Today’s guest post is by Jen Marie Jacober, president of EverChanges. Jen Marie is a Peak Performance Mindset Trainer and Transformation Advisor – her focus is on helping companies align their people, culture, and organizational structures to thrive in the ever-changing digital information era. Contact her today to learn more at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When companies merge or become acquired, they need to integrate across people, process, and technology so they can achieve organic revenue growth.
Last month I wrapped up a post-merger transformation project. Here are five takeaways that will help businesses integrate sales organizations after a merger or acquisition.
Takeaway #1: Establish a Strategy
The first step to take when integrating two companies is developing a one- to two-year strategy. The strategy should include people, process, and technology elements – with quarterly milestones and outcomes defined.
For example, as part of the merger, the sales organization needs to make sure all teams move from a contact-based selling approach to an account-based selling approach. This strategy may need to include milestones and outcomes for training (people/process), analytics capabilities (process/technology), and new tools (technology). Develop branding for the strategy to visually depict what the post-merger future looks like. Use the branded strategy for all future communications.
Takeaway #2: Execute a Communication Plan
The next step is to develop a communication plan for the strategy. This plan should lay out a structure for communications and cadence and define a message framework.
Initiate communications by sharing the strategy across the teams. Provide a forum for employees to ask questions and provide feedback. Use an established cadence to update employees via emails, newsletters, team meetings, and one-on-one meetings with managers. Ensure the message is consistent and that the accomplishment of milestones and outcomes iscelebrated.
Takeaway #3: Baseline Operations to Identify Redundancies and Gaps
Understanding how the sales organizations operate is critical to identifying redundancies and gaps. Redundancies may occur when the companies have the same function but only one is needed post-merger – or a technology is in place where a manual activity had been performed.
Technology redundancy is likely if the merged companies perform the same functions. Technology is the long pole in the tent for most post-merger transitions. Gaps occur when the companies do not have the people, process, or technology to execute the strategy.
Takeaway #4: Use Outcomes instead of Outputs to Measure Process and Methodology
Hierarchy, rules, and complexity make change and adaptability difficult. It is easy to get mired in the details of process and methodology and to spend months or even years on implementing post-merger process change.
Accelerate these changes by focusing on the outcome instead of the output. For example, improving churn rates by 5 percent is an example of an outcome, while tracking monthly leads is an output. This will increase the likelihood of accomplishing the outcome instead of trying to dictate how the process and methodologies need to improve.
Takeaway #5: Align through Integration
The final step is to align the merged companies – recalibrating all functions (typically, post-merger strategies do not address all aspects of sales operations). Develop an integration plan covering six to 12 months post-merger.
The integration plan should include all aspects of people, process, and technology needed to run sales. Use lessons learned (and failures) to identify what needs alignment; then, develop a plan to address them. Once the implementation plan is complete, continue to share communications and use outcomes versus outputs to monitor progress.