Every corporate development function is different. Each corporate development leader has a different mandate as to what its focus is. So how do you build and align a corporate development team with multiple mandates? Helping us answer this question is Jeremy Segal, senior vice president of corporate development at Progress.
“I've done this (M&A) for 20 years, and I am not perfect. I know that there are great lessons to be learned and things that we could have done better on every deal. - Jeremy Segal
The key to being successful in a corp dev role is to build strong relationships inside your company. Spend more time working with the leaders of each business function so you can understand their growth strategy.
Relationships with your executive leaders are also important. Communicate with them through regular meetings, so they can understand the deals that you are doing on a much deeper level. Knowing what’s important to your leaders is imperative. The last thing you want to do is bring up ideas that are completely irrelevant to them. Have more casual conversations with your leader to promote feedback, which will enhance your relationship.
Another critical part of being in a corp dev role is building relationships everywhere. Creating a network of people in different communities is your greatest asset. It will open up many opportunities because they can be a deal source at any given time. Building and maintaining those relationships is one of the biggest challenges in your role. You have to keep an open dialogue constantly to build that genuine relationship together.
But with all of the responsibilities you have as a corp dev leader, how could you possibly maintain all those relationships while doing your job? The secret is to learn how to delegate jobs by building a team of experts that you trust.
Look for folks who have experience going through the entire process from sourcing deals, executing deals, leading a diligence process, negotiating, and everything important to a deal’s success. You also need to find people with a strong interpersonal skill set. People who are comfortable working with other functions because if people don’t want to work with your team, your job will become harder.
Retrospectives are also a good way to learn and improve your team continually. No matter how a deal went, there are always great lessons to be learned and things that you could have done better. Retrospectives is one of the best practices anyone doing M&A deals can do.
Another best practice that you, as a corp dev, could do, involves the integration lead very early on in the process. Having an integration lens early can make you much smarter across each function and help integrate the company a lot smoother.
Every corporate development team has a different mandate. Having strong relationships everywhere and having a really good team that you can trust will help you be successful no matter what your goals are. Try these best practices to get the best value out of your deals.