Benioff says crisis will speed growth

Salesforce has announced second-quarter revenue of $5.15bn, a year-on-year increase of 29%.

Subscription and support revenues for the quarter for the software-as-a-service (SaaS) customer relationship management (CRM) supplier were $4.84bn, an increase of 29% year-on-year, while professional services and other revenues for the quarter were $310m, a year-on-year increase of 23%.

In the earnings release, full-year guidance to the financial markets was stated as $20.7bn to $20.8bn. Previous guidance, before the pandemic, had been $21bn to $21.1bn.

Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, said in the earnings statement: “It’s humbling to have had one of the best quarters in Salesforce’s history against the backdrop of multiple crises seriously affecting our communities around the world.

“Salesforce was founded on our belief in stakeholder capitalism and our core values of trust, customer success, innovation and equality. Our success in the quarter brought all of this together with the power of our Customer 360 platform, the resilience of our business model, putting our customers first and doing our part to take care of all our stakeholders. We know that, together, we have an opportunity to emerge from these times even stronger.”

In its previous quarterly earnings declaration, the supplier itemised its contribution to combating the crisis, including the provision of personal protective equipment (PPE).

On the analyst call for the Q2 results, as transcribed by the Seeking Alpha financial news site, Benioff said the current Covid-19 pandemic crisis was shaping up to be a business accelerator, as were previous crises. “This is the third major crisis or maybe the fourth that I’ve been through as the CEO of Salesforce,” he said. “And in each crisis, things are different. But one thing that isn’t different is that each one has been an accelerator in the future, that each crisis tends to bring us to the future faster. And that appears to be what’s happening here.”

Benioff said this of Dreamforce, the company’s annual jamboree in San Francisco: “There is no Dreamforce in 2020. We know that. We’re not all heading to San Francisco next month or Metallica are not playing. You know, we’re not all going to be going in the keynote room. And yes, we’re grieving that, you know, there is a grief. There’s a sadness that we’re not all together. We love being together as one Ohana, our employees, our customers, our investors.”

Turning to the supplier’s main goal against competitors such as Oracle and SAP, he said: “We want to be the number one CRM. We’re the number one in analytics. We’re tightly focused. We’re not all over the field, like a lot of our competitors, by the way. A lot of our competitors are everywhere. They’re in every market. We’re not. We’re singularly focused.”

On the theme of analytics, Benioff also mentioned Salesforce’s 2019 acquisition of Tableau, a data visualisation software provider. “We’re so fortunate to be able to acquire Tableau last year,” he said. “It is one of the world’s leading enterprise software companies, probably one of the most loved brands. The ability to see and understand data, the ability to build these compelling visualisations like you see in the public domain, like at public.tableau.com.”

He also underscored the importance to the supplier of another acquisition, Mulesoft, saying: “This has been a game-changer for us because it’s the heart and soul of Customer 360 [a tool that connects Salesforce applications to create a single ID for a customer]. The ability to say to customers with authenticity, we’re going to integrate everything for you and bring in all your legacy systems and put APIs on top of them and give you this tremendous capability, these two companies together, this is a huge accelerator on our business that they’re both working so well.”

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