Salesforce was an outlier from almost Day 1 … as you’d expect from the #1 largest player in the industry.
Look at their growth rate in the early years — even when Cloud was 100x smaller than it is today:
Today, this type of growth, while crazy, is more common. See, e.g., Zoom, Twilio, Slack, Dropbox, etc.
By growing so quickly, so early in the cycle of Cloud and SaaS, Salesforce was able to rocket to $1b in ARR before most SaaS apps really came into their own.
Today though, the story is a bit different. It’s original market, SFA/CRM, is very mature. Today, a bit portion of growth is from M&A and growth in new categories. The core CRM/SFA segment is now growing < 15% a year: