salesforce.com, inc. (NYSE:CRM) Deutsche Bank 2020 Virtual Technology Conference September 14, 2020 1:40 PM ET
Doug Camplejohn – EVP & GM of Sales Cloud
Conference Call Participants
Taylor McGinnis – Deutsche Bank
Good afternoon. I hope everyone on the line is enjoying Deutsche Bank’s First Virtual Technology Conference so far. My name is Taylor McGinnis and I’m one of the Software Analysts here at Deutsche Bank.
We have two great back to back keynotes, now starting with Doug Camplejohn who is EVP & GM of Salesforce’s Sales Cloud. Doug, thank you so much for joining us.
Thanks for having us.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
So before I dive into the prepared Q&A, I just wanted to remind everyone that you can submit a question via the chat box on the screen on the left hand side, and will hopefully have a few minutes at the end to run through some of those.
So now Dough, I know that you’ve been in Salesforce for a little under a year and joined from LinkedIn. So for those who may not have met you, mind providing a quick background on yourself and roll at Salesforece?
Sure, so I joined in February of this year. Prior to that I was at LinkedIn for about four years and came here through the acquisition of my company FlipTop and we’re doing kind of machine learning for sales and marketing. And during my time at LinkedIn I ran the Sales Navigator team and now I’m the General Manager and EVP for Sales Cloud at Salesforce.
Awesome! So that was a good intro. So now I’d love to talk about the current environment and the impact that you’re seeing on Sales Cloud given that that’s very topical. So based on your conversations with customers, where do you feel CRM or sales related IT projects fit on the priority list relative to other tech initiatives? And maybe you can talk about any trends you’ve noticed or if there are certain modules gaining more traction than others during this time?
Yeah, I think you know it’s interesting coming into a role like this in February and then having the world turn upside down just a little over a month later. And I think when COVID hit, most businesses kind of looked like a MASH Trauma unit, you know with everybody doing triage.
I think the first job is obviously to make sure that the employees are all safe and have been good to be productive, and then the next job was really to check in with all their customers, not just ones that were active in the pipeline, and make sure that they could be kind of supportive and taken care off.
And what you see now with customers who are starting to enter this next phase where things have stabilized a bit and companies are really looking to return to growth. And you know, I think in this environment sales productivity is a huge focus for companies, and we’ve seen great growth in areas of our portfolio that align with us.
You know high velocity sales is one example, and the product that we have in the line-up that automates a lot of sales playbook has really become table stakes for all the sales organizations these days, especially in their business development rep and sales development rep organizations, top of the funnel. So we are seeing a lot of adoption and good traction there.
Another area that’s been great for us is we are – you know as you may recall we acquired a company MapAnything, a little over a year ago, and last fall day released a MapAnything or the Maps Territory Planning products, and that’s really been on fire. That’s allowed companies who have let’s say reshaped their sales teams, to suddenly run all these ‘what if?’ scenarios. What it would mean to remap their territories, focus on a different set of accounts, look at different markets, really do a bunch of ‘what if?’ scenarios side by side and then push that right back into Sales Cloud and deploy it in a way that’s just not possible before the spreadsheets.
Got it, that’s great background. And maybe just on that, so Salesforce’s latest 2Q earnings print was very strong against a more challenging demand environment, and new business I think was actually consistent with pre-COVID levels.
So do you feel that this was representative of some broader improvement in the demand environment relative to 1Q or just Salesforce’s own execution? I know you talked about just a minute ago stabilization. Did you see that this quarter and maybe you can discuss any go-to-market or product changes that you guys made within Sales Cloud to try to drive adoption amidst the pandemic?
Yes, I think there’s a couple of things going on here. So you know COVID obviously drove it home to companies that being digital, being in the cloud, was kind of business critical in order for them to quickly adapt to the changing market conditions and we’re saying companies lean into this digital transformation faster than ever before, so that’s really been impetus to this change. And companies who hadn’t gone through this or at least part of this transition are seeing themselves as a competitive disadvantage and are really trying to change that.
And second, while I can’t describe all of our Q2 performance, a single go-to-market or our product changes, we have always believed in a kind of salesforce and on-salesforce approach. So one change that we did do in Q2 was we rolled out the high velocity sales solutions I just mentioned internally to nearly 2,000 of our business development, sales development reps, who now use that on a daily basis and that’s dramatically increased the productivity of that team.
Got it, and so some of the things that you’re mentioning are these add on modules and may be you could talk about your up-sell opportunity from those when you include things that you mentioned were with High Velocity and mapping territory and planning. Can you maybe talk about that opportunity?
Sure. So you know the nice thing about the portfolio that we have, is we have kind of this Russian nesting doll kind of strategies. So you’ve got the core platform where if somebody wants to write directly to the API’s, they can build something very custom that scales really nicely. Then obviously we’ve got a range of solutions that are built on top of that from our entry level essentials product, which is really meant to capture the F&B market, all the way up through our three additions of Sales Cloud, Professional Edition, Enterprise Edition and Unlimited Edition and then on top of that we now have these Industry Clouds, these Industry Editions that could take that even further.
In addition, within Sales Cloud we have a set of these add-on packages and we’re always looking for ways to kind of you know put these pieces together in interesting combinations. But right now things like the Einstein, so called Einstein package which involves a lot of data capture from email and calendars, a lot of analytics, scoring and other kinds of things has been very popular. This map set on has been very popular and as I mentioned, High Velocity sales as well.
Another area that’s part underneath the umbrella of Sales Cloud is the CPQ product, Configure Price Quote. So this was the acquisition of Steelbrick that we did about five years ago, and really took a product that was pretty neat since at the time and turned that into the market leading solution for CPQ, and now you know we’re even looking at up-leveling that further into something that looks at the entire revenue operations pipeline. So how do you start to combine CPQ with B2B billing and partner relationship managements, even some of the contract lifecycle management pieces to put more complete solutions together.
Got it, that’s helpful. And then just sticking with the pandemic and as we look ahead, how would you characterize pipeline activity and lead generation at the start of 3Q relative to the first half of this year, even prior quarters? I’d be curious what your guys’ expectation is for the start of a recovery or when you think that will begin to see IT budget or spend on CRM start to normalize.
Yes, our pipeline is consistent with our historic norms. We continue to be pretty mindful about how global events, you know this multiple obviously going on right now may impact our customers.
But I will say that you know we have the benefit of being the number one CRM for so long. Gardner just came out with their latest magic quadrant for Sales Force Automation in CRM. We’ve been number one 14 years in a row and I think especially in times like that, that really helps from a pipeline demand gen standpoint, because customers are increasingly turning to the brands they trust. They are taking less risk, they are going into with the folks that they think then that can not only sell them software, but really help them solve business problems.
And the vast majority of the companies that we speak with during this time are using this period to really rethink all of their processes and operating models, and that’s when they come to us and they take a look and say ‘okay, how did you do at Salesforce?’ You just had this amazing quarter, you’re using your own products, give us the best practices or help us work with partners to go implement that in our own organization.
Got it! That’s really helpful, and then maybe switching gears. So Sales Cloud is now a $5 billion business that has grown in the low to mid-teens the last several years and Service Cloud now passed actually Sales Cloud in terms of size. So I know that there’s always lingering fears that Salesforce to sales Cloud is reaching a level of maturity. So what would your response be to that and where do you think we stand in terms of penetration today and are there any interesting growth opportunities that you feel are really underappreciated?
Yeah, well I wouldn’t have LinkedIn to come to Salesforce. I thought CRM was ready to be put out to pasture and I – you know I really think we’re in the early days of CRM and I think you’re going to see more innovation in CRM in the next five years than even in the past 20.
And as we look at the market, I think there are billions of dollars of TAM waiting to be unlocked, but in order to do that, we got of kind of change the way we approach things. I think that a lot of the CRM industry has been chasing this Glengarry, Glen Ross given the leads, always be closing kind of model of sales and the world is different than that, and we have to change with it. You know the fact is buyers are in charge now and B2B buyers are and they were even before COVID hit, but the COVID has just made that even more acute.
You know the B2B buyers are bringing their B2C expectations. You know what is it like to do one-click checkout on Amazon and have transparent pricing and reviews or recommendations from Netflix. They are bringing those expectations to the B2B party and the reps have to change from this kind of always-be-closing mentality ABC to kind of always-be-helping.
So in terms of opportunity, I think it’s everywhere. I think we have core capabilities that we’re enhancing. I think we’re relooking at our packaging. I think that we have a number of areas that we don’t play in yet and then ultimately as I said, I think that feeds very nicely into a family of special value added capabilities around targeted industries.
Got it, yeah. And then on that, I mean the Vlocity acquisition was a home run in our view. So could you talk about this acquisition maybe in a little bit more detail on how this will strengthen the value proposition of Sales Cloud and add to the efforts that were already underway in building industry specific cloud. And then maybe as like a second question on that, curious what average deal sizes look like when you have a tailored CRM solution versus not?
Yes, so I agree with your assessment. I mean Vlocity CEO, David Schmaier is awesome and now he’s running our Industry Cloud efforts. I think Vlocity, the beautiful part of that business is that they were in a position where it wasn’t just a repackaging of other stuff. They had to provide value, otherwise they wouldn’t get paid. So they had to provide value that was unique on top of existing Sales Service Cloud offerings and they bring all of that to the family.
And I think Vlocity really helps us round out our offerings and correct those kind of you know more complete Russian Nesting Dolls strategy that starts with a loan on the essential product and then takes them through these – all these editions and the Industry Editions.
You know with financial services for example, you know which is the most mature industry offering, we’re seeing kind of ASPs of about 30% and more higher on average. But I think it’s also worth noting, you know just kind of back to that product portfolio and family, it’s also worth noting that Essentials is the only entry level CRM Solution that doesn’t have limits and because we built it on top of the same backend as their Sales Cloud and Industry Offerings.
So buying other CRM’s often say, CRM at the entry level is like buying quick-books. It’s a great product, you know great starting place, but there’s not a lot of companies that are going public on it, right. So you eventually go through this very painful transition point when you kind of hit them, hit the limits and hit the scale. And so Salesforce is really the only vendor that doesn’t have this limitation, and allows companies to come in and start with a you know $25 seed product and go all the way up to implementations that are now the largest companies in the world.
Right, no I think you make a very good point there. And then I just actually want to circle back in something that you mentioned a little bit earlier. So you talked about that there was maybe a couple areas that are interesting that you don’t necessarily play in today. Do you mind elaborating on what some of those areas might be? What are adjacent markets that you find interesting in terms of looking at Sales Cloud in home?
Yeah, I think that one of the big changes that we’re doing in the Sales Could product team is really focusing on the job to be done by our end users and working backwards. So I think that you know if you look at just in general, putting the buyer at the center of that, we then look at you know what is a rep trying to get done every day, what is the manager trying to get done every day, what is you know the sales operations trying get done every day, and I think that that’s where we think about a lot of, where a lot of opportunity lies.
So things like Enablement for example are pretty interesting in terms of how do we, how do you onboard a rep? How do you make sure that you’re kind of checking in and finding out how that rep is performing? How do you kind of compare the top performers to the not so top performers and then how do you ultimately turn those B players into A players?
So we have some kind of pieces that we’ve got in the market right now, with things like Trailhead, which is a great learning platform, and we just rolled out this year Call Coaching, which allows companies to kind of record and analyze phone calls. But I think there’s a lot of opportunity for expansion there, especially now that these sales teams are all virtual.
Got it. And now I’d love to just talk about your background with LinkedIn. So prior to your role at Salesforce, like you mentioned you were VP of Product Management for LinkedIn Sales Navigator. So given that Microsoft is a competitor of Salesforce with Dynamics and acquired LinkedIn in 2016, maybe you could talk about what Microsoft has done with LinkedIn to enhance its CRM offering, and if that served at all as the competitive advantage relative to Salesforce or not.
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, I mean I think it might have been Noble, years ago that coined the term coopetition and so Microsoft and LinkedIn are two of those great coopetition partners there; you know we compete on some things and we cooperate on other things.
So you know Microsoft currently doesn’t offer any advantage over Salesforce with respect to LinkedIn integration. You have to remember, the way the LinkedIn deal was structured, it was up to LinkedIn to determine what they wanted from Microsoft to accelerate their business instead of vice versa, and so when the deal was closed there was no integration at that time between them and Sales Navigator and Microsoft did some work to integrate Sales Navigator more closely with Dynamics and kind of bring it to where the LinkedIn integration was with Salesforce a couple of years ago.
But we actually have a better integration today with LinkedIn than Microsoft has. In fact, Sales Navigator is the only sales application that is preinstalled to the salesforce. So an admin who has a license to Sales Navigator and Sales Cloud can configure Sales Navigator and deploy it directly from within Sales Cloud without even having to get an app exchange and download the package. So that’s just you know one example of kind of how tight those organizations are and are continuing to bring the products together.
We also have really deep integrations with Outlook and we’re just about to roll out our team’s integration, because that platform is obviously doing incredibly well. So you know both Microsoft and LinkedIn continue to be great partners for us.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Yeah, I know that’s really interesting that you mentioned that and one other – so it just kind of leads into my next question. So Salesforce had an offering called Data.com, which was a contact database that had information of millions of business professionals, but Salesforce just continued that service back in 2018 and that was competitive against LinkedIn Sales Navigator and now you have two vendors in this space, that being ZoomInfo and Dun and Bradstreet that just went public this past summer.
So maybe you could talk about the decision to partner with those companies on – with Sales Cloud versus offering this data yourself, and I mean ZoomInfo is growing around 40% and has a run rate of over $400 million. So I guess just what are your thoughts on this opportunity and the possibility of Salesforce ever reentering this space based on some of their success.
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, one clarification before I jump into that. So you know coming from LinkedIn, we never really considered Sales Navigator a competitor to Data.com or ZoomInfo, one of those players, because LinkedIn doesn’t allow for the export of contact information. And as you know, kind of trust and privacy are two really core principles for Salesforce and Data’s a messy business, actually in an increasingly regulated world.
So you know things like GDPR coming to Europe, I’d be kind of shocked if something similar doesn’t make its way to the U.S. in the future and even though it was before my time, you know I think ultimately I agree that Salesforce looked at this and said, this is an area that was best left for partners, rather than being something we did ourselves, at leases in the area of PII, Personally Identifiable Information.
You know I think there may be other opportunities for business information down the line and that’s really, you know that’s where the beauty of AppExchange comes in. You know AppExchanges, you know our B2B marketplace or app store is the number one B2B app marketplace in the world and it’s a recognition that kind of we’re never going to be everything to everyone, and so we created this platform in this marketplace that delivers jointly the most complete solutions to the market and allows as you said, companies like ZoomInfo to thrive and I think Henry’s done a great job there.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Awesome! That makes a ton of sense. And then maybe just moving on, so Salesforce has obviously been very focused on bringing more data and analytics to the platform via its acquisition of MuleSoft in Tableau, so can you talk about the importance of these acquisitions in relation to Sales Cloud and if at all they’ve enhanced adoption or usage of the platform?
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, I mean Tableau and MuelSoft are a huge for Salesforce. You know CRM is traditionally referred to as the system of record, but the reality is that it was really only a system of records for a fraction of the data in the sales process. You know it was really more of a system of record of the information that you needed to inform your manager of the pipeline and ultimately get the deal across the line and get your commission check.
So now we’ve expanded already the kind of course in our own data, with integrations with Outlook and Gmail and other systems natively from the Sales Cloud and so there’s a lot of rich data that’s obviously happening in there. And more recently as I mentioned, we started capturing phone conversations, but there’s still a vast amount of data that is sitting in systems outside of CRM and so MuelSoft sells that for our customers allowing sales force to become the single source of truth for a company.
And you know it’s just amazing. When you bring all that stuff together, what it does in terms of being able to deliver a 360 degree unified view of a customer and you know AI technology like Einstein thrive on that. You know it’s kind of the better – the higher the quality and the volumes of data going into these system, the more activity to make the predictions coming out of them.
And all that data, there’s a lot of meaningless unless we can kind of drive insights and that’s where the business intelligence market leader Tableau comes in. So yeah, MuelSoft and Tableau have already enhanced the usage and adoption of our platform, and I think you’ll see we’re getting very close with those teams as they’ve been integrated deeper and deeper into Salesforce and I think you’ll see even more sales specific offerings from them in the future.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Got it! And then maybe talking about how Service Cloud plays into all of this as well and other areas of the wholesale or suite. So in the field work that we’ve done, we’ve definitely picked up a lot greater demand for Service Cloud in the type of environment in light of contact center agents working from home and increasing case volumes and to what I just said earlier about Service Cloud now reaching the point where it’s bigger than Sales Cloud. I’d be interested if you see any up sell opportunity for Sales Cloud on the back of the pickup in demand or no.
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, I mean Sales Cloud is the OG Cloud for Salesforce, so you know traditionally it was the new logo entry point. So companies would traditionally start with sales and then as they expanded their relationship with Salesforce would go to Sales Cloud or marketing cloud platform, you know those places like that. But now that we’ve got a number of these skills – these clouds with skills doing multi billion dollars a year, we’re starting to see new customers come to us in other vectors, and then you know they could start with Service Cloud or they could start with marketing cloud or other clouds and then grow into Sales Cloud.
And you know we’ve kind of recognized that. As you know Brett Taylor came in and was originally Chief Product Officer through the Quip acquisition and he reorganized the product team recently to have kind of essential sales and service under one umbrella, under Bill Patterson, in part as a recognition of this, in really thinking about how do we start to get more cross cloud leverage, not only from a product standpoint but from a sales and go-to-market stand point as well.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Got it. And then I just wanted to remind everyone, if you have a question, please put your question in the chat box that’s on the left side of the screen.
So now moving on, maybe turning to margins and how you think about Sales Cloud. So Salesforce increased its operating margin guide from flat to up 75 basis points, which I think was very solid and well appreciated, and T&E savings, as well as lack of in-person events, like Dreamforce obviously had a big contribution to the upside.
So maybe you could talk about from your position, could you comment on how hard or not it has been to sell Sales Cloud without these in-person meetings. And as you look ahead, do you think that part of the sales process will become more virtual than it has been in the past, such that some of these savings might be stickier. I would just be curious based on your conversations, what you’ve heard.
Yeah, well I mean COVID’s turned everyone into a virtual seller overnight obviously and that’s come with its own set of challenges, but I also think some great opportunities. You know on the challenges side it’s obviously more difficult to onboard new reps to roll out your sales playbook consistently. You’ve kind of lost that walking through the halls and getting a feel for rep activities or meeting customers face-to-face and getting body language beyond what you just get above the waist.
But on the plus side, you know we’re seeing that these reps are getting access to prospects for these 30 minute Zoom meetings that they may not have even been able to get to. Like when they’ve said hey, come to this two hour executive briefing, they might not get the CEO, whereas now they’re getting in and they’re saying, they’re I think getting access in a way that they haven’t before, and some deal cycles are accelerating as a result of kind of these friction points being removed and getting kind of everybody in the buying committee on the same page faster.
So I don’t think we’re ever going back to the way it was before, and sales leaders are kind of realizing that they need to prepare for having at least some, if not all of their sales organization being virtual from now on, and so they’re thinking about these technologies, whether it’s enablement or sales acceleration, you know conversation intelligence, the training tools, and really trying to figure out how do you go run something at scale.
And I think that you know, I personally, as difficult as these times are and you know I think empathy is maybe one of the words of the day for all – everyone going through this on all sides, I think we’re going to look back at this period as one of the most innovative in technology in our lifetime, and I think that’s the kind of thing that we’re doing today in trying to replicate even the stuff that was happening in face-to-face meetings is going to transform.
Got it. And then maybe I’ll switch over to one of the questions coming from the participants listening in. So one participant asked if you could comment on the pandemic’s impact to saleforces’s churn level. So which customer groups have been most affected, typed by verticals and what the company has put in place in order to mitigate some of that customer lock?
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, as a reminder, you know the metrics that we’re focused on is revenue attrition, which is you know different than the net retention number that other companies report, and so we really focus on that kind of customer success. And in Q1 we finished slightly below 9% and in the Q1 call we guided that this may increase to just under 10%.
In Q2 attrition was down a little bit. It came in slightly better than our expectation, but slightly worse than Q1, so we’re kind of covering all in that same zone and we expect the attrition is going to come in to the main line with those Q2 results for the remainder of this fiscal year, so that’s what I can kind of talk about from the churn level side.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Got it. And then I think one area that has been weaker is the F&B market. So I’d be curious, just any trends that you’re seeing there and I know we talked about essentials earlier. Have you guys made any – recently any product enhancements to the essentials offering that you think’s interesting in order to call out, especially against some niche smaller vendors like a Zendesk or anything like that. Curious if you guys are doing anything interesting on that front?
Yeah, I think you know what’s really cool about the way salesforce did essentials is they didn’t just say take our existing products and kind of dial them down. They really gave that team kind of a, you know carte blanche to go do it over. And so I think that while there’s a lot of visual similarity in the version that you see now, the upcoming versions of essential are really pretty innovative from the user interface standpoint, and I think that team is also really innovating for us in terms of self-service and onboarding, how do you take kind of the process that an enterprise customer gets with their customer success handholding and how do you do that kind of in a self-service way in the products; the kind of things like built-in shop, integration.
So there’s a ton of innovation coming from that team and in fact for me what excites me is the ability to kind of pick and choose from those innovations that they’ve come up with and be able to kind of bring them all the way up into the higher levels of the product as well.
Got it. And then I have another question from the audience. So one participant asked if you’re seeing any more direct competition from service now with their CSM offering in sectors like telecom or finance, and if you see any overlapping use cases?
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yes, that is close to the Service Cloud side on the ServiceNow side, so maybe we can take that one offline and answer it after the call.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Yeah, no that’s completely fair. And then one thing that I’d be curious. So even for a company as large and successful as salesforce, I think there’s always areas of improvement. So what areas I guess are there? I know we touched on some interesting opportunities earlier on the call, but I guess where is the tension and investment dollars really focused today?
Yeah, and I think as I mentioned before, the focus for me, it all starts with the B2B buyer, because if I think about it, you know the mission of Salesforce is really to help our customers create these amazing experiences for their customers, and talk a lot about something called Customer 360, which is a lot about how do you unify all these data silos inside of an organization, which is interesting technically, but it’s all in service of that mission.
Mark tells this great story about you know walking into an AT&T store and while he’s on vacation and just being like ‘oh! You know I’ve got to upgrade my phone, and this will just take five minutes’ and his family’s sitting in the car and he walks in the store and they’re like, you know ‘hold on sir.’ They’ve no idea who he is you know. You know put him in the system, put him in a queue. You know after like 45 minutes of them you know trying to figure stuff out and not being able to get him a phone, he finally just walks out of there.
And the next time he had a conversation with the Head of AT&A, he kind of shared this story and said, ‘hey listen, like you know I buy all of these services. I’ve been a customer for so long and your store, your retail operations had no clue who I was and it wasn’t tied to the fact that I had made a customer support call the other day to go and improve this. So you’re just silent all over the place and they agreed. It was you know one of the largest deals that we’ve done recently they’ve started this journey of transforming their entire organization in record time. Like the sales part of it is already up and running in six months on iPads and it’s incredible.
But it – so it all starts with that buyer experience, and so when you’re thinking about the areas that we’re going to invest in, obviously there’s – we’re going to continue to invest in our bread and butter capabilities such as kind of pipeline reviews and forecasting. Today that manager rep meeting feels a little bit like the Spanish imposition. You know you got 20 questions on every deal. You know have you met the decision maker? You know did you let them budget? Did they have authority, and so on so forth down the road.
And I think those are just really simple things that we’re going to do in the platform and provide to our customers as part of the core offering, just to make it easier to conduct those meetings and have a lot more revenue predictability and revenue confidence, whether it’s you know flagging changes week-over-week, whether it’s identifying accounts that you haven’t engaged with in for a while, flagging ones where a decision makers left, etc. So that’s definitely something you’ll hear a lot from us in the near future.
I also think you know we talked a lot about the sales enablement piece and I think that beyond just kind of taking some of the technologies that we have and expanding them, I think we want to take a look at how do you effectively train somebody? How do you test them? How do you even listen to their conversations? Most conversations can be on a call like here, it could on a Zoom video conference, it could be on a – it could be just back and forth in email or chat.
You know how do you take that collection of conversations and put them into a place where you can really analyze them, and then how do you compare the performance of the top players versus everybody else based on that data and say ‘there’s some trends I’m spotting and some prescriptive actions to go take,’ so I think there’s a lot of interesting things there, and if only I think there’s a lot of opportunity, just rethink how everyone conducts sales meetings, so I just was trying to recreate what we’re doing in the physical world.
I think that you know what I’ve read is that when television was first invented for – you know in the beginning people would just stand in front of a microphone and read a radio script or point a camera at a stage for a play that was going on, and so they really discovered ‘Hey, this is a new medium and there’s new kinds of things we can do with it’ and I think that’s the era that we’re in right now for sales meetings, and I think we can give that sales rep first of all that kind of Iron Man suit basically with a heads-up display, so that when they are presenting they’ve got all these – all the facts at his or her fingertips during the call and really help them come across as that trusted advisor that customers want them to be.
And I think you know we can make that experience better for prospects as well. I mean if you think about it, we’ve learned a lot now from broadcast television in terms of how to effectively convey information and make things compelling and engaging, and I think we can take a lot of these really high end techniques and make them accessible to folks like you and me.
So I would just say, you now obviously I’m really passionate about stuff around the product area and just say stay tuned. There’s a lot of exciting stuff coming up from the Sales Cloud product team.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Yeah, interesting. So even going back to the Sales Enable piece that you talked about or some of the other functionality, is there any interesting I guess niche players in the space or any that are offering that functionality that you would call it today that you feel are doing a good job or do you feel like it’s more greenfield.
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, I think there’s a lot of players that are doing something. The sales enablement space is interesting and that – you know Gardner kind of puts them into two buckets. They do a set of players that are doing more kind of content management, so its players like Seismic and Highspots and Showpad and they’ve traditionally done a here’s for marketers is where they started.
[inaudible], if there’s a place to put all your marketing collateral and keep versions up to date and allow it to be easily customized, then they start to make recommendations about what you might want to send to a prospect based on what size they are, what industry they’re in, what stage in the sales cycle they are in, so those are companies that did it all very well.
And then there’s a bunch of players in the training space, while more traditional ‘let me go take a look at a learning platform designed for sales where you are serving up some specific training materials, whether it’s a sales methodology like Sandler or Miller Heiman Challenger Sale etc. and company specific content, so there is you know SalesHood and Brainshark and MindTickle and a number of other folks, players in that space, and then the key to that is always tying that back to outcomes, to the ones that I think are most successful in that space, so the ones who are looking and saying ‘Hey, you know it’s not just that we gave you a course to take and said you’ve got to finish this this quarter.’ We said, you know the folks who are taking this are actually conducting better meetings and having better outcomes.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
Got it, and then I know we’re jumping around a little bit, but maybe going back to the competitive front and the landscape there. So one thing I think you were talking about earlier was just salesforce’s size in that and brand recognition and that being important.
So could you maybe talk a little bit more about that? Do you feel salesforce with its side and its ability to use its balance sheet in this type of environment, that really being a competitive advantage against other vendors, other vendors in this space and do you feel that you’ve been able to even keep up the same level of like deal activity or even larger deal activity, because of your guys size or like I said before, being able to offer flexibility in this environment?
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yeah, I mean some money comes from start-ups. I think obviously having not only just brand recognition, but trusted brand recognition and I think connection to the mission, I think that it goes a long way and so obviously it gets us in the door a lot with many companies. We’re still going to earn the business, we’re still going to have the products that deliver, we still got to come in and solve real customers, problems for customers, improving value and we can always do a better job on that I think in terms of really making sure that we’re onboarding customers faster and making sure that they’re – that time to value is even quicker.
But yeah, I think that when we look at folks, we see – the great thing about the platform approach that Salesforce started with is that we get to go see great innovation happening in the sales environments, but – and choose specific things that we want to do ourselves, but also enable other people to be incredibly successful. I mean you know between our ventures team and our platform, you know we’ve seen hundreds of companies that have done on successful IPOs or exits or still independence and operating well.
So yeah, having kind of the gravitas of our size helps, but I think it’s only as good as your brand and how customers can relate to that and that how you provide.
Q – Taylor McGinnis
No, that means sense, that makes a ton of sense. And then one more from the audience on the competitive front, they asked if you’ve seen incremental competition from Zendesk Sunshine platform at all.
A – Doug Camplejohn
Yes, I think it’s really we’ve seen much of. You know in general I don’t spend a lot of time focused on competition. You know we pay attention to them and see where they come up for customers. But S&B as I mention is a really important space for us, which is why we’ve launched essentials and are going to continue to invest there.
Awesome! Perfect! Well, I think we’re coming up on the time, and so this was really great Doug. Thanks so much for taking the time, I really appreciate it. I definitely learned a lot. I bet the folks on the line did as well, so thanks again. Thanks again for all the time that you shared.
My pleasure. Thanks Taylor.
Thanks. Have a good rest of your day and thanks everyone for listening in.