The SCG Blog

Is Your Customer’s M&A Strategy Your Best Sales Lead?

November 12, 2015


Jason Swan
Managing Director


Global mergers and acquisitions are on pace to set an all-time record, surging toward a $4.58 trillion mark for 2015 that shatters even 2007’s staggering numbers, according to a recent Wall Street Journal article.

And while more modest growth is expected in 2016, deals through the first quarter of the year will increase – with high-tech, consumer products, healthcare and real estate having the highest growth potential, according to a recent analysis by Intralinks, which sells cloud-based collaboration software, including a product specifically geared toward managing mergers and acquisitions. 

With that trend, it’s safe to say that at any moment, somewhere, one of your customers is talking about buying someone, or in discussions about being sold themselves. 

And whatever end of the spectrum that customer lies on, this event will change what they need for software assets – either in your favor, or not. That’s because mergers and acquisitions are an ideal time to initiate a licensing compliance check. Customers need the help getting a full view of their assets, and reducing the regulatory and security risks that come from noncompliance. You have the opportunity to uncover additional revenue by either discovering existing noncompliance or aiding in sales that prevent breaches.

But these events are also one of the best times for a competitor to displace you.

You can tip the scales in your favor with a proactive and aggressive strategy to monitor your customers’ business moves.

Why Should I Watch M&A?

A systematic approach to monitoring your customers’ business activities benefits not only you as the salesperson – but your business as a whole. With an accurate picture of the company’s subsidiaries, you can quickly initiate a merger of account information that will not only help you get a true view of the entitlement, but accurate information to feed the CRM system. That means supporting teams like accounting, finance and support will be able to send invoices and technical responses to the appropriate contact within the organization.

Your research will also set you up for one (or a combination) of these scenarios: The acquired company may already be a customer, and your firm can charge a transfer fee. Your customer may have just signed a large volume deal that you can reopen and renegotiate for expanded use. Or uncovering non-compliance can open the window for new purchases to advance your customer’s innovation strategy, especially given the funds may come out of legal budgets, and not IT.

I can point to one deal in which monitoring the aggressive merger and acquisition strategy of a long-time customer led to a mutually agreeable audit and the recovery of $3 million in previously undiscovered revenue, in just six months.

To get numbers like those, you need the information to initiate the compliance check in the first place.

How Do You Do It?

If you’re an individual contributor, as part of your territory plan, start monitoring news from your customers, and adjust that list as your customers evolve. This should obviously include customers where you have early stage pipeline opportunities as well as your largest install accounts, but should also include top prospects using competitors’ products. Think about this: a prospect acquires a heavy-user of your products, lending you a chance to negotiate a deal that will help them achieve a harmonized application strategy – by replacing your competitors’ products. The same logic applies on the executive level – only monitor your customers on more macro view to uncover trends by industry and region across the entire customer base.

Monitoring your customers – and your potential customers – is a lot easier than it used to be. I remember a decade ago, when I was in field sales in Maryland and the Carolinas, waiting for my subscriptions to dozens of print business journals to come in the mail. It’s a routine that was a bit tedious, but which led me to a $400,000 deal. Now you don’t have to wait for the weekly business journal to arrive – news is available in near real-time. And you can personalize this information to your needs with networking sites – which retrieve and deliver relevant information at a pace faster than you could ever find it on your own. We have the ability through technology to know more about our customers on a variety of levels even before their employees do. 

Watch your customers’ business strategy – and get well beyond the threshold to be sipping cocktails in the sun with your EVP of sales and CEO.

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