Careers at Apttus
Apttus’ mission is to transform the front office, providing customers with quote-to-cash solutions on the Salesforce platform and eliminating the limitations imposed by legacy backend systems.
Kirk Krappe spent several years working at some of the most forward-thinking technology companies, such as Oracle. He also had his own personal claim to fame, being one of the most influential figures in the advancement of the software-as-a-service (SaaS) model. Krappe’s experience made him realize that despite their successes, many Silicon Valley firms did not fully understand customer needs.
In 2006 he decided to launch his own tech firm that would be strongly customer-focused – Apttus. Its main product was a cloud contract lifecycle management software solution. He did not have any venture capital funding, preferring to go the bootstrapping route – relying on revenues and credit cards. However, he realized that in order to get the business going, he needed a more viable offering.
Krappe decided to focus on a segment of the enterprise software business that was in dire need of innovation – the “quote-to-cash“ (QTC) market. QTC involves the automated, end-to-end management of businses processes for sales contracts: product/service configuration, pricing, quote creation and negotiation, contract lifecycle and order management, and invoicing.
Krappe knew that it would be difficult to generate immediate customer interest for the new service, so he decided to get it on potential clients‘ radars by leveraging an existing infrastructure – the Salesforce CRM platform. He would build his software on top of it, extending its functionality. A deal was struck, and the arrangement enabled Apttus to get to market much more quickly.
Having Salesforce’s platform provided many advantages. Apttus did not need to pay it any money until it got new customers. Implementations were carried out more quickly because customers were already familiar with the CRM system. Furthermore, Apttus was able to take advantage of the company’s innovations, such as enterprise social networking and mobile apps.
Apttus‘ solution became a huge success, with early business driven largely by European firms, followed by American ones. Its strong performance enabled it to manage without external funding for seven years. However, its streak of profitability ended in the fourth quarter of 2013, motivating it to finally seek investments. It was able to raise a whopping $37 million in a Series A round that year.
Benefits at Apttus
Business model of Apttus
Apttus has a niche market business model, with a specialized customer segment. The company targets its offerings at firms seeking a quote-to-cash solution for their sales contracts.
Apttus offers three primary value propositions: convenience, innovation, and brand/status.
The company offers convenience by simplifying the management of sales contracts. Its solution offers end-to-end management for business processes, featuring a wide variety of applications, including Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ), Renewals, Contract Management, and Revenue Management. Furthermore, its patent-pending X-Author technology allows Microsoft Office to be a user-interface with full control and interaction between Microsoft Office and Salesforce.
The company offers an innovative product. Its solution is supported by the Apttus Intelligent Cloud, which provides prescriptive data to firm decision-makers. The company claims that no competing enterprise-level application has ever used technology in this fashion, and that this feature increases the realization of revenue from the top-down, and also solves symptomatic issues in the sales cycle.
The company has established a strong brand as a result of its success. It bills itself as the largest quote-to-cash solution provider, with more than 450,000 users across 500+ companies worldwide. These firms include over 100 members of the Fortune 500 -- specific prominent clients include Adobe, Citrix, LinkedIn, Motorola, and PayPal. Lastly, Apttus has won many honors, including recognition as “Best Quote-to-Cash Software Company“ by the Technology Innovator Awards (2016) and recognition as a “Leader“ in Contract Life-Cycle Management by The Forrester Wave (2016).
Apttus’ main channel is its direct sales team. The company promotes its offering through its website, social media pages, webinars, and participation in conferences.
Apttus’ customer relationship is primarily of a personal assistance nature. The company assists customers in the following ways:
Implementation Services - The company provides custom, enterprise, and LaunchPack deployment services using the Apttus Implementation Methodology (AIM). It also offers a network of implementation partners who can provide industry- and region-specific expertise.
Support Services - The company offers the following services:
- Customer Success Plans – The company offers a Standard Support Plan that enables all clients to submit tickets online for assistance, as well as a Premier Success Plan that offers 24/7 critical support services, premium training content, etc.
- Managed Support Services – The company offers an enhanced service plan that provides product coaching, best practice guidance, overflow tasks, upgrade assistance, VF and APEX support, custom reporting, approvals, quote templates, advanced conditional X-author templates, and user setup and maintenance.
Training Services - The company maintains Apttus University, a program that offers in-person and virtual instructor-led training courses. The classes provide hands-on learning opportunities and access to customizable reference materials. Apttus provides assistance in developing a training plan. Students can also achieve certification in Configure Price Quote and Contract Lifecycle Management.
Consulting Services – The company provides Strategic Value Consulting, a free service that helps customers build a quantitative business case for specific projects involving its solutions. A team of experts conduct in-depth interviews and data analysis in order to develop this case.
Despite this orientation, there is a self-service component. Apttus University provides on-demand training courses that can be accessed at any time. Also, the company’s website features a “Content Library” section that includes self-help resources such as analyst reports, data sheets, live demos, infographics, videos, and white papers. The site also offers a “revenue management success” kit. Lastly, there is a community element in the form of a forum where customers can interact.
Apttus’ business model entails designing and developing software for its customers.
Apttus maintains the Apttus Partner Program, which includes three types of partnerships:
- Implementation Partners – Firms that assist Apttus’ clients with implementation of its solutions. Specific partners are Birlasoft, Cognizant, Eigen X, Forefront, Forsys, Infosys, Keste, Magnet 360, Mainspring, Persistent, Summa, Tata Consulting Services, Tech Mahindra, Uptima, and Wipro.
- Certified Implementation Partners – Firms that also assist with implementation; they are selected for their quote-to-cash domain expertise, sales-force knowledge, and vertical experience. Further, they maintain large practices of skilled, Apttus-trained technicians. Specific partners are Accenture, Avanxo, Bluewolf, Cloud Sherpas, Deloitte Digital, Duff & Phelps, PwC, and Statera.
- Technology Partners – Firms that integrate their offerings directly into Apttus solutions or use them to extend the solutions’ capabilities. The aim is to provide customers with maximum value. Specific partners are Adobe Sign, Avalara, DocuSign, Jitterbit, Microsoft, Salesforce, and Seal.
Apttus’ main resources are its human resources, who include its technology employees that design and develop its software, its training/consulting employees that provide instruction and advice, and its customer service employees that provide support.
As a startup it has relied heavily on funding from outside parties, raising $186 million from four investors as of September 2015.
Apttus has a value-driven structure, aiming to provide a premium proposition through significant personal service and frequent product improvements. Its biggest cost driver is likely marketing expenses, a fixed expense.
Other major drivers are in the areas of customer support/operations and product development, both fixed costs.
Apttus has one revenue stream: the subscription fees it charges customers for access to its software-as-a-service solution. The company’s sales force must be contacted directly for pricing quotes.
info: Kirk earned an Electrical and Mechanical Engineering Degree from the University of London and an MBA from INSEAD. He previously served as EVP of Worldwide Markets at iMANY, CEO of Nextance, and VP of Solutions Marketing at Oracle.
info: Neehar earned a B.S. in Mathematics from the University of Madras and an MBA from San Jose State University. He previously served as Vice President of Products and Chief Strategy Officer at Nextance.
info: Kent earned a degree in Geography from UC Davis. He previously held a number of senior sales management roles at contract lifecycle providers Nextance and I-many, and served in various marketing and sales management positions at Oracle.
info: Nathan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Engineering from the University of Pune. He previously served as Co-Founder and CTO of Nextance and as Chief Internet Technologist at DTI and other companies. He has 20 years of experience.
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