Leading Through an Acquisition

Focus on the people.

Summary
Transcript

In this behind-the-scenes interview from Leadercast 2020—Positive Disruption, Sangram Vajre, chief evangelist and co-founder of Terminus, shares what he’s learned in his experience leading through acquisitions. 

“The No. 1 thing I learned as part of acquisition is this: It's all about people,” he says. “Your technology can be integrated later, you can figure out how the websites look and what colors go and all those things, but if you don't take care of the people that are most important for that acquisition, you are going to fail.”

Watch the video to hear Sangram explain further about successfully leading through an acquisition.

TAKEAWAYS
- During an acquisition, your focus needs to be on the people.
- If you don’t take care of the people, you are going to fail.
- Quickly establish shared values and vision for everyone to follow.

So acquisition is a big deal. And as an organization, you need to figure out if you're ready for it. So as a startup, when we started to think about acquisition, it's even harder because you, and maybe the other company you're trying to acquire are of similar sizes, they have this culture, they're this vibrant brand, and you're trying to integrate people where people are really passionate about their brand, their company.

The No. 1 thing I learned as part of acquisition is this: It's all about people. Your technology can be integrated later, you can figure out how the websites look and what colors go and all those things, but if you don't take care of the people that are most important for that acquisition, you are going to fail.

As a matter of fact, one of the biggest stats out there is that nine out of 10 acquisitions fail. So when we acquire, we've acquired about three companies at this point in the last five years, and each time, I learned the lesson harder and harder and harder that… Oh my gosh, the first time when we did it, we said, "All right, let's just… everything is OK. We can figure everything out."

The second time we acquired, we said, "No. We're going to create a clear set of standards that we need to have, and we're going to make those transition points as quick as possible." And that really helped us to bring people together because people want shared values and shared vision.

And the third time when we acquired, we made that even faster. So all I've learned from acquisitions from my own company and the company that we have acquired is make it as fast as possible and, more importantly, make it all about people. And when you focus on that, you're going to have a little bit of a smoother transition than what you might expect.

Sangram Vajre

Sangram Vajre is co-founder and chief evangelist of Terminus, a leader in account-based marketing that has raised more than $20 million in funding. He wrote the very first book on account-based marketing, and is an international speak...

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