Between your mid-20s and mid-30s, there is a period where you seem to be packing off to celebrate a joyful nuptial each weekend between May and October.
Corporate mergers also swell in seasons: the 1960s, 1980s and 1990s each saw a major waves of corporate marriages between public companies (Andrade, Mitchell, Stafford 2001). We’ve also seen a recent sharp increase this year, 2013, over last (Matthews Time Inc. 2013), which is putting 2013 on pace to have the biggest M&A year since 2000.
At Inqune, we’ve worked with several companies who, after acquiring a firm and celebrating with a party larger than most New York weddings, turned to each other the next morning and said – now what? They had projected sales, marketing ideas and customer service lines, but they also had two completely different teams with different sets of systems.
As an employee, I hated to hear the words “merger” and “acquisition.” Like a single gal, I was a salesperson who enjoyed my independence. I was comfortable selling the products that were available to me and the last thing I wanted was another sales team coming in, scavenging my accounts like vultures. Whether it was rumored that a large corporate takeover was upon us or that we were poised to buy someone else, the disruption didn’t seem worth the prospective gain, from my perspective as an individual employee.
My time in employee development helped me overcome some of my prejudices. Instead of feeling like the enemy was coming to share my bunk, I saw the marriage of two families. To be sure, there were growing pains and adjustments that needed to be made, but the benefit of bringing two pieces together to produce more value that they could individually. So, what can you as a corporate newlywed do to prevent marital strife?
1) Define the new company culture.
What aspects of each company will be incorporated?
2) Redefine your joint value proposition.
Why does this union make sense? How will customers benefit from it? Which customers already use both of your tools or services together?
3) Orient your teams to this new messaging.
Give them space to practice it out loud.
Bring your teams together and establish trust.
Guide your reps to creating strategies for their territories that will maximize both products/services.
Reward the behavior you are looking for. Pay them extra for deals including both company offerings, initially, it will be harder and take more work on their part.
Andrade, G., Mitchell, M., Stafford, E. Journal of Economic Perspectives Volume 15, Number 2—Spring 2001—Pages 103–120 http://www.people.hbs.edu/estafford/Papers/NewEvidence_PerspectivesOnMergers.pdf