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Washington Post technology columnist Jay Greene reported on May 30 that under a new corporate policy, Salesforce will cancel e-commerce services to retail customers that sell assault-style firearms.
The rule will kick in after current contracts with such companies expire. Camping World will be one store chain impacted by Salesforce’s decision.
Salesforce is a multibillion dollar San Francisco-based software company, whose customer relationship management tools are highly popular with real estate agents. The rule also covers certain firearm accessories, such as clips that hold more than 10 rounds.
The company’s CEO, Marc Benioff, is known for taking public political stances, often over humanitarian concerns. He once threatened to reduce a 1,500-person workforce in Indiana because of a law that would allow people to use religion as a reason to deny services to gay people. The law was struck down.
He also tweeted his support for banning the AR-15, a controversial rifle that’s been used in several mass shootings.
Salesforce (NYSE: CRM) is largely credited with creating the modern concept of CRM software. Its products in that arena reach across countless industries, and it’s very popular in real estate.
Real estate agents, face-to-face everyday with an array of American demographics, are not strangers to happily working alongside people and vendors who might have differing stances on hot-button issues.
Other companies, such as Propertybase, rely on Salesforce to help power lead management features, and many other real estate software companies integrate with it to bolster aspects of their products.
In the past few years, companies taking overt political stances has become commonplace.
Last year, Patagonia, the outdoor apparel and equipment maker, went toe-to-toe with the Trump administration over actions taken to reduce the size of established national monuments, going so far as to sue the White House.
Shoe maker New Balance simply stated that it could benefit from a U.S.-first business climate because it’s one of the only major sneaker brands making products in the states. It was publicly castigated; social media lit up with videos of people burning their New Balance sneakers.
Morgan Carey is CEO of Real Estate Webmasters, who uses Salesforce. He told Inman he appreciates it when a company takes a stand on something.
“I would certainly be inclined to do business with companies that resonate with my values,” Carey said. “I also respect a company that takes a position versus trying to be Switzerland.”
Political takes in real estate can be tough to tackle at times, given that the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the industry’s official trade organization, is a constant presence in Washington, lobbying for pro-Realtor real estate laws and policy and its efforts are funded by member agents.
Will agents who own assault-style guns, or any form of gun, take a stand against Salesforce? Or will agents who applaud the policy decide to move their data to Salesforce’s CRM?
There’s a good chance many Salesforce users won’t care at all and simply brush-off the move as more political grandstanding by a giant company.
The company has created and staffed an Office of Ethical and Humane Use. Its website states, “The office will merge law, policy, and ethics to develop and implement a strategic framework for the ethical and humane use of technology across Salesforce.”
Does Salesforce’s policy on not providing software to gun sellers matter to you? Please let us know in the comments section below.
Have a technology product you would like to discuss? Email Craig Rowe