CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Speaks with CNBC’s Jim Cramer Today
WHEN: Today, Tuesday, September 25, 2018
WHERE: CNBC’s “Power Lunch” – From Salesforce’s Dreamforce 2018 Conference in San Francisco, CA
Watch CNBC’s full interview with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff
Tyler Mathisen: Salesforce is merging Apple’s Siri with its mobile apps in the first deal of its kind between a voice assistant and an enterprise platform. The stock hit a new all-time high earlier today. Let’s send it out to “Mad Money’s” Jim Cramer who joins us exclusively from Salesforce’s Dreamforce conference with Marc Benioff, who is the founder and CEO of Salesforce. Hi, Jim.
Jim Cramer: Oh, Tyler, thank you so much. I think this — we are at the celebration, not of your — just of your birthday, happy birthday Marc.
Marc Benioff: Thank you very much, Jim.
Cramer: But, what, 171,000 people coming together to learn, to meet –
Benioff: I think they all came just for my birthday, right? Is that it?
Cramer: Why not? Every year it’s a few more, so maybe it’s working. Tell us what’s going on here.
Benioff: Jim, this is the largest conference in the technology industry. We have 170,000 people here. Ten million joining us online. This is Dreamforce. We’re in San Francisco. It’s all of our most favorite customers, developers, all of course our employees are here, all of our partners are here, or like we say, all of our stakeholders are here. Together they are our family. This is a family reunion. And we couldn’t be more excited.
Cramer: There is news here this year. There is always some news. This time I bumped into Arne Sorenson. He’s the CEO of Marriott. He is very excited about your Apple Siri Salesforce project. We spoke yesterday about it. I have to tell you, I think it’s pretty breakthrough. Not one of those phony partnerships. But I will take it from you, if you tell me exactly how it is going to work.
Benioff: Every company has to rethink who they are in the fourth industrial revolution, including Marriott. That’s why Arne Sorenson is here — the CEO of Marriott. And you’re gonna see in the keynote, we are going to show a whole new vision for the future of Marriott. All of the technology, everything they need to do to connect with their customer in a whole new way. And yes, that includes starting right when you get into a Marriott, your digital key right on your phone. And then of course, the ability to talk to Siri and say, “please order me my favorite sandwich.” But when I order my favorite sandwich, how does to know? Because in Salesforce, we know the customer database. Your favorite turkey sandwich is there and we are going to bring it to your room. And then when it says, “Will you please lower the lights to 37 degrees,” and then the lights come down, and now, “Will you increase the temperature and warm this room up?” And the warm — the temperature warms up in the room. How does to know? Where does it get all the data? How does to have the customer background? It comes from Salesforce. We’re the back end. And this is what the conference is about: helping these incredible people, our trail blazers, know how to build these systems.
Cramer: Now, this is the first time that I’ve heard you say point blank: it’s voice. Voice is in charge. Siri must be better than the old days because sometimes i think you were saying, “Wow, you know — it’s not really working.” It’s here.
Benioff: Why is that? Because we had to build something amazing first. This isn’t voice recognition that we did. We built something, Jim, called Salesforce Einstein. Salesforce Einstein, the number one artificial intelligence platform in enterprise applications. We now are doing billions of Einstein transactions every day. The ability for our customers to radically use artificial intelligence to make them more productive and smarter about their customers. So what we do is we’re connecting Einstein to Siri or Einstein to any other voice platform. Then, we take that voice recognition and we’re able to move it to the database. Don’t forget, when I say, “I want that turkey sandwich” or, “i want my favorite sandwich,” Siri knows what I’m saying with my voice. But then we have to be able to take that and retrieve it or insert it into the customer database. That’s the magic. That’s Einstein voice. It is the glue, the middle ware, it is the energy that links all the voice systems that you are using in your home and on your phones, with the number one CRM in the world, Salesforce.
Cramer: alright, let’s talk about what Salesforce is doing. On that last conference call, I was astounded to hear, you basically just said it: CEOs are spending like you have never seen. How is that possible? We hear about trade wars, we hear about slowdowns. You don’t get this kind of spending without some sort of boom happening, undisclosed.
Benioff: Jim, I said it on your show first. The economy is ripping. It is still ripping. You saw the numbers. These huge growth numbers. We said it first. We know because we are listening to these customers. And we see them with their orders. Why did Salesforce just deliver another 27% growth quarter at our size, right? The fastest growing of the top five software companies. Why is that? Because, incredible demand from customers to rebuild their systems. They’re benefiting from the tax breaks. They’re benefiting from huge economies that are growing at rates that they have never seen before. Even here in San Francisco, our unemployment now is, I think, below 3%. That’s amazing.
Cramer: And you are not afraid to say the tax — the lower tax rates, which was an initiative of President Trump, did work?
Benioff: Oh, I can tell you emphatically that I have talked to personally hundreds and hundreds of CEOs — not just in our country, all over the world. And all of them have consistently said to me the reason that they are investing more is because of the confidence they have from the tax breaks.
Cramer: Incredible. Incredible. Now, Keith Block named Co-CEO. Since I’ve seen you last, you bought time magazine, $190 million. I think some people want to relate these and say, “You know, marc’s on the way out.” I say marc’s got a lot things he wants to do, including keep great people and preserve institutions.
Benioff: Look, the business of business is improving the state of the world. I’m deeply committed to having a positive global impact. My number one platform for change is this company. Salesforce was built on that right from the beginning. We put 1% of our equity, our profit, and our time. Of course, I didn’t realize that now that would turn into a quarter billion dollars of donations to others, including today we gave $15 million more to the San Francisco and Oakland public schools. That’s more than $50 million just to them. Millions of hours of volunteerism and we run almost 40,000 nonprofit and NGOs for free on our platform. We want to give back. I’m constantly looking for ways to give back in a positive way.
Cramer: And how — does it get the best people? Some of the organizations out in the – some of the companies have not gotten the best reputation lately for preserving values. They preserve profits over values. Salesforce gets better recruits. Is it values?
Benioff: Jim, the number one thing that every CEO must ask and every employee must ask or every stakeholder must ask is: what is the most important thing to me? What is the most important thing to our company? What is our highest value? I know what it is at Salesforce. It’s trust. Trust is our highest value. Nothing is more important than the trust we have with our customers – our employees – our partners —
Cramer: And if you lose that trust, what happens longer term?
Benioff: Well, how do you have a business in today’s world? In the fourth industrial revolution when everyone and everything is connected, how can you operate if trust not your highest value? And I’ll tell you what’s going to happen. If trust is not your highest value and you see it in the tech industry right now, your employees and executives are going to walk out.
Cramer: That’s exactly what’s happening.
Benioff: So you better decide now that trust is your highest value. Because in this new world, when everything is changing, people want to know they can trust you. And, Jim, that’s why they tune into your show, they trust you. So, thank you.
Cramer: Thank you, Marc Benioff. Co-Founder and CEO of Salesforce.com.
Benioff: I trust you also.
Cramer: Thank you, guys. Thank you for the time.
Melissa Lee: Alright, great interview, Jim. Thanks so much. Of course, Jim will have much more from San Francisco tonight on “Mad Money” at 6:00 p.m. eastern time here on CNBC.
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