Salesforce has performed phenomenally well in recent years, and despite the recent departure of Keith Block as Co-CEO, Salesforce announced in late February it was forecasting revenue of $21.1 billion for FY2021, implying 23% YoY growth. Salesforce’s success has been a real boon for its partners, and we have seen buyers of various stripes aggressively pursue those independently owned partners operating in the Salesforce ecosystem. Partners with MuleSoft credentials have been of particular interest given the magnitude of demand for systems integration expertise coming from global enterprise customers.
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Salesforce created the Salesforce Care Solution, for which they are offering a 90-day free product trial for small businesses, as well as offering $5m in small business grants. Interestingly, they are providing COVID-19 data in the Tableau dashboard that they have included in the trial—likely a bet that once businesses get a taste of Tableau’s data analytics and business intelligence capabilities, they are more likely to buy that product after their free trial ends. Q1 FY21 earnings will be released in June, at which point we will know more about how COVID-19 has impacted the company’s robust growth projections.
The global systems integrators, or GSIs, are increasingly competing with other buyers angling for more wallet share from the Salesforce customer base within the Fortune 500. Buyers across different segments are looking for complementary acquisitions to make their platforms more comprehensive. Upon emerging from a temporary pause of M&A activity as a result of COVID-19, we expect we will continue to see large IT services firms buying smaller marketing services firms, management consulting firms buying IT services firms, and so on. The desire among these competitors to position themselves as a best-in-class “one-stop-shop” operating within the Salesforce ecosystem is driving strategy for many of the larger, more acquisitive firms. Tableau and Vlocity are hot areas of capability on which buyers will be focused in the wake of Salesforce’s acquisition of these companies over the past 12 months.
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My prior experiences from the buy side, sell side, and corporate leadership points of view allow me to relate with and guide founder-owners through the challenges they face before, during, and after a transaction. My priority is doing what’s best for these entrepreneurs and their teams.