Wow! Earlier today Salesforce.com announced it was buying ExactTarget (which includes Pardot) for $2.5 billion in cash (yes, cash). This is a great acquisition for Salesforce.com as they have a strong sales and service cloud but a weak marketing cloud (Buddy Media and Radian6 are social media marketing but not core marketing). Way back in 2009, I was pitching VCs to invest in Pardot (we didn’t raise money) and one of the most common questions was “What’s the exit strategy for Pardot?” My immediate response was that Salesforce.com was the most logical acquirer and that every CRM customer should also be a marketing automation customer. Well, the idea will finally come true.
Here are a few thoughts on Salesforce.com acquiring ExactTarget/Pardot:
- ExactTarget has an amazing culture (called “Orange”) with strong mid-western values whereas as Salesforce.com is typical Silicon Valley
- Email marketing has been the #1 most requested feature for Salesforce.com on their idea exchange for as long as I can remember (ExactTarget is more for the mid-market and enterprise, but will finally allow Salesforce.com to check off that feature)
- Marketing automation vendors like Marketo and others have real challenges ahead of them since over 80% of their customers use Salesforce.com (Salesforce.com will keep integrating with all the marketing automation vendors but now Pardot becomes the default standard)
- Cloud marketing software as a fast-growing opportunity has really been validated lately with all the large acquisitions
- Pardot has an opportunity to be a billion dollar a year business for Salesforce.com within 5 – 7 years due to how complimentary it is to their core sales offering
Overall, it’s been amazing to be part of the marketing automation industry and I’m excited that Pardot ended up with the cloud leader.
What else? What are some other thoughts on Salesforce.com acquiring ExactTarget/Pardot?