Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal by Katharine Grayson, Staff reporter

Date: Monday, February 27, 2012, 1:15pm CST
Staff reporter – Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal

Why bother with Brazil when you can expand into Minneapolis instead?

That’s the question SalesForce.com   Inc. CEO Marc Benioff offered up in response to a query about why the software giant isn’t expanding into more emerging markets overseas.

In a Feb. 23 earnings call, Benioff said he sees more opportunities in smaller U.S. markets than he does in regions abroad. He highlighted Minneapolis in the response — even going so far as to call the city an “emerging country.”

From the call:

“You know, I get questions all the time from our board, … ‘what are you doing about this emerging country or that emerging country?’ We really look at an emerging country like Minneapolis — to us, that’s an emerging country, because the Minneapolis software market is bigger than Brazil. We’re asking ourselves, what are we doing in Minneapolis? That’s why I just was in Minneapolis. That’s why I just did a seminar in Minneapolis. That’s why I’m working so closely with customers in Minneapolis, because that is actually a major software market.”

Benioff said less than 10 markets worldwide make up 85-95 percent of the global software market.

This isn’t the first time Benioff has brought up Minneapolis in an earnings call. In August, Benioff said he expected between 200 and 300 people to attend a SalesForce.com seminar and 1,000 showed up. He said he was surprised because Minneapolis is “not exactly a city known for large crowds showing up for technology events.”

San Francisco-based SalesForce.com makes customer relationship management software, which it delivers via the Web. The publicly-traded company generated about $2.27 billion in revenue last year.