On January 5, 2010 Matthias Roebel from MING Labs wrote the post ‘M&A strategies shouldn’t miss the Sales Enablement dimension’:
“I recently had a call with an executive centered around his company’s growth through a M&A strategy. His observation was that with financing for these deals returning and the number of under-valued assets (companies) left in the wake of the recession’s creative destruction, this was for many companies a chance of lifetime. But he qualified this comment with a warning: as long as you know how to do this stuff.
He had me. A bit. “What stuff?”, I asked. He responded that most of all the immediate value used to justify the purchase would be in increased sales through the combining of customers and products (more opportunities to sell more). As we talked further he summed up the pitfalls as:
- Sellers will instantly have 40%-60% more new products and solutions to sell (that they know little about): Where will sellers get the necessary knowledge or find an expert just-in-time?
- Customers with trusting relationships will want “what does this mean to us” meetings: Has marketing (or management) given sellers the up to date details?
- The combined companies will begin a process of choosing what stays, what goes – a complete restructuring of offering portfolio will have to happen: How will you get your sellers on the same page and focused on selling?
We spoke about how these challenges could manifest and about the best ways to address them. Basically, he emphasized that C-level executives recognize that critical nature of communication and collaboration of the selling community (sales reps, expert or support roles, and marketing) to maintain focus on the essential goal of selling. His point was simple: You got to keep selling.
Reflecting on the call, I realized that innovative technology and consulting methods, specifically Sales Enablement solutions, can go a long way to address these needs. I made the following list to send to this executive:
- Given the rapid nature of combining the teams, being able to provide access to all relevant content (regardless of where it is stored) explaining the new offering portfolio – but within the context of the customer conversations – is the key.
- Within this newly established enterprise context web 2.0 collaboration methods become very powerful. Sharing content instantly leveraging blog and twitter like functionality across sales teams can boost the effectiveness of communication to the customers.
- With the virtual doubling of the team’s size, even the guy with the deepest networks will be severely impacted – often sellers need the expert not just the white paper or slide and integrating to unified communications (VoIP / chat / presence information / etc.) would be hugely powerful.
Additionally, I found an article at Forbes.com that was written by McKinsey & Company titled ‘Master sales force integration in a merger’, that explores this topic beyond the technology aspect I cover. […]”
“Keeping sales up to speed through a M&A phase is indeed a very challenging task and often neglected, especially when cost benefits are the primary focus of the M&A. It would extend this thought also for companies going into strategic partnerships.”