Benioff sets fast track for Salesforce, but is it enough to hold Microsoft at bay?

Dive Brief:
– Salesforce wants to double its revenue to $20 billion by FY2022, and it isn’t stopping there. By 2028, the company wants to double revenue again to $40 billion then continue to $60 billion by 2034, according to slides shared by CTO Parker Harris and reported by TechCrunch.
– Salesforce has consistently faced low operating profits as a result of heavy spending on sales and marketing as well as on many acquisitions, which it’s relied on to diversify business lines, according to The Economist. In 2016, the company acquired AI startup MetaMind for around $33 million, which drove the creation of Einstein, an offering that augments Salesforce software with AI, reports The Economist.
– The company is facing stiff competition from Microsoft, which outbid Salesforce for the acquisition of LinkedIn in 2016 and has since linked Dynamics 365 for Sales with LinkedIn tools, reports Forbes. The 530 million plus membership of the professional social media platform, as well as Microsoft’s general dominance across other enterprise markets, will make the company a strong contender to Salesforce in coming years.

Dive Insight:

Salesforce’s claim to fame is its customer relationship management (CRM) software, which now drives billions in revenue and leads the market. As one of the earlier companies to jump on the SaaS train, Salesforce has ridden the tidal wave of businesses moving to the cloud.
In December, SVP of Engineering Mark Interrante announced the company joined the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, a Linux Foundation project that hosts Kubernetes. Salesforce joined other tech firms including AWS, Alibaba, Cisco, Dell Technologies, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, VMware and Google Cloud, to name a few.
Founder, chairman and CEO Mark Benioff has lofty ambitions for the company, well symbolized by the new headquarters opening next week in San Francisco. Salesforce Tower looms 1,070 feet above the city — the tallest office building west of the Mississippi and one visible from nearly every corner of the city, reports The New York Times.
But will its aggressive expansion hold up?
Many experts are confident in Salesforce’s dominance of the global CRM market. The company’s revenue growth is double that of the global market, and no single client comprises more than 5% of the company’s total revenue, reports Seeking Alpha. In fact, from 2014 to 2018 the company expanded its base of $20 million plus customers from three to 24.
Benioff believes the company will exceed $20 billion in revenue faster than previous enterprise software companies, and given that 57% of customers are new, the company may surpass its own expectations once again.
But Salesforce will have its work cut out for it. Microsoft may only have around 5% of the CRM market share today, according to TechTarget, but the company is steadily expanding its business portfolio. Other competitors including SAP, with a 13% market share, and Oracle, with less than a 10% market share, are also eager to dig into its lead.

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