3 Things I Learned from Salesforce

I was only at Salesforce for a little over a year but I really appreciated my time there where I ran what’s now called the Service Cloud.  We had a lot of ups (the revenue!) and some downs SFDC_logo(the outages!) but it was a good ride nonetheless.  With any interesting work experience, there are always some key takeaways.  Here are my top 3 from my time at Salesforce.com.

Rehearse 7 Times
When doing a presentation in front of customers Marc Benioff was relentless about practicing his pitch.  “7 times!” he would say. “If you rehearse 7 times, you will know it.” It’s true!  7 times — in the car, in the conference room, in the bathroom, walking down the street.  If you know the presentation, you can visualize your slides and say the words.

Do Your V2MOM
Planning can be a challenge for many companies but Marc always insisted on having an agreed upon plan for the company, for each department, and even for each individual.  Most companies have a mission statement and objectives but Marc took it to the next step to align everyone in the company.  V2MOM stands for Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles, and Measurements.  I particularly like values as it gives a framework for how a company should operate when it has hard choices. Ours are: Customer Success, Truth, Team First, Balance, and Financial Success.

Share Your Success with Others
When Marc and I worked for Oracle in the 80s and 90s, I think we both would get really excited when Larry Ellison would make commitments to give money to charitable efforts.  I remember how disappointed I was when a commitment or two was not fulfilled. Marc talks about this in his book Behind the Cloud. So when Marc started Salesforce he built in the 1%, 1%, 1% program and started the Salesforce Foundation and encourage corporate giving – institutionalizing it within the organization.  1% of the workforce time, 1% product to give to charities, and 1% stock set aside for programs that required funding. I love this idea and so when we founded Full Circle CRM, we also set up the 1/1/1 program.  I am active in the Bay Area Lyme Foundation which I started with some friends to find diagnostics and a cure for Lyme disease.  Our VP of Sales, Sue Habernigg, has been active in the Special Olympics.  Seems like we all have something that we’re working on and our company encourages this activity.

Salesforce has continued to be a successful company and I think a good portion of its success is due to some of these key cultural ideas and norms. What cultural norms will we, at Full Circle CRM, invent?

Bonnie Crater

About Bonnie Crater

Bonnie is a 5-time VP of Marketing at Genesys, Netscape, Oracle (Network Computer Inc.), Stratify, and VoiceObjects. While valuing the creative side of marketing, Bonnie's real love is marketing operations -- measuring marketing investments and determining investment optimization. Now as CEO of Full Circle Insights, Bonnie is working to help fellow marketers get the data needed to succeed. In 2000, Bonnie was named one of the “Top 20 Female Executives in Silicon Valley” by San Jose Magazine. Bonnie holds a B.A. in biology from Princeton University.