Sramana Mitra: Let’s say a company in your portfolio has reached a certain level of critical mass, let’s say $50 million in revenue. They want to acquire other SaaS companies that may be able to give them a second or third product that is adjacent, and can leverage the channel.
How do you think about integrating such an acquisition or a set of acquisitions?
Matt Holleran: I think the topic is timely, right? Because there are a number of cloud companies that are buying late-stage cloud companies to help to round out their portfolios in products. Also they need the expertise in sales and marketing for that other product area.
How do you cross-sell? How do you do that effectively? You’re also seeing private equity firms that buy cloud companies and combine them with the intent for them to cross sell and up sell and have a larger footprint. But that is more challenging than people think.
To answer the question, first the CEO needs to think very carefully about that product extension. He needs to think very carefully not only about the product fit and the API in the products installation, but they also need to make sure that the team that they’re acquiring knows how to sell to that adjacent title. What does that title care about?
For example, at Salesforce.com, historically, the founder is the VP of Sales. They made multiple acquisitions. Now how do you sell to VP of Marketing? What does he/she care about? What are their key objectives? What’s the way to get them comfortable? In their support cloud, how do you sell to VP of Customer Support?
It’s not just the product. It needs also the expertise for how to sell and service those entities in order to cross-sell efficiently and effectively. That’s the advice that we provide.
Sramana Mitra: That’s actually a very interesting and relevant point. I’ll go back to asking you the question on product integration. If there are two different cloud products on two different stacks, how do you integrate?
Matt Holleran: Let’s use Salesforce.com as an example. Salesforce has acquired a number of clouds that support other executives. From their core VP of Sales, they also now have VP of Marketing and VP of Customer Service.
Those companies, in many cases, brought their own cloud and own applications. API reframing is what makes the magic of that work. How do you build via API on both sides?
You can build beautiful integrations in Salesforce.com. They’re as good or better than they might be able to build themselves internally, which is very cool. This is what happens to make the app, the marketplace in the App Exchange, and other marketplaces in other companies work. It really has to do with the API and the combined end user experience.
Then over time, you can synthesize a broader cloud transformation and moving applications one on to the other like Adobe has done with their work with Azure. But, the starting point really is with the users and the API’s and focusing on the users in the app-to-app business process and workflow.