Intuit today announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to purchase Demandforce for approximately US$423 million. Demandforce has been primarily focused on SMB segment offering products and services to help SMBs navigate and thrive in connected economy by automating their marketing and customer communications, building and maintaining a strong online reputation and raising their profile with their local consumers.
Speaking on the acquisition, Kiran Patel, EVP and General Manager, Intuit Small Business Group said, “Demandforce sits at the sweet spot of Intuit’s SMB customer base and is consistent with our goal to help our customers save time and make money. With a compelling customer value proposition, SaaS model and high growth profile, Demandforce will provide opportunities to grow Intuit’s customer base and revenue per customer over time.”
Intuit is continuing to build its capabilities in cloud application areas focused on alleviating the pain points of small businesses. Based on surveys conducted by Techaisle over the last 3 years, improving sales and marketing has shown up consistently as the top business pain point of small businesses. Moreover small businesses are increasingly struggling to grow their revenues, retaining and positively connecting with their customers in a virtual world. Techaisle survey data shows that nearly 45 percent of small businesses are not sure how social networking tools can help promote their business. 68 percent of small businesses mention that “their business success depends upon a strong relationship with the customer, providing goods and services highly customized to their needs and being responsive to their demands”. These same small businesses are gravitating towards social media campaigns (48 percent), email marketing initiatives (68 percent) to generate new customer leads and maintain existing ones.
Demandforce acquisition certainly helps Intuit in extending its existing offering of website services. It rounds off the full suite from “get found” to “increase exposure” to “extend communications” to “consolidate presence”.
Beyond the capabilities of Demandforce, the acquisition brings into Intuit’s fold many different small business vertical industry solutions. These verticals are typically ignored or only addressed by web-hosting providers. They constitute a very large part of the SMB universe but with a dichotomous adoption of technology. For example, salons and spas use very limited technology but still want to increase their customer base beyond the usual “word-of-mouth”. On the other hand wealth management businesses use advanced and emerging technologies but strongly desire customer expansion, communication nurturing, feedback mechanism and certified reviews to positively impact their business.
Success of the acquisition will be dependent upon Intuit’s ability to integrate Demandforce with its web services, back-end systems such as Quickbooks and cross-sell across both Demandforce and Intuit customers.
It is a move in the right direction.