14 Salesforce Facts You Never Knew

By Sasha Semjonova

The world of Salesforce is certainly vast, with new updates and enhancements happening all the time. The chances are that you can learn new things about it every day, no matter which area you work in. Ever since philanthropic founder, Marc Benioff, started the business in 1999, Salesforce has been breaking boundaries in the CRM world to transform sales, marketing, and technology.

There’s plenty of information on Salesforce out there, but here are 14 interesting facts that you might not know. Enjoy!

1. Over 150,000 Businesses and 80,000 Employees

Just to give you an idea of how expansive Salesforce is, Salesforce delivers services to over 150,000 businesses and has over 56,606 employees worldwide. 58% of these employees are based in the United States, whilst the other 42% are spread across 7 different countries (source).

2. Salesforce Towers

Credit: Jessica Christian, The Chronicle

Maybe you’ve heard of The Salesforce Tower, but did you know that it’s the tallest building in San Francisco? Standing at a mighty 1,070 feet tall, it towers over both The Shard and even the Eiffel Tower!

Other prominent Salesforce towers are in cities such as London, Tokyo, Chicago, and Sydney. Although the San Fran tower remains the tallest, the others are definitely something to talk about. It embodies Marc Benioff’s vision of Ohana – full of social spaces and collaborative workplaces.

3. The 6-Month Sabbatical

Have you ever wondered how the idea of Salesforce actually came to be? Would your first answer be a 6-month sabbatical to India and Hawaii?

If so, you would be right! A 31-year-old Marc Benioff felt uninspired and took a 6-month sabbatical that spurred a lifelong interest in yoga and Eastern religions. It was on this trip that Benioff came up with the idea of Salesforce: a cloud-based CRM that could be used as easily as Amazon. 

4. AppExchange vs. App Store

When you think about app stores, one that might pop into your head might include the Apple App Store. These app stores come in handy when you need to download something extra for one of your devices quickly and simply.

However, did you know that the Apple App Store came three years after the release of the AppExchange in 2005? Salesforce had originally planned to call AppExchange the App Store and had trademarked the name before Marc Benioff settled on AppExchange instead.

In an interview, Benioff admitted that he actually gifted the trademarked name to Steve Jobs in 2008 as a showing of gratitude for all his support over the years.

5. An Uplifting Workplace

Credit: Salesforce

Salesforce products play a part in making online back-end processes just that little bit easier, and the scope of customer satisfaction can be seen in the Salesforce Customer Success report. But did you know that this satisfaction also translates to employees?

According to the latest Mason Frank Career and Hiring Guide, 75% of global employees said that they were satisfied in their job roles. Neat!

6. Taking Over The Times

Time Magazine is widely regarded as one of the most trustworthy sources of journalism in the modern age. With such powerful influence, you might assume that it’s owned by some faceless conglomerate or detached stakeholder… but it’s not! It is actually owned by none other than Marc Benioff, who acquired the magazine in 2018.

READ MORE: 10 Facts About Salesforce Founder Marc Benioff

7. Net Zero for the Win

Sizable companies, like Salesforce, have to aim for sustainable business processes – whatever that may look like. Salesforce got a step closer to this in 2021 when they achieved net residual zero emissions across its full value chain. They also reached 100% renewable energy.

Sustainability has been a focus for Salesforce since 2013, so this was a very notable step!

8. Team Trailblazer

Credit: Constellation Research

The Trailblazer Community currently stands at a proud 15M+ people across the globe, and it’s only getting bigger. 
Did you know about all the ways you can meet Trailblazers yourself? Trailblazer Community Groups connect budding Trailblazers to other like-minded people in the ecosystem – you can find your nearest group here.

READ MORE: Trailblazer Community & Trailhead Into One Salesforce Platform

9. Salesforce and Amazon

What do Amazon and Salesforce have in common, apart from being extremely successful Internet Companies? Well, back when Marc Benioff was thinking about how the Cloud was going to push the future of software beyond the boundaries of 1999, he wanted the software to be cheaply delivered through the web and as easy to use as possible. He based what we now know as on Amazon’s usability. 

Amazon has been the king of E-commerce ever since it launched in 1994, some say this could be down to its pioneering innovations and usability. What Salesforce & Amazon both have in common, as well as surviving the Dot-com bubble, is a very easy-to-use interface, taking advantage of a menu of tabs and a clear indication of where you are at all times. Here is an interesting quote out of Marc Benioff’s book, Behind the Cloud….

“Companies were paying hundreds of thousands to buy and millions to install applications that were costly and frustrating to maintain. We wanted to take advantage of a new platform – the Internet – to deliver business applications cheaply through a Web site that was as easy to use as”

– Marc Benioff

10. Outrageous Marketing Schemes

Back when Salesforce was founded, on-premise servers reigned over the tech industry. Marc Benioff and his team had the mammoth task of convincing the business world that this way of working was ‘old news’, and cloud-based technology was the way forward. When you’re a relatively unknown founder and have a company of fewer than ten people working for you, this is no mean feat. 

Competing against these huge software companies required some out-of-the-box thinking. Salesforce’s biggest competitor at the time was Seibel (later acquired by Oracle in 2005) – as Benioff truly believed that on-premise systems were outdated and ineffectual, he decided to take on the big dog!

Salesforce hired fake protestors to stand outside the annual Siebel conference, and protested against the software. They shouted slogans such as: “The internet is really neat… software is obsolete!” They even hired a fake TV crew to cover the event and interview members of the public. Siebel called the police, which gave the unknown brand of Salesforce a massive media buzz, and the “No Software” logo was born.

Siebel held another conference in Cannes, France. Benioff changed his tact for this event, and as most executives would fly into Nice and then take a taxi to Cannes, Salesforce hired all of the airport taxis. The 45-minute ride (paid for by Salesforce) gave them a chance to pitch Salesforce to these IT professionals, providing marketing material and lots of Salesforce logos in the cab. The police were, of course, called, as no other taxis were available!

11. The 1/1/1 Model

The 1/1/1 model is an integrated philanthropic model which was pioneered by Benioff at It is centered around companies contributing 1 percent of equity, 1 percent of your product and 1 percent of employee hours back to the community.

Salesforce does this via the Salesforce Foundation. It contributes free and discounted technology to nonprofits and higher education (Product), provides Grants to various charities and communities (Equity) and Employees volunteer a certain amount of time a year (Time). Since the 1/1/1 model’s inception, various other companies have adopted the model including Google, Workday, Box and Yelp.

READ MORE: Salesforce 1-1-1 Model: Understanding the Impact of the Pledge 1% Initiative

12. Billions Spent on Acquisitions

Salesforce is known for their ever-expanding product suite. They started with Sales CRM and now have products that help customer support, marketing, commerce, analytics, and much more. 

Salesforce has an acquisition strategy, which means they tend to acquire companies and then integrate them into their existing product suite. Salesforce products such as Marketing Cloud, Pardot, Commerce Cloud, MuleSoft, and Tableau have all been acquired.

Salesforce have built a portfolio of +60 companies – this totals over $60B in spending! Most of these companies have now been integrated into Salesforce’s platform. For example, Marketing Cloud used to be called Exact Target, Social Studio was previously known as BuddyMedia & Radian6, and Chatter was known as GroupSwim! Other products such as Slack, MuleSoft and Tableau are more recent and have retained their previous names, but have been highly integrated into the platform.

13. Oracle vs. Salesforce

CEO and Founder of Oracle, Larry Ellison, and Marc Benioff have a long and intruiging history together.

Benioff worked at Oracle, and under Ellison’s wing, became the youngest VP ever at aged 25, was already a millionaire by 27. When Benioff wanted to explore other ventures, namely Salesforce, Ellison supported his ideas and gave Benioff a 6-month sabbatical. He even invested the first $2M into Salesforce, as well as joined its board of directors.

Things took a sour turn when Benioff discovered Oracle was developing a competing CRM, and Benioff ensured that Ellison was removed from the board. “I can say I’m the only person who fired Larry Ellison,” Benioff told Fortune.

Since then, Benioff & Ellison have seemingly had a complicated relationship, with them both showing great respect for one another, but at the same time competing fearlessly. To make things even more interesting, Salesforce is a big customer of Oracles, with their platform being hosted on Oracle Technology!

14. Product2

Our last fact in this piece is one of Salesforce’s innovative product name changes: Product2.

As we know, Salesforce loves their name changes (Pardot, I’m looking at you…) and Product2’s inception is about as creative as you can imagine.

To put it simply: Product2 is the name of the Product object in Salesforce. When Salesforce was originally developed, they had the original Product object, but as the platform evolved and new features were added, they needed to enhance it. So, instead of altering the original Product object directly, which would have disrupted existing implementations and customisations, they introduced an improved version of the object named Product2 to differentiate it from the original. Easy right?


And that concludes our roundup of the 14 Salesforce facts you just might not have known about. We bet that there are some even rarer facts out there and we’re always eager to hear if you know any we might not, so let us know in the comments below.

The Author

Sasha Semjonova

Sasha is the Video Content Lead at Salesforce Ben.


    Walter Elly
    February 12, 2023 6:47 pm
    This is a great writeup and the AppExchange origin story is one of my favorite parts. But, this writeup is missing a key point about the App Exchange and the giving of the App Store domain/name to Jobs. Benioff wasn't just giving the name as a show of gratitude, it was also out of respect for Jobs since Jobs gave Benioff the idea in the first place! Here's how it went down (source: ): Benioff said that he would call Jobs or go to visit him for help when he was growing “Steve once told me there are three things you have to do,” he said. “Number one, you have to be 10 times larger in 24 months or its over. Number two, you need to get a huge client on your service like Avon. Number three, you need to build an application economy. I said, ‘What’s an app economy?’ He said, ‘I don’t know, but you better go figure it out.'” Benioff likened this advice to receiving a “koan,” or a zen poem from a Japanese monk. These poems are obscure and intended to guide recipients into meditation to ponder their meaning. “I ultimately realized that Salesforce needed not just to be an app but a platform with a marketplace or directory of apps that are public,” he said. “So I registered, and we rolled it out and called it App Exchange.” Then in 2008, Jobs told Benioff to visit Apple for an announcement he was making — “the most important thing Apple has ever done.” Jobs announced the Apple App Store. “This was something we talked about internally for years at Salesforce,” Benioff said. “Steve announcing it was like this grace for us. It was a very spiritual moment. At the end I walked down to Steve and said I’ll give you a gift, the App Store trademark.”
    Matthew O Oladele
    February 26, 2024 1:26 am
    Fun facts and an interesting article!

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