Mergers and acquisitions (M&As) present a double-edged sword. Buying out another company is one of the easiest ways to increase your scale and penetrate an otherwise untapped market. On the other hand, a merger can also result in an unhappy and unprofitable marriage.
Nowhere are the challenges of M&As more felt than in the sales department, responsible for generating the newly formed company’s revenue. After all, the merger isn’t just a marriage of cultures, it’s also a marriage of expectations, processes and employees.
So how does a sales department successfully navigate the fraught waters of M&As? Sales Development Expert, a firm that offers sales hiring to businesses, offers some advice:
Assess the Merged Sales Team
First, sales leaders should take stock of the newly formed (and probably much larger) salesforce. The best way is to utilize an assessment tool in order to fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of the merged team. This allows the company to identify training opportunities and deduce whether more or fewer people are needed.
Have Clear Metrics
Each company uses its own means of measuring success, so the merged sales team has to reconcile disparate standards to create a unified success metric. By doing so, everyone has a clear idea of what is expected of them, which will help them better adjust to the new company.
Catch Some Fish!
As many business experts point out, the first 100 days after a merger are the most crucial because it is the perfect time to demonstrate the value of this strategic decision. The sales team is thusly charged to land a client within this critical window to “pilot test” the merged operations–the sooner the team lands new clients, the more peace of mind it will have and the more momentum it will generate. Your top people should work on this project and provide incentives if necessary.
Revisit Your Client Portfolio
Yes, mergers yield a bigger client portfolio, but not all accounts are made equal–some are simply more profitable. Because it is a new beginning, mergers are also the perfect time to take stock of your client roster. How much is that regional client truly contributing to your bottom line? Does it deserve continued service? Should you allocate more salespeople to your biggest account? Are there businesses worth dropping so that you can chase bigger fish? Asking all the right questions will help determine a merger’s success or failure.
Mastering sales force integration in a merger
Blending sales teams after a merger