The goal of an enterprise CRM (Customer Relation Management) platform is to manage a company’s interactions with their present and future customers. Back in the early 90’s, CRM companies were offering expensive softwares to enterprise users, which they had to monetarily manage from start to finish. However, Marc Russell Benioff had a change savvy vision to create a Software as a Service (SaaS) CRM model for customers who will be charged as per software usage only.
This new approach faced severe backlash from venture capitalists and investors who ridiculed his idea at that time. However, he remained determined towards his vision and did not falter. Marc invested his personal funds which he had obtained from his investments in Siebel Systems, Inc. Salesforce.com was brought to life from a nutshell of an idea, transformed later into a revolutionary one.
Following mentioned is a milestone journey of Salesforce.com from humble beginnings to a skyrocketing dynasty.
Telegraph Hill, San Francisco (1999)
In March, 1999 Salesforce took its first breath in a miniscule apartment located atop Telegraph Hill, Sanfranciso, USA, next to Marc Benioff’s apartment. Joining hands with Marc were Parker Harris, Frank Dominguez and Dave Moellenhoff with inspirational posters of the Dalai Lama, Albert Einstein and two dogs in their office backdrop.
After a decade of experience in Oracle, Benioff wanted to establish a CRM company which would offer CRM based services over the internet by utilizing central servers to store customers’ data rather than selling packaged software to businesses. In this way, he wanted to prevent enterprises in leveraging millions of dollars, otherwise required to purchase, implement and constantly upgrade the softwares. Marc, along with his three programmers developed the fundamental prototype within months, following the footsteps of Amazon.com. He wanted to replicate the similar easy accessibility, rapid availability and user friendly nature of Amazon’s over the internet program for his CRM platform.
In July 1999, Salesforce found a home at Rincon Center with 10 employees working full time in an eight thousand square foot office. With new developments and fructified ideas, Salesforce again relocated by November 2000 to One Market Street.
Dawn of the Millenium: Salesforce Enter in the Business Landscape (2000)
The millennium era marked the arrival of Salesforce, a power packed product developed by a highly skilled team at an upscale location.
Mark, who is known as the rookie and pitchman of sales and marketing, came up with a distinctive marketing campaign to introduce Salesforce to its audience. To depict a visual advertising presentation, the lower level of the Regency Theatre was transformed into a space, imitating the Enterprise Software as ‘Hell’ with stage actors shouting and screaming at the top of their lungs. Soon, after getting released from the cages and covering their way on dirt, the actors find Salesforce.com. This entire setting of the launch was publicly advertised under the heading of ‘No Software’.
In addition to that, the campaign also showcased a feisty fighter jet defeating a biplane. This fighter jet illustrated the technically blessed and futuristic software unlike its rival competitors. On the other hand, biplane represented the harrowing software industry unable to cater to the customer requirements.
Birth of Dreamforce (2003)
Salesforce’s City Tour was a regular symposium, lasting for a few hours held across the country. This event was used as a platform by the CRM solutions provider company to introduce their latest range of products and to understand the requirements from the target users. However, in 2003, Salesforce initiated a new event called Dreamforce which was attended by 1,000 registered participants. Sforce 2.0, the CRM industry’s first on-demand application service was launched at Dremforce.
Bringing Ohana Culture to Life at Salesforce (2004)
The Founder of Salesforce was highly impressed as well as inspired by the spirited nature of Hawaii. In June 2004, Marc threw a Hawaiian themed launch party to introduce Salesforce Ohana. He not only wanted to instill a free spirited work culture in his employees, but also the global community they have built. Marc also purchased its first office in Hawaii at the Rincon Centre.
Changing the World of Business Software Dynamics with AppExchange (2005)
Under the flagship of Salesforce, the innovative CRM company introduced AppExchange. Here, customers were given complete freedom to develop their own applications as per their requirements and also, make it available for other Salesforce user communities.
Logical Extension of Platform as a Service (PaaS) (2006)
Since the introduction of Dreamforce, the number of eager participants and business enthusiasts started escalating along with Salesforce product users and its avid followers. Apex was an on-demand programming language, allowing third party customers, for the first time, to inscribe and run code on Salesforce.com’s shared architecture. This reinforced users, partners and program developers to operate on the same language.
Parker Harris was one of the pioneer developers behind the success of Salesforce. Parker formulated a technology called Visualforce, permitting users to design interfaces, including buttons, forms, links and embed anything as per their personal liking and necessity. This technology opened doors to the Salesforce Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) called as Force.com. This futuristic program ran multiple times faster than the conventional programming methods. Big shots like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Thomson Reuters and Japan Post began using Force.com to build their custom applications.
Cloud Computing Opens Larger Avenues of Marketing (2012)
After enjoying a decade of successful innings, Salesforce till 2012 had managed to cover sales, service & PaaS platforms with Dreamforce playing a significant role. During the same time, Salesforce went on a shopping spree to acquire numerous companies related to their space and managed to reap tremendous benefits from them as well. By 2012, Cloud Computing arrived in the market with infinite opportunities and room full of advancements.
Ultimate Mobile Experience (2013)
With half of the world’s population using smart phones, Salesforce rolled out the Salesforce1 platform with a rationale to allow access to unlimited information available on the internet. Through this advanced platform, users can access other Salesforce products as well as AppExchange applications from the App store.
Age of Custom Makeover (2015)
Salesforce had managed to keep the look of its browser simple and hustle free for about 16 years. Owing to the advancements in marketing strategies and advertising, Salesforce launched The Lightning Experience with a focus on color schemes, eye catchy look and responsiveness of the app for revamping its brower appearance.
Impact of Artificial Intelligence (2016)
The 2016 Dreamforce summit showcased the launch of Einstein, offering advanced AI capabilities to sales, service and marketing along with the flexibility to build custom apps. The event was witnessed by 170,000 crowd in a 4 day conference with over 15 million additional viewers streaming through Salesforce Live.
Quip Collaboration Platform (2017)
The global CRM leader introduced the Quip Collaboration Platform, allowing teams to join forces and work effectively at a faster pace via one live document. Through Live Apps, records, calendars, kanban boards could be used. Moreover, Quip is equipped with workflow templates, pre-built Quip documents and spreadsheets for distinct industries, projects and functions, enabling teams to deliver productive outcomes.
Salesforce Essentials (2018)
In 2018, the team of Salesforce came up with an easy-to-use sales and service apps for small start-up companies through Essentials. The latest launch is powered by Salesforce Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning and AppExchange, which stores the user data over Cloud and cater to all the requirements of its clients. Essentials, is a blessing in disguise for entrepreneurs of small businesses and start-ups who can now maintain excellent customer relationships using this platform.
Over the last 19 years, Salesforce has managed to surpass its competitors by delivering an outstanding range of products one after the other. With resonating technology and its advancements, the business enterprises and customers have huge expectations from Mark Benioff as well as the Salesforce empire in the future.