It has been reported that Salesforce Ventures has made the largest investment since it came into operation six years ago, with the division of iconic customer relationship management (CRM) solution provider Salesforce plugging $108m (£70m) into Apttus Inc. This little-known partner has become an increasingly prominent part of the billing management niche over the past few years; now, Salesforce Ventures has backed it once again, having already funded $41m into the startup just last quarter.
One of the most time-consuming backroom tasks within any company is the process and logistics of handling charges to consumers. This is not the most exciting aspect of business, but it is essential to get it right for any firm wanting to succeed. It is also an essential chore that needs to be done as quickly and efficiently as possible; for example, the quicker a firm can clear a deal and get the cash, the faster its sales personnel can move on to other potential leads.
Although it might sound easy, processing customer charges can be more complicated than first imagined. One company using Salesforce’s CRM platform is General Electric Co. Before each transaction can be completed, there are a vast number of details to be worked out; for instance, when a wind turbine is sold, there is not only the initial purchase price to consider but also the ongoing supply of parts required to maintain, support and upgrade the equipment as the years go by. This creates a considerably complex transaction that has many layers needing inspection.
This is where Apttus seeks to capitalise on helping firms with its new solution. This startup has developed software that fully integrates functions to handle such complicated deals straight into Salesforce.com’s very own tools. For a time Salesforce attempted to compete with the new firm, but soon handed over the reigns to Apttus entirely. Apttus also has additional functions to simply setting pricing and working out ongoing obligations, such as the ability to provide full transparency of transactions accessible to all parties throughout the sales process, including those in accounting and legal divisions. This means the solution will be extremely useful for large organisations that have employees scattered throughout multiple locations.
Apttus’ new $108m investment will be utilised to add even more features to the package and to expanding the software’s reach and adoption. The firm also wants to recruit new employees and has plans to end 2015 with over 1,000, which is a fourfold increase on its 2013 workforce.
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