Essentially Communicating - Marc Benioff, Salesforce

Marc Benioff, the CEO and co-founder of Salesforce talks about how essential communications is in his company! Salesforce is a pioneering company providing SaaS applications. It started with an idea in 1999 and is now a 1 billion dollar industry. One of the first SaaS companies that is profitable. The tips are worth not only a read but also implementation!

Commit to transparent communication. Customer relationships take work, and a big part of that work is dedicating yourself to constant communication with customers and prospects, says Benioff. "We invited them to come in and see what we were working on. We asked them to test it, and we made changes based on what they said. Having this kind of inclusive communication—sharing and listening— from the beginning set the tone for our entire company." According to Benioff, salesforce used this feedback to make fast changes—"intelligent reaction."

Tell classic stories. Most reporters don't care about a tiny startup, and that's why Benioff never positioned himself as such. He told a classic David-vs.-Goliath story. "We gave the media something different. We gave them something new. We always positioned ourselves as revolutionaries. We went after the largest competitor in the industry or the industry itself. We made our story about change. We were about something new and different that was good for customers, and good for the community. We talked about the future." Although the media landscape is changing, Benioff believes there will always be a need for content. The delivery model might be changing, but exchanging and sharing stories and information remains as important as ever.

Make your own metaphors. According to Benioff, simple metaphors are a terrific way to communicate your message. "I spend a lot of time creating metaphors to explain what we do. For example, early on I explained what we did with the metaphor " is (AMZN) meets Siebel Systems." Later when we launched AppExchange we called it "the eBay (EBAY) of enterprise software." Anyone can create their own metaphors, says Benioff. "Just remember to test them before you put them out there. Try a few and run them by customers, analysts, and people in your network to make sure they work."

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