How Marc Benioff Built Salesforce.com into A Billion Dollar Global Cloud Computing Company

Marc Benioff
Photo by TechCrunch / CC BY

No one outside the tech world would know who Marc Benioff is. But one thing we’ve learned from the technology industry is this: Their billionaires are often unknown and can come from the humblest of beginnings.

They also have the simplest of stories like how they created an algorithm in the garage of their childhood home. Or, they could simply have graduated from their status as top executives of a tech firm from Silicon Valley and made their own brand of software.

Whatever their beginnings might be, no story is as prolific as Marc Benioff’s. He is the founder of saleforce.com, a legend in the world of selling and distributing software online. He is also a billionaire with a net worth of $3.1 as of April 2014 according to Forbes.

Let us begin by understanding what Salesforce.com really is. It’s impossible to understand the man without knowing why he built the startup in 1999. 

Salesforce’s Success

Salesforce.com is widely known for its customer relationship management (CRM) product. Marc Benioff’s ingenious idea paid off by having him named as America’s most innovative company primed to join the ranks of his former boss Larry Ellison of Oracle, Steve Jobs of Apple and other big-named tech startups.

And just like these multinational corporations, the reason why Salesforce.com became a billion dollar tech company is their acquisition throughout the years; that separated them from software as a service company into a social enterprise. Big mergers and partnerships included Navajo Security (2011), EntropySoft (2013) and ExactTarget (2014) for $2.5 Billion. 

Marc Benioff has always believed that being an entrepreneur means loving your product. And that’s what he did. His has since overhauled the way software programs were designed and distributed to the masses.

His take – use the Internet and create software based from it. Because of this unique vision, he has been named and recognized as one of the top tech minds driving the industry to new highs. His company, the first of its kind, has had a net profit of $1.8 Billion. 

Learning From Other Tech Giants

He started under the mentorship of Oracle Corporation’s lion CEO Larry Ellison. He used to have many executive positions with the software company in sales, marketing and product development.

But he was still very young then and his future looks promising. His knowledge was mainly based on his experience also while working as a programmer for the Macintosh Division of Apple. Inspired by Steve Jobs mainly, he decided to venture out on his own by building a cloud computing company. 

Platform As a Service

What accounts for this success in business is the belief that software as a service (Saas) would replace traditional software. He coined the term “platform as a service”. In which case, his salesforce.com “cloud” service would allow their customers to create applications using this platform. And that has never been done by any traditional enterprise software of the past generation.

Also, unlike other software predecessors, salesforce.com makes use of the vast resources and capability of the Internet to take this platform to a wider customer base. By opening its doors to a world of possibilities, Marc Benioff gave his company the edge it needed.

And who can argue with the results of his major marketing decision? His net profits and over-all likeability will prove just how deserving the company is to be named one of the world’s biggest tech firms.

Lessons from Marc Benioff

  • Offering services to the whole world through where they can access it anywhere is a money maker.
  • Always think of ways to leverage the power of the internet. It might be a big money maker.
  • Work for geniuses when you are young and learn from them.

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"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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References:

Forbes (The ultimate site for billionaire rankings)

CelebrityNetWorth (The ultimate site for net worth of celebrities)

TheRichest (Great site for things about money and rich people)

Wikipedia (Greatest site on earth for lots of information)