Monday, 18 June 2018

What can you learn from the success of Salesforce CRM?

Simply put, to me it is like the twitter for diplomacy (read twiplomacy). Why this metaphor? Just as world leaders are utilizing Twitter for making a public announcement, engaging with their people, so do most businesses (small, mid or large) make use of highly customized offerings of Salesforce to manage and automate their CRM processes. That said, in my active job search mode, I happen to connect with a range of recruiters, employers, marketing professionals. One requirement that always pop-up is Salesforce experience.

What Twitter is to twiplomacy is what Salesforce is to New Age CRM

Sooner than later, I started looking up on YouTube - tutorials on Salesforce App Development, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, Salesforce Sales Cloud, etc. While I trained myself on Salesforce and got acquainted to various functions, I also tried to gather information on what is it about Salesforce that makes it a big requirement success?

Salesforce was launched in 1999, and within a span of five years Salesforce listed an IPO in NYSE and raised US$110 million. The platform is now a client base of 150,000+ businesses. It is not #1 CRM platform that brings artificial intelligence to business establishments. It offers solutions to manage sales, marketing, customer service, and more in one central location. It is interesting to see that Salesforce's primarily a B2B product company has an appeal to various structures including not-for-profit. A powerful statement placed on the Salesforce website reads as - (RED) is using Salesforce to achieve their goal of an AIDS-free generation by 2020 in Africa.

It appears all inclusive, however Salesforce has had its share of struggle. Some thoughts on what new age businesses can learn from the success of Salesforce are:
  1. Study the market and find inspiration. This is a common denominator of all successful businesses, they get to the root of problem their product solves. Salesforce’s first prototype was modeled on Amazon.com’s easy to use function. It started with an understanding that Amazon’s website creation offering can be extended to business application setup. CRM was particularly looked at because sales teams used to maintain their data in discreet files and this practice did not facilitate collaboration.
  2. Set a clear vision. Salesforce was founded in software as a service (SaaS) space in a one bedroom apartment next to Marc Benioff’s rented San Francisco house. The team of four including Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff and Frank Dominguez had vision of creating business software applications that eliminates the need for multi-million dollar up-front set up, implementation and maintenance costs.
  3. Focus on clients’ requirements. Customize your offering, your clientele is not likely to scrap their existing systems and make way for your product/offering. Salesforce’s Marc coined the term "platform as a service" and allowed application building on the company's architecture or on Salesforce cloud. Focus on specific problem/pain points and pitch your product. The goal for is to set a foot in the market by enabling your product making sense to the client. Furthermore, security and data rights are not retained by Salesforce giving no room of conflict to clients.
  4. Stay a step ahead and make proactive adjustments as per market trends. In March 1999, Salesforce outlined its mission in a controversial marketing statement as "The End of Software”, as an answer to 2K crisis. Created and nurtured human connections through events like Dreamforce, Ohana. Came out with revolutionary products such as AppExchange, On-demand programing language Apex and Visualforce. It expanded the scope of offering through Salesforce Marketing cloud in 2012, launched its app on 2013 to attend to on-the-go requirement, adopted a new look in 2015 and has been nurturing its AI capabilities from 2016. One constant in these developments is that Salesforce has been proactive towards the demands of the time. 
  5. Allow a healthy conversation and make way for skepticism. Salesforce allows its developers community to be skeptical and the skepticism paves way to push the limits of the product. The Salesforce platform development is continuously moving to new capabilities. This also allows various clients' use cases to be accommodated in the functions offered by Salesforce platform.
The points listed above are more appropriate in business-to-business (B2B) setting, while I feel similar points can be befitting for most leading technology companies, they tuned their offerings as per the market demand. Should you wish to add your feedback, please do so in the comment section below, or write to me on shinekapoor@gmail.com

Insight and Point of View: Authored by Shine Kapoor

Disclaimer: I am not associated with the companies mentioned in this post and I track them out of personal interest.

References: Salesforce.com | Why Salesforce Is Winning The Cloud Platform War | Forbes.com | What Is So Hot about Salesforce? (CRM) | 5 lessons to be learned from salesforce.com for any subscription business | A Brief History Of Salesforce.com

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