Could your software CEO be a TV pitchman? Benioff might...

Salesforce's CEO & Billy Mays - the ultimate pitch team!(satire)I (and 600 others) attended the recent Salesforce.
Written by Brian Sommer, Contributor on

Salesforce's CEO & Billy Mays - the ultimate pitch team!


I (and 600 others) attended the recent Salesforce.com event here in Chicago. Salesforce was promoting its platform-as-a-service (PaaS), Force.com. At these events, the different talks have their own highlights but, for me, I always like the talks CEO Marc Benioff gives. I’ve seen him speak many times and in several different forums (e.g., Merrill Lynch investor conference).

photo source: www.salesforce.com

photo source: www.salesforce.com

Marc’s one of those IT leaders that can’t help but sell product. Great software firms usually have a televangelist type at the helm (think Steve Jobs). These leaders can walk on stage and convert the unwashed masses into a throbbing sea of believers. They succeed because they can communicate the ‘afterlife’ story better than competitors. They clearly and enthusiastically describe what life will be like for their users once they get version 99 of the product installed. When a tech company has a televangelist on top, they don’t need salespeople – just order takers.

So, here I am watching Marc again and I’m wondering what he or Salesforce could do to juice things up further. That’s when it hits me that they need to put Marc on late-night television pitching Force.com. Wait! Let’s super-size that idea and team Marc with television pitchman extraordinaire, Billy Mays. You know Billy - he’s pitched KaBoom, OxiClean, OrangeGlo and other products.

Let’s listen in to how that program might go.

Billy: “Hi! Billy Mays here for Force.com – the amazing platform as a service that’s revolutionizing the way applications are being built today. And with me today is Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce.com, the makers of Force.com and other fine software products.”

Marc: “Thanks Billy- You know, people around the world are simply fascinated at the power of cloud computing and we think your audience is going to be astounded by the power of Force.com”

Billy: “Well Marc – Let’s get to it and show everyone how it works! What do you say audience?”

Audience: “YEAH!”

Marc: “Alright then, suppose you’re an application developer and you’d like to build an app fast BUT you can’t because your application requires a server, a database, development languages and all sorts of other expensive, hard-to-use technologies. What will you do?”


Marc: “You bet there is – Just open a can of Force.com and ‘KABLOOEY’ – problems go away!”


Marc: “Yep, just like that – problems are gone”

Billy: “WOW – I bet something like Force.com must cost a fortune if it can do all this!”

Marc: “Actually – Force.com is quite affordable whether you’re one developer or have an entire IT shop. In fact, if you act right now, Salesforce.com is offering extra cloud computing capabilities to every new user of the Force.com platform.”

Billy: “WOW – extra cloud computing capabilities! That’s fantastic! What do you think of that audience?”

Audience: (hysterical applause ensues)

Billy: “Marc, it sounds like you’re going to sell a lot of Force.com capabilities right now!”

Marc: “NO, we’re even going to sell more as we’ll also be throwing in a set of Ginsu knifes, a bamboo wok steamer, a pocket fishing tool and 38 other complimentary tools that will enhance your programming experience!”

Billy: “Marc, that’s truly incredible. But how can Salesforce.com be so generous?”

Marc: “That’s the beauty of the Force.com cloud – We’ve spread our development efforts over the last 10 years to create a cloud environment that’s extremely low cost for us to offer and customers to use. But what's even better is that we've broken up the cost of Force.com into small monthly payments.”

Billy: "Small monthly payments - that's FANTASTIC!"

Billy: “BAM!!!”

Marc: “And… What’s even more amazing is that cloud computing even lets you make julienne fries in the privacy of your own home!

Billy: “BAM – BAM - BAM!”

Man, I gotta quit daydreaming in these conferences. I guess I’ve heard one too many software pitches lately.

More legitimate news on Salesforce in my next post…

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