Salesforce Acquisitions

Salesforce was founded in 1999 by Marc Benioff, Frank Dominguez, Dave Moellenhoff, and Parker Harris. In a relatively short space of time, the corporate powerhouse of enterprise software has made numerous acquisitions as part of its broader growth strategy.

So who are these companies? Let’s take a look at a few of them below.


Slack follows a freemium model, where a free version is offered, and users can convert in paying customers if they want more usage or advanced functionalities. Slack combines the free model with a direct sales force to acquire enterprise customers with yearly recurring revenue of over 100K. Those customers were 575 in 2019, and they accounted for 40% of its revenues. 

At $27.7 billion, Slack is the company’s largest acquisition.

As part of the deal, Slack’s messaging app would be incorporated into the Salesforce enterprise software without any change in the former’s branding, leadership, or functionality.

The Slack purchase also enabled Salesforce to further the remote working trend and create a powerful platform for the work anywhere, digital-first world.


Salesforce’s acquisition of MuleSoft in 2018 for $6.5 billion gave it access to the company’s large customer base and beneficial technology.

By incorporating MuleSoft’s integrative features, Salesforce could become a market leader since its functionality could more easily be incorporated into existing business systems.

One such feature was an API platform/library known as Anypoint that does not require custom integration code.

MuleSoft’s client list was also impressive, including corporate clients such as eBay, Netflix, Wells Fargo, Barclays, Coca-Cola, and Target.


Enterprise data platform Tableau was purchased by Salesforce for $15.7 billion in June 2019, the second largest in the company’s history.

Many pundits considered the move to be a key component of Salesforce’s strategy to obtain a 360-degree view of the customer and become an enterprise data stack.

Prior to the deal, more than 86,000 organizations used Tableau’s visual analytics platform to view their data and use it to solve problems. Some of these included Southwest Airlines, Verizon, Schwab, and Schneider Electric.


ExactTarget is a provider of email marketing services that are one-to-one and on-demand.

When Salesforce acquired ExactTarget in 2013 for $2.5 billion, this was seen as a logical step in the company’s expansion into marketing.

Like the purchase of Vlocity – which we’ll explain below – the purchase of ExactTarget furthered SalesForce’s mission to transform how companies connected with their customers via sales, service, and marketing.


Before being purchased by Salesforce for $1.33 billion in early 2020, Vlocity had already built six separate CRMs in media and entertainment, insurance and financial services, health, energy and utilities, communications, and government and non-profits.

Some saw the deal coming since Salesforce Ventures was a key investor in the company, but it nevertheless enabled the company to bolster its industry-specific CRM solutions, develop strategic partnerships, and add more functionality to its platform.


Salesforce purchased ClickSoftware for around $1.35 billion in 2019, a provider of field service management (FSM) and workforce management software.

The deal, which occurred two months after the one involving Tableau, ostensibly allowed Salesforce to improve its field service products for mobile workforces.

A secondary but no-less-important consideration was ClickSoftware’s 15,400 clients such as Ericsson, Unisys, Bosch, and Deutsche Telekom.

Key takeaways:

  • Salesforce has made a number of significant acquisitions in a relatively short period. The deals involving Tableau and Slack, for example, both exceeded $15 billion.
  • Salesforce acquired email marketer ExactTarget in 2013 and related firm Vlocity in 2020. Both deals enabled Salesforce to bolster its CRM offering and develop strategic industry relationships.
  • Other notable purchases include MuleSoft for $6.5 billion in 2018 and FSM provider ClickSoftware the following year.

Read Next: Salesforce Business Model, Slack Business Model

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