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Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: This is the most exciting business opportunity of 'maybe any lifetime'

The artificial intelligence revolution is here, and it's about to accelerate in a big way, Salesforce (CRM) co-founder, chairman, and CEO Marc Benioff told Yahoo Finance Live.

"This is the most exciting business opportunity of our lifetime, maybe any lifetime," Benioff said (video above).

That much is evident in spending 15 minutes walking around inside San Francisco's Moscone Center for this year's Dreamforce conference, where Benioff pointed to new AI product releases such as customized AI assistants.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 9: Moscone Center is seen in San Francisco, California, United States on September 9, 2023. Salesforce's annual Dreamforce Conference will be held on September 11, that expecting 35,000 attendees at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Salesforce's annual Dreamforce Conference will be held on Sept.11 and is expecting 35,000 attendees at Moscone Center in San Francisco. (Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

A Williams-Sonoma (WSM) booth bustles with activity, giving a glimpse to those interested in how Salesforce's AI is powering furniture recommendations. Slack — a business Salesforce acquired in 2021 for $27.7 billion — has a booth explaining how a business could use new AI features on the platform to build improved marketing campaigns.

Just one year ago at Dreamforce, Slack was still being played up as an office collaboration tool. Not any longer.

In short, Dreamforce 2023 will go down as AI's coming out party for Salesforce.

"I mean, it's unbelievable what is happening," Benioff added. "Every business will get recreated with artificial intelligence. People are here trying to understand how to do that. How do they do it for themselves? How do they do it for their businesses?"

Benioff thinks there is an AI spending boom on the cusp of unfolding (beyond buying chips from Nvidia and AMD) as businesses race to gain the pole position.

And it's that optimism around Salesforce's AI potential — and a few other factors — that has the company's investors increasingly upbeat.

The company increased its list prices by an average of 9% across its sales cloud, service cloud, marketing cloud, industries, and Tableau businesses in August.

Meanwhile, earlier this year Salesforce unveiled its AI Cloud product that allows marketers to autogenerate personalized content for customers and allows developers to autogenerate code, among other use cases.

These big AI product drops are all in addition to analysts praising Salesforce for better expense control after a bruising activist battle led by Elliott Management. The vibe on the Street is that Salesforce's profit margins have hit bottom and could ramp noticeably higher into next year.

Salesforce's earnings call fed that view last week, when execs noted its 30% operating margin goal (initially put into place ahead of Dreamforce 2022) was a floor — not a ceiling.

Benioff ultimately appears to be a co-founder who has gotten his mojo back with investors after considerable outreach. The renewed momentum at the company has even caused former employees, known internally as boomerangs, to return and help bring new AI advances to life.

"I guess one of the best things about Salesforce is that you look at what we've been through over 25 years, and there's always been a lot of good and bad times, but our core values have never changed," Benioff said on the better-run Salesforce.

Salesforce stock is up 66% year to date.

Brian Sozzi is Yahoo Finance's Executive Editor. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn. Tips on deals, mergers, activist situations, or anything else? Email brian.sozzi@yahoofinance.com.

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