Salesforce Partner: SteelBrick's Quote-To-Cash Software Will Make A Complete Customer Life Cycle Solution An Easier Sell

Salesforce's acquisition of SteelBrick, a quote-to-cash software suite built on the Salesforce platform, should make it easier for the CRM leader's partners to sell a comprehensive solution for managing the complete customer life cycle.

With the San Mateo, Calif.-based independent software vendor under its roof rather than a third-party partner, Salesforce's channel partners get an enhancement to the Sales Cloud platform that should help them deliver a more integrated solution at a better price point.

San Francisco-based Salesforce agreed to pay $360 million Wednesday for the developer of Configure, Price, Quote (CPQ), invoicing and subscription billing apps geared for small and midmarket customers.

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Andi Giri, managing director of the Salesforce practice at Softsquare, a partner based in Silver Spring, Md., said the software enabling customers to convert price quotes into contracts and then bill their customers after the deal is a welcome addition to the Sales Cloud tool set.

Salesforce had been concentrating of late on its Lightning mobile app development platform, and analytics on the Wave platform, rather than enhancing apps for the Sales Cloud, he said.

Salesforce introduced quoting a few years ago, Giri said, but pricing and invoicing were not part of the platform. Since then, enterprise customers have mostly adopted Apptus for that functionality, while SMB customers turned to SteelBrick, Giri told CRN.

"It is surprising to see Salesforce acquiring the SMB-targeted tool," he said.

SteelBrick launched its products for generating quotes, proposals and orders in 2009. The startup recently acquired an invoicing software vendor to broaden its solution.

"For partners, it could be easier to convince a customer to buy this add-on. For customers, if this is offered as an enhancement to Sales Cloud with no additional cost, it is a big win from a budget standpoint," Giri said.

SteelBrick's software was built entirely on Salesforce's app and mobile development platforms.

Salesforce Ventures was a major investor in the company, and the structure of the acquisition involved a stock deal with a deduction from the amount Salesforce already had poured into the company in previous funding rounds.