Salesforce CEO says it's ‘about to pass SAP’

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Salesforce CEO says it's ‘about to pass SAP’
Marc Benioff (Salesforce)

Salesforce has its sights set on passing SAP as the largest enterprise applications company in the world, with momentum that is underscored by strong growth in the company’s latest quarter, CEO Marc Benioff said Thursday.

Speaking during the company’s quarterly call with analysts, Benioff described Salesforce’s first quarter of its fiscal 2022, ended April 30, as the best first quarter in company history. Revenue climbed 23 percent during the quarter, year over year, to reach US$5.96 billion.

When it comes to Salesforce rival SAP, Benioff said that SAP has a smaller presence in the customer relationship management (CRM) market than in the past. Salesforce has the largest market share in CRM industry by far, according to figures from research firm IDC posted by the company in October—with 19.8 percent of the worldwide market versus 4.8 percent for SAP during the first half of 2020.

During the quarterly call Thursday, Benioff predicted that “we’re about to pass SAP as the largest enterprise applications company in the world.”

Benioff did not specify what measurement he’s using, or offer a specific timeframe, saying only that Salesforce surpassing SAP is “imminent.”

San Francisco-based Salesforce expects to reach US$50 billion in revenue by its fiscal year 2026, Benioff said, up from US$21.25 billion in its fiscal year 2021, which ended Jan. 31. SAP reported total 2020 revenue of 27.34 billion euros (U.S. US$33.16 billion).

“We’re really seeing some momentum and some cadence that’s very powerful for the company,” Benioff said. “And the quarter once again demonstrates the strength and durability of our business, the quality of our leadership team.”

The company is also investing into making its cloud offerings “Slack first,” he said, with the company’s agreement to acquire the Slack collaboration app for US$27.7 billion. The acquisition is expected to close by the end of July.

Benioff also noted that Salesforce will hold its Dreamforce conference in person, from Sept. 21 to 23, at locations in San Francisco, New York, Paris and London. Digital elements will be offered as part of the conference, as well, he said.

Earlier this month, Salesforce channel chief Tyler Prince told CRN that the vendor likes to say that 90 percent of deal wins include Salesforce partners.

“Without our partners pushing us, without our partners contributing to us, without our partners building services and software around what we do, I’m not sure we’d be in the position we’re in,” Prince said during the interview. “And we welcome and appreciate that.”

At solution provider Anexinet, clients have adopted Salesforce’s Customer 360 data management platform to add personalized experiences for end customers, Steve Tranchida, vice president of digital solutions at Blue Bell, Pa.-based Anexinet, told CRN.

The Salesforce channel partner has even developed its own accelerator program to help clients quickly build a strategy around Customer 360 with Salesforce’s clouds for marketing, commerce, experience and service, Tranchida said.

“Salesforce has done a nice job of putting themselves in a position of leadership in offering a truly end-to-end customer experience platform,” he said.

At another Salesforce partner, St. Louis-based Perficient, the solution provider has invested in hiring, certifications, training and an improved onboarding process related to the Salesforce suite, said Brent Teiken, general manager of Perficient’s Salesforce practice. Perficient has invested in professional development for its employees to grow technical and consulting skills around Salesforce, he said.

In terms of what he is hoping to see from Salesforce, Teiken said he wants the company to remember that investments in new capabilities and advancements should also come with an investment in helping partners communicate advancements with end users.

“As Salesforce continues to acquire new capabilities and advance their platform, it will be critical that their partner ecosystem is enabled to successfully deliver the total value of the Salesforce platform,” he said.

Gil said he looks forward to seeing more services and solutions becoming integrated with Salesforce products, especially when it comes to the vendor’s industry-focused clouds.

“We see many of our Salesforce clients asking about integrated solutions to many of the hyperscalers, specifically AWS,” Gil said. “They are looking for that front office and back office connection, which is an untapped market and one we would like to see Salesforce move further into.”

For Salesforce’s fiscal first quarter, subscription and support sales totaled US$5.54 billion, up 21 percent year over year, the company reported.

Revenue for the company’s Tableau and Mulesoft divisions together brought in about US$716 million for the quarter, an increase of about 46 percent year over year.

Salesforce expects to generate about US$6.22 billion in revenue for the second quarter, which would be a 21 percent increase year over year.

In after-hours trading Thursday, Salesforce’s stock price was up 4.2 percent to US$235.40 a share.

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