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What Zendesk’s SurveyMonkey acquisition signals for the CX technology sector

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What Zendesk’s SurveyMonkey acquisition signals for the CX technology sector

Zendesk buys Momentive and SurveyMonkey

Two years ago, while editing a different publication, I had the opportunity to interview the CMO of SurveyMonkey, in which we explored the one question the company was struggling to answer: how do you take a popular line-of-business tool and make it an enterprise-wide platform?

As the CMO (who has since left) readily acknowledged, SurveyMonkey wasn’t having a lot of trouble in terms of brand recognition. All kinds of everyday employees in a business have tried out the most basic versions of its product to send out questionnaires to team members, customers or partners.

The real challenge, she admitted, was having large companies look at SurveyMonkey as a foundational element to capturing the voice of their customers. That, and being lost in a sea of so many other marketing and customer service products — like Zendesk, which announced it would acquire SurveyMonkey’s parent company Momentive late last week.

As Techcrunch and others who reported the deal noted, there’s an easy logic in pairing a platform for managing support tickets with a survey tool to better track and analyze its customers’ experience — and any unmet needs or expectations.

What the deal also shows is how quickly CX is accelerating the process of consolidation by identifying what are truly point products.

SurveyMonkey’s Business Evolution

SurveyMonkey had been trying to combat this perception, first by launching a more advanced tool called GetFeedback, and more recently by changing its name to Momentive. I was on a call just a week ago, however, when a SurveyMonkey customer admitted using the new name was “just weird.”

In some respects, you could argue this process actually got started in earnest a few years ago, when SAP made headlines for buying Qualtrics. At the time, I heard no end of comments about the insanity of paying such a high price for what was essentially survey software.

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Qualtrics, however, has done a better job of dressing up a survey tool with a more elevated brand — not only has its notion of “experience management” (XM) managed to coexist comfortably within the CX community, it has given SAP the imprimatur of CX credibility over and above having a customer data platform (CDP).

Zendesk already invests in plenty of its own thought leadership so that its team can speak to larger CX issues beyond customer service. The addition of SurveyMonkey, however, will give the company greater inroads with those in functions — such as marketing and even sales — who might otherwise have ignored it.

As for SurveySparrow, Typeform and other standalone survey tools, I predict they’ll either expand quickly into areas like journey orchestration and personalization, or will be looking for an M&A too. There’s no question about it.

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