Salesforce made Vlocity's founder its new chief product officer - and it highlights a key part of its strategy

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Salesforce made Vlocity's founder its new chief product officer - and it highlights a key part of its strategy
David Schmaier is Salesforce's new chief product officerVlocity

Salesforce has named David Schmaier its new chief product officer, finally filling the position that was vacant since December 2019, when Bret Taylor was promoted to chief operating officer.

Schmaier joined Salesforce early last year via its $1.3 billion acquisition of Vlocity, a startup he founded that makes cloud and mobile software on top of Salesforce's platform that's tailored to specific industries.

Once the deal closed in June, Schmaier was named CEO of Salesforce Industries; As chief product officer, Schmaier will lead Salesforce's global product team, strategy, and vision.

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Salesforce's acquisition of Vlocity was seen as Salesforce's way of doubling down on the industry-specific sales strategy that former co-CEO Keith Block introduced before he left the company last February. Giving Schmaier leadership over the entire product team further demonstrates Salesforce's focus on selling to specific industries and creating customized tools on top of its CRM tools for healthcare, financial services, government, and others categories.

Schmaier has years of experience customizing CRM software for specific industries. He was one of the first employees at CRM pioneer Siebel Systems in the 1990s, overseeing efforts to customize its software for particular industries. He began building Vlocity in 2013 after seeing that there was an opportunity to customize Salesforce's tools in the same way.

Since Vlocity's acquisition, Salesforce added additional capabilities to three of its five industry-specific cloud offerings, and added three industry categories: communications, media and entertainment, and energy and utilities.

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At Vlocity's developer conference last July, Schmaier said that the average order value of Salesforce's industry cloud products grew 71% from a year prior. At the time those products had 4,000 customers and 2.8 million monthly active users, Schmaier said. It's unknown how those numbers have changed; Salesforce doesn't publicly disclose those numbers in its quarterly earnings reports.

Schmaier is entering his new role at a time when the company has gone through a rapid shift, with its own employees and customers working remotely and launching new tools to help with the pandemic response.

"It's impossible to predict the future," Schmaier said in a blog post. "What we do know is that trusted customer relationships have never been more important. I'm ready to jump in, lead our product teams and be a trusted advisor to our customers."

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