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It Takes a Heart of Service to Succeed, and Marc Benioff Has It

5 min read
October 5, 2016

It’s everyone’s favorite part of the Dreamforce experience — the most exciting, entertaining, and inspiring show of the week: the Marc Benioff keynote.

For those who have witnessed keynotes of Dreamforces’ past, you know that this is the must-watch event because it’s a chance for Salesforce to share what they’re doing, who they’re doing it with, and most importantly, the higher purpose for why they do it.

To begin, we were introduced to the Salesforce ohana. Ohana, in Hawaiian culture, means family, and this family-oriented experience is what makes Salesforce so magnetic to the technology community. Why? Because even in this ultra-fast, tech-loaded, results-driven world that we live in, one thing is rising above all else, and that’s people.

Tech and sales, two words usually synonymized with words like “robotic” and “cold,” are shifting to a humanized, empathetic community. The mission of Salesloft is to humanize sales through personalization and human engagement, and Salesforce is leading that same mission from the top down, starting with in-house.

This mission starts with equality for all. Introducing the new Salesforce Chief Equality Officer, Benioff showed the Dreamforce audience his intentionality behind creating an environment for equality. From their support of the LGBTQ community, to equal pay for women in the workforce, and equal opportunity for education in inner city schools, Salesforce is invested fully in the mission for an equal world for all.

“You want to fight inequality? It starts with our public education systems.” -will.i.am.

Next up, Benioff talked intelligence, and the work they’re doing in-house to stay current in this ever improving technology scene. To start, he listed the five things that we need to recognize in this smart new world we live in:

  1. Things are constantly getting smarter.
  2. Intelligence is built into everything that we do.
  3. We need to be more productive than ever.
  4. Everything must be mobile.
  5. Everything must be connected

And while Salesforce, the CRM application of record, is leading the technology scene as far as engineering and intelligence, they know that it’s about more than just numbers and data. It’s the imagination.

“Let me tell you what excites me about my job. It’s this incredible new smart world that we’re creating.” – Marc Benioff

A source of inspiration for the imagination behind Salesforce’s intelligence, both culturally and technologically, is Albert Einstein. Einstein says, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” That imagination is what drives Benioff and the entire Salesforce team, and in particular, Salesforce Co-founder Parker Harris.

“We want to take all of the things that you need and make it simple for you to get it. That’s intelligence.” – Parker Harris

Harris joined Benioff on stage to talk about the new Salesforce product, designed specifically with their key inspiration in mind: Einstein. Harris went on to describe how in an industry where we all want to work smarter and better, there’s seems to be a world shortage of data scientists. So that’s where Einstein comes in — Einstein is everyone’s data scientist.

So in a community where equality and intelligence and imagination are on the forefront of everyone’s minds, what is there left to strive for as a company? The answer to this, according to Benioff, is giving back.

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” – Albert Einstein

Here at Salesloft, we believe wholeheartedly in the importance of servant leadership. Benioff exemplified just that when he went on to describe his inspiration behind his heart of service, and the partnerships the Salesforce community has created to support an environment driven by the act of giving back.

I think I speak for all watching this keynote when I say that our hearts collectively burst when we saw the first partner, (RED), join the stage to share how Salesforce is helping drive their efforts to eradicate AIDS. Specifically, Salesforce made it their Dreamforce 2016 goal to raise 1 million dollars in an effort to help end AIDS for good through the (RED) and The Global Fund organizations.

“It’s not about charity, it’s about justice. Every life has equal value, and where you’re born shouldn’t matter. For just 30 cents a day, to save a life, we should be doing that,” said (RED) CEO Deborah Dugan, continuing,

“It’s all about the ultimate ROI — Lives saved.” -Deborah Dugan

The final two partners, Schneider Electric and FitBit, also joined Benioff on stage to share the work that each company is doing to prove that companies are about more than just a product and a service, but about the people. From Schneider Electric’s mission to be the first generation to know about climate change, and the last generation who can do something about it before it’s too late, to FitBit’s obsession with the customer journey, the audience saw that everyone in the Salesforce community is as values-obsessed as we are here at Salesloft.

“You shouldn’t leave your values at the door when you go to work,” Dugan shared, and we couldn’t agree more. Bringing culture to the forefront of technology and sales has been no easy feat, but thanks to industry leaders like Salesforce, culture is becoming more and more innate in modern organizations.

With just a few more days left in the Dreamforce 2016 journey, it’s clear that we are in the right place at the right time alongside a company like Salesforce. Stay along for the ride with us as we finish out this week strong, and take the opportunity learn more from industry leaders and inspirations like Marc Benioff and family — or, as he likes to call it, ohana.