"Salesforce had 32 percent revenue growth this year. We're now the sixth largest software company in the world. At the end of this quarter we'll be at a $6 billion annual run rate -- we'll probably be about the fifth largest software company in the world," Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said -- not at a sales pitch but during a presentation on his company's philanthropic initiatives.
These kinds of figures might sound just a little out of place in this context, but Benioff rarely makes an appearance on stage without talking about two of his biggest interests: his company's charity work and its growth.
"That is the whole point isn't it? That you're making your company better by making the world better. There is no separation," Benioff said Wednesday at Launch Festival 2015 in San Francisco, where his comment received a round of applause.
Over the years, Benioff has increasingly publicized Salesforce's philanthropic efforts, including its 1/1/1 model, through which the company donates one percent of its equity, one percent of profits in the form of product donations and one percent of employees' time to charitable causes.
Whether Benioff is marketing his company's charity acts or its software, he doesn't shy away from shameless promotion. Nor should any entrepreneur, he argued.
"You have to be ready to raise money, you have to be ready to close deals. And let me tell you, we have a big company now, and when I'm with my employees, I'm marketing to them," he said.
That's why if you want to be a great entrepreneur, "you better pick your game up when it comes to marketing skills, sales skills communication skills," he added.
Without a doubt, though, developing the ability to promote yourself takes time. Self confidence was, in fact, one of the most important things Benioff says he was lacking when he first started out.
But entrepreneurs have no choice but to improve in the areas they're bad at, Benioff said. Eventually he learned to ignore his anxiety and trust himself more.
"It's a great personal development exercise. And that's one of the great reasons to be an entrepreneur," he said.