By now you’ve heard the news: Salesforce.com has acquired Radian6. According to the press release the plan is to “enhance all Salesforce products – extending the value of the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter and Force.com with social intelligence”. This means your contact database can now include data and updates from contacts social accounts such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. You can easily track what they are saying right in your CRM…or should I say Social CRM. See #SCRM.
I would have to agree with Eloqua CEO, Joe Payne, that this is not a surprise. It was bound to happen – the only question was when. Salesforce.com is about as innovative as they come and pushing hard into the social world is a logical progression for them, especially following Chatter.
Prior to this acquisition most organizations with a social media strategy were tracking all of this data separately and having to combine it in creative ways to get a single view of it. This was often time consuming and in most cases not done at all. This acquisition should make everyone’s life much easier.
The Missing Piece of the Pie
Instead of spending too much time dissecting what this acquisition means for Salesforce.com and its customers I’d like to turn an eye the future and look at what’s next. In my opinion one piece of the Salesforce.com super-platform pie does seem to be missing: marketing automation.
You may wonder why Salesforce.com would need to have a marketing automation tool in-cloud since everyone has already integrated them. I think it’s not about making it work – it’s about making it work better. Sure, all the marketing automation vendors claim “easy integration with Salesforce.com” but the truth is that it’s only easy if you shell out the cash to have someone else integrate it for you. At the end of the day your CRM and Marketing Automation systems are two different entities that require setup and management to run together. If you make a change in one system you must duplicate it in the other. You need two logins. Each system may even be managed by a completely separate group. “Easier than 5 years ago” – maybe but simply “easy” – no. This is essentially the same problem everyone was having with their social data.
So here’s my prediction (or at least my wish): Salesforce.com will acquire a marketing automation vendor in 2011. Can you imagine having a single, fully-integrated system that:
- Automates your sales process
- Automates your support process
- Automates your marketing process
- Monitors the social universe
- Stores all of your prospect and customer data – including social data – in one place
- Gives you a single reporting engine that only needs to look at one dataset – think RPM made really easy
- Offers more 3rd party apps to enhance your system that you could ever dream of
This is a revenue engineer’s heaven!
Given the anti-climactic outcome of previous acquisitions in this space I would say the acquired platform will need to be a comprehensive one that already has a full usable feature set. This narrows the potential candidates to a handful – my guess is Eloqua or Marketo.
Since both of these vendors have a good portion of the marketing automation market already locked up it would be a great way for Salesforce.com to blitz and convert non-Salesforce.com customers. Given the maturity of the CRM market this seems like a good strategy.
Share Your Opinion
I’d love to hear your thoughts. Will it be Eloqua? Will it be Marketo? Maybe another platform? Or maybe you think I’m dreaming and this will never happen? Leave a comment below or vote for the platform you think will be acquired on the Revenue Engineer Facebook page.