Mergers create an environment where competitors can launch attacks. Your best salespeople will immediately get calls for interviews, and your customers will be courted. It’s an excellent strategy for competitors as the sales force is the one voice that can communicate the benefits of a merger. As the main link between customers and the new company, the sales force can act as the voice of the merged organization.
Unfortunately, if key salespeople are not clear about the positive effects of a merger, they might defect. This could lead to the loss of many of their customers. Here are some strategies to help keep your sales team strong during a merger.
Unfortunately, many executives do not take the time to communicate thoroughly with their employees after a merger has been announced. They often react to the situation instead of planning for the future. During the weeks following the deal, your employees will want to know more about the company’s operations and how they will change.
The sales force is often the first to hear about bad news, and gossip can quickly spread through an organization. Unfortunately, many employees receive only generic e-mails from senior management.
After a merger has been announced, it’s essential that the CEO immediately communicates with the entire organization. This is especially true for managers and frontline employees who are likely to receive calls from unhappy customers—plan to answer questions directly. Mergers often produce false rumors, and many of these can be detrimental to the sales force. In addition to the CEO, the other executives should regularly visit the sales offices to ensure that the entire organization is focused on maintaining a positive message.
Have a Plan
Before the sales force can fully understand the benefits of a merger, they should also be informed about the various changes that will affect them personally. For instance, will some employees be let go, or will the sales force be combined? Following the merger, the top team should be able to explain the changes clearly.
The first step in merging the sales forces should be to name a new sales manager. In most cases, the new CEO is selected before the deal is announced. This ensures that the new sales manager will oversee the company’s revenue. As the process of merging the sales forces continues, it’s important that the managers can provide the necessary information to the sales force as quickly as possible. The goal is to create a unified message that will be able to communicate the various changes that will affect the sales force.
Although it’s easier to cut staff than capture new opportunities, laying off, employees can seriously affect the company’s chances of growing. It can also lead to a decrease in morale since many of those who lose their jobs are highly skilled. Even the elimination of managers can be costly since many are highly experienced.
Focus on Customer Retention
A successful acquirer can create an interim sales war room composed of several high-performing salespeople from both companies. These individuals are mandated to help the sales force maintain its sales levels during the transition period. This team can also make on-the-spot decisions and cut through red tape. Its members have priority access to the company’s senior executives.
The members of the sales war room are highly focused on maintaining the company’s revenue growth. They can also help the new sales leadership develop effective strategies and promote the benefits of the merger. The sales war room can additionally help the sales force gather information about its competitors and their sales tactics.
One of the most critical steps the sales war room can take is creating a clear retention plan for its high-priority accounts. This strategy should include a detailed understanding of the various factors that influence the loyalty of its customers.