This week, we spotlight Sarah Franklin. She’s the President and CMO at Salesforce.
We’d like to congratulate Sarah Franklin and the Salesforce team on their outstanding Q1 results.
The company posted revenue of $7.41 billion. That’s an increase of 21% year-over-year.
Salesforce also issued guidance. The company expects Q2 revenues to come in around $7.7 billion, or up some 20% YoY.
“There is no greater measure of our resilience and the momentum in our business than the $42 billion we have in remaining performance obligation, representing all future revenue under contract,” said Marc Benioff, Co-CEO. “While delivering incredible growth at scale, we’re committed to consistent margin expansion and cash flow growth as part of our long-term plan to drive both top and bottom-line performance.”
Sarah Franklin helped make those outstanding results possible.
Franklin & Her Past at Salesforce
Franklin started with Salesforce about 14 years ago.
She joined the company as Director of Platform Product Marketing. After about five years in that position, she moved up to Senior Director, Developer Marketing.
And then on to VP Admin Marketing. And VP Trailhead, Developer and Admin Marketing.
She served in increasing levels of VP responsibility before finally landing the CMO role in January of last year.
According to her LinkedIn bio, she’s a “unique leader with a blend of technical knowledge, business acumen, and marketing expertise in emerging technologies and trends.”
Her resume backs that up.
By the way, if you’re unfamiliar with Salesforce, it’s the company that makes the most popular CRM tools in the world.
Franklin’s Three Defining Themes
The CMO Club caught up with Franklin not too long ago to chat with her about her experience. During the course of the conversation, they asked her about three themes that define her journey.
“Courage is a big theme in my life,” she replied.
She explained how she chose to pursue a career in chemical engineering and biochemistry early on in life, knowing that she’d experience challenges as a female student.
“Having courage has helped me get to where I am today. It’s a core value that guides me. I still challenge myself – every day – to confront a fear if I see that it’s driving my decision-making.”
Her second theme: bring out her best every day.
Franklin says that, no matter what her circumstances, she handles every task by bringing her A-game.
She does that even if she knows her best isn’t good enough for the job.
“I accept that, learn from it, and move forward because I know I gave it everything I had. Maybe the best I can do on a certain day is not all that great. I accept that too. We all have good days and bad days. But for the things I can control, I know that I’m absolutely committed to bringing the best I’ve got.”
And for her third theme: paying attention to details that matter.
According to Franklin, details help you create authentic connections with others. That’s how they know you’re paying attention to what they’ve requested and that you care.
She says she responds to every email and reads every brief that crosses her desk.
Franklin has this advice for folks in our industry: “As marketers, details are where delight lives. Details are where differentiation lives. Whether you’re putting together an event or the finishing polish on web copy, that last mile is very important.”
Franklin’s Thoughts on Empathy
The interview with the CMO Club also makes it clear that Franklin is an empathetic leader.
She claims one of the hardest experiences of her own life was going through a divorce. As a result, she knows how people feel when they’re dealing with tough times.
Now Franklin says she tries hard not to judge.
And here’s a tip that we can all follow. She says that when we ask people how they’re doing, we should actually stop and listen to the answer.
Franklin recognizes that her bad experience also brought some blessings.
She says that she was forced to rebuild. And that process gave her the opportunity to look at her foundations.
“It helped me see that the period of my life where I was most happy was when my daughter and I were living in a studio pool house at the back of someone’s property. We used camping pots to cook and the floor to sit on. It was the simplest of times. We didn’t have a sofa or television. But I also didn’t have to clean or decorate.”
She says the whole ordeal taught her resilience.
Wrapping It Up With Sarah Franklin
Sarah Franklin is now an executive with a Big Tech company that’s a household name. And she got there, in part, by turning her stumbling blocks into stepping stones.
Now she’s ready to take Salesforce to new heights.
I look forward to watching the company’s journey.