My vast network of sources has divulged to me that Google now has roughly 300 telephone sales reps in Mountain View. They’re selling Tags and Boost.
The telephone reps are addressing a number of US markets apparently (but less than 30). Thus the SMB sales force and culture exists at Google (as we knew to some degree). Groupon would have added substantially to that sales force of course.
But this indicates to me, as I suspected, that Google has crossed some sort of “cultural’ threshold around sales to SMBs and will either be going after another sales force directly or a product with a sales force attached like Groupon or Yelp.
Google can now sell search, display and mobile ads. But the company may need more SMB-specific products to sell. Groupon would have provided some or most of that: presence, new customers and soon CRM. But the deal didn’t happen.
It has been a long time coming but Google is now seemingly off its self-service model for the local market.