April 30, 2012 – In a move meant to strengthen its as-as-service financial and business management offerings, Intuit Inc. announced it plans to pay $423.5 million for marketing and CRM provider Demandforce.

Demandforce SaaS applications focus on automated marketing and customer communications for SMBs. Intuit highlighted the potential in Demandforce’s customer communication applications for email, mobile and social networking connectivity in an as-a-service model for small and emerging businesses. The deal keeps with Intuit’s plan to grow certain sectors of its SaaS offerings that show “high value” and demand from SMBs, according to Kiran Patel, EVP and general manager of Intuit’s Small Business Group.

Demandforce will carry on as its own division at Intuit, with leadership under Demandforce President and Founder Rick Berry. Prior to establishing Demandforce, Berry was SVP of OnStation, a venture capital-backed CRM provider for the automotive industry.

San Francisco-based Demandforce was founded in 2003 and has approximately 300 employees. The vendor counts 35,000 SMB users primarily across medical, professional service, automotive and animal care industries.

Initially announced Saturday, the deal is subject to closing conditions and expected by Intuit to close in May 2012.

There have been a few notable deals in the CRM and marketing SaaS arena of late, like Salesforce.com’s buys of Assistly and Desk.com, and IBM’s $440 million purchase of DemandTec.