What’s the point of integrating data sources if you can’t activate on them?
That’s the rationale behind the Salesforce Ventures-led $23.8 million Series E investment in SessionM, announced Monday.
SessionM helps companies consolidate first- and third-party data sources and activate them around the customer journey. While it has elements of a customer data platform, its ability to tie data management to execution is a differentiator, said CEO and co-founder Lars Albright.
“We help businesses connect with consumers and understand who they are, what they’re doing and what will motivate them to be more loyal and profitable,” he said. “We’re able to marry real-time data management with customer engagement strategies.”
SessionM, for example, can work with Salesforce Commerce Cloud to deliver offers or loyalty rewards at the point of sale or manage communications around the customer journey with Marketing Cloud. It can also create a ledger of information about individual consumers for Service Cloud.
“We’re relevant across clouds because we’re delivering personalization around offers and loyalty and helping [clients] understand what customers are doing within the context of engagement strategies,” Albright said.
This is Salesforce Ventures’ second investment in SessionM; the company participated in a $35 million Series D round in 2016. SessionM, which is already fully integrated across Salesforce’s Commerce, Marketing, Community and Service clouds, will use the investment to scale internationally and integrate with more Salesforce applications, especially its Integration Cloud.
“This investment came out of both sides wanting to deepen the partnership and accelerate our growth together,” Albright said. “We have joint customers and sales alignment, so really it’s about accelerating the partnership.”
Salesforce’s investment in SessionM comes after its two recent acquisitions aimed at data integration. In March, Salesforce dropped $6.5 billion for MuleSoft, which allows developers to build APIs that connect enterprise applications. And in July, Salesforce acquired marketing data integrator Datorama for a reported $800 million.
How does SessionM fit into that strategy? It’s too early for any definitive plans yet, but Albright sees opportunities to ingest data from both platforms, which are already consolidated around different clouds and applications, to tie them to activation.
“They [both] are able to bring together data around the different clouds,” he said. “We would be able to have a centralized stream of data coming from them.”
For Salesforce, SessionM fits nicely into its vision to help customers integrate data sources across their enterprises.
“At the end of the day, companies have to do sales, to do ecommerce, any mix of B2B or consumer business,” Salesforce Marketing Cloud chief Bob Stutz said in a previous AdExchanger interview. “The collaboration across clouds is central to everything we’re doing.”
Causeway Media Partners, CRV, General Atlantic, Highland Capital and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers also contributed to the funding round. SessionM has raised a total of $97 million since it launched in 2010.
Salesforce did not respond to requests to comment for this story.