Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry
Marc Benioff, Carlye Adler
How did salesforce.com grow from a start up in a rented apartment into the world's fastest growing software company in less than a decade? For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change. Showing how salesforce.com not only survived the dotcom implosion of 2001, but went on to define itself as the leader of the cloud computing revolution and spark a $46-billion dollar industry, Benioff's story will help business leaders and entrepreneurs stand out, innovate better, and grow faster in any economic climate.
In Behind the Cloud, Benioff shares the strategies that have inspired employees, turned customers into evangelists, leveraged an ecosystem of partners, and allowed innovation to flourish.
information and do not have to go through our PR department to connect with me. I continually keep in touch by sending them information that I think would be helpful to them. Developing these relationships has provided tremendous opportunities. Journalists immediately think of me as a resource for a quote or comment because they know that I will be available to offer fresh insight and meet their deadlines. Relationships engender trust so that when I send out a memo or comment, these journalists
far beyond—to rethink their models. It certainly has inspired new thinking at Dell. Over the past few years, we committed to making some fundamental changes. We needed to refocus on providing the best customer experience, and we wanted to scale far beyond the commodity game and rapidly increase innovation. I went to Marc, who always seemed to be a machine for new ideas, and asked him, “How can we innovate faster?” Marc told me about an internal networking technology they were using at
collaborate and share account information and leads with their corporate resellers, systems integrators, and other partners. For some companies, as much as 70 percent of their business is conducted through partner or channel sales, and they desperately needed a way to gain a 360-degree view across all their sales channels. This additional functionality allowed us to win customers that never looked at us before, such as Avaya. By giving customers what they needed, we were able to grow our business
and financial services companies) that we had used in other regions. We did, however, ultimately alter our centralized approach to better suit the Asia-Pacific market. Instead of basing the entire corporate sales organization in Singapore for the long term, we established corporate sales satellites, or “tentacles,” that reached into specific markets in order to recognize the diversity of the region and address the unique needs of these countries. After approximately eighteen months of working in
2008, http://www.nicholasgcarr.com/bigswitch/. 2 The Yankee Group. “Mid-Market CRM Total Cost of Ownership: Noodling the Numbers,” Customer Relationship Strategies, Vol. 3, No. 6, June 2001. 3 Gartner, Inc., “SaaS at the Forefront of the Consumerization of IT,” May 8, 2007, http://www.gartner.com/DisplayDocument?id=505054&ref=g_sitelink. Part 2 1 Don Clark, “Canceled Programs: Software Is Becoming an Online Service, Shaking Up an Industry—Users Tapping Applications on the Web Force Firms