article | April 27, 2014
The First 100 Days: A Sales VP’s Advice on Working with Private Equity
Your company was just acquired by a private equity (“PE”) firm. This is a game changer for you in many ways:
As the sales leader, this can bring a lot of stress. What’s your response going to be?
A critical time is the first 100 days. Your new partners will review your sales strategy, org and execution plan. You will now have something called monthly operating reviews (MORs). These MORs are to ensure the 100 day plan is on track.
These meetings can be intense. They will be uncomfortable if you’re not prepared to answer their questions.
Download the First 100 Days Checklist to help you get ready.
Your Life Will Change
Your new partners will be actively involved in the business. Donald Mastro is the EVP of Sales for AVI-SPL. He’s led sales for 3 private equity portfolio companies. AVI-SPL is in the Silver Lake Partners portfolio.
I asked Don what sales leaders can expect during the first 100 days.
Don’s Advice: A PE firm is very focused on the analytics and process of sales. You need to be prepared to understand your metrics in leading a growth sales organization. You need to understand the role of each board member from the PE firm. Listen to their advice at the MORs and pivot from that advice.
Get Aligned with Your New Partners
By using the First 100 Days Checklist, you can get aligned with your new partners. I asked Don what questions sales leaders should be prepared to answer. He provides 19 questions in the checklist. A few examples:
You will find the rest of these in the checklist. In addition, there is a link to additional resources to help you accomplish them.
Don’s Advice: Be accurate with your budgeting and forecasting, including explaining variances weather positive or negative. Budgeting and forecasting should always be from the bottoms up and empirical in approach. PE firms love data and the expectation is you have it for your MORs.
The checklist will help you do this.
PE firms constantly evaluate the talent of their portfolio executives. You and your team likely had a thorough evaluation during the due diligence process. This process will continue with greater rigor in the first 100 days. Aligning yourself with this process will make your transition smoother.
Don’s Advice: I survived 3 PE firms as a leader by being a strategic thinker. You should answer their questions with data and facts. You can always get back to a PE member with answers after doing research. Be prepared to lead strategic change for growth in your sales organization. Focus your time and energy on daily tasks that drive sales growth. Don’t forget the customer and your sales employees come first. The financial results will fall into place to satisfy the PE’s expectations.
To get more information on the first 100 days, visit our resources page here.
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