Marketo announced today it acquired sales engagement software provider ToutApp, in a move aimed at helping organizations better coordinate their sales and marketing technologies.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Marketo, based in San Mateo, Calif., provides marketing automation software. ToutApp, located in San Francisco, provides sales teams with sales campaign, content management and analytics software.

The announcement comes a week before the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit, the company's yearly customer conference. Marketo officials expect 6,000 attendees, about the same as last year.

Sales Meets Marketing

Marketo CEO Steve Lucas said the move helps Marketo customers better coordinate their sales and marketing execution to "drive revenue and demand seamlessly." ToutApp's software will complement the Marketo Engagement platform, which the company debuted in March. It is composed of three functional areas: an Engagement Marketing Hub, Marketo Marketing Apps and Partner Apps.

Company officials said ToutApp's technology, combined with the Marketo Engagement Platform, will allow marketing to work with sales to listen, learn and engage with customers and prospects at scale across all channels and touchpoints.

"ToutApp and Marketo share a similar vision for empowering sales and marketing teams for success in the Engagement Economy," Tawheed (TK) Kader, founder and Chief Executive Officer of ToutApp, said in a statement. 

Building on ABM Release

ToutApp's technology complements Marketo ABM and Marketo Sales Insights, officials said. Marketo formally rolled out its account-based marketing (ABM) solution in September. The ABM solution is built natively within the marketing automation platform. 

The ABM release came less than a month after Marketo became a private company owned by Vista Equity Partners in a $1.79 billion deal

Demandbase, another ABM provider, defines ABM as a platform that "helps B2B marketers drive more revenue by focusing their marketing and communications efforts on the accounts (companies) that have the most potential to become customers."

Marketo officials claim its ABM solution brings revenue teams together to discover, manage, engage and analyze key accounts "in a highly coordinated fashion." 

More than 100,000 salespeople and more than 400 enterprise customers, including Citrix, GE, CA Technologies, Siemens, Revel, Tableau and Concur, use ToutApp for sales engagement.

Two Responses to the Buy

'Deal Killer'

One Marketo competitor called the acquisition "an example of the false promise of conflating sales email with engagement."

Jon Miller, who co-founded Marketo in 2006 with Phil Fernandez (former CEO) and David Morandi, told CMSWire in an email today that tools such as ToutApp may be effective at letting a sales person send and track a templated email. 

"But," he added, "all too often this just streamlines the process of sending low-quality emails that end up looking a lot like sales spam, and that's a sure-fire deal killer."

Miller left Marketo two years ago to form Engagio, which offers a competing ABM solution. His company is running a competing event to promote its ABM solution Monday, directly across the street from Moscone West in San Francisco, where the Marketo Summit is taking place next week.

Marketo did not immediately respond to a CMSWire request for comment on Miller's statements. 

'Tremendous Opportunity'

Forrester analyst Lori Wizdo sees the acquisition as in line with Marketo's engagement messaging.

The combined functionality will help sales and marketing better coordinate on engagement across the entire lead-to-revenue process, Wizdo said. This mirrors, she added, one seamless buyer journey from the customer's perspective, although it's bifurcated across two different organizations in most B2B vendors. 

"Possibly the most interesting thing is the tremendous opportunity the LaunchPoint ecosystem presents to fuel Marketo's make/buy decisions as they build out their marketing platform," Wizdo said. "Incorporating these 'point solutions' can also generate some nice revenue streams from upsell and cross sell in the existing base."

LaunchPoint is Marketo's premier partner program.

Learning Opportunities

Summit Themes

The ToutApp buy will naturally be a topic of conversation during the Summit. 

Marketo's formal theme is "leading in the engagement economy," which Lucas defines as "the digital future where everyone and everything is connected, fundamentally changing the relationships between buyers and sellers."

Marketo did not respond to an earlier request for comment on its Summit.

The big news at last year's Summit was the company's unveiling of Project Orion, its big data re-architecture aimed at providing faster deployments and greater scalability.

Marketo did not provide a formal update on the project until March 1, some 10 months after the 2016 Summit announcement. Customers at that point complained of slow performance and confusion over the rollout. Marketo in mid-March promised a near full rollout of Orion by midyear.

In the meantime, Marketo received some industry recognition. It was ranked a leader in two Gartner reports this year: Gartner's Magic Quadrant for Digital Marketing Hubs and its Magic Quadrant for Multichannel Campaign Management.

Grappling With the 'Modern Buyer'

CMSWire caught up with some Marketo partners this week to discuss expectations for the Marketo Marketing Nation Summit.

Joe Hyland, chief marketing officer for ON24, a webinar marketing platform that is a Marketo partner and customer, told CMSWire said he and fellow CMOs grapple with the rise of the “modern buyer,” or the 65 percent of buyers who self-educate before even talking to sales. 

"It’s completely disrupted B2B marketing," Hyland said, "and I’m seeing a growing consensus among CMOs that our responsibility is to engage our customers across the entire customer lifecycle. So I think the theme at Marketo’s Marketing Nation Summit will focus on marketing’s shift toward engagement — meeting customers wherever, however, whenever they desire and using that touchpoint to understand what customers might want next. " 

Marketo’s automation technology is "fundamental to modern marketing," Hyland added, "but it’s not a silver bullet." 

"As marketing’s responsibilities move deeper down the funnel," Hyland said, "I’m paying closest attention to Marketo’s strategy to continue to grow and support their partner ecosystem."

Selling in a Buyer-Centric World

Seth Lieberman, founder and CEO of Marketo partner and content marketing provider SnapApp, called the engagement economy the "profound shift of power in purchasing experience from a seller-centric world to a buyer-centric one."

"This presents marketers with a new challenge," he added. "How do you break through to buyers? It's all about engagement: one-to-one, personalized experiences that create valuable conversations with with your audience."

Doug Bewsher, CEO of B2B lead generation provider Leadspace, told CMSWire he's looking forward to learning how Marketo can "help marketers connect the disparate point solutions in their martech stack for successful cross-channel engagement."