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

Blog Posts

3 ways customer data can increase online sales conversion

Data has been an increasingly critical factor in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of marketing and business operations.

James Bennett

Chief experience officer, Kalido

Our sharing future is both terrifying and exciting

Discussing the future in a realistic fashion is often a disappointing prospect. For all the talk of hoverboards, jetpacks and lightsabers changing the way we do things, the reality tends to end up being something as mundane as a slightly cheaper way to get around the city.

Jason Dooris

CEO and founder, Atomic 212

Queue experiences that are distinctive, memorable and shareable

Customer service that’s quick, easy and convenient has been shown to boost customer satisfaction. So it’s an odd juxtaposition that customer queues have become a sharable customer experience.

Wouldn't reconnecting with younger consumers be in direct contravention of the code on alcohol advertising?

Tim Palmer

Vodka Cruiser reconnects with younger consumers via category-first Facebook Live campaign

Read more

Thanks for the article Jennifer, you raise some interesting points. The supermarket and shopping centre examples particularly struck a c...

Jill Brennan

Why marketers should take note of social robots

Read more

Winning the retail game is really tricky at this point in time. Many retailers have declared themselves as bankrupt. But yes harnessing t...

Vanessa.M.Magers

​Bricks and clicks: Balancing digital and physical to win the retail game

Read more

Excellent article, Thank you.

Steve Beards

How Aprimo hopes to help marketers tackle distribution of content, funds and data

Read more

Thank you for a great article, Matt.

Andrey

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in