Salesforce has a leading market position in customer relationship management (CRM) space and aims to develop its core competencies and technological expertise to offer its customer a wide range of CRM solutions.
Salesforce is focusing largely on acquiring companies to strengthen its product portfolio. The company makes investments in early- to late-stage technology and professional cloud service companies worldwide to support its business initiatives. Recently, in July 2019, the company acquired Tableau in an all-stock deal for a whopping $15.7 billion. Tableau is Salesforce’s most expensive acquisition to date and topping last year’s $6.5 billion acquisition of MuleSoft. Prior to this, in October 2018, Salesforce acquired Rebel, a startup that develops interactive email services for businesses to improve their direct marketing services. In mid-2018, the CRM company bought Datorama, an Israeli cloud-based AI marketing company, for $800 million. Datorama leverages AI and Machine Learning to offer marketing intelligence and analytics for marketing campaigns and strategies.
In February 2017, Salesforce acquired a San Francisco and New York-based user experience design agency Sequence that works with several brands like Best Buy, Peets, Apple, Google and many more. Before that, the company, in June 2016, acquired Demandware, a cloud-based provider of e-commerce service to big and small businesses, for $2.8 billion. The purpose of this acquisition was to spearhead a new business division – The Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Salesforce also acquired data-management platform Krux for $700 million in October 2016. This acquisition opens way for Salesforce to provide its customers with uniquely tailored solutions for its Salesforce Marketing Cloud platform, which already includes social and audience tools, among other things.
In April 2016, Salesforce took MetaMind, a Palo Alto-based AI startup founded in July 2014. With this acquisition, Salesforce had the plan to utilize its technology to further automate and personalize customer support, marketing automation, and many other business processes. Also, it was reported at that time that MetaMind will extend Salesforce’s data science capabilities by embedding deep learning within the Salesforce platform. Moving more prior to this, the company also bought PredictionIO, a startup based out of Palo Alto that had developed an open source-based machine learning server, in February 2016.
MinHash, a startup based in Palo Alto co-founded by two data science engineers formerly with eBay and Avaya and creators of the AILA virtual marketing assistant, also taken by Salesforce in December 2015. And the same year in July, Salesforce acquired Paris-based Kerensen Consulting, a business-oriented consulting firm that is able to define and manage projects with strong business challenges and major technological complexity in a national and international context, for $24.2 million.
With all these acquisitions, Salesforce boosts the capabilities of its platform and service offerings, increasing the ecosystem of enterprise cloud companies and partners, accelerating the adoption of cloud technologies and creating the next-gen AI, mobile applications and connected products.
Forging Strategic Partnerships
Salesforce entered into several key strategic alliances that boost the development of new technologies and solutions. For instance, in March 2017, Salesforce entered another partnership with IBM to deliver joint solutions to leverage artificial intelligence and enable companies to make smarter decisions, faster than ever before. The company has also a collaboration with Dell Technologies that it teamed up in May 2017. With this partnership, Dell Technologies expanded the use of Salesforce’s market-leading sales, service, and marketing applications and CRM platform, made smarter by Einstein artificial intelligence, to thousands of Dell Technologies employees worldwide, enabling them to deliver even greater customer success.
In September 2015, Salesforce and Microsoft Corp. announced plans to extend their strategic partnership to connect the Salesforce Customer Success Platform to Microsoft Office productivity apps and services. The partnership aimed to deliver new solutions that integrate Salesforce with Skype for Business, OneNote, Delve and Windows 10 to empower companies to connect with their customers and collaborate more effectively.
As part of its business strategy, Salesforce periodically makes partnerships with key players in the marketplace for future growth.
Strong R&D to Drive Innovation in Product Development
Salesforce makes extensive use of its research and development capabilities and has come up with several new products. The company launched a Salesforce Einstein Analytics, in June 2017, which delivers advanced analytics for millions of CRM users. Einstein Analytics adds a layer of artificial intelligence to the entire analytics workflow, automatically surfacing CRM insights and recommending actions to accelerate sales, improve customer service and optimize marketing campaigns.
Salesforce’s other product developments include Salesforce App Cloud that the company announced in September 2015. Salesforce App Cloud is the next evolution of the Salesforce1 Platform, which integrates the platform services. It is typically known for Force, Heroku Enterprise and Lightning, with a new shared identity, data and network services that enable CIOs to deliver connected apps for any business need. App Cloud’s platform services include Trailhead, a new interactive learning environment for all Salesforce app creators, and the AppExchange, the largest enterprise app marketplace in the world.
Salesforce’s technology and product efforts are largely focused on enhancing and advancing the features, functionality, performance, availability, and security of its existing service offerings, along with developing new features, and services and integrating businesses, services and technologies from partnerships and acquisitions.
Salesforce’s growth strategies lie in investments by focusing on Cross-Selling and Upselling, extending existing service offerings, reducing customer attrition, expanding and strengthening the partner ecosystem, international expansion, targeting vertical industries, expanding into new horizon markets, extending go-to-market capabilities, promoting strong customer adoption, and encouraging the development of third-party applications on the company’s cloud computing platform. Salesforce’s continued success highly relies on its ability to maintain and enhance its brands.
Standing Tall Among Competitors
Salesforce is not alone in this space and several competitors may challenge the company. The current competitors of Salesforce, include: Vendors of packaged business software, along with companies providing enterprise apps delivered through on-premises offerings from enterprise software application vendors and cloud computing application service providers; Software companies that offer their product or service free of cost, and only charge a premium for advanced features and functionality; Internally developed enterprise applications; Marketing vendors, which may be specialized in advertising, targeting, messaging, or campaign automation; E-commerce solutions from established and emerging cloud-only vendors and established on-premises vendors; Integration software vendors, integration service providers and API management providers; Traditional platform development environment companies and cloud computing development platform companies who may develop toolsets and products to enable customers to develop new apps that run on the customers’ current infrastructure or as hosted services; IoT platforms from large companies that have existing relationships with hardware and software companies; and Artificial intelligence solutions from new startups and established companies.
In brief, Salesforce is a global leader in customer relationship management (CRM) technology, empowering companies to improve and enhance their relationships and interactions with customers. The company introduced its first CRM solution in 2000, and since then have expanded its service offerings with new editions, features and platform capabilities. Salesforce core mission is to strengthen its clients of every size and industry to connect with their customers in new ways through existing and emerging technologies including cloud, mobile, social, IoT and AI technologies.