I wasn’t prepared for what was about to happen at the Keynote when Alex Dayon (@SFDCAlex), Salesforce’s President of Products, stepped off the stage in the centre of the room. The lights turned off and criss-crossed laser beams shot out above us … was U2 about to perform? Nope, it was Cirque du Soleil with one, two, three, and then five performers dancing, twisting, jumping, throwing and twirling. Their performance was exhilarating, fun and inspiring. I am not sure if Cirque uses Salesforce, but their performance did remind me of how each person in an organization has different strengths and a role to play in contributing to, and delivering, success.

There were several memorable moments and themes I picked up on in the keynote, the presentation booths and partner exhibits. Here are the top five I feel are good to know.

One: Salesforce believes in their customer’s success more than themselves

It’s not that Salesforce doesn’t care about themselves, it’s that they care more about their customer’s success. They said “Customer Success” is their new business model, although I would call it a mission statement. Their commitment to it was most evident during the keynote where they stopped talking about themselves and had customers from different industries talk about the successes they had achieved with Salesforce.

Two: Salesforce is the 6th largest software company in the world

I didn’t know it until Alex stated it. Their subscription-based software as a service is used by over 150,000 customers worldwide and earned $5.4B USD in revenue in their last fiscal year. They have accomplished this while continuing to support non-profit organizations worldwide via their Salesforce Foundation program that includes 1% each of their time, equity and product being given to non-profits. Currently 25,000 NPO’s are in the program. Also they are just kicking off a new “Salesforce for Start-ups” program to support new innovators.

Three: Salesforce is growing their platform by investing in complementary Analytics, Marketing Community, and Service Clouds Offerings

About a third of the exhibit hall was dedicated to booths arranged in their cloud service groupings: Sales, Analytics, Marketing, Community and Service. I spent time with success specialists in each area listening, questioning and learning. Through acquisition and in-house development Salesforce is continuing to branch out from their primary Sales Cloud to provide complementary intelligence, social, marketing automation and case management systems. The systems are integrated and supportive of both initial sales and follow-on operational activities and engagement. They have taken a “less is more” approach to many of the offerings and I believe many organizations will find the modules, seamlessness and functionality appealing.

Four: Organizations can easily extend their Salesforce environment by building apps themselves or buying apps from partners

Spending time in the #DEVzone I saw that Salesforce has improved the Salesforce1 development platform including workflow and forms. Customers can more easily plan, build, integrate, deploy and maintain apps to support specialized and critical business processes and activities. For organizations looking to buy rather than build the Salesforce AppExchange contains free and subscription based apps that are built into the Salesforce platform. The Partner app area was a favourite of mine at the show due to the breadth and magnitude of apps that offered specific point solutions, add-ons and simplifications to help drive efficiency and effectiveness to Salesforce’s customers and their customer’s workforces and end clients. I spent time at booths that included apps for various industries and areas including legal, financial, records management, sales and data security.

Five: Salesforce makes mobile fast and easy on any device

Ease-of-use and deployment speed on mobile devices on any platform and device were key messages in the keynote that continued through the day. It was clear that mobile versions of the core cloud solutions and data, in-house developed apps and AppExchange apps were available and user-friendly. Many of the booths had a special display switch button that flipped the presentation screen from a computer to a mobile device. Success specialists illustrated functionality between devices and platforms during their demos. Alex summarized Salesforce’s mobile strategy best in his keynote, “We want you to be able to run your entire business from your phone, kiosk or whatever comes next.”

With Salesforce’s current industry position, improving platform and customer success focus I am excited to see how organizations will use and adopt their tools and where they will both go next.

Did you attend the Salesforce World Tour in Toronto? What themes and trends did you pick up on?

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