Salesforce.com’s plans to acquire social media monitoring platform Radian6 for $326 million got a positive response from Wall Street. The announcement also had industry insiders immediately speculating about whether Salesforce would continue to expand into the marketing cloud with further acquisitions.
Salesforce pointed out that the acquisition will extend the value of the Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Chatter and Force.com with social intelligence. “With Radian6, salesforce.com is gaining the technology and market leader in social media monitoring,” said Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO, salesforce.com. “We see this as a huge opportunity. Not only will this acquisition accelerate our growth, it will extend the value of all of our offerings.”
Industry vendors are already speculating whether the acquisition will lead to further expansion of the Marketing Cloud or move Salesforce.com deeper into the Revenue Performance Management space being championed by Eloqua and Marketo.
Eloqua CEO Joe Payne commented on the company’s blog: “We already tightly integrate with Salesforce, and we expect this latest move will make integrating the social profiles that much easier for our clients.”
Payne also pointed out that “conspicuously absent from Salesforce's network of role-specific ‘Clouds’ is one that centers on the marketing function,” and he speculated that the Radian6 acquisition may signal “the beginning of a Salesforce Marketing Cloud.”
However, Marketo’s VP of Marketing Jon Miller, stressed that up to now Salesforce has “never shown much interest” in the Marketing Cloud, which is a collection of cloud-based marketing services providers that have joined together to make marketing programs more effective. “They seem more interested in Chatter, the Force.com Platform, and Service Cloud 3, and I suspect future acquisitions will focus on augmenting those capabilities more than in marketing,” Miller commented.
He did predict the Radian6 acquisition would move Salesforce.com more in line with the Revenue Performance Management space. “When done right, this means that as the CRM system gets better, the entire revenue cycle gets better. Today, a key part of Revenue Performance Management is the ability to ‘listen’ to what prospects do online, but it is primarily focused on listening to what they say on your website. With enhanced social media monitoring capabilities, the ability to listen and react to prospect behaviors will expand to many more channels off traditional corporate websites.”
Eloqua’s Payne agreed the recent Salesforce.com acquisition could build momentum around Revenue Performance Management. “Given the excitement we have seen around Revenue Performance Management - a discipline that requires both sales and marketing data - in the executive suite, it is not surprising to see Salesforce moving this direction.”