Mergers and Acquisitions: How Sales Enablement Can Support Results

Posted by Dave Karr on Apr 1, 2020 1:22:15 PM

Mergers and acquisitions team using sales enablement

The industrial B2B world is evolving rapidly. Current market dynamics are leading to increased merger and acquisition activity with large corporations. A recent report from Thomson Reuters indicated that global manufacturing M&A totaled over $92 billion in 2019.  With organizations looking for opportunities to scale in saturated markets, coupled with the number of legacy industrial businesses that cannot keep up with changing dynamics, the opportunities for mergers and acquisitions are plentiful. 

With any merger or acquisition there is a central challenge of finding a way to unify the branding, message, and collateral across the two organizations.  Solving this challenge is vital to ensuring that sales reps can have the right customer conversations and clients can have a consistent, value added experience. In addition, sales teams have to find a way to merge their cultures, tools, processes, and build a team that understands their new core values and products/offerings.

According to Deloitte, “Many factors can divert an organization’s focus from achieving growth goals including different management visions, disparate operating models built on legacy systems and processes, outdated customer experiences that don’t leverage digital or other technologies, and culturally diverse workforces.”

How Sales Enablement Helps Merger Results

There's no doubt that mergers and acquisitions are difficult for sales teams to navigate. That's because in most cases, it requires the newly combined organizations to integrate separate sales teams. Each sales team will have different processes, structures, and product portfolios. Sometimes these integrations include merging teams that were competitors in the past. 

There are often cultural differences. Many times there is an overlap between the two organizations’ customer groups, product portfolios, and company organizational structures. Given so many challenges, it’s not surprising that more than 70 percent of mergers aren’t able to reach their expected revenue.

Taking time to develop a post-merger sales integration process, and implementing digital tools to support the project, can be the difference between success and lukewarm results. Introducing a sales enablement platform to assist with the merger strategy can help support joint objectives and drive faster, more measurable results.

If you’re unfamiliar with sales enablement or would like to touch up your knowledge before reading further, check out our beginner’s guide to sales enablement.

A sales enablement platform provides many unique benefits that can be helpful during the merger process, including:

  • Providing a platform that supports cross selling and new product education
  • Facilitating collaboration with subject matter experts across both organizations
  • Providing a single platform to distribute corporate sales communications
  • Delivering training content to employees on new products and solutions
  • Significantly reducing the time spent preparing for customer meetings
  • Providing access to selling tools, company processes, and CRM information

Here is a breakdown of three key ways that sales enablement can help support the merger process.

Supporting Cultural Integration

One crucial thing in the merger process is understanding the cultural differences of the newly combined organizations and actively working to integrate the two. Each organization will bring unique strengths. Sharing best practices between teams can be an easy win to help foster collaboration and cultural integration.

Sales enablement systems can provide a common ground for sales and marketing teams to share insights, valuable content, training material, and even personal stories of success from field sales reps. Having support resources available when and where sales reps need them fosters higher confidence. In turn, this increases the likelihood that reps will actively pursue cross selling and collaboration opportunities across the new organization.

This is becoming increasingly important as modern buyers are now more educated and further along in the sales cycle before ever. In fact, 70 percent of the buying process is now completed by the customer before they ever interact with a sales rep. Ensuring that sales reps are prepared and educated on the full breadth of the company’s combined product offering has never been more important.

80 percent of B2B buyers say that the customer experience a company delivers is as vital as its products and services. By using sales enablement systems to help provide a higher level of customer engagement, organizations can help ensure that sales reps are properly delivering the combined value of the newly integrated organizations.

Powering-Up Team Collaboration

Sales enablement tools can speed up processes and foster better integration between the newly combined teams. Undoubtedly, each organization will have different processes for content management, sales training, sales planning, customer record keeping, and CRM updates.

A sales enablement platform can provide a single solution to help organizations centralize these processes. Integrations between sales enablement software and systems like a PIM, DAM, LMS, and/or CRM are commonplace and can provide a head start for collaboration. Sales and marketing leaders can spend less time focusing on which systems they should prioritize, rationalize, or standardize and instead start by building a common bridge connecting the systems within each organization.

By giving each team the ability to share their existing content and resources, more time can be focused on collaborating to develop sales and marketing strategies. Leadership teams will also have a common platform to help support commercial operations and aid in the elimination of system silos and different “organizational languages”.

Field sales reps will also have the ability to more directly collaborate with their new peers by using team features in sales enablement. This can range from sharing top performing presentations, tips and tricks for handling buyer objections, sharing best practices for cross selling, and other valuable information.

Using a mutual sales tool also provides sales teams a common ground to have discussions about the way that they are using resources to support their day to day sales activities. When teams speak the same language and share common experiences, better connectivity is a natural bi-product.

Improving Communication

If you have a sales team that feels disenfranchised and unable to address their sales challenges and issues, you are at risk of a common M&A pitfall. When acquisitions occur, the ultimate goal should be for sales teams to feel as connected and empowered as they did before the merger.

That's why it's so important to ensure good communication throughout the acquisition process. If the sales teams are well connected and actively participating in the integration of the companies, you are more likely to leverage that synergy to increase sales productivity. Using sales enablement to help foster connectivity and communication is a great way to support these goals.

Sales enablement systems can provide a centralized place for the organization to share team communications, updates, news feeds, and other collaboration information. By eliminating excessive email communications, organizations can help sales teams stay more focused on their daily tasks and provide communications in a more streamlined manner.

Sales enablement platforms can also help provide a feedback loop to sales and marketing leaders by delivering data on the effectiveness of content, both from sales reps and from customers. This data can quickly provide direction for sales and marketing teams to understand what is working and not working.

Sales enablement not only helps ensure that sales reps are properly equipped to deliver customer experiences, but it also provides sales and marketing leaders a way to measure the effectiveness of sales activities. This information can then be used to have better coaching conversations with reps and support better and more constructive communications with sales leadership.

How to Get Started

If your organization is preparing for an upcoming merger, building a sales enablement strategy early on is the best way to set the stage for success. Implementing standardized processes and tools out of the gate will help dramatically reduce confusion for your sales team and shorten the overall integration period for the selling organization.

Perhaps you’ve already begun down the path of a merger, but have seen less than ideal sales results from the combined teams. Sales enablement could potentially be the missing link in your strategy. Implementing a sales enablement system post-merger is not as hard as you might think and could potentially be the glue your team needs for better connectivity.

Interested in learning more about sales enablement or need help understanding how to get started? Contact a sales enablement specialist at Klyck.io to discuss how our platform can support your merger strategy.

Topics: Sales enablement, industrial marketing, b2b marketing, sales technology, mergers, acquisitions