CRM giant Salesforce acquiring B.C.’s Traction on Demand

Burnaby software firm home to about 500 workers across the province

Traction on Demand founder and CEO Greg Malpass | Rob Kruyt, BIV

One of B.C.’s biggest tech employers is cozying up with its biggest partner.

Traction on Demand (Traction Sales and Marketing Inc.) revealed Friday it is being acquired by Salesforce.com Inc. (NYSE:CRM).

The Burnaby-based software firm helps companies implement marketing strategies using Salesforce’s customer relationship management (CRM) services.

While a definitive agreement has been signed, the deal has not yet closed. The company has about 500 workers based in B.C.

“With Traction on Demand, Salesforce will be able to better provide customers, across all industries, with products and solutions that meet their specific needs, from financial services to communications and across clouds,” the company said in a Friday blog post.

“Together with Salesforce, and our deep commitment to our industry strategy, customers can go digital faster and transform their industry.”

David Raffa, president of Valeo Corporate Finance Ltd., predicted almost exactly one year ago that Traction on Demand was ripe for an acquisition.

“Salesforce has been on an acquisition spree, and they’ve already bought two companies that have connections to British Columbia,” said Raffa, whose Vancouver-based firm provides services for mergers and acquisitions and initial public offerings.

Last year the Silicon Valley giant acquired Vancouver’s Mobify Research and Development Inc.

That was soon followed by a cash-and-stock deal worth US$27.7 billion for messaging service Slack Technologies Inc. (NYSE:WORK), which was founded by Vancouverite Stewart Butterfield and maintains sizable offices in the city.

“That was one of the biggest deals last year, and a deal that pretty much says, ‘We’re coming after you, Microsoft. We’re going to be something more than just a CRM company,” Raffa told BIV in February 2021.

“It is a company where you could integrate somebody like Traction on Demand seamlessly and there would be a lot of value in them bringing that in house. The company’s done really well on its own, and they may … want to keep going on their own, but I wouldn’t be surprised … especially the ways that Salesforce is moving, that they take a run at Traction on Demand.”

Terms of the deal have not yet been disclosed.

Prior to 2010, Traction founder and CEO Greg Malpass had spent four years doing consulting work as an independent contractor for San Francisco-area tech companies looking to develop better marketing programs.

The Salesforce tool was one of his go-to resources, and he began helping small sales teams with small projects at companies like Adobe, Apple Inc. (Nasdaq:AAPL) and eBay Inc. (Nasdaq:EBAY).

Malpass told BIV back in 2016 he had no plans to sell the company.

“Everyone has sold,” he said at the time.

“I’ve had 130 inbound inquiries over the last six months from people saying, ‘Hey, would you like to get some chips off the table?’ or ‘Would you love to sell or join us?’

“I haven’t had a boss for so long, I would probably be the biggest pain in the ass for somebody to manage.”

As part of the acquisition, Traction on Demand will become part of Salesforce Professional Services.

torton@biv.com

@reporton