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Welcome back to The Weekly Pitch! Our newsletter covers the stories that matter most to the sales community. Today, we unravel the seismic announcement that Salesforce is launching a streaming service.
In this week's Feature Story, the launch of Salesforce+ means the company is entering the business-to-consumer (B2C) space, sees streaming as the future of sales learning and engagement, and isn't afraid of the "first mover" risk.
In The Closer, we link to ringDNA's "Challenge Email Template" and CB Insights infographic of the world's 728 unicorn startups – fantastic prospecting resources if your team needs help with sales copy and list building.
Let's dive in with our chart of the week.
Netflix introduced streaming back in 2007, giving it a significant head start, but new services have come in droves over the last few years. Several found instant success with Disney+ as an obvious example.
Salesforce manages roughly 7.5 million seats across its 150,000 customer base, so the better comp for its new streaming service is LinkedIn Learning, with an estimated 22 million users.
Peloton was mentioned several times in Salesforce+ press releases, perhaps offering a foreshadowing of its vision – a workout routine for sales and business pros.*
https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/linkedin-learning-bold-success-more-growth-come-josh-bersin/ (we multiplied LinkedIn Learning's user growth rate at 27% – LinkedIn's overall user growth rate over the last three years.
Answer: Salesforce+. The CRM software company has grown at 51% CAGR (compound annual growth rate) over the last 20 years, but the tech giant wants more. It launches a first-of-its-kind streaming service next month, placing three big bets.
Arguably the first Software-as-a-Service company, Salesforce brought us the software subscription model for businesses, and we've never looked back. Current revenues for the company in 2021 are north of $21 billion, with almost the entirety of that wrapped up in a B2B (business-to-business) model across 150,000 customers. Why not take that branding and marketing power to the consumer?
Netflix is a bit bigger and generated trailing 12-month revenues of $28 billion through the end of June. The model company for B2C squeezes out $10.99 a month per user across its 209 million consumer base. Salesforce+ launches for free in September during the annual Dreamforce conference, where the expected 200,000 attendees get early access. But it's easy to imagine monetization at some point.
According to TechCrunch, "The company reportedly has hired a large professional staff to produce and manage the content, and built a broadcasting and production studio designed to produce quality shows in-house." Others report over 50 "editorial leads." Translation? Salesforce+ won't be free forever.
It's not that far-fetched to see a million sales pros paying a Netflix-like fee (perhaps using the company credit card). Doing so could generate hundreds of millions in revenue for Salesforce.
Several direct and indirect competitors abound for LinkedIn's learning business, from Udemy to Coursera, but nobody has a treasure chest like Salesforce. Despite LinkedIn Learning's almost 20,000 enterprise customers, Salesforce+ thinks it can steal significant market share.
In this era of rapid change, what better profession to embrace this type of on-demand learning than the sales community. TechCrunch suggests, "Salesforce wants to take a bite out of LinkedIn and other SaaS content platforms and publishers. Salesforce+ is a bit like your LinkedIn feed brought to life but in video form."
Salesforce+ could be an engagement multiplier guiding hot topic discussions, skill development workshops, and even team huddles for sales leaders. It could provide a new community that rivals LinkedIn for networking, career development, and best practice sharing for individual contributors. And like Peloton, could this service become the way sales pros "work out and stay fit"?
There are clear advantages to the "first mover" status, but a study by Harvard Business Review cites 47% of them fail. Sometimes – if the innovation lands – it's a more brilliant strategy to be a "fast follower." Maybe Salesforce is simultaneously doing both?
With traditional streaming services providing benchmarks, data, and consumer preferences, Saleforce+ can quickly follow content that lands. Early channels are already a big hit, including 70 episodes of "Leading Through Change," a series with 700 million views that launched in March 2020. But the service will move first into a new category – streaming for the sales and business community.
Content like "The Inflection Point" features CEOs from brands like Coca-Cola and Workday. "Boss Talks" breaks down topics like imposter syndrome, and "Simply Put" makes complex business problems easy to understand.
Will others follow in the footsteps of Salesforce+? We have our eyes on the likes of Atlassian, HubSpot, and Twilio – all three fast-growing companies with passionate customers.
Salesforce+ is indeed a big bet, but there's no turning back:
“We’re not going back, we’re creating the future now. Just as brands like Disney, Netflix and Peloton have done with streaming services for consumers, Salesforce+ is providing an always-on, business media platform that builds trusted relationships with customers and a sense of belonging for the business community.”
– Sarah Franklin, Chief Marketing Officer, Salesforce
Before we go, here are three resources to check out:
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Start your week with the stories and insights that matter most to the sales community.