Acquisition Integration: Stories from the Field
BTEG is currently working with one of the world’s largest technology companies and its channel organization. For more than eight years, we’ve worked with the Channel Management team as a direct interface with its partners, enabling partners to build successful industry-focused and/or technology-focused practices. Over this time, we’ve built scalable partner practice building templates and models.
The client’s worldwide channel team is very large and complex―being both technology focused as well as industry focused, and their resources are heavily utilized. When the company acquired a very large software company, the channel team was suddenly faced with integrating an entirely new partner channel worldwide, while continuing to support all of its existing partners and programs without adding additional overhead.
Because of our ongoing, successful relationship, they turned to BTEG to provide the expertise and resources needed to ensure the successful integration of the acquired channel. The company describes its decision to engage with us on this acquisition integration project this way; “Stan just makes things easy for us. He has proven to us time and again that he can just take the ball and run with it. We knew he and his team were the right choice for this critical project.”
Challenge: Retain revenue from the acquired channel
This acquisition took the company into an area they haven’t been before and into an entirely new set of channel partners. They needed help to not only identify and validate the top performing partners, but to develop a program that would ensure those partners came on board and were successfully integrated into their existing channel program.
As a first step, we worked with the channel team and field sales to understand the newly acquired partners’ differences in each major territory, worldwide. Then, we developed a go to market (GTM) strategy for partners in each of those territories―defining goals, identifying top partner attributes, determining budget and resource requirements, and creating retention strategies.
With over 500 worldwide partners, we needed to quickly determine the partners producing the bulk of revenue in each territory and primarily focus there. That said, we also needed to develop programmatic ways to engage, retain and enable the long-tail partners―those currently contributing less than 20% of channel revenue.
Meeting the challenge
The integration of two organizations is never simple. Identifying and addressing all of the hurdles of a channel integration is very complex. Just moving the acquired company’s product onto your price list, for example, is a huge, complex task. What’s more, in this case, the pricing models were significantly different; there was a significant variance in the margins the partners were accustomed to receiving vs. the margins to existing partners on core products. Working with both the acquiring and acquired company’s channel team and the partners themselves, we were able to anticipate many of the issues that might negatively impact the channel and then develop and execute on strategies that helped the company remove barriers and retain the top performing partners.
Results (so far)
The acquisition integration is an ongoing process. We set out knowing it would be about two years before we are assured of success. We are now just over a year into it. But, we have reached milestones that say we’re heading in the right direction and there is success to date.
Of the 97 identified “Target Partners” 73 partners (just over 80%) have been successfully on-boarded. And, while we have not retained every partner, partner revenue has remained flat. That’s a win.
Gaining Momentum: Enabling the new channel to start integrating core products into their portfolio
This part of the channel acquisition integration is equally challenging and requires
- a commitment by the partner to invest the time and resources to the new products, and
- a significant investment by you in partner training; not only product training but also, and perhaps more importantly, on the business case of the now-combined company’s solutions.
With the leadership of BTEG, our client has already made significant headway in this area. Relying on BTEG’s over 20 years of channel specific GTM planning and execution experience, we’ve helped this client develop a worldwide channel-facing program and tools to help the new channel partners to succeed. BTEG, to date, has worked individually with 14 of the largest partners to build territory specific and/or industry specific GTM plans.