It's no surprise that Salesforce had a prominent role at the the Apttus Accelerate 2015 conference in San Francisco this week.

In February, the San Francisco-based cloud software company led a $41 million investment round for Apttus, which makes Quote-to-Cash software on the Salesforce1 platform. That followed first-round funding of $37 million in September 2013 that Salesforce also led.

Salesforce CIO Ross Meyercord took the stage Wednesday to talk about speed, innovation and customer engagement. He also explained how Salesforce is leveraging Salesforce1 mobile-ready apps like Apttus.

And yesterday, Meredith Schmidt, senior vice president of Global Revenue Operations at Salesforce, spoke enthusiastically about the Apttus platform during a morning keynote.

Apttus is built on top of the Salesforce platform.

It automates the second half of the sales cycle involving quotes, contracts and collecting the money. That's critical, because automation is the key to optimal customer experience, Schmidt said during her talk on the second day of the three-day conference.

What's more, she said, the platform is helping Salesforce delight its own sales representatives.

How Delightful

Twelve months ago, Salesforce accepted Apttus over Big Machines, Cameleon and Zuora to optimize its legacy system.

The initiative, dubbed Project Delight, is designed to automate the sales process using Apttus Configure Price Quote (CPQ).

CPQ is a quoting software designed to help customers deliver the best quotes for complex products, pricing or channels by:

  • Streamlining renewals and process
  • Moving away from manual modes
  • Increasing mobile capabilities
  • Providing customers with the desired configuration of products and services

As Schmidt has explained for the past year, the effort is designed to make Salesforce easier to do business with and to delight its customers.

Last month, Salesforce’s implementation of Project Delight exceeded expectations.

Learning Opportunities

Day 1 resulted in making more than 4,200 quotes in Apttus. The team converted 600 quotes across all quote types representing $1.9 million in new annual contract value, $1.7 million in direct business and $230,500 in the first day, Schmidt indicated.

Salesforce is now processing more than 12,000 orders per month through Apttus.

Growth Ahead

After attending the conference yesterday, JMP Securities Analysts Patrick Walravens and Peter Lowry issued a report predicting that Salesforce will realize 100 percent revenue growth from Apttus this year.

The analysts noted that Apttus “should do over $100 million in revenue this year and is one of the top three software companies running on the Salesforce1 Platform.”

Apttus wants to use some of the funding it received earlier this year to expand beyond the Americas and Europe into Asia-Pacific. It also wants to expand into several verticals beyond the ones where it is already strong — the life sciences, telecom and manufacturing. Thirdly, it wants to expand its capabilities in blending transactional and quoting data to provide better insights for the revenue teams of its customers.

Accelerating the Process

This week, customers, partners, industry thought-leaders and Apttus executives all came together for the company's annual Accelerate conference.

Nagi Prabhu, senior vice president of products and engineering at Apttus, told attendees that sales automation makes things simpler. “Even your grandmother could do it,” he said jokingly.

Apttus officials promised participants "actionable recommendations and insights" to help drive revenue, margins and customer satisfaction — while reducing costs and risks. But they also got some tangible takeaways: ice cream and branded cupcakes: