Warren Buffett said, “time is the friend of the wonderful company, the enemy of the mediocre.” Most can agree that time has been very good to Salesforce.com, and that Marc Benioff has been a big reason why.
When he started Saleforce.com 1999, his sales and marketing background led him to believe that the market would respond well to web-hosted CRM—he was correct. Last month Marc Benioff’s company bought ExactTarget for about $2.4 billion. He believes that the market needs cloud-based marketing software—he is again correct.
We believe that marketing automation’s use by organizations has only just begun, but 10 years from now it will be as commonplace as accounting software in organizations of every size and industry.
Even though the market has other marketing automation systems, like Marketo, Silverpop, and Eloqua, Salesforce.com felt the purchase was worth the effort. They are betting that the combination of Salesforce.com’s CRM, Exact Target and Pardot, the marketing automation system acquired recently by Exact Target, will be so compelling that current Salesforce.com customer will readily add the newcomers to their must-have business tools.
This is not a slam-dunk business decision. In order to be competitive with the leading vendors, Salesforce.com will have to invest significantly in its new marketing products. We believe the will make that investment and we’re watching eagerly as this competition unfolds over time.