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Why you should focus on your customers and sales force following a merger

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On Fast Company's FC Expert blog, Neil Baron offers advice on integrating two companies, urging managers not to lose sight of the customer.

Baron points out that the pre-merger hype does not always live up to post-merger reality, citing McKinsey research showing that, while 80% of mergers are done for reasons of revenue, only 12% actually result in revenue increases.

Baron says there are two critical areas to focus on to increase the likelihood of the merger or acquisition succeeding: redefining the product strategy and positioning; and retraining the sales force.

Regarding the first area, the author points out that there's likely to be a post-merger product integration challenge. With that in mind, he advises the following:

• Build a product integration team comprising product managers, development people, product marketing and sales personnel.

• Listen directly to customers about their concerns. Hold "product councils" where trusted customers give their opinions on how the products relate to one another.

• Use the results to map your product planning and positioning, listing specifically the problems each product solves, its uniqueness, etc.

Regarding the sales force:

• Make sure sales reps are aware of each product's unique strengths.

• Give them a matrix of how the products fit together.

• To avoid rivals capitalising on uncertainty, make your sales force aware of how your products line up against the competition.

• Ensure all members of the sales team are fully aware of how they will be compensated.

Integrating Two Companies? Don't Lose Sight Of The Customer
Neil Baron
Fast Company


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