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May 9, 2022

Implementing an Actionable GTM Strategy

Integration is the most important part of any acquisition, especially the go-to-market. It’s where you create the most value out of your deal, so it is important to get it right. So what are the major consideration when implementing an actionable GTM strategy? Joining me to discuss the intricacies of implementation is Hannah Leung, Senior Manager, M&A at Salesforce. 

“Do not underestimate the complexity of an existing company. Keeping an eye out for the differences and understanding how that might impact the integration plan is really important.” - Hannah Leung

GTM Planning

According to Hannah, their integration team starts getting involved in the due diligence phase. This is where they go in and do individual interviews for each function of the company looking to understand the entire spectrum of customer experience and 4 major areas of post-sale perspective:

  1. Success function - How does the target company interact with customers and build relationships with them?
  2. Support function - How does the target company deal with issues that customers have? Do they have automated processes? 
  3. Renewals - How does the target company handle the renewal process when customers are up for renewals?
  4. Services - How does the target company help their customers stand up once they buy the product?

Taking all that information, they then formulate their integration strategy based on the V2MOM model.

  • Vision - what is the high-level goal of the integration?
  • Values - what are the key values of the integration?
  • Methods - what is the appropriate way to approach the integration?
  • Obstacles - what are the potential challenges of the integration?
  • Measures - what are the success metrics of the integration?

Challenges in Implementing GTM

The hardest part during integration is absorbing the products and scaling them appropriately into your company size while focusing on the customers. Here are the four major challenges to consider when looking to implement GTM:

  1. Quote to Cash

          After the deal is closed, you will now be responsible for keeping their sales process going. You need to understand what the customer journey looks like and the           teams involved throughout the entire life cycle.

          Due to its complexities and the difference to your own process, both sales forces won’t be integrated for an extended period of time. During that interim period,           you need to figure out how you can maximize collaboration and synergies.

  1. Approval Processes

    For small companies, approval processes are a lot simpler compared to a large organization. You need to figure out how to align approval processes while minimizing risk and making sure that customers have the same terms and conditions as you integrate the new product.

    You also need to automate the approval process if possible or spread it out because smaller companies tend to have one person approving everything which is not scalable. People don’t like change so you have to explain to the acquired people why their processes will change, and why is it better for their future.  
  1. Provisioning

    After the sales process, you have to make sure that the customers get access to the product. You need to collaborate with the product team and post-sales team to make sure you understand what the provisioning process looks like. Smaller companies tend to have manual provisioning processes and you need to automate this. Imagine if you have 1000 new customers on your new product. 
  1. Data Structure

          Data regarding customer satisfaction is extremely valuable. But for smaller companies, it depends a lot on the relationship between the success manager and the           customer. Similar to the other challenges, you need to find a way to automate this with the goal of scaling the product. 

Team alignment

To keep alignment and get everyone up to speed, they leverage technology using slack and automated workflows. They understand that not everyone could be at every meeting, so it is important to have an efficient knowledge transfer method wherever team members are. 

Also, they prefer to have a regular cadence of short meetings. People’s attention span is getting shorter so you need to avoid 2-hour once-a-month meetings. 

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