- 0.1 How Did It Start?
- 0.2 Early Days Of Salesforce
- 0.3 The Breakthrough
- 0.4 The Role Of Steve Jobs
- 0.5 King Of The Cloud
- 1 Marc Benioff’s Lessons For Entrepreneurs
How Did It Start?
Salesforce started its journey from a tiny apartment in San Francisco. Marc Benioff had been a high potential employee at Oracle for thirteen years before he decided to start his own business at the age of 34.
He came with a clear vision that the future of software was no longer in selling installable software. Marc Chose to take his software online and present it as a service. He opted for software that streamlines customer contacts, the so-called customer relations management or CRM, and hired three software developers as co-founders of Salesforce.com.
Early Days Of Salesforce
Salesforce.com went live in 2000 at the height of the dotcom madness. His product went live with a mission ‘The End of Software’. As a small newcomer, it was important to make a lot of noise. And it succeeded in doing so. Benioff made a quasi-protest campaign of his message that software was dead, and the internet is the future, complete with demonstrators who set off with signs and slogans at events such as those of Siebel.
Thanks to their subscription model, Salesforce appealed to many companies from day one. A year after the start, it already had 1500 customers, 30,000 users, and a ten-person R&D department.
The number of customers and their size grew thanks to the disruptive innovation that Salesforce offered. Customers no longer had to pay in advance for annual licenses on software that requires substantial investments and a difficult installation in advance. They only needed a browser to access a user-friendly system that is always up to date.
For many, Salesforce was the first introduction to professional cloud software. As the product matured, large customers flocked to it. When Benioff entered the stock market in 2004, his company was already valued at more than a billion dollars.
The Role Of Steve Jobs
According to Benioff, Steve Jobs played a remarkable role in the success of Salesforce. Benioff started his career as a programmer at Apple’s Macintosh division. Since then Steve Job had been a guru and inspiration for Benioff.
“Without him, there would have been no Salesforce.com,” he said recently. He recalled how Jobs explained what Benioff had to do with Salesforce at the right time. It had to be ten times as big within two years. For that, it not only had to attract large customers but also create an ecosystem of applications. “What is that, an app ecosystem?” “No idea, but it’s high time you figured it out,” said Steve Jobs in his disciple’s memory.
In 2005 he launched Force.com, a development platform that allowed third parties to develop new applications that Salesforce users needed. Salesforce strengthened its own R&D department together with many salesforce partners. Salesforce Partners have the power to innovate with leading social, mobile, and cloud technologies and deliver value to the customer.
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King Of The Cloud
Today, Salesforce has risen from pioneer to king of the cloud, with more than one hundred thousand customers. Salesforce is at the top of Forbes’ list as the most innovative company in the world. It is also one of the fastest-growing software companies. According to Gartner, even overtaken SAP as the market leader in CRM software. More than 35,000 people now work at Salesforce.
Marc Benioff’s Lessons For Entrepreneurs
1. Dream Big
‘My vision was software that was easier to buy, easier to use and easier to install than the CD-ROMs of that time. Now our offer is called ‘Software as a Service’ and it is completely normal, but in our early days, software from the cloud was a dream in which I had to continue to believe. ‘
2. Take On Top Talent As If Your Life Depended On It
Benioff did not hire his brilliant team of software developers but asked them to start the company with him. Parker Harris is considered the most important genius and is still one of the leaders of Salesforce.com.
3. Determine The Culture And Values Of Your Company
‘At Apple, I learned that the secret to stimulating creativity and making the best possible product lies in keeping your people happy and satisfied. We walked in Hawaiian shirts, took our dog to work, and had a nice late breakfast in a restaurant around the corner. “
4. Limit Yourself To What Is Important
“We were able to build our first prototype within a month because we only implemented was most necessary” Our goal was to do it fast, simple, and right the first time. Of course, you always run out of time and people, therefore, concentrate on 20% of the work that makes 80% of the difference. “
5. Listen To Your Customers
‘From the outset, I invited friends and acquaintances to come and have a look in our apartment, which I called the laboratory. I wanted them to try the website and tell me how they liked it. From friends who worked at Cisco, I asked what they were disappointed with the then business software. That way we knew what Salesforce shouldn’t be. We also had the software tested very quickly by a company that used video recordings from users for this. “
6. Be Unconventional
‘That way of asking for feedback sounds like common sense, but it was completely unusual in the software industry. Creating a product that looks attractive and is pleasant to use was also not the rule with software. It is no coincidence that Steve Jobs’s products didn’t look like anything. Think differently in everything you do. “
7. Think bigger
‘We started in the dotcom period, in which companies were sold for huge amounts. At one point it was about Hotmail, which was sold for 400 million. “I wouldn’t have sold it for that, they really let a lot of money go,” I told one of my co-founders. He could not believe that I could think so big while we were so small. But then our size exploded, in dotcom style.