DontLoseCustomersUpon closing an acquisition there is much to do. Waste must be eliminated. Synergies must be captured. Systems must be integrated. Data must be rationalized.

 

But what about your customers? What is the acquisition team doing to prevent customer defections during this time of change?

 

Failing to consider customers during an acquisition results in a loss in value realization. Acquisition change brings uncertainty for your customers. Uncertainty brings stress. Customers who are stressed are more likely to bail. As a result, acquisitions are one of the primary trigger events for customer turnover.

 

It doesn’t have to be this way. Acquisitions offer a perfect opportunity to study and improve the customer experience. As a result of your recent acquisition you now have improved sales capabilities. You have an expanded offerings to solve customer problems. If you execute your integration plan properly, customers will be delighted. Not running for the exit.

 

When it is time for your next acquisition, add the following to your plans.

 

Customer Segmentation

Understand which of your customers are going to generate the most revenue over the shortest period of time. To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • What is our updated ideal customer profile (i.e. what now defines our ideal customer)?
  • How does each customer score relative to our updated ideal customer profile?
  • What is the updated potential spend for each customer?
  • What is the updated lifetime value of each customer?

 

Buyer Segmentation

Understand how your customers make purchase decisions. To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • Who are the buyers in our existing accounts?
  • What do these buyers care about?
  • How do these buyers make purchase decisions?
  • What may cause these buyers to defect?

 

Buyer Engagement

Deploy a process to engage customers how they want to work with your team. To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • What are all the customer touch points with our organization?
  • What do existing customers want from us at each stage of their decision process?
  • What resources does the sales team need when executing the process?

 

Sales Org Design

Optimize the sales organizational model and headcount. To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • Through which sales channels do our buyers want to engage our sales team?
  • Which organizational model best supports our buyers?
  • What are the responsibilities for each role?
  • What headcount is needed by role?

 

Talent

Deploy the best talent in each role to deliver customer expectations. To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • How do we assess talent to ensure we have ‘A’ players in each role?
  • How do we transition talent without impacting customers?
  • What training do we need to develop the competencies/skills/knowledge of our team?

 

Communication

Over communicate with customers while involving them in key acquisition decisions.   To complete this, answer the following questions:

 

  • What questions do customers have about the impacts of our acquisition on them?
  • What areas can we involve key customers in driving the direction of the post-acquisition organization?
  • How can we improve our relationship with customers and better address their unmet needs?
  • Who should communicate what as the acquisition unfolds?

 

 Turn your next acquisition into an opportunity to delight your customers. Subscribe to the SBI Podcast to learn other ways of preventing customer defections during acquisitions.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Aaron Bartels

Helps clients solve the most difficult challenges standing in the way of making their number.
Learn more about Aaron Bartels >

He founded Sales Benchmark Index (SBI) with Greg Alexander and Mike Drapeau to help business to business (B2B) leaders make the number. The world’s most respected companies have put their trust in and hired SBI. SBI uses the benchmarking method to accelerate their rate of revenue growth. As an execution based firm, SBI drives field adoption and business results.

 

His clients describe him as a consultant who:

 

“Makes transformational impacts on me, my people and my business”

 

“Solves my most difficult problems that to date we have been unable to solve ourselves”

 

“Brings clarity to an environment of chaos”

 

“Has real world sales operations experience making him qualified to advise us on a variety of sales and marketing challenges”

 

“Is able to spot proven best practices that once implemented will make a material impact on my business”

 

“Constantly challenges status quo and compels us to act”

 

“Focuses on execution and driving change to stick in our environment”

 

“Makes good on his promises while enabling our business to realize his projected results”

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