Salesforce.com’s Marketing Automation “To Do” List

marketing automation

04 Jun Salesforce.com’s Marketing Automation “To Do” List

Salesforce.com’s Latest Acquisition a Big Deal for Sales and Marketing

Don’t look away from the Sales and Marketing space for a moment. You’ll miss dramatic news. Today, Salesforce.com acquired digital marketing leader ExactTarget in a $2.5 billion deal. Last year ExactTarget had buttressed its credentials with its buy of marketing automation vendor Pardot.

It’s no surprise that Salesforce would extend its value in its much-vaunted Marketing Cloud (which is now finally, a real marketing cloud). Tools that support sales and marketing teams are white-hot. These tools help companies intelligently engage with prospects and customers. Fortune 500 companies and nimble fast-growth companies (such as KnowledgeTree) use these tools to make their go-to-markets more targeted, measurable, and effective.

I’ve worked with each of these three toolsets extensively. Each is powerful in its own right, and I’ve seen the results first-hand of what revenue these tools can drive when used effectively. That’s why I’m excited to see the results of the union between these three vendors.

I’m especially interested to see how the integration of the three toolsets will enhance the value they provide to go-to-market teams. There are three primary areas that I want to see progress.

  1. Analytics FocusPardot’s marketing automation tools connect with GoodData, allowing marketing operations teams to assess the effectiveness of marketing programs. And Pardot does connect with Salesforce to give visibility into opportunity generation.While this reporting goes in the right direction, we need more. Today’s marketing teams have a holistic view – across the full lead-to-revenue process. I’m looking forward to seeing how this acquisition translates into complete view of how marketing engagements – be they social, email, web, etc. – advance sales cycles so marketing teams can make smarter decisions about where to invest.
  2. Partner EcosystemPardot and ExactTarget have done an admirable job in bringing new partners into their ecosystem. As a provider of sales and marketing tools ourselves, we know the importance of critical mass in partner networks.With the acquisition, ExactTarget has privileged access to Salesforce.com’s massive ISV and channel network. If this ecosystem is well-managed, it can provide the platform to multiply the value of integration with ExactTarget and Pardot. As more sales and marketing tools integrate the value to the network (and value to customers) will grow. But it requires a partner-friendly approach.
  3. Content Marketing and Content SellingSales and marketing tools are fundamentally about communicating relevant and resonate content to prospects and customers. So managing and measuring the impact of different content is critical. Whether it is a message delivered in a tweet or a presentation delivered by a sales rep.As a result, we need to see more robust tools that help sales and marketing professionals identify which content will resonate with a prospect or customer.

This acquisition makes Salesforce’s Marketing Cloud positioning a reality. An exciting one for partners and customers. Let’s make it happen.

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