Today Salesforce has announced it’s latest huge acquisition of a leading Quote-To-Cash provider, Steelbrick. Mainly focused on CPQ and Billing software, SteelBrick has built it’s products on the Force.com platform and has heavily invested into the relationship with Salesforce. This acquisition makes it their 4th largest ever, and considering how hot Quote-To-Cash SaaS is, this looks like a wise and overdue move from Salesforce.
Interestingly enough, Salesforce Ventures has investments in both SteelBrick and Apttus, another leading Quote-To-Cash provider built natively on the Force.com platform. I’m sure this was largely because of how rapidly the CPQ space is currently growing and the potential of these two companies, but also with the possibility of acquiring them in the future. Rumours of this purchase surfaced earlier last week and was pegged by Business Insider at $600m, but with the existing Salesforce Ventures investment, it looks to have come cheaper.
So what does this mean for Salesforce? Obviously nothing is known about what Salesforce plans to do with SteelBrick but we can have a good educated guess. The Sales Cloud’s Products & Price books engine allows users to add products from different Price books to opportunities. This has changed little over the years and customers that have complex product/pricing models have no option but to turn to external vendors (If you are unsure what this means, check out Clueless About CPQ). As this has been such a hot product over the past few years, you would have thought Salesforce would have improved this much complained about part of the Sales Cloud. But it looks like they have been watching from the side lines.
You can almost guarantee to see elements of SteelBrick’s CPQ product being integrated in between Opportunities & Products, Pricebooks to allow users to properly configure complex products. Not only this, but with SteelBrick’s earlier acquisition of InvoiceIT to complement their CPQ product with Billing, we can look to see this completely new functionality integrated as well. It’s interesting to think about the timeline on this. Last year Salesforce acquired RelateIQ in July 2014 and launched this intelligent bit of Sales software at Dreamforce in September 2015 as SalesforceIQ. Because SteelBrick’s suite of products is already built on Force.com, could we be looking at a Dreamforce release in October 2016?
Whatever Salesforce’ future plans for SteelBrick, I’m feeling very optimistic and confident that this is going to make a big impact on the Sales Cloud and most of all, couldn’t be happier for the guys over at SteelBrick. Great product, great company and great people.