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The top 8 ways to make a successful M&A

Even once the papers are signed, mergers and acquisitions (M&A) deals face huge challenges in collaboration, integration and alignment. Despite the value of global M&A deals now reaching a whopping 5.9T USD, most studies show between 70 and 90 percent of M&A end up unsuccessful. And while the number of deals closing sounds impressive (close to 11,000 in the United States alone in 2020) there’s still a long list of reasons why M&A deployments fail.

So how can companies encourage the success of M&A, long after the deal is done? 

Factors for a successful M&A

In order to deploy a successful merger or acquisition, companies need to focus on the following important aspects within their own organization, throughout the process of the deal, and beyond:

People alignment

To improve the chance of M&A success, both new businesses need to quickly integrate their sales and marketing departments, customer service, operations, and training and enablement. This reduces informational silos and opens up communication across both groups allowing everyone to work together to the best of their abilities.

Technology alignment 

Since both companies will have considerable tech stacks, it’s important to see where optimization is possible. It is usually beneficial to merge the technology you’ve invested in such as CRM systems, business intelligence (BI) tools, accounting software, OKR planning software and MarTech solutions. In a nutshell, the more your tech can talk to each other the better insights you’ll both have.

Process alignment

In order to create synergies that accelerate growth, the processes of each individual company must be identified, analyzed, then strategically aligned. Making sure that there are no big interruptions in processes ensures that each business can maintain its level of service, which stabilizes customer retention throughout the M&A journey.

Sound easy? Probably not. But don’t worry, there’s more advice coming on how to get started on these important alignments. 

Top 8 ways to make your M&A successful

  1. Create a relationship map across both entities
  2. Create a data bridge between different CRMs
  3. Consolidate MarTech in the long run 
  4. Assign sales accounts based on relationship strength
  5. Whitespace analysis to upsell customers
  6. Don’t let customers get lonely
  7. Succession planning
  8. Unlock relationship-based lead generation

1. Create a relationship map across both entities 

Every single person—from the CEO to a frontline worker—has a Rolodex of contacts that they bring to the table during any M&A. And relationship intelligence is arguably your most powerful asset post-merger or acquisition: it ensures you can map out who knows who, and who has the best relationships with whom at key accounts. This is integral for customer retention and continued growth.

2. Create a data bridge between different CRMs

So your organizations each use a different CRM? No problem. Maybe the parent company is using Microsoft Dynamics and the acquired company is on Salesforce. Typically, one of the first items in M&A is usually to consolidate everyone into one CRM. 

Do NOT make this mistake.

CRM mergers and relaunches can take years to fully implement. Avoid ripping out and replacing CRMs or costly merger projects straight out of the gate. There are tools that enable businesses to bring together data from different CRMs, to extend visibility into relationship insights for management, without forcing your go to market teams to adopt and learn new technology.

You can also leverage strategies and platforms that quickly integrate this same data into visualization tools like Tableau or Power BI, so your teams, pipeline and growth engine aren’t disrupted.

3. Consolidate MarTech in the long run 

If your organization has a sufficient understanding of the top relationships at your key accounts, and sales are aligned with marketing, it isn’t super important to consolidate your MarTech stack overnight. 

For example, if one marketing department is using Marketo and the other is on HubSpot, it’s best to let those teams run with their known workflows, processes, and campaign strategies to ensure they don’t slam the brakes on demand generation. 

There will be a lot of eyes from your board and investors on top of funnel lead growth and pipeline generation. It’s easier to take the short-run hit on the increased cost of technology to increase go-to-market efforts, while enablement and training can seamlessly migrate whole teams to shared platforms.

4. Assign sales accounts based on relationship strength

The fact of the matter is that you will have two large sales teams battling over account ownership and territories. Having a historical view of 12, 24, or even 36 months of relationships and their associated strengths will make the process easier and the insights clearer on who in the company has the best relationships with buyers and accounts.

5. Whitespace analysis to upsell customers

Both companies are likely to bring diverse customers from different industries and markets. This presents opportunities to have an extremely well-rounded client portfolio, with strengths in many different areas—where one company may have a strong presence in finance, and the other may have an impressive market share in tech. Quickly mapping the relationships and known networks across an account map can unlock fast and efficient pathways to expand services from your combined offering.

6. Don’t let customers get lonely 

With the many competing priorities of merging businesses, the worst thing you can do is let your established customers get forgotten. Creating a dashboard of “lonely customers” will help all departments check in and keep tabs on the frequency of client engagement, NPS scores, and the activity volume of communication. 

Remember, the net retention rate will be a huge metric for your board, investors, and management. Keeping and retaining clients post-M&A will be a huge win for the business.

7. Succession planning

Without a solid succession plan in place, misunderstanding, conflict, and communication breakdowns can happen. Succession planning can take years to properly execute, so make this a priority from day one by working closely with your legal and business advisors.

8. Unlock relationship-based lead generation

When both companies have access to relationship intelligence and can map out who knows who at key accounts, this creates actionable insights. Valuable leads can then be generated and acted upon in order to encourage continued company growth.

Conclusion 

Companies that find ways to align people, systems, and processes throughout the M&A deal will no doubt be in a better position to achieve a successful merger or acquisition. 

Where do we come in? 

Introhive can help open up communication between two companies that are coming together by using our Customer Intelligence tools—showing you who knows who from day one. Starting with creating an accurate, trustworthy foundation of client data, Introhive can help map relationships across the newly formed business, pushing for a more cohesive team through open communication and client knowledge. This team will be in a much better position to take full advantage of the insights that Customer Intelligence can pull from the combined companies’ data to help find new business, win more business, and grow that business.

Find out more about how Introhive’s Customer Intelligence Platform can create a relationship intelligence map for your M&A deal, unlocking actionable insights and increasing the chance of success. Talk to one of our M&A specialists today.

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