Salesforce Acquires SteelBrick: What It Says About the State of Sales Productivity

December 30, 2015 | Joe Gustafson
Salesforce Acquires SteelBrick: What It Says About the State of Sales Productivity

News broke late in the year of Salesforce’s intent to acquire six-year-old CPQ (configure, price, quote) provider SteelBrick. This is big news for both companies, and yet another signal that sales productivity is a major priority for both tech providers and buyers alike. It’s certainly one of the key areas of focus for the C-Suite, with 71% of C-level executives citing sales productivity as critical to achieving their growth goals (as stated in a recent Forbes Insights report). Best-in-class sales organizations know that several factors work together to drive productivity, and increasingly look to technology to address this need.

Historically, most sales technology vendors and their buyers have centered these efforts on creating greater efficiency – giving reps back more time in their day to do more selling, by wringing out inefficiencies in typical back-office activities such as expense management, commission management, and quote-to-cash such as that offered by SteelBrick. This acquisition by Salesforce not only signifies the latest move by a leader in the sales tech space to improve the efficiency of reps and managers; it also aligns with a goal many companies have right now: to provide a centralized “hub” for the majority of their sales team’s activities within the CRM.

Investments and integrations with solutions like SteelBrick provide a boon for Salesforce users, as efficiency remains one of the two primary levers companies can pull to drive sales productivity. The other is effectiveness – the concept of helping your reps perform better, and more consistently. While efficiency solutions remain critical, the effectiveness piece (in my eyes) is where organizations can really make step change improvements to hit their number. In fact, it’s the need to pull this effectiveness lever as well that has made sales enablement technology such a key piece of the sales productivity story in recent years.

This includes (for example) activities related to onboarding reps as quickly as possible, coaching them to greater performance, and arming them with the right content and resources to support their conversations with buyers. Companies looking to hit a grand slam when it comes to sales productivity are turning to solutions that deliver new levels of effectiveness in their sales organizations. While this latest acquisition by Salesforce is geared on the efficiency side of the coin, it’s representative of the increased emphasis right now on sales productivity as a whole.

I’m excited to see how Salesforce folds Steel Brick into their Sales Cloud strategy in the coming year, delivering new levels of efficiency for their joint clients. Meanwhile, we at Brainshark will continue to focus exclusively on ramping up the effectiveness of our customers. And, as this hot sales productivity market evolves, we will continue to expand our solution to do our part in helping our clients beat their numbers in 2016 and beyond.

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