Salesforce acquired today a smaller CRM provider in a deal that could be worth up to $390 million, according to a filing with the United States Security and Exchange Commission

The CRM giant scooped up RelateIQ, a Palo Alto-based provider that claims it's known for driving "relationship intelligence" rather than "relationship management."

"We believe this offers our customers the best of both worlds," RelateIQ co-founder Steve Loughlin blogged today. " pioneered the shift to enterprise cloud computing, redefining modern CRM as we know it. ... RelateIQ is pioneering the next generation of intelligent computing through data science and machine learning. Looking ahead,’s acquisition of RelateIQ will extend the value of’s No. 1 CRM apps and platform with a new level of intelligence across sales, service and marketing."

Acquisition Trail

Salesforce hadn't made much in the way of acquisition news since its $2.5 billion June 2013 acquisition of ExactTarget. It's now operating under the ExactTarget Marketing Cloud. ExactTarget wasn't the first marketing platform to join the Salesforce family: Radian6 and BuddyMedia came before it. 

Learning Opportunities

Salesforce has big aspirations. In April, fired a salvo at SAP when Keith Block, its president and vice chairman, told a Boston audience that "we will be passing SAP as the largest enterprise applications company in the world."

Block made the comment at the Salesforce1 World Tour. SAP, Block added, is the "third largest software company in the world. We believe we will be the third largest software company in the world." 

Gartner's 2014 software analysis released the same week Block spoke had Salesforce ranked tenth and SAP fourth in revenue for software vendors. It had SAP's 2013 revenues at $18.5 billion and Salesforce's at $3.8 billion. Salesforce's growth rate compared to 2012 revenues, however, was at 33.3 percent, the best among a list that included some Great Whites: Microsoft ($65.7 billion), Oracle ($29.6) and IBM ($29.1) topped the Gartner list.