I became aware of Salesforce a few years ago when working at the Technical Support department of a Technology company. We were utilizing the CRM back then in order to support our customers with a powerful ticketing system and a recently released Knowledge Base solution.
A few years passed after that first encounter with SF and we would be now placed in 2008; My second encounter with Salesforce was in the center of technology and its home town – San Francisco. In this occasion, and while I was living in the foggy city, I was still a regular user but whether this is a good sign or not and while I had been using the software for a few years without actually paying a lot of attention to all its capabilities, this time I came to see Salesforce from a different perspective – that of a person interested in successful technology businesses (which is something that happens when you are in a technology bubble like San Francisco and Silicon Valley); With Salesforce being among the fortune 500 companies, and with Investors willing to invest their capital on it, it was obvious that Salesforce was going to be big and bigger and bigger!
By 2010 Salesforce had grown their customer base from 1,500 customers in 2000 to 104,000 customers as of July 2011.
And how about 2012? Well, last week I attended a Salesforce event in London named the Social Enterprise.What can I say about this event? Worth the attendance in every single way and for several reasons: First and foremost the staging for each of the demonstrations and presentations was fantastic; the scripts were thought and acted to perfection, the videos presented, the hands on training sessions and the trainers and presenters of each session were simply genius.
At some point during the keynotes, when the COO George Hu and a group of selected SVP’s and the like presented some use cases for companies they are partnering with such as Spotify, I really asked myself if this was the Hollywood show of technology brought to the city of London; The characters they had selected to do these speeches were not only fantastic public speakers, had a great presence on the scenery and knew their content really well but some of them were even good looking! (This last fact is completely irrelevant, but come on I am sure they could have chosen the not so blessed looking ones to not appear so perfect and they would still be good at giving a good presentation!); This is when I asked myself if some of them might have been actors just hired for the day? Well even if this was the case, well done on the Cloudforce show.
The conference was really all about Social Media as the name Social Enterprise suggested, so if they are investing hard in the future of technology, marketing, communications and so on putting most of their efforts and money on Social Media related tools then let’s all get close to this revolution; They presented some of their solutions such as their acquisition of Radian 6 last year as a tool to monitor your Social Media Engagement, Chatter.com, an internal social network for communications among employees that many of their existing customers are utilizing as their only communication channel reducing significantly on email volumes, Salesforce Rypple which enables companies to engage and align people across the employee social network, etc.
My conclusion? This conference was a parade and a reflection of Success or as they are naming their next event in San Francisco in September a “Dreamforce”.