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What do Salesforce layoffs mean for your business

Picture of Slack office building with Salesforce logo overlaying the image

Is everyone’s favorite (?) CRM FUBAR?

TL;DR version:

About one week ago, Salesforce laid off ~8,000 employees (10% of their total staff). Plus a co-CEO and Slack’s co-founder and CEO announced their departures.

The full story:

In what could be described as the worst New Year resolution ever, Salesforce announced in the first week of January 2023 that they would be laying off employees. Within the following week, social posts of the employees impacted – more like 8,000 rather than the 7k initially announced, amounting to 10% of Salesforce’s total workforce – began to flood feeds on LinkedIn, Twitter, and elsewhere.

For anyone remotely following tech trends this was a moment to give us all pause: after months of watching tech brands of all sizes announce layoffs and budget reductions, seeing a giant like Salesforce make use of such a hefty chopping block was a reality check that maybe a new year wouldn’t necessarily lead to new growth and opportunities.

Now, before you respond with, “But Rachel, it’s just one layoff round among so many others. This doesn’t mean doomsday,” allow me to share more eyebrow-raising updates from Salesforce land. Co-CEO Bret Taylor announced in November 2022 he would be exiting less than one year after he assumed the role. A few days later, the CEO of Slack (acquired by Salesforce in 2021) Stewart Butterfield announced his departure.

But wait, there’s more! Tableau Software’s CEO Mark Nelson also announced he would be leaving his role (Tableau was acquired by Salesforce in 2019). AND lest you think this is still much ado about nothing, strange things have been afoot with Salesforce since activist investor Starboard Value took a stake in Salesforce in October 2022.

Whatever’s going on at Salesforce, be it a beneficial shakeup or a harbinger of more strife to come, my best advice is to make sure you’re backing up your data. (That’s good advice all year round and for any app, but no really – get your CRM affairs in order just in case the Salesforce is not with you always.)

What do you think of the goings on at Salesforce? Will it impact your approach with them in any way? Does that very thought keep you up at night? Do tell (below).