Benioff Dreamforce Keynote

Salesforce CEO Mark BenioffSalesforce CEO Mark Benioff has long taken a stakeholders’ approach to his business, understanding that technology firms can do both good and evil.  Unlike many of the social media companies which are now beginning to understand the dangers of taking a laissez-faire approach to how others use their technology, Benioff has ensured that his enterprise cloud company takes an affirmative action towards social justice, equality, and the ethical application of his firm’s technology.

Eighteen years ago, he started the 1:1:1 campaign (1% of product, time, and resources) to nonprofits and philanthropic purposes.  At Dreamforce and World Tour events, the firm regularly promotes local nonprofits and holds sessions for them.  The firm has also taken stands against discriminatory legislation and adjusted salaries to ensure gender pay equity.  Benioff is calling for “inclusive capitalism” which benefits all members of society and recently created an Office of Ethical and Humane Use of their technology.

Here is what Benioff had to say at this year’s Dreamforce (abridged):

What is really important to us? what is the most important thing what are our values? What are we going to stand for? What do we really want?…

We’re watching…for companies who are not listening to their key stakeholders, not listening to their customers, not listening to their employees, not listening to the kids…Then we watch the executives walk out. The employees walk out.  The customers walk out as a vote of no-confidence against their values and as a community we stand here and we say we are going to commit to a higher level.  We are going to a higher level together to express our values.  We know what the most important thing is to us and in this community and we’ve said it for years and we’ll say it again:  Our culture is built on trust – The fundamental trust that we have with you; the fundamental trust that we have with our key stakeholders, with our customers, with our employees, with our partners.

Our trust is with you and we take that very seriously.  It’s our highest value and we ask every company to ask what is your highest value and in the world when technology is taking us over and in a world where technology through the Fourth Industrial Revolution is grabbing us, realize that we all have a higher responsibility to ask that question especially you see the gambits that are unfolding really before us. Especially as artificial intelligence gets released into the whole world we must ask this question, “What is truly important to us?”…

We realize technology is not good or bad, it’s what you do with it that matters…We’ve restructured our company to have an Office of Ethical and Humane Use of the technology so that as our employees or our customers or our partners say “Are we doing this? Are we aligned with our values? Are we moving forward?”

We can have a structured conversation not just with our own employees myopically but by bringing in the key advisors and supporters and pundits and philosophers and everybody necessary…to ask the question, “Is what we are doing today ethical and humane?” and we’re all gonna have to ask that question in the technology industry and every company and every CEO better be ready to answer to that question through their values.

And we’re putting our values into action because our values create our behaviors…

We believe we have to bring everyone in.  Everyone has to come in to the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It’s inclusive capitalism.  Inclusive capitalism means we’re all going together into the future.  We are leaving no one behind. Nobody will be left.

 

 

Dreamforce Keynote: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

One of the key themes of Dreamforce 2017 was the ability of companies to customize the branding and content within Salesforce clouds via "clicks, not code."
One of the key themes of Dreamforce 2017 was the ability of companies to customize the branding and content within Salesforce clouds via “clicks, not code.”

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.”

IDC CRM Market Share (Courtesy: Salesforce 2017)
IDC CRM Market Share (Courtesy: Salesforce 2017)

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.


This was the beginning of my weekly newsletter coverage on Dreamforce.  Please contact me if you’d like a free trial subscription.

Dun & Bradstreet Announces Deal with SFDC for Data.com Transition

 

Optimizer for Salesforce supports Account Segmentation by Revenue, Employees, Industry, and Location.
Optimizer for Salesforce supports Account Segmentation by Revenue, Employees, Industry, and Location.

For the past nine months, there has been great ambiguity around the future of Data.com, a pair of AppExchange services which combine the old Jigsaw contact file with Dun & Bradstreet account and industry intelligence.  Salesforce has remained mum throughout with Dun & Bradstreet providing details on their earnings calls.

Dun & Bradstreet CEO Bob Carrigan announced that Dun & Bradstreet and Salesforce will be offering a path forward for Data.com clients. In August, Salesforce Data.com stopped offering D&B content for new clients, but legacy clients continued to receive D&B WorldBase, Hoovers, and First Research insights. However, the long-term direction of Data.com remained ambiguous as service revenues declined due to “natural attrition.” Carrigan announced that the two firms have agreed on a transition plan to migrate Data.com customers to D&B Hoovers and the new D&B Optimizer for Salesforce.

D&B Hoovers represents a significant upgrade for Data.com Prospector customers as they will receive deeper global company and contact coverage than before. Users will have access to a deeper set of global contacts, a broader set of screening variables, and company intelligence including financials, filings, SWOTs, news, sales triggers, and alerts.

Optimizer for Salesforce will launch next week at Dreamforce where Dun & Bradstreet will have a larger presence than in previous years. Product specifics were not provided on the call, but some details were posted on the AppExchange Lightning Data site. D&B Optimizer offers a data management dashboard, account record matching using DUNSMatch logic across eighty variables, segmentation analysis (revenue, employees, industry and location), family tree linkage opportunities, duplicate record management, and out of business flagging.  Updates are made every fifteen days.

D&B Optimizer creates “virtual corporate family trees”
D&B Optimizer creates “virtual corporate family trees”

Optimizer for Salesforce is listed at $22 per user per month, $3 less than Data.com Clean.  It is currently available in the US and UK.

“For organizations to grow, they need actionable and complete data across the entire business to ensure that timely and informed decisions are being made.  D&B Optimizer for Salesforce provides Salesforce customers the ability to get the data they want, when and where they need it, directly within their Salesforce instance. This leads to increased productivity and, ultimately, growth for their businesses.”

  • Derek Slayton, General Manager of Sales and Marketing LOB, Dun & Bradstreet

Not only will Salesforce assist with transitioning clients, but they will also be referring prospects to Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet will recognize the full revenue from these products and own the customer relationships going forward, providing them with greater control over the product, increased revenue, and an end to their disintermediated status on the AppExchange.

According to Dun & Bradstreet CFO Richard Veldran, Salesforce revenue is “in the neighborhood of $50 million, because they’re not selling new on their side.” In the short term, that revenue will decline due to “natural attrition.” However, as customers are converted to D&B solutions, the firm will no longer be on a revenue share basis with Salesforce, resulting in in a revenue upswing.  It should be noted, though, that subscription revenue is ratable over the term of the contract so there will be a delay in this revenue recognition.

To Become a System of Intelligence, SFDC is Getting Serious about Data.com

Data.com Prospecting Insights Financial Details from Dun & Bradstreet.
Data.com Prospecting Insights Financial Details from Dun & Bradstreet.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Salesforce.com is evolving towards a System of Intelligence.  At her Data.com Keynote at Dreamforce, VP of Product Marketing Michelle Huff noted that CRM has been evolving from a system of record to a system of engagement.  This involves not only reducing data entry, but evolving CRM for mobile, social, and account maintenance.  The next evolutionary step is becoming a system of intelligence which supports account planning, account awareness, and recommendations from within the CRM.

Historically, sales reps have conducted most of their account research outside of the CRM, but Data.com is adding additional Dun & Bradstreet datasets to deliver account intelligence within SFDC.  These information sets move CRM from being a reactive tool for selling to a proactive tool for customer intelligence.  Insights include account targets, task prioritization, and alerts.

At the base of customer intelligence is good data.  If your system of record is out of date or filled with gaps, your insights will be limited or inaccurate.  “intelligence just becomes less intelligent,” said Huff.  “Recommendations will be great, but just not as helpful.”  For example, leads will be passed to the wrong rep if sizing and industry data is missing.

According to Data.com Senior Director of Marketing Beth Fitzpatrick, data quality is the number one reason that CRM implementations fail.  Data.com addresses this problem through both a Clean service for maintaining data quality and Prospector for list building and account planning.  She also noted the value of a high quality referential data source such as the Dun & Bradstreet account file.  “When you leverage the D-U-N-S Numbers as a kind of identifier across your system, it allows you to organize and structure that data…you have that index, kind of keeping things in order.”

Christoph Gerz, Director of Global Sales Operations at Polycom noted that after standardizing on Data.com, 90% of his pipeline is DUNSRight matched from a dollar perspective.  Prior to Data.com, there was no standardization on company names and addresses.  They also lacked firmographic and linkage data.

Jennifer Taylor, SVP of Product Development, began by stating, “we can’t create time for you, but we can create intelligence in our system that will hopefully make you more effective and more productive and enable you to cover more ground in less time.”

According to Data.com, the pillars of improved sales productive come from being able to

  • Discover the Best Opportunities
  • Prioritize Your Prospects
  • Understand Your Customers Better

I would argue that this list of requirements is too narrow and should also include

  • Monitor your Customers and Prospects Better
  • Sell Deeper into the Organization

Data.com has omitted these two as they do not offer significant monitoring, organizational research, or relationship management tools, though this weakness is beginning to change.  The new SalesforceIQ for Sales addresses some of the relationship tools through its who knows who feature and email mining to prevent customer and prospect requests from slipping between the cracks.  The addition of the Dun & Bradstreet family tree to Data.com in Winter 2016 (classic version only) is another step towards addressing these gaps.

Data.com has implemented a series of enhancements over the past year.  Whereas it was a somewhat ignored platform for the prior few years, Salesforce has increased its investment in both content and functionality through an extension of the Dun & Bradstreet partnership:

d1

“We have to ensure that you have a solid foundation of data, that that foundation of data continues to be enriched and stay clean.  So we’re constantly expanding our data sets, improving our data quality, religiously helping you manage your dupes, providing you scalability so we grow as your business grows and then always making sure that everything we build, of course, is API first so you can integrate it into any workflow or process that you use within your system,” said Taylor.

Prospecting Insights was released this summer and provided broader business details, industry and competitive intelligence, and call prep questions.  The extended company intelligence is from Dun & Bradstreet with the call prep content written by First Research editors and the competitors lists assembled by Hoover’s editors.

“One of the things we talk a lot about at Salesforce is customer love.  The first step to love is knowledge…and Prospecting Insights aims to give you that intelligence.” — Jennifer Taylor, SVP of Product Development

Winter 2016 brings the Dun & Bradstreet family tree, Recommended Accounts (cloning your top customers), Lead Appending which adds firmographics to incoming leads, and Clean Enhancements including perpetual update and geocoding.  All of these items are listed as beta or pilot in Winter 2016 so will hit general availability later in the year.

The Dun & Bradstreet family trees are global in scope and include location, sizing, and ownership type (e.g. Headquarters, Branch, Division).

The Dun & Bradstreet Family Tree (beta) supports one-click addition of new Account records.
The Dun & Bradstreet Family Tree (beta) supports one-click addition of new Account records.

If a location is currently within SFDC, a green flag is displayed along with the account owner’s name.

By scrolling over and clicking on any location, it is immediately added as an account and assigned to the rep.

Trees are collapsible at the node level so users can hide divisions that are of little interest.

They plan on additional features in future releases including white space analysis and performing account and opportunity analysis.

The Recommended Accounts feature is a black box prospecting engine that utilizes customer win / loss information to identify companies similar to the reps’ top customers.  Data.com states that Recommended Accounts is “based on your past successes.  Our algorithm learns from your Salesforce data to find accounts similar to those you have closed.  Accounts are listed in ranked order, those at the top have the greatest possibility of success.”  Reps can then filter the results to further refine the list (e.g. limit recommendations to headquarters) and then select proposed accounts to be added to SFDC with one click.

The description sounds fairly rudimentary as it basically looks at basic firmographic variables to find “good adjacent, highly probable opportunities.”  It should not be confused with predictive analytics features that look at thousands of Business Signals matched against an Ideal Profile.

Lead enrichment provides web form enrichment based on two fields, name and email.  Data.com then appends firmographics and phone information to the record based upon the email domain.

And since firmographics and linkage are derived from Dun & Bradstreet, leads are properly routed to the appropriate rep and the lead is given a quality and priority score.

Only a high level slide was provided on their roadmap, but it included market analysis, customer analysis, news, financials, account prioritization, and significant event alerts.  Several of last year’s announcements went unremarked including the Thomson Reuters partnership and third party services (Data.com Connect and the Data.com Exchange).  The third party services no longer appear to have their own mini-site with Data.com sending customers and prospects to the Data Apps on the AppExchange.

For a long time, Data.com was simply the Dun & Bradstreet WorldBase file sold by SFDC reps.  It was strong on brand but weak on content and functionality.  It now appears that Salesforce is getting serious about Data.com.