Pivotal Buys MarketFirst

Is the long-forecasted consolidation of the CRM software industry picking up again?

The long-forecasted consolidation of the CRM software industry showed signs of picking up again after Pivotal Corp. on Thursday announced plans to acquire marketing automation software vendor MarketFirst Software Inc.

Under terms of the agreement, Pivotal will exchange shares of its common stock for all the issued and outstanding securities of privately-held MarketFirst. The value of the deal was not disclosed.

The acquisition will add marketing automation technology to Vancouver, British Columbia-based Pivotals suite of sales and customer service applications targeted at the mid-market. The company previously had relied on partnerships with other vendors, such as E.piphany Inc., to provide this technology.

Pivotal president and CEO Bo Manning said in a statement that mid-sized customers are increasingly looking for marketing technologies to increase revenue and customer loyalty and decrease the costs of customer acquisition.

"MarketFirst brings world-class marketing automation software that extends the Pivotal CRM suite and expands Pivotals revenue opportunity with new and existing customers," he said.

Manning noted that the two companies are a "strong technical and cultural match."

MarketFirsts eponymous platform provides applications for direct marketing, event management, lead management, prospecting and partner relationship management, plus a marketing campaign portal and marketing analytics. The company has about 35 customers.

David Lambert, president and CEO of MarketFirst, who just joined the Mountain View, Calif.-based company in July, said companies are looking to buy marketing software as part of a single CRM package.

"The combined Pivotal and MarketFirst products will reduce the cost and complexity of implementing CRM," Lambert said in a statement "Together, we can offer our customers best-in-class marketing automation and the ability to implement world-class sales, service, contact center, partner relationship management and interactive selling capabilities."