Here’s Bret Taylor’s First Big Tech Move at Salesforce as Co-CEO

Here's Bret Taylor's First Big Tech Move at Salesforce as Co-CEO
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Bret Taylor, co-CEO of Salesforce, speaks at the Living Technology Conference in Paris on June 15, 2022.

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Ten months after his promotion to co-CEO of Sales forceServing alongside the famous founder marc benioffBret Taylor is preparing to take the stage at the annual Dreamforce conference for the first time under his new title.

A career technologist with a master’s degree in computer science from Stanford, Taylor told CNBC that Salesforce’s big product presentation for this year’s event is “unabashedly geeky.” It’s called Genie, and it’s designed to update Salesforce’s dominant sales database software with modern technology that gives sellers real-time insights at their fingertips.

“We’re really adding a new technology capability to our platform,” Taylor said in an interview. Taylor and Benioff will give their opening remarks on Tuesday, starting at 10 a.m. Pacific Time in San Francisco.

To some extent, Salesforce recognizes that its existing systems have become somewhat dated. The 23-year-old company’s original data warehouse software runs on a transactional database of Oracle, where Benioff spent 13 years before starting Salesforce. The world has become much more complex in the intervening decades, and businesses are flocking to databases that can process data from many more sources and enable faster decisions.

Salesforce’s move to Genie began in 2019, when the company inserted a customer data platform, or CDP, that marketers can use to collect data about customers before serving them ads. With Genie, marketers will have the latest information available through the Salesforce Marketing Cloud.

Over time, Taylor said, Genie will be integrated with other key Salesforce products: its clouds for sales, service and commerce. Companies can pay to add Genie capabilities to their existing Salesforce installations, a spokesperson said.

Taylor, co-creator of Google Maps he also directed Facebook The tech group, before joining Salesforce in 2016 through the acquisition of its startup Quip, is under some pressure from Wall Street as rising interest rates and the threat of a recession drive investors away from companies. growth stocks. Salesforce shares have fallen 40% this year, more than double the drop in the S&P 500, and are trading near their lowest level since April 2020.

sales force vs. S&P 500


In its earnings report Last month, Salesforce cut its earnings and revenue expectations for the full year. It now expects sales growth for the year of about 17%, down from 25% last fiscal year, which would mark by far the slowest pace of expansion since the company went public in 2004.

Taylor also has a lot to do outside of Salesforce. he is the president of Twitterwhich is embroiled in a heated and very public legal battle with Elon Musk that will determine the future of the social media company. twitter is suing musk to try to enforce the Tesla CEO takeover deal that subsequently tried to finish.

Taylor declined to discuss the ordeal itself, saying “it doesn’t come up much” when meeting with Salesforce customers. And that’s how he spends most of his time.

With the addition of Genie, Salesforce will strengthen the capabilities of Einstein, the company’s AI engine that runs on Sales Cloud and other applications. Einstein can recommend which leads are most likely to convert to sales, and Genie will pull the latest insights, so suggestions are pulled from the data in seconds, and soon in just milliseconds.

Genie will also work on Tableau, the data analysis tool that Salesforce acquired in 2019, making charts as up-to-date as possible.

Salesforce’s rivals in marketing software, including Adobe and Oracle, have been touting the importance of real-time content data platforms that can harness a variety of data and respond to the latest pushes from customers and prospects. Salesforce is trying to bring those capabilities to other departments, like customer service.

Sheryl Kingstone, vice president of customer service and trading at S&P Global’s tech industry research unit 451 Research, said she’s not surprised Salesforce has been working to provide real-time data across its lineup.

“I was more surprised, it took so long,” she said.

Since at least 2017, Salesforce executives have been pushing a concept called Customer 360, which is about serving up a mosaic of information about each customer to deliver a better deal. The problem was that data about the events was not being piped into the system as they occurred. Taylor is familiar with that criticism.

“I’ve heard that feedback before,” he said. Taylor added that with the “technological advancement” of the Genie, that shouldn’t be a problem in the future.

First Horizon Bank in Memphis, Tennessee, implemented Salesforce’s CDP platform earlier this year. The software helps the bank target new customers and offer them mortgages, and is more behaviorally responsive than the manual, batch-processing system that First Horizon relied on in the past, said Erin Pryor, the bank’s chief marketing officer. . Unlike online ads that can make some people feel like they’re being followed too closely, Pryor said consumers appreciate this level of product targeting.

“I don’t think there’s ever a complaint about your institution knowing you and really being able to provide you with content and advice on things that are important to you,” Pryor said.

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