Dec 06, 2023

[SalesTech Star] What Marc Benioff Taught Me About Building a Great Company

Zilliant Chief Revenue Officer Chris Lee discusses working under the guidance of Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, including the essentials Marc taught him about creating a remarkable company and navigating its growth.

I started at Salesforce in 2003 and can’t remember anyone leaving the company during my first eight years there. I know that seems unbelievable—turnover at growing tech companies can be huge, and there were plenty of opportunities in Silicon Valley then. But I watched as we went public and blew past the $1 billion mark in revenue for the first time, and along the way, the same people were in the same seats.

I’ve thought a lot about how that was possible. The foundation, of course, could be found in the culture that Marc Benioff so passionately advocated for. I saw how a group of people that trust each other, help each other and have a common purpose will remove all the internal and external barriers to focus on the big goals. That infectious positive attitude also carried over to customers, who saw the team environment and knew those were the kind of people who enjoyed what they were doing and were going to be around for a while. 

But can that elusive recipe for success be duplicated? I believe it can. A few key elements go into a formula that everyone can apply. I’m now fortunate to be in a position of paying it forward, particularly in my new role as Chief Revenue Officer at Zilliant, where we’ve built a team of former Salesforce executives applying the lessons we learned from Benioff to push our company to new heights. Here are the biggest takeaways from my time at Salesforce that any company leader should look to adopt. 

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