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CNBC Exclusive: CNBC Transcript: Salesforce Co-Founder, Chairman & CEO Marc Benioff Speaks with CNBC's Jim Cramer on "Mad Money" Tonight

WHEN: Today, Thursday, November 17th

WHERE: CNBC"s "Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer"

Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC EXCLUSIVE interview with Salesforce Co-Founder, Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff on CNBC's "Mad Money w/ Jim Cramer" (M-F, 6PM-7PM ET) today, Thursday, November 17th. Following is a link to the video on

All references must be sourced to CNBC.

JIM CRAMER: Mr. Benioff, welcome back to "Mad Money."

MARC BENIOFF: Jim, great to be here. Thanks for having me, of course. Thank you, again.

JIM CRAMER: Good to have you in person. Alright. You put out a number, more than $10 billion--

MARC BENIOFF: Yes, I know--

JIM CRAMER: We were waiting for that. It finally happened.

MARC BENIOFF: --point one, next year.

JIM CRAMER: And you're putting out a $20 billion number, which means that you're not just thinking--

MARC BENIOFF: It's very exciting.

JIM CRAMER: --about this quarter.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, it's very exciting. You can see the growth. It's incredible. And you saw $12 billion, on off the balance sheet. I mean, that's amazing.

JIM CRAMER: Now last time you were here, you were actually disappointed in yourself. You said that you didn't think that everything – that there was business that could have closed that didn't. This is just back on track to the point where you actually are giving a forecast that's much further out than any other CEO I'm dealing with.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, last quarter, you know, we had that unexpected foreign exchange headwind. We talked about that. The fall of the Great British pound associated with Brexit. You know, we're past that. And here we are. We had a great third quarter. We're anticipating a great fourth quarter. And we're looking at a great year next year.

JIM CRAMER: I'm seeing I know you spent a month in Japan. Asia-Pacific up 38. Is that what happened--


JIM CRAMER: Now, I want to talk about some customers. Because they seem like big wins. James Gorman at Morgan Stanley's got a tremendous output. A lot of big retail. But he's also just been really managed and done a great job. He's brought you in. What are you doing for him?

MARC BENIOFF: Well, you look at some of the big wins this quarter, Jim. And Morgan Stanley amazing. PNC Bank also amazing. And Citi. So yeah, three huge financial service wins. That was very exciting for the quarter.

JIM CRAMER: But now for our viewers, they're going to say, "Why didn't you talk about Amazon? That's the most exciting one that you brought."

MARC BENIOFF: Well Amazon was awesome. And T-Mobile, we saw them at Dreamforce. And saw them expand again in the third quarter.

JIM CRAMER: Now I thought one is very quizzical, given the fact that we have a change at the White House. The Department of Agriculture win. Do you think that those kinds of jobs will still be available for you under a different administration?

MARC BENIOFF: I do. I mean, the government is transforming. And they're looking to lower their I.T. costs and to go to the cloud, Jim. And there's no better way to do that than Salesforce.

JIM CRAMER: I know that you regard yourself as an American. You don't talk about Democrat or Republican. That was not before-- that was before the election. But do you think that because of some close ties with some work that you did with the Democratic Party that it will be more difficult to procure large contracts because you're, frankly, not a big supporter of Republicans that we know of?

MARC BENIOFF: Well, I'm not a Republican. And I'm not a Democrat either. You know that I view myself just as an American. And I'm looking forward to a great future.

JIM CRAMER: Will you speak to the president-elect if he gives you a call?

MARC BENIOFF: If he calls me, I'm happy to call him back.

JIM CRAMER: All right, fair enough. Now I want to talk about what the world is like out there. Because there had been a feeling that things had slowed. And the year you-- all of your geographies tell me that that's wrong. Now we had a very – I had a somewhat difficult conversation today with Chuck Robbins at Cisco, where they actually said that there were macro headwinds pretty heavily. Not to denigrate Cisco, because it's a great American company. And you know that better than most. But they did-- you do-- I don't see any macro headwinds here.

MARC BENIOFF: I think that if you remember, Jim, in our last conversation that we had about our quarter results, we were here in the second quarter. And we told you at the very end of the second quarter, at the very end, we saw a little bit of headwind. I think maybe that's what Chuck Robbins felt in this quarter and other quart-- other companies like him, you know, have had-- seen some of that. This quarter I think we picked it up early. We had to make some shifts change. Changes in our business. And now we have this great result in the third quarter.

JIM CRAMER: Now, Chuck also said this morning to me on "Squawk on the Street," there is a kind of a different feeling. Now maybe it's just post election, didn't matter who won. I know it's only been a week for you. But are you-- I mean, you speak with more clients than anyone. You've been in New York. You're in touch. Among Democrats and Republicans, different feel?

MARC BENIOFF: Look, I think that everybody wants progress. Everybody wants things to move forward. Everybody is still-- I've-- we've talked about this, Jim. We're still coming out of the 2008 problem. You know there's a huge tail on that. And-- but you know also I've been a huge bull around growth in 2017, '18, '19. I feel that when you look at the global economy and you talk to these global customers, whether it's here in the United States, whether it is in Japan, whether it is in Europe, I've seen a lot of those customers burn off a lot of the 2008 problem. And I'm optimistic for what's coming in the future. So optimistic that you can see we've given guidance for more than $10.1 billion. And you know there's only been three software companies in history that have done that.

JIM CRAMER: All right, well--

MARC BENIOFF: And we don't have to name them.

JIM CRAMER: All right. What I think is important is that there was also when I saw you at Dreamforce, there was a belief that Marc Benioff was on a buying spree of new kinds of companies, because his growth was not holding up. And I think if you're giving that long of a forecast that whoever felt that way is probably gonna be discredited.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, we talked about that at Dreamforce. I felt those comments were mostly coming from our competition. The reality is our core is so strong. And we have these incredible opportunities to pick up these awesome companies. I mean, you saw Quip, you know, this incredible startup that was created by Bret Taylor, the former CTO of Facebook, wants to sell us his company. You cannot turn that down, Jim. And now you can go to the app store. You can download Quip and have the most incredible word processing and spreadsheet and productivity environment in the history of business and the enterprises. Awesome.

JIM CRAMER: All right, now let's talk about Salesforce's future. On the November 14th, Recode. Our friend Kara was interviewing you. And--

MARC BENIOFF: I love Kara.

JIM CRAMER: I know – well, how can you not? We all love Kara. But she did talk about the evolution of your relationship with Microsoft, which seemed very – Satya Nadella, good friend. Went from kind of I'd say, like, say friend to frenemy to frankly with what you're doing with LinkedIn, I can only call you guys enemies.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, we just had a surprise. That's all that is. We thought there was a new Microsoft. We got a call from Satya said, "Hey, you know, we're so excited to work with you. Would you spend some time with Scott Guthrie? He runs Azure. You're gonna love him. Tell him all about your strategy." And we met with Scott Guthrie. And then two weeks later, read in the newspaper that Scott Guthrie's now in charge of their CRM business. I'm like, "Well, that would have been good to know ahead of time." And then I kind of was like, "You know, maybe the new Microsoft is actually the old Microsoft." And look, these were the mid-managers during that era. Now they've moved up. And the culture's back.

JIM CRAMER: In the old Microsoft, under Steve Ballmer, who has worked with me at Harvard, was a bit of a monopolist. And I think that your LinkedIn complaint would indicate that you think that could happen again.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, I think that you see, you know, the commissioners in Europe have also stated that this is a very sensitive acquisition, because Microsoft has stated publicly at that Deutsche Bank—

JIM CRAMER: Deutsche Bank conference, which I read, you're right.

MARC BENIOFF: You -- what did they say, Jim?

JIM CRAMER: Well, they—

MARC BENIOFF: What did they say?

JIM CRAMER: Well, they said they intend to use it to take all the business.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, was that-- is that fair? And is that legal? Yes or no?

JIM CRAMER: No, it was called dumb. And if they were there, I see we have general counsel there, probably would have been –

MARC BENIOFF: Well, the Europeans also read that, not just you. I read it too. And other software companies like Oracle and Sage and others have read that and made the same conclusion that that is something that the industry's not gonna stand for. And, look, we want a fair playing field. And we want everyone to have a good chance.

JIM CRAMER: All right, now I'm not gonna let Benioff go without talking about Benioff and the corporation and where that stands with the world. First, let's start with the fact that I know you think that Twitter was instrumental in electing a new president.

MARC BENIOFF: I do think that's true.

JIM CRAMER: And that makes, to me, Twitter a more valuable franchise. But when I saw you, Twitter was at $24. Now it's at $18. Your shareholders didn't like it if you had to pay $29. But at $18, maybe you get it for $23-$24. You're a persuasive man. You've persuaded many people. Why don't we just say, "Let's do it and get it done"?

MARC BENIOFF: Because as I've said, you know, I think that it's an amazing company, and a great CEO. But, you know, companies like Fidelity and T. Rowe Price, who are our shareholders, said that was not for them and—

JIM CRAMER: But that was before they elected a president.

MARC BENIOFF: Well, you know what, I operate this company in partnership--

JIM CRAMER: I know. You absolutely do.

MARC BENIOFF: --with our shareholders, with our employees, with our partners. And I have to listen to them and work together. It's my pleasure to do so.

JIM CRAMER: Okay, on that, we saw a bunch of companies. Workday, ServiceNow, NetSuite, Tableau, DATA, Pegasystems, VivaBox. That was chatter—I just want and people said, "Oh, he might buy any one of those." You were always looking—

MARC BENIOFF: Oh, you've been reading all of our directors emails, I see.

JIM CRAMER: But why not? I mean, they put them online, wherever you want them. But, just things that were said –

MARC BENIOFF: Hey, we are an open – it's an open kimono at Salesforce ever-- all of our secrets are online. So it's all good.

JIM CRAMER: Okay, now--

MARC BENIOFF: Well, you can also see we run a really clean shop. Everyone, I think, was surprised how clean the process is.

JIM CRAMER: No, absolutely. Now you famously, I think started and were able to put a stop to some legislation that you regarded as discriminatory in Indiana. The man--


JIM CRAMER: --who was proponing that is now going—

MARC BENIOFF: Well, that was a bad law, you know that. It wasn't just us.

JIM CRAMER: Did he ever tell you it was a bad law? 'Cause Marriot thought it was bad and Walmart thought it was bad. They kind of represent another part of the country besides San Francisco.

MARC BENIOFF: We were the first one to say, "That law needs to change." And then I knew Mike Pence before that. I called him. "Hey, the law needs to change." And then what I--

JIM CRAMER: He knew that you were a big employer in the state?

MARC BENIOFF: We are the largest tech employer in Indiana. It's a very important state to us. And then, hundreds of other CEOs also called him and said, "Please change that law." And to his credit, he changed the law. The credit of the governor in Georgia, he did not sign the law. And as you know, North Carolina, there is a recount happening pretty much because of the law.

JIM CRAMER: Okay, now last night--

MARC BENIOFF: And I certainly hope that, you know, as we move forward that and we think about equality for all that I think this is, you know, this is what our country is founded on, that everyone has, I think, the absolute divine right to have an incredible life, liberty, and I think the pursuit of happiness.

JIM CRAMER: Jefferson was in on that. Madison checked off on that. I get those guys--

MARC BENIOFF: That's all I'm tryin' to do for our employees and customers and—

JIM CRAMER: But I know you're not running for office, but I need to know something. I need to know the role of Salesforce doing good, business somewhat vilified. Last week, Howard Schultz in here said he felt that business somehow became vilified during this election. Where is business? And where are you in terms of business positive role?

MARC BENIOFF: Well, I think business is the greatest platform for change. You know that, Jim. I think that these businesses are amazing. And when you pivot them not just to your stockholders, not just to your employees, not just to your partners, but to also your community, that you can do amazing things. Look what we're doing in the San Francisco public schools, the Oakland public schools--

JIM CRAMER: You're a graduate of public school.

MARC BENIOFF: --the 25,000 nonprofits that we run for free, hundreds of million dollars that we've been able to give away with our 1-1-1 model. I mean, this is amazing and--

JIM CRAMER: So we have a business president. So--

MARC BENIOFF: I think that's awesome.


MARC BENIOFF: Let's – sure. Hey, I am someone who is, "Let's move forward." Let's move forward. Let's have an open mind. Let's have an open heart.

JIM CRAMER: Well, but before--

MARC BENIOFF: And let's move forward together.

JIM CRAMER: Okay, but remember, tech did kind of band together against this man. Are you saying that this is kind of like Appomattox?

MARC BENIOFF: There was an election, you know? I certainly respect the results and the will of the American people. I expect our process. I respect democracy. And I want to move forward with an open heart and an open mind. And hope for the best.

JIM CRAMER: Are others like you? Or this is – are people-- because, you know, a lot of people on Wall Street feel that somehow this new president might retaliate and therefore have sold stocks that they felt--

MARC BENIOFF: I think that's silly.

JIM CRAMER: Silly? And you can't wait to break bread in the White House again?

MARC BENIOFF: No, I'll tell you what I'm really excited about. What I'm really excited about is that, number one, this election is behind us. Progress, let's move forward together.

JIM CRAMER: Fair enough, let's leave it--

MARC BENIOFF: Let's move forward together.

JIM CRAMER: --like that. Let's leave it there.

MARC BENIOFF: Is there anything more important than that?


MARC BENIOFF: Thank you.

JIM CRAMER: Nothing. All right, that's Marc Benioff, the cofounder, chairman, and CEO--

MARC BENIOFF: --thank you. Great to be back in New Jersey.

JIM CRAMER: --of Salesforce, thank you so much. Stock's up huge.

MARC BENIOFF: Come see us in San Francisco, Jim.

JIM CRAMER: Will do. Mad Money's back after the break.

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