Salesforce today announced a definitive agreement to buy Jigsaw, a provider of business information and data services that uniquely leverages crowd-sourcing to build and maintain its database. (Note: Jigsaw is also a Marketo customer and partner.)
I have long thought that delivering “data services in the cloud” has the potential to deliver major benefits to B2B marketing and sales professionals, and this acquisition should accelerate this vision.
Why? Like Marketo, Jigsaw is a founding member of the Marketing Cloud, an alliance of cloud-based marketing services that make internal marketing functions more efficient and external marketing programs more effective. The vision is to deliver powerful marketing capabilities while eliminating the cost, risk and complexity of traditional approaches, and the more resources Jigsaw has to pursue this joint vision, the better.
Jigsaw is best known for helping companies acquire contacts, but I think the real strategic value is in the ability to enrich and cleanse data in the cloud. For example, imagine the ability to automatically enrich new leads with firmographic information such as company size, revenue, and industry as well as contact information such as an accurate direct-dial phone number. Without the need to ask these questions on registration forms, you can dramatically improve landing page conversion rates and automate additional lead scoring rules to help deliver the best leads more quickly to sales. (Other companies are also starting to deliver this real-time data augmentation capability, most notably another Marketing Cloud alliance member, Demandbase.)
Further, when data services live in the cloud alongside your CRM and marketing automation systems, it creates the opportunity to maintain your lead and contact database automatically. Imagine the ability to eliminate duplicates, remove dead records, and update contact information dynamically as the data are updated – this has the potential to increase response and conversion rates dramatically.
Jigsaw already provides some of these capabilities today via their enterprise products such as DataFusion, and this acquisition should give them the resources to do even more while remaining open to other CRM and marketing automation solutions. As the ability to deliver on the vision of real-time data augmentation and cleansing comes online, I think it has the potential to revolutionize the way we generate leads.
What do you think? How will this acquisition affect your B2B marketing and sales efforts?