Last December, Salesforce bought Slack for a whopping $27.7 billion. While such high price tags are rare, the trend of large software companies buying up other software companies is running rampant. This is especially true in the realm of technology in sales, marketing and business operations. For instance, online marketing platform Constant Contact purchased revenue growth platform SharpSping in June of this year. In the summer of 2020, Demandbase (B2B go-to-market software provider) acquired Engagio (a separate B2B account-based marketing provider)… and the list goes on for software mergers and acquisitions.
It’s even been reported that “the global market for these applications has grown faster than the GDP of Western countries,” with Gartner projecting that “the global software market will grow by approximately 10% each year through 2024.” In other words? This trend is not slowing down or going away anytime soon. So, the question then becomes, how do all of these software M&As impact business owners and marketing leaders who use these systems in their organizations every day? Here’s a look at what you should know in order to get the most from your own tech stack in these rapidly changing times.
Audit Your Existing Systems & Needs
First, take a look at the solutions you use on a daily basis. If you’re like most businesses, you have a variety of tools in play, including one for accounting, CRM, marketing automation and project management – and that’s at a minimum. Here at StringCan, we probably have at least 10 active software subscriptions at a time.
So consider your existing systems, and whether they integrate with one another. For example, when you put a PO into QuickBooks, does that automatically trigger an email to the customer through your marketing automation platform? While this sort of interplay is ideal, it’s unfortunately not the way things are for many companies. Instead, subscriptions are often added one at a time as needed without true integration being handled along the way. This can create quite a complex web of technologies that are all working for you, but don’t work together. The end result? Silos and inefficiencies.
This is one area in which software acquisitions can actually help you out. For instance, when Demandbase acquired Engagio, they merged the best parts of each of their software. Customers went from only having access to Demandbase to also getting the best of Engagio. This increased functionality and integrated key features that weren’t integrated before. Most acquisitions will operate this way, pairing one system’s strengths with the other’s for an even better outcome overall. If one of your solutions is being snapped up by another company, or the one acquiring another company, there’s a great chance it can help you streamline your tech stack when all is said and done.
Once you audit your current tech stack, you may find you have a solution or two you don’t really need or a gap that needs to be filled. You may also find a platform that handles two of your operational needs all in one, allowing you to get rid of two other redundant subscriptions. Just remember it’s imperative you choose any new solutions with great care.
This is because Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions are made to be “sticky.” Once adopted, they usually become a central part of business operations and are very difficult to extricate. So, make sure you select well-rated solutions from reputable companies that have the resources to continuously invest in product development and innovation. And, look for software systems that integrate with the systems you already have so your technology can work in unison.
Engage An Experienced Partner
Last, but certainly not least, it’s important to remember that all marketing automation and other business software comes with a learning curve. Some are made to be especially intuitive (like Keap for small businesses) while others are extremely complex and can take years to master (like Adobe Marketo for enterprise organizations). Whichever product you choose will require some level of training and time before you feel truly comfortable and can make the most of its functionality.
This is why it’s a good idea to plan to work with an agency partner who understands the goals and nuances of, and integrations between, marketing and business technology solutions. Especially as software mergers and acquisitions continue to take place, and product innovation accelerates every single day, it’s nearly impossible for even a moderately skilled technologist to stay up to speed with their business’ tech stack. Preparing now to find the right partner when a need arises will help ensure you don’t experience any downtime in your operations due to new technology, and that all of your systems work together seamlessly through any acquisition or new product addition.
There’s incredible value to be gained by maximizing your technology. Follow these tips to get started on the right path, and give us a call if you’d like more advice. We’d love to help!