By Salesforce, originally published on Small Business Trends.
Salesforce serves businesses big and small today. But even as the company grows and its customers do, too, it hasn’t taken its eye off companies like yours.
Here is a list of 10 things every small business should know about Salesforce to get a better understanding of the company and what it offers.
Salesforce started small, too — 18 years ago in a small apartment.
The story of Salesforce’s beginnings is probably one to which many small business owners can relate. Back in 1999 Marc Benioff and three co-founders started Salesforce in San Francisco. To start Salesforce, Benioff gave up a successful career and struggled to find investors.
Today, the company is a tech titan. In the past quarter, Salesforce revenue reached $2.56 billion. That’s a 26 percent increase over the previous year. And it’s been recognized as the top CRM company in a competitive industry.
Salesforce has more than 150,000 customers, many of which are small businesses.
Once a small business itself, Salesforce got off the ground by serving small business needs. Today, some of the biggest companies in the world rely on Salesforce but still, many of its customers are startups and small businesses. The company is not taking its eye off the customers who got them where they are today.
DUFL is a great example of a company that has grown tremendously with Salesforce. Acting like a personal valet for business travel, DUFL cleans and stores garments customers need for their trips and ships them directly to their destination. DUFL uses Salesforce to keep a complete record of each individual’s unique needs so it can then deliver personalized, 1-to-1 experiences to its customers. With Salesforce supporting its sales and customer service, DUFL’s team of less than 50 employees has seen 10% month-on-month growth while maintaining a retention rate of more than 99%.
Today, Salesforce is much more than CRM.
Sure, Salesforce is nearly synonymous with CRM, especially for small businesses. But the company is getting a reputation for other services it provides companies like yours.
For instance, a few years ago Salesforce acquired Demandware, which it now calls Salesforce Commerce Cloud. Commerce Cloud allows small businesses to create unique shopping experiences for all its customers, including new ways of engaging customers on mobile devices at any time.
Salesforce also offers Quip, content collaboration tools for businesses.
Salesforce puts on one of the largest user conferences in the United States.
You’ll never walk alone at Dreamforce. That’s the annual user conference put on by Salesforce. And this is a big deal. It’s the largest software conference in the world.
Dreamforce offers the opportunity to learn first-hand how Salesforce — and any of its offerings — can help your small business. And if one of the many experts on hand isn’t enough, you’ll have a chance to meet the 175,000 or so attendees at this year’s event. That’s right — 175 THOUSAND!
“It’s bigger than a lot of cities,” says CRM Essentials co-founder Brent Leary, a regular at Dreamforce.
Many of those at Dreamforce are small business customers. This year there will be over 300 sessions dedicated to small businesses.
Salesforce has invested big in artificial intelligence.
Salesforce is integrating artificial intelligence with its CRM platform. The company calls its AI Einstein and promises to make everyone in your small business using it smarter.
In an interview with Small Business Trends, Salesforce’s Tony Rodoni stressed the role and impact of AI for a small business.
“No small business should have to have a data science department,” Rodoni said. “But we want to put functionality into the product that helps them see trends, recommend actions, and take next steps. And our SMB customers are going to see that in our products pretty darn quick.”
Your small business can access capital, find an investor, or get help on growth with Salesforce.
Salesforce has its own venture capital and investment arm called Salesforce Ventures.
The company has also created the AI Innovation Fund and is investing $50 million in startups that use AI to integrate their companies’ products with Salesforce.
Salesforce for Startups provides startups with access to the Salesforce technology, resources and expertise needed to become thriving customer and community-focused companies. Salesforce helps startups build, grow and give back through the AppExchange Partner Program, Salesforce Ventures, Pledge 1%, customer-focused products and much more.
Salesforce has a 1-1-1 philanthropy program.
Making an impact on your community, outside of being a successful company, adds value to any small business. Salesforce.org is based on the company’s own 1-1-1 model of social philanthropy.
And the 1-1-1 model is ideal for small businesses to donate from the beginning without stunting
their own growth. The 1s in 1-1-1 represent a percent of time, resources, and products that go to the common good of the community surrounding every business who’s pledged to contribute.
Salesforce.org says, to date, it has donated $168 million in grants, 2.3 million hours of community service, and product giveaways to more than 32,000 nonprofits and higher education institutions.
The AppExchange offers other apps for your business that automatically integrate with Salesforce.
Salesforce was the first to come out with an app store for third party integrations and extensions. It’s called Salesforce AppExchange. The AppExchange is where you’ll find other business apps that integrate with Salesforce.
The AppExchange recently reached its five million installs milestone, which shows the accelerating momentum of the AppExchange. Salesforce hit one million installs after six years, but in the last 12 months, it has grown from four to five million. This illustrates the exponential growth and strength of Salesforce’s partner ecosystem, which empowers SMBs with pre-integrated business apps to help them run their business efficiently.
Salesforce training is gamified.
Salesforce has a learning system dubbed Trailhead. The company calls it the fun way to learn how to use Salesforce.
Trailhead is free and offers learning modules and guided trails for every skill level. Check out this blog postto learn more about how small businesses can use Trailhead. There’s even a special “Trail Mix” designed especially for small businesses.