Marketing Mix of Salesforce.com
Salesforce.com is a well known global leader in Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. The brand is a leading cloud player and provides a wide range of CRM solutions based upon cloud technology. The company introduced its first CRM software in 2000 and since then it has expanded its range of offerings a lot. Its large portfolio of services includes sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, digital commerce, community management, collaboration, industry specific solutions and the Salesforce Platform, also referred to as the Customer Success Platform, which includes Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning, IoT, Heroku, Analytics and the AppExchange.
Apart from security, privacy reliability and scalability, the brand also offers some additional advantages that include ease of integration and use. Salesforce.com is an innovative brand that has brought several innovative solutions to the market. While the cloud industry has grown highly competitive, salesforce.com has continued to invest in innovation for faster growth in sales. However, the key factor that has helped grow its popularity is trust. Customers’ trust is a source of competitive advantage for the brand focusing upon which has brought it to its leadership status and helped it enjoy superior financial growth.
This is a marketing mix of salesforce.com analysing the seven P’s : Product, Place, Price, Promotion, People, Processes and Physical Evidence.
Salesforce.com has brought a wide range of products and services. Its large portfolio of services includes sales force automation, customer service and support, marketing automation, digital commerce, community management, collaboration, industry specific solutions and the Salesforce Platform, also referred to as the Customer Success Platform, which includes Trailhead, Einstein AI, Lightning, IoT, Heroku, Analytics and AppExchange. Pardot is its B2B marketing automation solution.
Trailhead: Free, gamified, interactive online learning platform, for learning in-demand skills, including administering salesforce services and developing on the Salesforce Platform.
Einstein AI: Includes a set of advanced AI capabilities embedded across the entire Salesforce Platform to automatically discover relevant insights, predict future behaviour, recommend best next actions and automate tasks.
Salesforce lightning: A component-based experience, platform and ecosystem where customers can create apps fast with clicks and there is no need for them to code.
IoT : Use IoT data at scale with tools for creating rules-based automation to deliver proactive sales, service and marketing.
Heroku: App development Platform-as-a-Service to build mobile and web customer apps.
Analytics: Complete, intelligent analytics for exploring business data, discovering new insights, making smarter decisions and to take action from any device.
AppExchange: An enterprise cloud marketplace which allows customers to extend the Salesforce Platform to every department and every industry with more than 5,000 solutions, 5,000,000 customer installs and 70,000 peer reviews (SalesforceAnnual report, 2017).
Salesforce products and services are categorized on the basis of customer needs, market segments, industries as well as business type and roles of executives inside an organization. This helps customers which includes managers, executives and other leading decision makers (including individual customers and enterprises) select the services that suit their needs the best.
Salesforce.com is currently playing in select markets. It operates in three major segments by geographic market regions. These markets include the Americas, Europe and Asia Pacific. Asia Pacific accounted for lower than 10 percent of its revenue in 2018. Europe also accounted for less than 20% of its revenue. Americas are salesforce.com’s biggest market which account for more than 75% revenue of the brand. Its corporate headquarters are located in San Francisco, California. Since most of its business is carried out online, the need for physical infrastructure is not very high.
Moreover, by winning customers’ trust, the company has already managed the most vital aspect of business. With passing time, as sales and its business empire grows, salesforce may need to expand its operations into new regions and its physical infrastructure too. However, Salesforce is still very close to its customers and they can avail of its services form any corner in the world and that too with a few simple clicks. Managing customer relationships well has helped many firms minimize their operational costs.
Basically, Salesforce.com has followed a competitive pricing strategy. The basic subscriptions are priced affordably. As the usage increase, so do the prices of a package. Sales Cloud essentials package is available for $25, then professional for $75 and Enterprise for $150. Prices are higher for the enterprise users and the unlimited package. There are more packages customised for users and you have to pay for only the resources you use. Packages are also customised by functions, roles and industry. As the demand for such technologies and services has grown and more players have entered the market, pricing strategy has become a core element that affects demand, sales and market growth.
Superior growth of Salesforce has resulted from several factors and pricing is one of them. The right pricing strategy coupled with the right quality of products and services helps maximise customer value. Pricing is considered an important element of marketing in many cases as it affects demand and popularity among your customers. If your products and services are accessible but priced in a manner to distract customers, the result would be lower demand and lower sales. Sustaining a consistent growth rate requires focus upon pricing and setting the prices for products and services in a manner that is balanced and appealing.
However, how your products and services are consumed by your customers and their role in generating profits and revenues also needs to be considered before setting prices. Salesforce has considered all these factors to set the prices of its individual products, services and packages. Competition is also an important factor which affects the pricing strategy of a business since how your competitors have priced their products and services needs to be considered to maintain high level of demand. There are several competing players like Google, Amazon and Oracle that offer matching products and services. However, the pricing strategy of Salesforce is more balanced and based upon the needs of specific customer segments. With time, Salesforce has further refined its pricing strategy to make its products and services more affordable for customers worldwide. In 2019, the diversity of cloud packages from Salesforce has grown.
Salesforce uses a variety of marketing programs including advertising, events, corporate communications, brand building and product marketing activities. The brand spends a large part of its revenue, around 47% on marketing and sales. Its expenditure on marketing and sales for the fiscal 2017 was about 3.8 Billion dollars which grew next year to $4.6 billion and in fiscal 2019 to $6 billion. The company has also ket growing its investment in advertising every year. In fiscal 2017, the company invested $350 million in advertising, $373 million next year and $482 million in 2019. However, the company founder Marc Benioff is using several innovative techniques of marketing to promote salesforce and its products and services.
The company website is the core channel of marketing the products and services. Some other channels include Twitter and YouTube. However, Marc Benioff also organises seminars to make his voice audible to a larger customer segment and partners with his leading clients for joint promotions. Some of the leading clients of Salesforce include Adidas, 21st Century Fox, VMware, Tmobile, Girl Scouts, Brunello Cucinelli, Unilever, Mariott, United Way and Coca Cola. Its clients include both for profit and not for profit organisations.
Salesforce utilises digital channels mainly for marketing and promotions. However, real world marketing also plays an important role in shaping the customer perception of the CRM brand. Salesforce enjoys strong brand equity which is a result of its focus on trust and customer experience. Great customer experiences have resulted in a stronger equity, higher sales and fast growth in revenue. Salesforce also uses other promotional techniques like the Dreampitch competition where three entrepreneurs get to pitch their idea before a panel of judges in the Dreampitch reality show. In 2018, the reward for the winner was $250,000 investment from salesforce ventures.
People are an asset for any organisation. Salesforce founder Marc Benioff has focused on building a human capital that is matchless in terms of energy, efficiency and focus. The organisation has been hailed for its human resource policies and practices. The company is among the leaders in human resource management and has proved it year after year that its people are its biggest asset and have played a major role in the making of Salesforce. In 2017 and 2018, Salesforce was on the top of the ‘Fortune 100 best companies to work for‘ list and in 2019 on the second position just after Hilton. For 11 years the company has remained on this list among the best companies to work for. The company employed more than 35,000 people as of 2019. It has also established a strong culture whose focus is employee empowerment and equality in all terms of all employees including job opportunities, career advancement and salaries.
Since Salesforce sells cloud based CRM services mainly, the processes are mostly online except for the consumer representative interactions that take place on phone or directly. Salesforce customers can purchase the products or services they need online and these services are just as convenient to use as they are easy to deploy. They can be deployed through internet browsers or mobile devices and integrated without difficulty with other platforms or enterprise applications. Salesforce has made the delivery of these services easier for its customers and there are service representatives which provide support for deployment, integration and maintenance.
Physical Evidence :
With the proliferation of internet based services, the role of physical evidence has grown limited. In case of services where most of the interaction between the customer and the company takes place online, customer trust matters more than physical evidence. The products and services are mainly intangible and any proof of purchase is emailed to consumers. However, the satisfied customers of Salesforce include large and small businesses and names like Coca Cola, facebook, Brown Foreman and Loreal. A large number of these customers have left their feedback on the salesforce website.
Salesforce annual reports 2017, 2018 and 2019.