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 newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Blog Posts

Why doing your job well is the key to innovation

The words ‘power company’ and ‘innovation’ probably don’t seem like a natural combination. In fact, when I first went for a marketing role with an electricity company, I semi-dreaded the work I thought I’d be doing.

Catherine Anderson

Head of marketing, Powershop Australia

The great unlearning: How brands can assist with the adoption of voice

Mainstream adoption of voice technology will be all about what consumers are learning not to do.

Ash Mustchin

Director, digital and experiences, Principals

Why getting intimate is key to creating a great customer experience

According to CMO’s State of the CMO 2017 research, 83 per cent of CMOs believe customer experience to be central to their role. An interesting stat considering few of us experience great brand experiences.

Pip Stocks

CEO and founder, BrandHook

'to lesson screen time'LOL someone needs a lesson on how to lessen typos.

Andrew Ward

Golden Circles invests in content play to drive brand purpose

Read more

Hey Nadia, interesting read. We have all read about what your chatbots should offer or have but haven't came across with anything about w...

Ashish K Jain

What not to do when building chatbots and voice-based brand interactions

Read more

There are some many other great solutions compared to the ones you listed here. Our clients left some of those and switched to MARA (getM...

Alexandru Rada

CMO's top 10 martech stories for the week - 9 June

Read more

Charming Shane. You know this is a public forum, right ?

Peter Strohkorb

​CMO Interview: Why aligning sales and marketing drives innovation at Konica Minolta

Read more

I agree customer intimacy is a great way of creating better customer experience. Especially in the Insurance and Financial industry. Her...

Jessicalopez1989

Why getting intimate is key to creating a great customer experience and optimising customer value

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in