Imagine a world where managing customer relationships and sales processes was a tedious and disorganized task. Contacts were scattered across spreadsheets, follow-up calls were missed, and deals fell through the cracks.
From humble beginnings in a San Francisco apartment to a multi-billion dollar global enterprise, the story of Salesforce is a testament to the power of innovation and the importance of putting customers first.
Join the journey down the road of the history of Salesforce and how it has transformed the way people do business.
It's March 1999, and from a cosy one-bedroom apartment nestled atop Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, a handful of pioneers embark on a mission to change the business software industry.
Among them are:
Their goal? To create business software applications in a way never done before. They envisioned a world where software could be delivered through the cloud, eliminating the need for:
Fast forward to July 1999, Marc Benioff took the plunge and went full throttle into Salesforce.com. His first goal was to find an office that could keep pace with the scalability of his groundbreaking software.
After much searching and deliberation, Marc set his sights on an impressive space at the Rincon Center – a sprawling 8K square feet of potential.
As time passed, the office soon became a hub of frenzied activity. By November of that year, desks had spilled into the hallways, and conference rooms were being commandeered as makeshift workspaces.
Despite the chaos, the team soldiered on and continued to innovate.
But, as with all things, it was time to level up again. By November 2000, the team had outgrown their quarters and was ready for a new home at One Market Street – a place synonymous with Salesforce's growth and success.
As the new millennium dawned, Salesforce was ready to take the tech world by storm. They had a top-notch product, a formidable team, and a brand-new office at One Market Street. But how would Salesforce stand out in a sea of industry giants?
Enter the product launch.
Caged actors portrayed screaming salespeople, and attendees were invited to play a game of whack-a-mole with the moles representing other software companies.
But it wasn't all doom and gloom. As guests went through the fiery depths, they eventually emerged to find Salesforce.com – a beacon of hope and innovation in a sea of chaos.
Salesforce launched a bold advertising campaign featuring a fighter jet shooting down a biplane. The fighter jet symbolized Salesforce, a force to be reckoned with. The biplane represented the outdated, ineffective software industry that Salesforce was improving.
Salesforce was ready to take it to the next level with an event like no other. They called it Dreamforce. It was a few days of non-stop innovation, networking, and excitement.
The inaugural Dreamforce was held at the iconic Westin St. Francis Hotel in downtown San Francisco. It boasted over 1K registered attendees, all eager to soak up the knowledge and insights of the 52 presentations on offer.
Salesforce introduced its product, Sforce 2.0. This on-demand application service was the first of its kind in the industry, paving the way for a new era of cloud-based technology. With Salesforce leading the charge, it was already clear then that innovation was the name of the game.
But it all started with a simple idea – to unite people and showcase the latest innovations in the Salesforce ecosystem.
Salesforce Ohana may be a relatively new term to you, but its roots go back to the very beginning of Salesforce. From the outset, the company's culture has been centered around a sense of community and inclusivity that extends far beyond its employees.
In fact, the Ohana spirit was embodied in the very fabric of Salesforce from day one. It all started with a simple idea – wearing Hawaiian shirts to work to foster a sense of camaraderie and shared purpose.
This quirky tradition quickly caught on, and soon the Salesforce team was sporting floral patterns and bright colors every day of the week.
It's no surprise, then, that the culture of Hawaii played a role in inspiring Marc to purchase the company's first office at the Rincon Centre. From the vibrant colors to the sense of family and community, the Aloha spirit was infused into the very DNA of Salesforce.
And today, the Salesforce Ohana has evolved into a global community that spans continents and cultures, united by a shared commitment to making the world a better place.
Whether you're an employee, a customer, or simply a member of the larger Salesforce family, the Ohana spirit is alive and well – a testament to the enduring values that have shaped Salesforce from the beginning.
In 2005, Salesforce ushered in a new era of business software with a service that left the competition in the dust.
This allowed businesses to tap into a vast ecosystem of tools and services designed to help them achieve their unique goals and visions.
For Salesforce, AppExchange was the ultimate opportunity to expand its capabilities and services while staying true to its core values of community-building. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today, AppExchange is a thriving marketplace with apps and solutions available to help businesses of all sizes achieve success.
Back in the glory days of 2006, a whopping 5K Salesforce enthusiasts flocked to Dreamforce, eagerly anticipating the hottest industry breakthroughs from the one and only industry maven.
It all began with Apex – Salesforce's on-demand programming language. For the first time, third-party developers could write and run code on Salesforce.com's multi-tenant, shared architecture.
This breakthrough empowered customers, partners, and developers with the same language and platform that had made Salesforce a force to be reckoned with in the industry.
But Salesforce was just getting started. Enter Parker Harris and his game-changing technology, Visualforce. This powerful tool allowed users to create any user interface they desired.
And in 2008, the world was introduced to Force.com – a platform that opened up a whole new realm of possibilities for Salesforce customers. With Force.com, users could build custom applications that leveraged the robust and scalable CRM solution they had come to love.
With some of Salesforce's biggest customers – like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Thomson Reuters, and Japan Post – jumping on board right away, it was clear that the draw of Force.com was undeniable.
What made it so appealing? For one, it was four times faster than conventional programming methods. This made it an ideal solution for businesses that needed to move quickly and efficiently.
With Sales, Service, and PaaS firmly established as part of the Salesforce suite of products, the company set its sights on a new market.
And in the lead-up to Dreamforce 2012, Salesforce had been on a buying spree, snapping up companies in a particular space.
And at Dreamforce 2012, with a raucous crowd cheering them on, Salesforce unveiled its latest innovation.
Marketing Cloud offered businesses an all-in-one solution for managing their marketing campaigns and social media presence.
As smartphones began to rise in popularity in 2013 – with over 55% of the planet's population owning one – Salesforce realized it was high time to turn their attention to mobile.
Until then, they had a mobile app called Salesforce Mobile, which provided limited access to users' data from their phones.
But with the mobile revolution in full swing, it was clear that something bigger and better was needed to keep up with the times.
Salesforce1 underwent changes and eventually adopted the appearance of the Salesforce platform, leading to its current name, Lightning.
With Trailhead, anyone can create an account and start learning, regardless of location or previous experience.
Since its launch at Dreamforce 2014, Trailhead has attracted a huge following thanks to its cutting-edge features and engaging content.
The introduction of Superbadges, certification maintenance exams, and a constant stream of new modules across a wide range of topics have all helped to cement Trailhead's status as the go-to platform for learning Salesforce.
For 16 years, Salesforce's look and feel remained relatively unchanged – with its signature Amazon-style tabs. But a few years ago, everything changed. In a move designed to keep customers happy and promote the componentized way of developing what Salesforce is known for, the company set out to create a new look for its flagship product.
Enter the Lightning Experience – a bright, vibrant, and responsive app that forever changed how Salesforce looked through a browser.
It was more than just a new look, though – it aimed to unify the look and feel of Salesforce across all devices, making it easier to navigate and use the platform.
With Einstein, businesses could tap into cutting-edge AI technology to supercharge their sales, service, and marketing efforts. And for developers, the possibilities were endless with the ability to build apps using the powerful Einstein engine.
In 2018, Salesforce made a bold move that sent shockwaves through the tech industry – they acquired MuleSoft for a whopping $6.5 billion.
But why did Salesforce make such a significant investment in MuleSoft? The platform's ability to connect backend legacy systems to the cloud is the answer. MuleSoft enables businesses to undergo a digital transformation like never before.
In 2019, Salesforce did it again. They made waves with their jaw-dropping $15.7 billion acquisition of Tableau, a world-renowned data visualization and business intelligence leader.
In 2021, Salesforce bid a fond farewell to two of its long-standing automation tools, Workflow Rules and Process Builder, in favor of a new and improved solution – Flow.
Why the switch? Workflow Rules and Process Builder had not received significant updates in years and were starting to show their age.
At TrailblazerDX 2022, Flow and Apex, Salesforce's premier automation tools, would be fully integrated into Slack, opening up a world of possibilities for businesses looking to integrate the platform into their everyday workflows and processes.
Salesforce.com's remarkable accomplishments are undoubtedly impressive. But their influence on the world and the community they aspire to shape stands out.
The possibilities for what lies ahead for Salesforce and the community they've cultivated are endless.