Achieving revenue synergies should always be a transaction’s top priority. By leveraging the combined customer base of both companies, and combining the marketing and sales efforts, companies can become a much more powerful force in the marketplace. In this two-part M&A Science Podcast episode, James Harris, Principal, Corporate Development Integration at Google, discusses go-to-market integration planning.
“When it comes to go-to-market integration planning, always think about your customers and what are you doing to them. That is the most important thing to remember.” - James Harris
According to James, the customer’s journey should be the north star of every transaction. A positive customer experience is paramount to deal success and integration should be done within the first year post-close. Taking too long will turn customers off.
However, there are tasks that can be done right off the bat. Think of ways to incentivize the sales force on both sides to work together to capture immediate opportunities.
Also, focus on the mechanics of GTM integration. Both companies must learn how to use the same customer name, language, and quote-to-cash tools. Chances are, the two parties have very different systems that need to start operating as one.
The same is also true for inbound contracts. Very often, the larger company won’t be happy with the small company’s contracts, but changing those abruptly will negatively affect customers. All of the above needs to be addressed and communicated to customers.
Have a dedicated group of people stitching the lead-to-cash process. The team must understand the deal’s strategy, and the company’s system, in order to identify the capabilities and limitations during integration. The GTM integration team is also responsible for defining the interim execution during this process.
The marketing team must also be a part of the GTM integration team. The marketing team is responsible for the lead-to-cash generation. The way the marketing team reaches out to customers is vital information for the integration. Both marketing machines need to work well together and not send mixed messages to customers.
Tabletop exercises that involve functional leads and domain experts are a great way to stress test processes and plans on upcoming deals. Tabletop exercises are a simulation of a potential acquisition, masked as a hypothetical situation for confidential reasons. The purpose is to use healthy skepticism and validate the go-to-market plans. Here is how to do a tabletop exercise:
At the end of these exercises, there should be a new practice, process, or function generated.