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Selling your Company to Salesforce

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Mike Micucci

Founder's Spotlight

Imagine the experiences gained and lessons learned from founding your own SaaS company, selling it to Saleforce and then becoming the CEO of a Salesforce  Business Unit. That was the journey Mike Micucci, who recently left Salesforce eleven years after selling his start-up to Salesforce in 2009 and ultimately rose through the ranks to be the CEO of the Commerce Cloud business. Mike shares the story behind founding GroupSwim, an early B2B collaboration platform that became the foundation for Salesforce Chatter.  Then Mike shares the story behind how community cloud and commerce cloud came together, with both a B2B and B2C - or even a B2B2C offering.  Over the last 10 years, Commerce Cloud has grown to be over a $1B business  and you can rest assured that Metrics were at the heart of most of Mike's strategic decisions. Mike's experiences started when I first met Mike in the initial "vortex" of B2B eCommerce in 1997 - 2001  where he was an integral part of the product management senior leadership teams at Netscape and Commerce One.  Then in 2005 he founded GroupSwim, and had firmly established Product Market Fit by the beginning of 2009 when he received two different offers to purchase GroupSwim. Following the GroupSwim acquisition, Mike decided to accept the opportunity to be part of the Corporate Social Network initiative within Salesforce - yes Chatter which launched in 2010.  From that experience, Mike pitched the concept of "Community Cloud" to Marc Benioff and Parker Harris. The vision was to build a solution to connect the different "communities" within Salesforce to other communities and companies. By 2020, Community Cloud had reached 650 million users.  Interesting that Community Cloud is measured by usage, growth and how much revenue they influence on the other core clouds.  Mike shares the Salesforce relentless focus on customer input and feedback into the product lifecycle, especially through the use of Customer Advisory Boards (CAB's) which provides a primary to the product roadmap.  In fact, the concept of Commerce Cloud was originally stimulated by a customer who had built their own commerce capability into Community Cloud in 2014. Later in 2014 Salesforce launched Commerce Cloud at Dreamforce.  By 2016 Community Cloud and Commerce Cloud became one Salesforce Cloud business unit.  Mike share how Digital Commerce grew more in 2020 then in the past few years combined.  When COVID first hit, Mike saw his dashboards showing how volume on Commerce Cloud spiked starting in March.  Finally, Mike shared he segments metrics into usage metrics and operational metrics.  Operational metrics on commerce starts with GMV (Gross Merchandise Value)  which hit over $50B GMV in 2020.  DAU/MAU  (Daily Average Users/Monthly Average Users) was a key metric used to evaluate the health of his business unit.  ACV (Annual  Contract Value), AOV (Average Order Value)  and churn was also tracked daily as key operational metrics.    Mike also shares why "branding" and "pricing" are the two hardest aspects of building a Cloud business.  In fact, he went into detail on the benefit of a blended pricing model that uses both a  subscription model plus usage based pricing levers.  One of the hardest parts of a variable usage based pricing model is how best to forecast variable revenue. Mike's story reflects the opportunity, reality and journey that so many corporate leaders in the Cloud have experienced over the last 20+ years.  If you are looking for inspiration coupled with detailed insights into how an entrepreneur's journey can evolve from the corporate world to being a founder and then on to the CEO of a $1B+ cloud business, this is a great listen!

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