More often than not, deals do not realize the full value of the deal thesis. Value leaks all the time in integration, and there are many reasons why. We need to transform our M&A process to drive better integrations. Joining us to understand and evolve our processes is Javid Moosaji, M&A Sales Integration Strategy at Paypal.
"Being as agile as possible is critical in this day and age, purely because our environment is changing. Our customer behavior and needs change."- Javid Moosaji
The biggest challenge is that many organizations do a poor job at documenting and improving their existing process before they start looking at integrating another process. So if you have a bad process and are integrating another bad process, it makes for very bad customers. If the target company has a better process than the acquirer and will be integrated into a bad process, their value gets destroyed.
Regardless of M&A, companies don't typically look at their own organization for inefficiencies. As long as they're making money, they will always focus on growing their sales and attracting more customers. But no one is evaluating how to improve their own processes. And those flaws only come up when the organization is about to do a deal. Organizations need to do a better job of filling gaps in their organization first.
Another challenge is when the integration lead is brought later on in the process. This causes a lack of focus on what happens next after the deal is done.
When choosing your integration lead, it can't just be a project manager. It would be best if you had someone knowledgeable about the business. In integration, you are practically creating a new company, which is why you need someone who can essentially run the business to integrate it properly.
Ideally, the integration lead should be involved in the targeting stage, which is before due diligence. It allows them to understand the value drivers early in the process, which results in better integration. The integration lead's job is to validate the corporate development team's investment thesis and develop the go-to-market strategy. Often, corporate development focuses on the customer base or the product that they want to acquire, that they don't have a clear view of how they are going to execute on that thesis.
GTM strategy should be at the forefront of your process. Integrating companies will always be different from one another so you need to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Don't think that you can use playbooks all the time and expect the same results. You need to have strong guiding principles that are based on the type of companies you're acquiring.
You must think about the customers first. When you are combining two companies, you are indirectly creating a new market condition. Figuring out how to create value around that new market condition is crucial for success.
Frequently, companies go straight to M&A. But the fact is, a partnership is also an excellent way to create an ecosystem for your customers. Sometimes, you can even serve your customers better on a partnership basis or a joint venture. In the end, it should boil down to creating value for your customers.
Having this kind of mindset where your customers are always your primary concern will lead to more success. Down the road, after you have tested the partnership, M&A is always an option.
Go to market strategy should be at the forefront of your process when it comes to M&A. Knowing how to best serve your customers will shape your every decision and, ultimately, your integration process. This is why the integration lead should be involved very early in the process. He is the one in charge of creating the GTM strategy, preferably together with the target CEO.