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Salesforce is evolving from a seller of business applications into a fully fledged platform that helps companies transform their customer experience.
The cloud giant has been netting more large customer deals for its entire platform, instead of just one–off sales of its customer-focused products. It’s part of Salesforce’s “customer 360” strategy, devised by chief operating officer Bret Taylor, which aims to get companies hooked on its whole platform of sales, service, marketing, and commerce tools, then use the data from each business unit to build a unified profile of customers.
As Salesforce looks to close more large so-called “multi-cloud” deals, top product leaders will have to work closely together to make sure their products are seamlessly integrated.
In the product organization, each of Salesforce’s major product lines is overseen by a general manager, or GM. That GM operates like the CEO of their product: A Salesforce spokesperson tells Insider that each general manager is responsible for overseeing the development of the product, as well as for hitting sales targets, confirming an earlier report from The Information.
Insider spoke to sources familiar with the company and a Salesforce spokesperson to identify the top executives who runs each of the cloud titan’s most important product line, helping the company ensure a consistent product strategy as it takes on rivals including Microsoft, Oracle, and ServiceNow.
For each of those leaders, the stakes are high. Salesforce’s largest products are billion dollar businesses on their own. Service Cloud, Salesforce’s customer service cloud solution, is now its biggest business by revenue, bringing in $1.6 billion of the company’s total $6.34 billion in revenues for the second quarter of this year. Other newer product lines like its Marketing Cloud, Commerce Cloud, and the Salesforce Platform are growing faster than the company’s flagship Sales Cloud.
Above all of those GMs is David Schmaier, who was appointed Salesforce’s chief product officer in February, reporting to Taylor. Prior to taking the role, Schmaier was the founder and CEO of Vlocity, a company focused on helping large industries move to the cloud, which was acquired by Salesforce last year. As chief product officer, Schmaier actually took a job that was until 2019 filled by Taylor himself, who as COO now also oversees marketing, corporate development, and engineering.
This list of top Salesforce product leaders includes both those from within the company’s traditional business lines, as well as the top leaders at recent big-money acquisitions like , Tableau, and MuleSoft — all of which have been allowed to largely operate as independent entities under the Salesforce umbrella.
Notably, Adi Kuruganti, the general manager of the Experience Cloud product — which helps clients build tools and dashboards for their own customers based on the data stored in Salesforce — departed the company in recent weeks. The search for a new Experience Cloud lead is underway, the Salesforce spokesperson said.
Bill Patterson oversees Salesforce’s flagship Sales Cloud customer relationship management software, as well as Service Cloud — its fastest growing product, and a way for Salesforce users to handle customer support and service.
In that role, Patterson is responsible for leading product innovation, growth, and customer success at Salesforce’s two single largest businesses.
He joined Salesforce in 2017 as the general manager of Service Cloud, following a 14-year stint at Microsoft, where he worked on Dynamics CRM, which competes with Sales Cloud. He took over his current role in January 2020.
Clara Shih joined Salesforce at the beginning of 2021, and now runs Service Cloud, Salesforce’s customer service product, and the company’s largest business unit by revenue. She is a Salesforce boomerang, an employee that left but later returned to the company.
She ran product marketing for Salesforce’s AppExchange from 2006 to 2009, and then left to cofound Hearsay Systems, a startup that makes customer service personalization tools for the financial services industry.
She founded Hearsay Systems seeing the need for more personalization from customer service tools during her time at Salesforce.
Shih reports to Bill Patterson, who led Service Cloud for almost two years before being promoted to executive VP and general manager for all sales and customer service tools in January 2020.
Patrick Stokes is the executive VP and general manager of the Salesforce Platform, which encompasses many of the cloud giant’s tools and offerings for coders.
In the role, Stokes manages its AppExchange app store, its growing suite of low-code tools, the Einstein AI tool, and other software developer-focused products and services. Internally, it also falls to Stokes to make sure that all of Salesforce’s own products are equipped to share data between them, a key part of the company’s Customer 360 strategy.
He took a broader role earlier this year when Sarah Franklin was promoted to Salesforce’s chief marketing officer, with Stokes inheriting much of her duties overseeing the platform. Before that, Stokes managed Salesforce Platform Shared Services, which included Einstein and other products.
Like many top Salesforce execs, he joined the company via an acquisition. In his case, Stokes joined the fold via the purchase of Buddy Media in 2012, where he was chief product officer, and subsequently held various leadership roles in the Marketing Cloud division.
Jujhar Singh runs Salesforce Industries, and is responsible for managing the various industry-specific tools Salesforce makes on top of its core CRM platform.
His team is responsible for the product strategy for specific industries like healthcare, the public sector, and financial services. Salesforce has been increasingly focusing its sales and product strategy on targeting such specific industries, as a way to reel in ever-larger customers.
In February 2020, Salesforce acquired Vlocity, a company that built industry-specific tools on top of the Salesforce Platform, to bolster this initiative. In his role, Singh oversees Vlocity, as well as the company’s other industry-specific product initiatives, placing him and his team at the center of the strategy.
Singh reports to chief product officer David Schmaier, who was previously the CEO of Vlocity. Singh joined the company in 2017 years ago after five years at Microsoft, where he led Dynamics 365, the Microsoft product that competes with Salesforce.
Lidiane Jones took over as the general manager of Salesforce’s Commerce Cloud in December 2020. She leads the company’s ecommerce tools for businesses and is focused on incorporating more of Salesforce’s AI product Einstein into Commerce Cloud. She replaced Mike Mucucci, who left the company last year.
Jones joined Salesforce in mid-2019 as a senior VP of product for Commerce Cloud. Prior to this this she worked at smart speaker company Sonos, leading product development for about four years. Before that she was at Microsoft for nearly 13 years, working for various product teams, including one focused on cloud-based machine learning.
Michael Kostow runs Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud, and took over as the unit’s general manager in March of this year, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Marketing Cloud, Salesforce’s marketing automation software, is one of its newer business lines, and includes technology from key acquisitions like ExactTarget.
Kostow, a veteran of companies like Actian and Oracle, joined Salesforce in 2010 as an M&A specialist before moving on to lead Pardot, a marketing automation tool under the Marketing Cloud umbrella.
He previously reported to Adam Blitzer, who oversaw the company’s marketing and commerce products before departing in May. Kostow now reports directly to product chief David Schmaier.
Woodson Martin has been at Salesforce for over 16 years in a variety of roles. Right now, he is the general manager of Salesforce’s AppExchange, managing Salesforce’s relationships with the thousands of third-party developers who build apps on the company’s platform.
Martin reports to Patrick Stokes who oversees the broader Salesforce Platform.
As Salesforce looks to become a hub for communications and business operations with the addition of Slack to its arsenal, AppExchange will be a crucial way to connect the other various apps businesses use to get work done.
Before taking over AppExchange, Martin held marketing, operations, and human resources roles at Salesforce. Prior to his time at Salesforce, Martin worked at SAP.
Meredith Schmidt has been at Salesforce for over 16 years. She joined in 2005 as a senior director in the revenue organization, rising through the ranks to become its executive VP of global revenue operations before pivoting to the product organization in 2018.
She first ran Salesforce Essentials, the company’s streamlined product offering for small businesses, and then became the executive VP of Revenue Cloud — overseeing Salesforce’s tool for companies to use to manage invoices, billing, and any other factors that contribute to revenue from sales.
She reports to Bill Patterson, the overall general manager of Salesforce’s Sales Cloud and Service Cloud divisions.
Heather Conklin is the general manager of Trailhead, Salesforce’s free online learning platform. She is responsible for the vast community of users and product managers who rely on Trailhead to sharpen their skills in and around the Salesforce ecosystem.
She started her career at Salesforce in a product management role at AppExchange, the cloud company’s marketplace of third-party apps that run on the platform. Conklin ultimately took over Trailhead in mid-2020.
Notably, Conklin is unique among Salesforce’s most important product leaders in that she reports up to chief marketing officer Sarah Franklin, who was previously responsible for both Trailhead and the company’s overall platform initiatives.
Beyond her day-to-day responsibilities, Conklin is well-known internally at Salesforce for working with chief operating officer Bret Taylor on creating the company’s Associate Product Manager (APM) program, which helps train new and diverse talent in the skills required to become a product manager. Taylor himself got his start via a similar program at Google.
Mark Nelson took over as the CEO of data visualization company Tableau earlier this year when Adam Selipsky departed to become the chief executive of Amazon Web Services.
Tableau is one of Salesforce’s biggest bets to date, following its acquisition for over $15 billion two years ago. Nelson is tasked with preserving what customers like about Tableau while also integrating the company more deeply into Salesforce. Nelson now reports to Salesforce chief operating officer Bret Taylor.
Nelson first joined Tableau in 2018, well before Salesforce entered the picture, as its executive VP of product development. Before that, he was the chief technology officer at SAP-owned Concur for roughly four years and spent nearly 17 years at Oracle in various roles.
Salesforce recently began breaking out revenue from Tableau in its quarterly earnings reports, showing that the company brought in $$469 million of revenue in the second quarter, growing 22% from a year prior — making it one of Salesforce’s fastest-growing business units.
Brent Hayward took over as CEO of MuleSoft — which Salesforce acquired in 2018 for $6.5 billion — in the August of 2020.
The move made Hayward the unit’s third CEO since the acquisition was completed: Greg Schott, who had served as MuleSoft’s chief executive from 2009 through 2019, left Salesforce in early 2020. Simon Parmett, Schott’s successor, also left the company last year.
Hayward, for his part, goes way back with MuleSoft, having joined in 2013. Before taking the chief executive title, Hayward served as senior VP of global channels and alliances, working with the company’s partner network. In his new gig, Hayward reports to Salesforce chief operating officer Bret Taylor.
Like Tableau, Salesforce recently began breaking out revenue from MuleSoft in its quarterly earnings reports, showing that the company brought in $372 million in the second quarter, growing 39% from the year-ago period. That, too, makes Tableau one of the fastest-growing units at the cloud giant.
Stewart Butterfield is continuing on as the CEO of Slack, which is now an independent operating unit of Salesforce following the mammoth $27.7 billion acquisition that brought the company together.
With Butterfield, Salesforce is gaining both a respected software product visionary and one of Microsoft’s fiercest critics.
Butterfield will help Salesforce as it looks to build out its broader collaboration strategy and compete with Microsoft. CEO Marc Benioff has said that he has long dreamed of turning Salesforce into a hub for productivity and collaboration for business people.
Butterfield has been praised as being the rare executive with experience in both consumer and enterprise software, with the success of Slack showing his expertise in making a productivity tool that users actually enjoy.
Like the CEOs of Tableau and MuleSoft, Butterfield reports to chief operating officer Bret Taylor.
A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation.