One of the most turbulent times a company can go through is a merger or acquisition. Anxiety ripples throughout stakeholders who wonder what the post-world will look like, and competitors circle overhead, ready to snatch away clients and talent. We’ve discussed this previously, but wanted to expand on the topic with more suggestions and guidelines in the wake of the industry-shaking news that Salesforce has acquired Tableau.
- Figure out the sales enablement solution as soon as possible.
Sales, like time itself, doesn’t stop during the process of a merger. Often, the two companies becoming one have different sales enablement technologies (such as CRMs) that are incompatible with each other. What that means is, one of the first priorities for the two sales leadership teams is to come together, map out similarities and differences, and finalize a plan to align their CRMs and other sales enablement technologies. This is especially critical to minimize disruption and delays in daily business operations.
- Prioritize retaining your top talent and clients.
As noted earlier, the transition period of a merger is the most dangerous one for the impending new, unified organization. The business is left vulnerable to low morale and increased employee flight risk due to the unknown environment and fears of change. There also is a chance competitors could try to recruit talent away or attempt to lure away clients during the transition.
To combat this, react proactively to your clients and top performers. For customers, explain the precise process and timeline of the merger, and how it will impact service (such as being assigned a new account manager). Assure them that the standard of service will remain the same or even better as a result of the merger or acquisition.
In the case of top sales reps, each sales team in the merger should have a plan to retain their top performers. This group will be the backbone of the post-merger sales force and this is a good time to essentially re-recruit the star performers by sharing the vision of the company after the merger and the rep’s place in it.
- Establish the new formal sales process.
The previous guidelines have been about things you need to do immediately in order to ensure continuity during the transition. This last piece of advice is part of the structure going forward. Each organization in its pre-merger life had its own sales process. Part of the merging process involves figuring out how to synthesize the two into a blended sales process structure that ideally utilizes the best aspects of each process (subject, of course, to the decided upon project mix, current clients, and target markets).
The storms that accompany a merger are as thrilling as they are fraught with peril. But using the tactics we’ve outlined in this post will help keep things stable as possible and clear the way for as smooth a transition period as possible – allowing the united companies under one banner to retain the best aspects of what made them originally great - while installing the foundations for even greater acclaim and success once they’re a single entity.