Salesforce has been the #1 CRM provider for the fifth consecutive year by International Data Corporation (IDC). The company has grown more than double year-on-year. India will continue to be a key market for Salesforce, says Sunil Jose, Senior Area Vice President and Country Leader, Salesforce India.
From an overall CRM growth point of view, how was the calendar year 2018 from a global and India market perspective?
The CRM industry has changed considerably over the past decade. Cloud services are now standard. Globally, CRM market potential is projected to be $82B by 2025 and growing at 12% annually (Seeking Alpha). Salesforce has been the #1 CRM provider for the fifth consecutive year by International Data Corporation (IDC). Salesforce grew its overall market share position and increased its revenue more than any other Customer Relationship Management (CRM) vendor.
Today, every company wants to deliver connected customer experiences across channels and departments. Even small and medium business enterprises have today realized the importance of customer relationships and also understand that technology enables them to chart a more effective growth path for themselves. Therefore, companies are increasingly turning to Salesforce to accelerate their digital transformation journey to deliver intelligent and connected customer experiences across every touch point. At Dreamforce we launched Salesforce Customer 360, a new cross-cloud technology initiative that help companies move beyond an app- or department-specific view of each customer by making it easier to create a single, holistic customer profile to inform every interaction. By placing the customer at the center of the business, Customer 360 will enable companies to usher in dynamic new customer engagement models that bring together service, marketing, commerce and more in entirely new ways.
How was Salesforce performance for this calendar year from a global as well as India perspective?
In the enterprise software industry, we were the fastest to achieve revenue of $10 billion. We are in a peak performance mode as each company that we’re dealing with is going through a huge digital transformation. Global Revenue growth in Q3FY19 grew 26% YOY in constant currency.
The America’s continues to be our largest market to date, however, the pace of growth of other regions is seeing accelerated investments from Salesforce. India is one of the fastest growing regions for the company and we’ve grown more than double year-on-year. India will continue to be a key market for us. We have been able to transform businesses of all sizes, across segments, leading them into their next phase of customer success. Today, as enterprises look to take advantage of the inherent value of digital, I believe Salesforce is uniquely positioned to turn this objective into reality. I look forward to accelerating our growth, helping our customers and businesses in India become disrupters and industry-leaders by using Salesforce to put their customers at the heart of their businesses.
What all activities you did which differentiated you from the competition and helped you to increase market share?
Our business in India has never been stronger. India is home to some of the best technology talent in the world and is known for its incredible innovation. It has even recently surpassed the U.S. in largest amount of Internet users. It’s this type of growth, speed and innovation that made us want to double down and make India a key focus for us as a company.
Our key focus areas through the year have been:
Customer-centric digital transformation to drive business value, growth and success for our customers. We recently launched, Ignite is an elite team of strategists focused on digital transformation of large businesses like never before. Our investments in Ignite will translate the promise of digital technologies-cloud computing, data analytics, mobile devices, and so on-into meaningful investment and transformation strategy for businesses.
Vertical alignment to accelerate our focus on innovation across key industries, creating an ecosystem of trailblazers. We will look at completely re-imagining what technology can do for certain industries, delivering the power of the Salesforce platform to drive innovation, business growth with scalable industry solutions.
Businesses are realizing a multi-cloud strategy can transform an enterprise’s capabilities as well as contribute to the bottom line. Chief amongst them are suitability for specific purpose, cost optimization, data residency and locality, integration capability, Dev/Ops productivity, compliance and security. As user confidence grows based on a series of positive experiences, the appetite of enterprises to consume ever more cloud services will become more evident and become the norm rather than a trend.
Skilling through Trailhead: With a combination of instructor-led offerings from Salesforce University and self-guided learning from Trailhead — the interactive, gamified, hands-on learning platform that empowers anyone to learn new skills. Our goal is to prepare the next generation of trailblazers with in-demand job skills, thereby contributing to the Salesforce Economy in India. By 2022 the Salesforce ecosystem alone will create 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs in India.
SMB market focus: The size and potential of the cloud opportunity in the small and medium-sized business (SMB) segment is well documented. While most small business owners understand technology can make their lives easier, they often default to managing their data manually in spreadsheets and email. Our customized solution for the SMB segment has proven to empower every small business to get started and tap into the power of Salesforce with apps for sales and service that are easy to use, setup and maintain.
How was the channel growth for Salesforce? What channel programmes you had rolled out in the year?
Salesforce’s world-class Partner ecosystem is crucial to the success of our business. The ecosystem includes global and regional consulting partners, digital agencies, ISVs, system integrators and resellers focused on accelerating customer success. We combine industry expertise and a world-class partner ecosystem with innovative thinking to solve customers’ biggest challenges and help them to put their customers in the center of everything.
Through a combination of business, technology and marketing benefits and leveraging the world’s leading enterprise cloud marketplace – the Salesforce AppExchange– the Salesforce Partner Program enables partners of all sizes and industries to build successful businesses. Most recently in India we strengthened our association with Ingram Micro recently, through this alliance, Ingram Micro will expand and foster the use of Salesforce’s market-leading sales, service marketing solutions and platform to businesses of all sizes across India, empowering them to deliver even greater customer success.
In FY18, the fiscal year, more than 55% of our business was transacted with our partners. The ecosystem includes a broad range of partners, including ISVs and consultants. The addressable market is a great opportunity for partners and there is a high demand for Salesforce-related skills in the market, and partners are a core strategy for Salesforce as we look to grow the business.
How was your customer acquisition growth? What were the customer engagement programs of the year and what was the outcome?
India is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and is uniquely placed to take advantage of all of the opportunities in the Fourth Industrial Revolution as a thriving hub for innovation, technology and talent. From start-ups to some of the largest tech companies in the world, there is an amazing sales opportunity for us in India. We’ve significantly grown our new logo acquisition in all market segments. Some of our key customers in India include: Godrej, KFC, DTDC, Jana Small Finance Bank, United Breweries, and Snapdeal among many more.
India is pivotal in driving Customer Success, providing our customers with 24/7 support around the world. India also has the largest developer ecosystem outside of the US, which has resulted in a unique ISV ecosystem that addresses unique use cases, customer pain points and solutions. Salesforce investments in ISV’s across India have accelerated over the last 3 – 4 years and we believe this is a crucial platform to drive innovation in the region and even around the world.
Which verticals embraced your solutions maximum and why?
A great CRM can help any company market to new customers, close the deal, and provide excellent customer service. We saw great traction across all segments but the BFSI segment was definitely quicker to take to CRM this year. One of the unique challenges of business banking in a digital world is meeting customer expectations. You can’t just have a great checking account or lending terms, as you can with most retail customers. You must offer sound financial advice. And in the information age, that means having in-depth knowledge of each customer’s industry, taking a tailored approach, and doing it all faster than ever before.
Name some of the best customers and why those were best?
Some of our key customers that we can reference, across the region include Godrej, KFC, DTDC, Jana Small Finance Bank, United Breweries, and Snapdeal among many more.
Point out some of CIO Challenges in 2018 from the CRM point of view? What was the experience of Salesforce in mitigating those challenges?
When a business is growing at breakneck speed, IT’s challenge is to efficiently support expanding day-to-day operations and a growing workforce while enabling continual innovation. CIOs must ensure both near-term and multiyear strategies are in place to deliver the underlying technology needed for foundational systems as well as the differentiating systems that create a competitive advantage. This requires building strong, collaborative relationships among the technology team, internal and external business partners, customers, and industry experts. Most importantly, it means spending time with our customers so we can better understand how to serve them, whether through our website, mobile apps, help and training, or ordering and billing tools.
CIOs don’t have the unlimited budgets required to start completely from scratch with the latest technologies across the board. The ability to integrate is the key. Leveraging cloud apps streamlines the complex process of integrating systems, platforms, data stores, and other existing assets into overall IT architectures.
For IT organizations to succeed, CIOs must ensure the right talent is in the right position, and then provide employees opportunities to grow. Outside of our direct workforce, Salesforce also supports various programs to help train and educate people for the jobs of the future. This includes investing in K-12 STEM education; in Trailhead, our gamified online learning platform; and in our Pathfinder training program, which addresses the growing skills gap by providing participants from diverse backgrounds with the technical and business training they need to secure jobs in the Salesforce ecosystem.
What all products you rolled out in the year, what was the adoption rate of those new products?
A customer-centric digital transformation is essential to drive business value, growth and success for our customers. Digital transformation is not just about taking some processes; it is beyond that. That’s where we start talking to people about the fourth industrial revolution. Today, customers can look at data in different ways, and we are helping them by bridging the gap between an organization and its customers and see how organizations can service the new-age customer in a very different manner.
Some of the new products that we launched this year to help organizations transform their customer relations are:
- Einstein Bots for Service Cloud: Companies can now leverage Einstein Bots for Service to automate routine service requests and enable frictionless agent handoffs.
- Salesforce IoT Insights for Field Service Lightning lets companies use connected devices to troubleshoot problems with machinery before they get on site. With the insights gathered beforehand from IoT, data workers in the field will know which tools they’ll need to bring to a job.
- Einstein Voice Assistant: It is a new platform service that brings the power of voice to millions of Salesforce users. Einstein Voice Assistant will transform the way people work, allowing them to get personalized daily briefings and make conversational updates to Salesforce via the Salesforce Mobile App or smart speaker of their choice.
- Salesforce customer 360: Customer 360 will help companies move beyond an app- or department-specific view of each customer by making it easier to create a single, holistic customer profile to inform every interaction. Customer 360 will enable companies to usher in dynamic new customer engagement models that bring together service, marketing, commerce and more in entirely new ways.
- Integration Cloud: The new integration cloud platform helps to surface data regardless of where it resides to connect every system, customer and device in a whole new way.
- Salesforce Essentials: A platform for small business teams, Essentials delivers new easy-to-use sales and service apps backed by the power of Salesforce Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning and AppExchange. Now small businesses can work smarter and faster than ever while future-proofing their business and putting customers at the center of everything they do.
What kind of revenue/ market share growth you achieved this Year?
Our Q3 FY19 revenue was up 26% YOY in constant currency. CRM is still the fastest-growing category of software — and Salesforce is #1 in sales, service, marketing, and CRM platform in the world.