How to Coerce a Well-Defined Strategy for Employees and Channel Partners During an Acquisition
The proper execution of a merger and acquisition (M&A) relies on a clearly defined strategy that sufficiently and thoroughly explains the new business development at hand.
A smooth transition doesn’t solely hinge on the competence of a strong operational integration plan, it depends on transparency, communication, timing, preparation, and of course, execution.
Leaving your target demographic in the dark can lead to the insinuation of rumors and broadening interpretation of your value proposition. With so many (figurative and literal) moving parts and logistics, it’s simply imperative that the M&A process is carefully planned leaving no room for objective reasoning.
Ultimately, an M&A business development needs to ensure the people that matter most (e.g., internal employees, customers, partners, stakeholders, etc.) of what is happening, and how things are expected to change.
When designing a merger and acquisition plan, here are several best practice guidelines on how to coerce a well-defined, objective strategy:
1.) Emotional Connection
Corporate consolidation, merging, and acquisition can have a cold, emotionless, black and white stigma attached with it.
On the surface, M&A can appear as just another monetarily-based capitalistic progression of greed and control. When communication is sparingly exercised and the transfer of information seizes to follow an inverted pyramid or communicative hierarchy, that stereotype will most likely always ensue. Mergers and acquisitions should be tied to a story.
No, not like Hansel and Gretel or Cinderella, but a new different, personalized type of story.
A story that connects the business decision with evidence that sound judgment and extensive thinking was made into it. A story that gives clear and concise rationale behind the benefits of the M&A and how it promises to be a positive influence for partners and stakeholders collectively. Whether it’s through blogging, videos, media conferences, personalized e-mailing, press releases, FAQs, social media Q & A’s, networking appearances, etc., demonstrating your candidness is vitally important during the initial M&A stages.
2.) Internal Communication
During an M&A, perhaps no one is affected greater than in-house employees within the acquiring company, as well as the employees of the company that is being acquired. Creating an aggressive and thoroughly outlined action plan will ensure that your employees stay in the loop, and never feel isolated or sequestered from C-level management. Milestones within your internal (communicative) timeline should practice a methodical procedure that clearly states when, where and how internal communication will be distributed.
3.) Fully Prepare your Channel
Designate your most competent and experienced channel managers as the medium of communication to explain the M&A.
It is at this step in the M&A process where transparency and thorough explanation of the benefits, objectives, and vision of the future serve instrumental. Most of your channel partners have plenty of options and pricing leverage regarding whom they decide to do business with. Partners who you’ve developed personal relationships with and earned valuable, unique and personalized incentives (in transactions) from you, might see an M&A as an end to everything that once was. In order to maintain the partners you value most, it is important that you clearly distinguish which things will change and which things won’t.
How will co-op/MDF funds be distributed and applied? Will marketing initiatives now be a collaborative or personal effort? Are their companies in which you may now approach directly which may create a competition disadvantage for your partners? If so, disclose them now before things become hostile and messy.
Ultimately, it is better to over-communicate than it is to mitigate the details. Mergers and acquisitions aren’t just something that is stressful to your immediate team—it’s also taxing, and potentially chaotic, to all personnel that is involved with your business. Some partners may depend on your business to execute their quotas or stay afloat in the marketplace; others may hinge on your incentives or partner loyalty programs to effectivity turn a profit. Employees’ careers and livelihoods may hang in the balance of what your final decision may be, and to what extent those details contain as well as the immediate circumstances that come along with them. Thorough and timely coordinated communication is, and will always be, the most important and effective instrument you have to successfully undergo a smooth M&A transition.