Deals

Salesforce picks up IBM enterprise sales veteran Jeff Lautenbach

Salesforce has hired IBM enterprise sales pro Jeff Lautenbach to head its enterprise sales division as it gets ready to take on some of the largest companies in the world as customers — and as rivals.

The company, which first made its name a decade ago as a provider of Web-based customer-relationship management software to smaller companies for whom traditional enterprise software was unaffordable, has finally realized it is playing with the bigger dogs in the park. The company’s major competition comes from other customer relationship management (CRM) software providers like Oracle. They aren’t run-of-the-mill tech companies, they are behemoths with massive revenues that demand a little more attention than some of the other smaller CRM providers Salesforce has typically competed with.

Lautenbach was with IBM — another major competitor for Oracle — for 20 years, where he manned the company’s 1000-strong enterprise sales team. He’ll be responsible for pitching the company’s service major enterprises — like Dell, a current Salesforce customer, for example — rather than Salesforce’s traditional strategy of targeting business managers.

Salesforce looks like it has been building up its resources to attack the enterprise market in full force — including some targets outside of its typical CRM software market. The company has acquired three companies in just under two months. Salesforce dropped a whopping $212 million for Heroku to bolster its development tools for its web services and picked up Manymoon to expand into some other cloud services.

The company also recently launched Chatter.com, an enterprise-style social network that is free and open to everyone. Salesforce does want to convince Chatter.com users to sign up for the official Chatter service, and then Salesforce’s CRM service, but it’s still a bit outside of Salesforce’s enterprise activity. Salesforce initially launched Chatter as a Twitter-like service to compete initially with Yammer and make a splash in the collaboration space.

Salesforce also recently named former Microsoft government sales guy Matt Miszewski to head the company’s government sales team.

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