This week saw the merger of The Sant Corp. and Kadient, two privately held software companies, a move the two providers of sales enablement solutions described as a means to provide greater breadth of services to their respective customers.
The sales enablement space has become quite cluttered in recent years, according to industry observers, with a number of vendors offering slices of functionality, from social sales portals to pipeline management tools. These observers note that Sant and Kadient, once fierce competitors for the same client base, had ventured down slightly different paths, with Sant focusing more on content management and Kadient aggressively pursuing the marketplace for what have been called "sales playbooks."
Lewis Miller, who was The Sant Corp.'s president and will now become the president and chief executive officer of the Sant-Kadient combination, insists the two firms' technologies complement one another nicely, though he acknowledges some obvious overlaps that he clams will be taken care of. In the end, Miller says, the combined offering will provide customers with a broader solution.
"This marks a key stage in the development of the sales enablement marketplace," Miller says. "The breadth we can take to market, the customer-base size we have — now with 1,200 customers —gives us significant competitive advantage. We want to fill that out in expanding the product line so we can be even more competitive in the future."
Lowell, Mass.–based Kadient has an on-demand platform that embeds what it calls "sales playbooks" in CRM environments. Denis Pombriant, founder and managing principal of CRM consultancy Beagle Research Group, notes in a blogpost about the merger that playbooks apply analytics to deal information captured throughout the normal course of doing business. "When analytics are applied, managers and salespeople can discover which presentations, proposals, or tactics work best in a variety of situations — and use this knowledge for future deals," Pombriant explains. "The idea makes sense and you can see it replicated in Salesforce.com and Oracle sales [force] automation tools."
The Sant Corp., based in Cincinnati, Ohio, specializes more in content and request-for-proposal (RFP) automation. Its solutions help salespeople locate materials and content within the organization and then automate proposals, RFPs, presentations, and other documents.
[Editors' Note: For a closer look at The Sant Corp.'s operations, see the case study from CRM magazine's November 2009 edition.]
"This combination makes a tremendous amount of sense because it moves the market from having to choose from two or three point solutions to one," says Kadient's CEO Brian Zanghi, who will assume a position on Sant-Kadient's board of directors.
Kadient and Sant each has a customer base of between 500 and 600, according to the two firms. Kadient, however, has its roots in software-as-a-service (SaaS), whereas Sant had only begun a planned 2010 switch to on-demand software. Moving forward, the companies say, the combined firm's offerings will be completely on-demand. "One of the attractions of the merger for Sant was how far Kadient has come -- a distance that Sant also had to travel prior to the merger," Pombriant notes. "Sant will now have to quickly figure out the SaaS model."
Sant-Kadient plans to rebrand within the next two to three months, a period during which the new firm also intends to integrate its products. The company, according to Miller, will maintain strong brand awareness among the flagship product lines. "We will put a lot of focus on integration," Miller says, "[to] take toolsets with fit-for-purpose things and make sure [a] customer can use those along a continuum."
As the sales enablement field garners more attention, additional mergers and acquisitions may be in the offing, Zanghi says. "The sales enablement space needs more consolidation," he says. "There are too many choices." In fact, Zanghi adds, Sant-Kadient itself may not be finished. "This is not the last move the company will make in consolidation," he insists. "If you think in terms of a workbench for a sales and marketing team, there will be other moves that they will make."
[Editors' Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described Lewis Miller as having been the chief executive officer of Kadient; prior to the merger, the role he held was president at The Sant Corp. The editors regret the error, which has been corrected in the text.]
News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine.
You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" below.