Salesforce has always been a very impressive company. A strong cycle of admins, developers and consultants has driven them to become the best in the cloud sector but how have they developed over the last decade?

Salesforce is a huge company, and it has become a major player in the world of CRM. However, it is also a remarkable story too. Salesforce’s growth over the last decade is perhaps the perfect example of a brand that started small and then became huge in the SAAS sector.

Begin at the beginning

It’s hard to see the rise of Salesforce as anything other than an underdog story. Founded in an apartment in San Francisco, it started out slow (ish) before becoming a service to watch.

Then revenue exploded, with Salesforce reaching the $1 billion mark.

A fluid service

In 2011, Salesforce was named The World’s Most Innovative Company by Forbes. Soon after this a sign of things to come arrived. In 2013 Salesforce launched Salesforce Marketing Cloud, which was essentially a service that allowed marketing teams to have their tools on one platform, alongside sales. Salesforce’s growth over the last decade show why they are truly at the top of their industry.

It’s worth noting here that Salesforce created The Marketing Cloud through the acquisition of an email company called ExactTarget. It was the first real sign that Salesforce was more than just a CRM. By launching the Marketing Cloud it was diversifying.

Salesforce acquiring ExactTarget in for $2.5 Billion in 2013

This was a big step forward and is a key element of Salesforce’s appeal to companies. By integrating a professional marketing suite into the offering, Salesforce was growing, and trying to gain market share.

So what’s the deal with Salesforce?

Salesforce may have started out in a humble manner, but it has become a major player in the CRM arena. It’s also a fine example of how SAAS can create results for companies.

It’s likely that Salesforce didn’t even know where to go in the first couple of years of its existence. It focused on producing the best CRM experience possible for clients, and it did it well. The leap from ‘great CRM’ to an ‘indispensable tool for businesses’ wasn’t immediate, but makes perfect sense.

The platform had over 20% of market share back in 2018, and that was a great starting block to leap from. It has continued to add features and apps to its suite, so much so that the modern version of Salesforce is nothing like the first version.

An old screenshot from a Salesforce product

Just looking at the Salesforce offering right now shows how the brand was aggressive in its acquisitions and diversifying. It is quite staggering to see how much it has changed from being just a CRM:

How has it changed?

Salesforce Sales Cloud is the CRM product. It is packed full of features that make it a very good CRM. This is what the brand is known for, and it is a powerful platform that, as a piece of the Salesforce offering, hasn’t changed that much.

Salesforce CPQ. Very much part of the Salesforce experience but still a fundamentally separate product, Salesforce CPQ provides a ‘one-stop-shop’ for billing and invoicing. It allows companies to keep their sales areas and processes in one place.

Salesforce Data, or ‘Data.com’ is another way to make your CRM more effective. It’s a little tough to grasp unless you’ve had hands-on experience, but Data allows for sharing of contact details among members, so it’s kind of like a huge water cooler or networking meeting. However, Data subdivides further, into Prospect, Connect and Clean. It’s a neat and well-organised add-on.

So far, so good. But Salesforce has gone beyond sales support, and has arguably become more sophisticated via more options it offers to clients. By far the most interesting ‘diversion’ from CRM work is the ‘Service Cloud’. This allows sales teams and managers (and any other client-servicing staff member) to achieve better results with clients, especially in the area of client dispute resolution. They’ve got the results to prove it when it comes to better customer satisfaction and increased productivity.

And of course there is Marketing Cloud (remember the ExactTarget acquisition?), which purports to help companies create full customer experiences across multiple platforms and engagement points. It provides analytic software and automation of digital marketing.

Want to read more on Salesforce? Take a look at a couple of our instalments on Salesforce ‘Salesforce 20th Anniversary’ or ‘New US/ and OR aggregation services for SFMC’

So where to next?

Let’s be honest, Salesforce is a major success. But growth is harder when you reach the top levels of an industry. The question now is where does the company go from here?

One key issue is the size of Salesforce. Such impressive growth and market share does mean that the next realistic rivals could well be the truly big players: Oracle and SAP.

Oracle and SAP are big, really big. To move up to that next level, Salesforce will have to increase its employee numbers, as well as potentially widen its offering.

The good news is that Salesforce is that kind of company. We can see it taking on a challenge like this. Getting to Oracle and SAP will require a huge effort, as well as a deeper, more enterprise-level offering. If any brand can do it, Salesforce will. Salesforce’s growth over the last decade is proven!

Have a look at Salesforce over the next 10 years here ‘Salesforce.com Pondering The Next 10 Years’