Salesforce: The Cloud & SaaS Pioneer [Business Breakdowns, EP. 29]

10.06.2021 - By Business Breakdowns

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Today, we are breaking down the cloud and SaaS trailblazer, Salesforce. Founded by Marc Benioff in 1999, Salesforce has grown rapidly to become the global leader in the $100 billion CRM market. The business has 150,000 customers, including 90% of the Fortune 500, and is currently valued north of $270 billion. To break down Salesforce, Patrick O’Shaughnessy is joined by Matt Garratt, general partner at VC firm CRV and former head of Salesforce Ventures, where he led investments in companies like Snowflake, Twilio, and Zoom. In our conversation, we discuss the attributes that make Marc Benioff special, how he pushed against convention to usher in a new era of cloud-based businesses, and ways in which he has built a world around Salesforce’s product lines. We also cover decision-making in the company, why its culture derives from the beaches of Hawaii, and how it’s transitioning from builder to buyer. Please enjoy this breakdown of Salesforce. For the full show notes, transcript, and links to the best content to learn more, check out the episode page here.   -----   This episode is brought to you by Quartr. With Quartr, you can access conference calls, investor presentations, transcripts, and earnings reports – straight from your pocket. Quartr is 100% free and includes companies from 12 markets including the US, the UK, Canada, India, and all the Scandanavian countries. Quartr is available for both iOS and Android, so check out the app today.   -----   This episode is brought to you by Brex. Brex began as the first corporate card for startups and now offers a full financial stack built for scale. Get 10-20x higher credit limits, uncapped rewards, easy deposits and payments, and expense management all in one. Grow your business faster with Brex.   -----   Business Breakdowns is a property of Colossus, Inc. For more episodes of Business Breakdowns, visit   Stay up to date on all our podcasts by signing up to Colossus Weekly, our quick dive every Sunday highlighting the top business and investing concepts from our podcasts and the best of what we read that week. Sign up here.   Follow us on Twitter: @JoinColossus | @patrick_oshag | @jspujji | @zbfuss   Show Notes [00:03:14] - [First question] - What Salesforce is and what it does [00:04:55] - The scale and revenue scope of the business today [00:06:13] - Driving variables of revenue growth and their current model [00:09:10] - The unique founding story and becoming the first SaaS company [00:11:06] - What about Marc Benioff made him so compelling and successful [00:14:20] - An experience in his time at Salesforce that changed and moved him [00:15:16] - The first buyer and what they were served as a product [00:17:07] - Overview of Salesforce as a software platform [00:19:58] - The core database that powers their infrastructure and user experience [00:21:26] - Transitioning from being mostly a builder to largely a buyer and acquirer [00:23:46] - Why building trust early on is so crucial when doing something new [00:25:45] - What is Dreamforce, and how it’s evolved over time [00:27:24] - The connection between Hawaiian culture and Salesforce [00:29:14] - How they continue to market and acquire customers and spend so much on marketing [00:30:44] - Their current addressable market and plans to expand into those areas [00:35:05] - How priorities are set, picked, and followed through on  [00:35:58] - What is V2MOM and the role it plays with the executive team  [00:38:08] - The philosophy behind Salesforce Ventures and the function it serves [00:40:27] - Potential risks the business faces going forward [00:44:24] - Key characteristics that separate Salesforce from other businesses out there [00:46:47] - Lessons for investors and builders when studying Salesforce’s story

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