Who is the mystery Salesforce mega-customer?

Latest figures from Salesforce.com show good growth and revenues, as the company drops hints about its biggest ever customer
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor on

Salesforce.com sought to dispel rumours that it is running out of steam in the CRM market with a bullish financial statement on Wednesday, and the revelation that it now has a 25,000-seat customer — its largest ever.

But the company was reluctant to reveal the identity of the mystery customer, saying that it would reveal the details at another briefing in New York next Tuesday, 27 February.

Salesforce did reveal that the 25,000-seat customer is a massive sales win, as the company in question has expanded its Salesforce implementation from an earlier deployment of 1,800 users. The customer win was announced as part of Salesforce's fourth-quarter and full-year financial results.

The revelation prompted analysts to wonder how much impact such a large customer would have on Salesforce's revenues for next year, since large customers use the company's CRM software at a heavily discounted rate.

Salesforce executives refused to release any details of the levels of discount offered to individual customers. Some commentators suggested that the mystery customer is Cisco. But Cisco currently has 15,000 users on Salesforce, which does not quite fit the position suggested by Salesforce management.

Currently both Cisco and Dell are major Salesforce customers. Other recent major wins include Procter & Gamble, Société Générale and Deutsche Bank. Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff told a conference call that the company gained "more than 250,000 subscribers" in the last 12 months, "approximately 1,000 every day".

The company now has 47 customers with more than 1,000 seat deployments, up 81 percent from last year, and 150 customers with more than 500 subscribers. According to Benioff, the company delivered 4.3 billion transactions in the quarter.

Total fourth-quarter revenue was $144m (£74m), up 58 percent over the previous year, and up 11 percent over the previous quarter. Subscription and support revenues, which are key numbers for an on-demand software company, were $132m, up 60 percent on the previous year. According to Benioff, customer churn — the rate at which customers stopped using the service — was less than 1 percent in the previous year.

For the full year, the company reported revenue of approximately $497m, an increase of 60 percent from the previous 12 months. Subscription and support revenues were $451m for the year, a year-on-year increase of 61 percent.

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