to expand its explanations for lead scores to its contact recommendations.
As to sales and marketing intelligence, there was only one vendor on the floor — Zoominfo. They were demonstrating their new Clean and Complete services for Salesforce. Clean provides batch account, contact, and lead record enrichment while Complete provides account, contact, and lead record appends during data entry and batch upload. Due to the depth of the Zoominfo database, the Complete service has an 80% account match rate and a 65% contact match rate.
Both services support custom mapping. Pricing is based upon record volume.
The keynote lacked the energy of prior years when Keith Block, COO, performed the duties. While Sarah Franklin, EVP of Developer Relations did a fine job, Block is from Boston and made sure the event was localized. Missing this year were sports heroes (e.g. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick) and the Drop Kick Murphys. If you want to wake up a 10:00 AM keynote, the Drop Kicks and their Irish punk are a great way to do so.
I’m a sailor peg
And I’ve lost my leg
Climbing up the top sails
I’ve lost my leg!
I’m shipping up to Boston, whoa…
“I’m Shipping up to Boston,” Drop Kick Murphys
There was a presentation on Year Up (an inner city business training program) with a local success story, but the 75 minutes were basically rehashed Dreamforce partner videos and content with a focus on B2C. Even the B2B example, 21st Century Fox, was equally a promo for “Dead Pool 2” and other Fox properties as it was a demo of Quip and its marketing and project management tools. The distributor relations aspect of the story was a bit light.
So let’s bring back Keith Block next year and expand the exhibition space. The Hynes Exhibitor Floor was too crowded, too hot, and too noisy.
I don’t mean to grouse. Salesforce is a terrific company. They have a strong social mission, a market leading product, and an ability to keep things fun. It’s just that this year didn’t match prior Boston events, and the company has diversified into so many clouds and capabilities that the Sales Cloud and Sales Partner solutions get crowded out.
Salesforce announced another “beat and raise” quarter last week with strong revenue growth across all of its clouds and regions. Their Q4 earnings hit $2.85 billion, up 24% year-over-year (21% in constant currency). For the full year, revenues rose 25% (24% in constant currency) to $10.48 billion. SFDC has a three-year compound average growth rate (CAGR) of 25% with revenue nearly doubling over the period. Growth has been so rapid that their Q4 2018 revenue was more than their full FY 2014.
Salesforce claims it was the fastest enterprise software company to reach $10 billion in revenue and will be the fastest to hit $20 billion.
CEO Marc Benioff attributed ongoing growth to a number of factors including its sales team which drove a “blowout quarter,” lauding the “performance of that organization and their acuity.” Other factors included a growing set of CEO-level relationships, an “incredible increase in investment activity” fueled by the recent US corporate tax cuts, and digital transformation:
It doesn’t matter if they’re a consumer product goods company CEO or financial services or retail or any industry or any geography. Every CEO is thinking about their digital transformation. And I think you and I know that every digital transformation begins and ends with the customer.
This is very powerful. And it’s why we have so much activity in our company. Of course, we’re the number one customer company in the world. No other company in the history of the software industry has been as focused on customer-relationship management, but how companies can have a customer transformation at Salesforce.
And this, and this alone, focus, has accelerated our growth. You can see that in the numbers. So certainly, how we finished our year in fiscal year 2018 is not where we thought we would start. We raised guidance I think almost in each and every quarter, and yet we still ended up above that. And that’s why we’ve raised again here $150 million. This is the most we’ve ever raised in the history of the company, because we’re just ahead of where we thought we would be
So, we are, obviously $10 billion is now behind us, and $20 billion is ahead of us. And it’s our dream, we’re going to be the fastest to $20 billion.
But when you have $20 billion already on and off the balance sheet, you know that that is – we’re a huge step on the way there. So that’s what I couldn’t be more excited about the position the company is in, its competitiveness, its ability to perform, the quality of its customer relationships, the quality of the products, the integration of the acquisitions, the culture, Fortune number 1 best place to work. All of these things have come together in just a really beautiful way, and I’m extremely grateful.
Salesforce has several other factors fueling its growth: The annual Dreamforce event drew 170,000 attendees last year, the firm has a clear social mission that resonates well with millennial employees (and now decision makers), and it was an early mover into cloud computing, mobile-first design, IoT, partner ecosystems (AppExchange), and artificial intelligence.
Finally, being cloud only, the firm does not have to fight a rear-guard action to retain enterprise clients as they migrate to the cloud. So while SAP and Oracle must fight to retain their customer base as companies make the leap to the cloud, Salesforce is there to poach their new clients.
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.