The social revolution is happening, proclaimed Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff.
For online social evangelists going back to before the Web, this offers some satisfaction because Salesforce is perhaps the leading influencer in business today. Putting its wealth and expertise to work, the company has developed interoperable platforms that use social to tie all elements of the sales process together.
Addressing a huge audience in the cave-like below ground main hall of Moscone Centre, Benioff stated his vision and the reality of social as an essential approach for large companies like GE, and medium-sized companies like Rossignol and Activision.
Unimaginably, most of the press and blogger population was unable to connect and report via Wifi. WTF???
Anyway (grumble-grumble) the revolution is being driven by Salesforce through its customers. Its Facebook-like social platform Chatter works with other SF elements to get deeper with those customers and more immediate in responding to what those customers are saying in the social sphere. At GE, social can mean communicating with and about the machines they build and sell. At Rossignal, skiers and snowboarders can drive improvements in the recreational tools they design. At Activision, online players can have their questions answered by other players or easily escalate problems to support agents.
For this to work, companies must create social profiles through which they communicate with their customers, and learn faster through feedback, transforming product development.
The next generation of selling - the sales cloud. Sales is now social. Data, too, is social. Salesforce Touch - the first mobile app for complete sales tools. Chatter communities for partners make selling as a team sport. New products can now be introduced to partners through video within collaborative community. Partners can respond directly to Salesforce through Chatter.
The main story for all of us in the social media world is that one of the biggest dogs on the block has now bought in 110% on the social meme. The infrastructure is there. Now all that remains to do is the hard part - making employees, executives and customers comfortable and trusting in the social environment.