The Role of a Common Sales Method, Process and Technology during Mergers
As the pace of business, continues to accelerate, strategic combinations have become the weapon of choice for gaining market share, expanding product lines, garnering operational and financial efficiencies, and ultimately delivering increased shareholder
value - the Misys / Temenos is case in point. However, the challenge lies not in these merger deals themselves, but in the post-deal operational execution, since that’s where their value is actually created.
Unfortunately, with an overall failure rate of between 50% and 70%(All B2B Mergers), post-deal integration is not only where the value is created, but also where the failure occurs. Everything is under a microscope, and the scrutiny is further compounded
when public companies have to answer to major shareholders/stock exchange... and industry press.
Nowhere is this execution pressure felt more than in the combined sales organization once two companies have been put together. This is due to the fact that the sales team is where the three primary operational objectives of any merger come together most
1. Revenue Synergies
2. Cost Synergies
3. Cultural Compatibility
Organizations that deliver well on the above objectives are the ones that are the stuff of business legend, particularly when the further challenges of globalization and economic turbulence are added to the mix. It is in exactly this environment that the application
of sales method, process, and technology reaps its biggest benefits.
The most important thing to demonstrate post-merger is that revenue synergies promised during merger announcements can be made a reality. The execution challenge here lies in the need to get sales teams from two organizations selling efficiently with an expanded
product or services set. And that’s where having a strong sales methodology is key. A common sales method provides the insight and skills that sales teams need, especially in times of change. Rather than hope that sales people understand how to approach accounts
to deliver the new message and excitement of new product and services, you can have confidence that they’re working strategically, qualifying opportunities correctly, understanding the ever-changing political landscape of their clients and prospects, and driving
to close as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Right behind the intense revenue pressure that accompanies mergers is the need to reduce expenses through cost synergies. This typically means one thing: get more done with fewer resources. Eliminating redundancies in the combined organization often results
in reduced support staff, and sometimes means fewer sales people as well. Added pressure comes from the inevitable voluntary turnover that accompanies most mergers. And yet, this leaner sales organization is expected to produce the revenue synergies discussed
above. How can this be accomplished? In addition to ensuring that you team has the sales methodology skills needed to tackle a more involved sale, having a rigorous sales process moves from nice-to-have to absolutely critical.
Without a defined and measured sales process in place, existing sales talent will be slower to move through the sales cycle for additional products and services that are now part of their portfolio. Moreover, you as management will have a difficult time
accurately forecasting their performance during this critical time of scrutiny by the stakeholders that approved the merger transaction.
The other important objective in any merger is to integrate the cultures of the two companies being combined, and this is a particular challenge in sales. There is inevitable territory overlap, and often there is also overlap in the product mix, leading to
natural tension between sales teams. In some cases, there is outright hostility when former marketplace competitors are merged. While there is no substitute for good management in these situations, having a common sales methodology and process has proven very
helpful with a number of our customers.
The simple reason is that the standardized approach, common language and steps, and the use of automation of that sales method, process, and technology provides help to bridge cultural, organizational and time zone gaps. Having good performance measurement
and coaching tools also cuts through the bluster that can creep in during these merger transitions. We’ve all seen this situation where fear of change leads sales people to overstate or even manufacture performance claims. Using an unbiased system to help
adjudicate these cases, provide coaching, and as necessary aid management in making organizational change decisions is something that customers rely on during times when emotions run high. And where you have strong performers that are at risk of resigning
and heading for greener pastures, it’s important to note that in addition to making them more effective, the use and reinforcement of sales methodology can reduce sales force turnover by more than 40%.