With RelateIQ buy, Salesforce gets relationship intelligence

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Credit: Infusionsoft

Salesforce's $390 million acquisition of RelateIQ, announced this morning, is good news for Salesforce users.

Even though Salesforce has made it to the top of the CRM market, its users have plenty to complain about. Among the top gripes are that sales people have to spend a lot of time entering data into Salesforce in order to benefit from it and that the mobile app isn't great.

RelateIQ, which only launched last year, is one of many companies that have emerged over the past couple of years to try to solve both of these problems. RelateIQ pulls in information about contacts from a user's email, phone and calendar plus other information that the service can gather about the contact from sources like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. From there, RelateIQ makes suggestions, like that the user should follow up with a certain contact.

Presumably, Salesforce will integrate some of this technology into its service. "Looking ahead, salesforce.com’s acquisition of RelateIQ will extend the value of salesforce.com’s #1 CRM apps and platform with a new level of intelligence across sales, service, and marketing," RelateIQ's Steve Loughlin wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition.

In an 8K form filed with the SEC, Salesforce said that RelateIQ will operate as a Salesforce subsidiary.

While the deal holds promise for Salesforce users, it's probably not such great news for the other companies that have cropped up with products that aim to similarly improve on Salesforce's shortcomings. For instance, there's AppMesh, which was founded by a couple of former Salesforce executives. Clari has a similar concept.

In fact, last year Gartner predicted that this year there would be 1,200 mobile CRM apps available in app stores. All the activity, including the RelateIQ acquisition, indicates that there's demand, or at least perceived demand, for improved CRM services.

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