Salesforce.com retools marketing message around 'customer companies'

CEO Marc Benioff described the repositioning away from 'social enterprises' in a keynote address

Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has laid out a new strategic and thematic direction for his company, saying that its goal will now be to help clients become "customer companies," with the end result being greater success.

He started off a keynote address in New York on Tuesday by applying the message to Salesforce.com itself. "We believe strongly right now that listening, as a vendor, is probably the most important thing you can do," Benioff said to the customers in attendance.

There are eight components to realizing Salesforce.com's vision, Benioff said. Companies must "listen to every customer," "engage on every channel," "sell as a team," "service customers everywhere," "create communities," "connect partners," "connect products" and "deliver apps everywhere," according to a slide Benioff displayed.

To the last point, "every company in this room, not just Salesforce.com, is becoming a software company," as consumers increase their use of mobile applications, Benioff said.

Meanwhile, a "customer revolution" is the next logical step for the business world, according to Benioff.

Benioff listed a series of trends to support his thesis, including the billions of people now using social networks, the rampant rise of mobile and touchscreen-powered devices, geolocation, and portable identity management.

"How do we reconceptualize our companies around these critical technologies?" Benioff said. "Are you connected to your customer?"

The new theme will succeed Salesforce.com's previous marketing tagline, "social enterprises," which had been its focus for some time but never seemed to catch on broadly with its customer base.

Last year, Salesforce.com withdrew a trademark application on the phrase following criticism from social and environmental agencies.

Some might find it odd that Salesforce.com would reposition itself around the "customer companies" theme after so many years in business as a CRM (customer relationship management) software vendor.

But the move really speaks to the fact that CRM as a concept just hasn't delivered on the promises inherent in its name, according to one observer.

"Customers seek outcomes," said analyst Ray Wang, CEO of Constellation Research. "The social enterprise message didn't address what the outcomes were. Customer companies is really about the outcome, and it addresses what customers wanted from CRM but didn't get."

Salesforce.com's goal is to make money, however, and rhetoric alone won't make that happen.

To that end, Benioff's speech occurred shortly after Salesforce.com announced a number of new customer-service products that tie into the company's repositioning, including mobile live agent chat and mobile screensharing.

Chris Kanaracus covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Chris' email address is Chris_Kanaracus@idg.com

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Why 2017 will herald a resurgence of values-based marketing

It doesn’t take long for predictions to become predictable: The rise and rise of Facebook; advancements in analytics; the normalisation of chatbots; personalisation, programmatic, automation, authenticity… The prediction that’s missing from these lists is that in 2017 we will witness a resurgence of values-based marketing.

Jacqueline Burns

Founder, Market Expertise

Why customer experience driven growth is set to take off

Our overall brand perceptions are invariably shaped by our experiences. And loyal customer relationships can be severed in moments by a negative service interaction.

Consistency and conversation: How branding and advertising can work better together

Advertising and branding are two of the most visible outputs of marketing, which is why getting them right is so important. However, too often the line between branding and advertising becomes blurred. This means advertising activity can be out of sync with brand, resulting in poor results for both functions.

Dan Ratner

managing director, uberbrand

Someone needs a swift kick up the bum for such an idiotic idea.

random

​Why a degree is no longer enough to get you hired as a skilled marketer

Read more

The frequent flyer programs are the new profit machines for airlines all over the world, as they have morphed to be mass marketing machin...

Steve@iFLYflat

Velocity frequent flyers program strong performer in mixed half-year for Virgin

Read more

Hi Jennifer, thanks for sharing these info regarding the digital marketing trends.I've created a related video to this topic, would you m...

Fabio Carry

Predictions: 17 digital marketing trends for 2017

Read more

Great news. Marketing automation can be very useful for companies at various stages of development. With so many tools out there it's bet...

Ben

How HBF rolled out marketing automation in eight months

Read more

I read a report that the business sector in Australia as a whole have yet to fully harness and see the proactive change that predictive a...

Alex Martin

Report: Predictive analytics, IoT, machine learning battle it out for marketing dollars

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in