Why I Left Salesforce

So here it is… my first day not having to go to work.

Crazy to think it’s been nearly three years since I arrived at Salesforce. I can’t imagine having been anywhere but here — I’ve learned so much about digital and marketing, dealing with press and analysts, as well as playing the politics needed to navigate a big company.

The beginning

When I started, “The Enterprise Cloud Computing Company” only had three main solutions and about three thousand employees.

It was a big company by most standards, to which my startup friends would roll their eyes and/or outright express their distaste for enterprise by asking, “Why would you go to Salesforce?”

They didn’t understand what you could learn from one of the best marketing teams around. And learn I did, for which I will always be grateful for the opportunity.

I created my own role.

Social Media was largely unattended by the company. As a former startup guy, we had capitalized upon this absence, but now as an employee I felt the need to shore up this area and my boss gave me plenty of room to make things happen.

I ended up helping with product launches, PR, events, customer support, troubleshooting, an Oracle protest, and even a Super Bowl commercial — in so doing I got to know the teams who headed up these various areas. The process exposed me to so many amazing people who I would never have had the opportunity to know otherwise.

In Feb of 2011, Marc Benioff had written “The Facebook Imperative,” and our company was suddenly thrown into Social. A few months later, we acquired Radian6 and suddenly we were “Born Cloud, Reborn Social.” Suddenly, we were hiring and training new recruits and things went at break-neck speed till we were living this new “Social Enterprise.”

Living the new Social Enterprise

The faster we grew, the more social media management challenges arose. Things like training, audits, compliance, and reducing risk… even finding ways to encourage more employees to participate!

From speaking with industry peers, it didn’t take long to realize this was not a unique scenario, but many companies were experiencing these same challenges:

  • Why can’t social be made drop-dead simple to manage across an organization?
  • How do you scale social across departments?
  • Is there a way to make an inherently non-social company into a social business?
  • How would one identify their most effective social employees and give them better visibility?

Why I’m leaving Salesforce

At some point I realized I could build a solution for many of these issues. Why not create a product to make life easier for companies making the leap to social?

So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve assembled a small team to bring a solution to market, and in the next few weeks you’ll start to see glimpses of what’s to come.

That’s why I’m leaving Salesforce.

To build.

Wanna help?

Let me know.

135 thoughts on “Why I Left Salesforce

  1. AWESOME. I – like others- have 1/2 dozen ‘ideas’ of new products, companies, solutions a week, but the key is finding the right problem to solve. And you’ve found it.
    I can’t think of a more qualified or better ‘product-market fit’ then yourself for this challenge.

    Right on. Excited to see your progress. Let me know what you need help with. I’m game.

  2. Great Idea! Looking forward to see what you are up to. heard of the need for your solution as well as of self-made workaround-solutions over here in Germany. would love to help. Ping me!

  3. Hi,

    Yes, I want to help!
    I deal with clients on a daily basis that need assistance in understanding social media and its benefits.
    I’d love to be a part of a groupthink!

    Thanks,
    Abby

  4. Marcus, I don’t know you and you don’t know me, but I applaud you for what you’re doing. Having just gone through an involved RFP process for an industry making its first actively engaged foray into social, I’ve seen the best and worst of the social media org’s out there. It’s a fascinating industry with immense opportunity for those who figure out how to make an enterprise solution easy. At the end of the day, its all about having the right people on board who want to make it happen. Best wishes and good luck!

  5. Wow! I remember driving around Austin several years ago on the party bus drinking with a guy that had recently joined SFDC and was just wrapping his head round how awesome social could be. Look at you now. Super impressed with all you have accomplished in such a short amount of time. Best of luck with the new venture, Sales Force is losing a rockstar.

    Erik Boles
    http://twitter.com/ErikBoles

  6. A true entrepreneur always leaves the comfort of an organization at a time when everyone thinks you crazy. Now, run fast. Proceed (and succeed) with godspeed. Can’t wait to see what’s next.

  7. Marcus — you’re one of the first people I really connected with and admired on Twitter. The more we tweeted and the more I watched your insightful mind at work, the more I knew you’d be leading the charge to answer these needs in the social sphere. So, best of luck and congratulations … but certainly no surprise. As for “wanna help?” –> collaborating with you in any capacity would always be welcome, my friend. Cheers!

  8. Are you building a solution that will let people do anything from anywhere on any device, at a reasonable cost, that is so unbelievably easy and fun that we’ll all wonder how we went so long without it?

  9. Hey Marcus….could you send me a message and break this down a little bit more for me…..feel really lost after I read your post. Sorry if I am a little dense,…LOL

  10. Love this summary. My story is so similar. Just left Salesforce after 3+ years last month. I helped to re-invent customer support there. Fantastic ride. I just took the leap to start my own thing too. Keep an eye out for @CustomerZen. Would love for our paths to cross in our next big things.

  11. Congratulations Marcus. I am researching collaboration in engineering teams, and as far as collaboration tools go we’re stuck in the late 90′s in this industry. We could really use some help transitioning. We need help explaining the need and stepping through the security issues in companies where IP security is a big issue.

  12. Hey Marcus, one of my friends suggested we focus on this area at the time he was leaving salesforce.com – of course, at http://www.edocr.com we have our own mission where we could play a role helping you to solve the problem you highlighted whilst delivering our plans to democratise business documents. You know how to reach me when you are ready! All the best!

  13. Congrats. While I’m sad that you left, I totally understand why you did, and very excited to see what this new adventure brings. Thanks for everything! (I hope you still rock the upside-down MVP bag.)

  14. We’ve only met in passing a few times, Marcus, but that was enough for me to know you’ve got the goods to carry this out. I like the way you’ve framed the problem you’re looking to solve, and can’t wait to hear what comes next!

  15. As a serial entrepreneur (but never for cereal) this is so exciting! Working in the digital marketing/inbound marketing arena, I can definitely say that you’re right on with your bullet points. To take it even one step farther, especially larger brands have an immensely difficult time figuring out how to integrate across platforms.

    If you figure this out, you will have created something great.

    Can’t wait to hear what you get into and am happy to help in any way that I can! Rock on!

  16. Very very interesting. I just moved up to the Bay, back from 3 years of travel after working in the startup world prior, and intrigued to see what you have in mind.

  17. Congrats, Marcus! Please keep me posted on your new venture – we have clients lined up around the block who are (or about to) have the same problems. Looking forward to hearing more!

    Best of luck!

  18. Fantastic working together – you will be missed. Good luck with your new endeavor – I’m sure you will be successful. Stay in touch!

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