Since Salesforce was launched in 1999 by Marc Benioff, Halsey Minor, and Parker Harris, it has been a pioneer in SaaS and the cloud computing sector. The company has also garnered a reputation for making aggressive objectives. In 2017, when the company reached $10 billion in revenue, Benioff set a $20 billion goal.
Now, 21 years since launching and three years since Benioff set his eyes on a new goal, the company has announced that it surpassed $5 billion in revenue, putting Salesforce on a $20 billion run rate for the first time. This milestone comes as the SaaS giant achieves another first, becoming the first cloud-software entry into the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Salesforce reported a second-quarter net income of $2.63 billion, or $2.85 a share, on revenue of $5.15 billion, up from $4 billion in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted earnings, which excluded a $2 billion tax benefit from changes in the company’s international corporate structure, were $1.44 a share, compared with 66 cents a share in the year-ago period.
Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Benioff said that despite the cause for celebration, the achievement is “bittersweet” as the difficulties and tragedies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic continue. As businesses were forced to transform and adapt to customers’ needs digitally, SaaS companies like Salesforce became their saving grace.
“We all want to get back to how things were, but the reality is that’s never going to happen,” said Benioff. “We’re in a new world. We’re in an all-digital world with the work digitally; we’re living digitally, we’re educating digitally.”
Salesforce has always performed remarkably well, even before the global pandemic. This comes down to its platform, which gives customers the ability to build solutions to meet their needs. Its platform is also "low code and fast time to value," —according to Salesforce President and Chief Operating Officer, Bret Taylor— meaning its solutions can be set up quickly and be more relevant as software can respond to customers’ needs in real-time.
Salesforce has also bolstered its success with the acquisition of several companies. Their biggest acquisition was the $15.7 billion buyout of Tableau, which closed in 2019. Its $6.5 billion acquisition of Mulesoft has also allowed the company to capture and visualize data wherever it is in an enterprise.
Another big contributing factor to Salesforce's success is Benioff. Singlehandedly, he has become the face and heart of the company and he intends to make philanthropy a core part of Salesforce. Since 2017, the company has transformed dramatically, giving customers all the tools they need under one roof. Salesforce hasn't just pioneered in the SaaS industry, but has also redefined customer relationship management.