How Salesforce Made $10B and Why It's Now Aiming for $20B

Wednesday Aug 23rd 2017 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff details the core fundamentals beyond his firm's success.

Salesforce is one of the most successful companies in the history of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) technology and has just surpassed a major milestone. On Aug. 22, Salesforce announced record quarterly earnings as the company surpassed the $10 billion revenue run rate for the year.

For Salesforce's second quarter fiscal 2018, the company reported revenue of $2.56 billion for a 26 percent year-over-year gain. Looking forward the company increased its full year guidance for revenue to come in between $10.35 billion to $10.40 billion.

"We had our best quarter ever and we reached a huge milestone for the company," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said during his company's earnings call. "Now, Salesforce is the first enterprise cloud software company in the history of the industry to reach the $10 billion run rate. No competitor has pierced $10 billion this fast, not Oracle, not Microsoft and not SAP."

Ever the optimistic, Benioff is now setting his sights on hitting $20 billion in revenue, doubling the company's fortunes once again. During the call, Benioff provided some insight into how his company reached the $10 billion mark and why he's confident he can double it.

Benioff noted that two weeks ago he took his whole management team offsite to lay out the plan for what he called chapter three. Chapter one for Salesforce was the company's journey from zero to $1 billion, which is the subject of the book Behind the Cloud, which was published in 2009.

"We want to write a second book now for entrepreneurs of what we did from $1 billion to $10 billion," Benioff said. "We think that’s an important story that needs to be told. That’s certainly chapter two."

Chapter three is what's going on now, the journey from $10 to $20 billion.

Platform

A core part of Salesforce's success is how the company has focused on building a platform, rather than a product.

"We really built our platform in a way that let us build our core applications and let our customers extend them," Benioff said. "I don’t think a single customer has the same implementation of Salesforce and yet when we upgrade and update our software ,which we do three times a year, we don’t break these customizations."

Benioff emphasized that platforms are incredibly important because they let customers enhance their system in highly specialized way. The Salesforce platform includes the core platform which includes Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud platforms.

Customers

While technology matters, Benioff emphasized that what matters most is the emphasis on customer success.

"When you’re an enterprise software, you have to realize, it’s hard work, not everything is going to be perfect all the time and there are going to be problems," Benioff said. "That’s why being so committed to the customer is more important than ever and I think that's why you’re going to see extraordinary growth for years to come, because of this culture that’s really driving it forward."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at EnterpriseAppsToday and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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