The company was founded in 1999 by former Oracle executive Marc Benioff, Parker Harris, Dave Moellenhoff, and Frank Dominguez as a company specializing in software as a service (SaaS). Harris, Moellenhoff and Dominguez, three software developers previously at Clarify, wrote the initial sales automation software.
EntropySoft (February 2013) for an undisclosed sum. The French firm was founded in 2005 and sold software to improve interoperability between big-name ECM systems, used to manage unstructured data, such as documents and email, often required for compliance or e-discovery.
In November 2007, a successful phishing attack compromised contact information on a number of salesforce.com customers, which was then used to send highly targeted phishing emails to salesforce.com users. The phishing breach was cited as an example of why the CRM industry needs greater security for users against such threats as spam.
The Salesforce.com Foundation donates 1% of the company's resources (defined as profit, equity and employee time) to support organizations that are working to "make the world a better place." It was officially launched at an event featuring former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell in 2000, less than a year after the company’s formation. Salesforce provides a full-featured ten-seat user license available to nearly all United States 501c3 non-profit organizations or overseas equivalents. Additional licenses are deeply discounted for public interest groups. Salesforce.com employs support personnel specific to their (mostly non-paying) non-profit users. Buying a comparable Salesforce.com license commercially would cost around $15,000 a year.
Products and services
Customer Relationship Management
A discussion panel at Salesforce's Customer Company Tour event that focused on customer relationship management
The Sales Cloud includes a real-time sales collaborative tool called Chatter.
The Service Cloud
The Service Cloud provides companies with a call center-like view that enables them to create and track cases coming in, and automatically route and escalate what’s important. The Salesforce CRM-powered customer portal provides customers the ability to track their own cases, includes a social networking plug-in that enables the user to join the conversation about their company on social networking websites, provides analytical tools and other services including email, chat, Google search, and access to customers' entitlement and contracts.
Salesforce.com's platform as a service (PaaS) product is known as Force.com. The Force.com platform allows external developers to create add-on applications that integrate into the main salesforce.com application and are hosted on salesforce.com's infrastructure.
These applications are built using Apex (a proprietary Java-like programming language for Force.com) and Visualforce (an XML-like syntax for building user interfaces in HTML or Flex).
Work.com, previously Rypple, is a social performance management platform. It is marketed as a solution for sales performance, customer service, marketing, and as a service that can be employed by human resource departments for broad use across an organization. Work.com service facilitates collaboration and shared contribution to individual, team, and organizational goals, and facilitates the exchange of feedback anonymously and publicly between peers and managers. Rypple was acquired by salesforce.com in 2011 and was re-branded as Work.com in September 2012.
Launched in 2005, AppExchange is a marketplace for cloud computing Web application built for the Salesforce.com community.
Salesforce users can configure their CRM application. In the system, there are tabs such as "Contacts," "Reports," and "Accounts." Each tab contains associated information. For example, "Contacts" has standard fields like First Name, Last Name, and Email. Configuration can be done on each tab by adding user-defined custom fields.
Configuration can also be done at the "platform" level by adding configured applications to a Salesforce instance, that is adding sets of customized / novel tabs for specific vertical- or function-level (Finance, Human Resources, etc.) features.
In addition to the web interface, Salesforce.com offers a SOAP/RESTWeb serviceAPI that enables integration with other systems.
Sales Performance Accelerator
Salesforce.com launched a new product called Sales Performance Accelerator in July 2013. It combines the CRM with the Work.com performance management application as well as customer lead information from Data.com.