Salesforce, which once tried to buy LinkedIn, hires an exec from the Microsoft-owned company to run Sales Cloud

Key Points
  • Doug Camplejohn worked on LinkedIn's Sales Navigator tool, which integrates with Salesforce and Microsoft's Dynamics.
  • In 2016 Salesforce got into a bidding war over LinkedIn, but Microsoft ultimately won.
  • Salesforce's Sales Cloud software goes back to the company's earliest days, and represents about one-quarter of Salesforce's total revenue.
Doug Camplejohn
Source: LinkedIn | YouTube

The new head of Salesforce's flagship software for tracking business opportunities comes from LinkedIn, which Salesforce tried and failed to acquire in 2016, losing out to Microsoft.

Doug Camplejohn, who had been a vice president of product management working on a tool that helps salespeople find prospects on LinkedIn, is now an executive vice president and general manager for Sales Cloud.

The move shows Salesforce tapping a person who has enjoyed a privileged view of social media-powered selling to lead Sales Cloud, the company's biggest product and the leader of the customer relationship management market.

Camplejohn arrived at LinkedIn in 2015, when it bought Fliptop, a predictive sales and marketing start-up where he was co-founder and CEO. At LinkedIn he worked on Sales Navigator, a tool unlike any other. It evaluates hundreds of millions of people listed on the business social network and identifies key people at companies who can help salespeople land deals. Sales Navigator can also automatically update services that manage sales outreach efforts, such as Sales Cloud.

Microsoft recognized the value of this approach, which is known as social selling. In 2016 Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella approached LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner after LinkedIn's stock fell on guidance that missed analysts' expectations, and the two discussed a possible business combination. Salesforce also saw an opportunity, and co-founder and CEO Marc Benioff reached out to Weiner just as Nadella had done. LinkedIn evaluated its proposals and ultimately went with Microsoft.

Since the $27 billion acquisition closed, LinkedIn has made it possible for companies to use Sales Navigator with Microsoft products, including Dynamics 365 for Sales, which competes with Sales Cloud.

Salesforce's Sales Cloud software goes back to the company's earliest days. It generated $1.17 billion in revenue in the quarter that ended Oct. 31, up about 15% year over year, representing about 26% of Salesforce's total revenue. Salesforce has also been expanding other parts of its business — including the Service Cloud business, which crossed $1 billion in quarterly revenue in 2019 — and picking up new capabilities through acquisitions like data analytics company Tableau.

Camplejohn takes over from Adam Blitzer, who had been interim general manager of Sales Cloud at Salesforce since September. Camplejohn, who in 2009 sold start-up Mi5 Networks to Symantec for $18 million, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lindsey Edwards, a senior director of product management at LinkedIn, has taken over as head of product for the Sales Solutions group that includes Sales Navigator following Camplejohn's departure, a LinkedIn spokesperson told CNBC in an email on Wednesday.

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