It can be a scary occurrence when the company you work for merges with another. Whether the greater or lesser partner in that merger brings a great deal of angst to everyone involved.
But what about when one of the partners your business utilizes merges with another? What kind of things can happen when a business you rely on undergoes a merger, and what should you be prepared to react or, or even take advantage of?
What is a Merger
Per Investopedia, “A merger happens when a company finds a benefit in combining business operations with another company in a way that will contribute to increased shareholder value. It is similar in many ways to an acquisition, which is why the two actions are so often grouped together as mergers and acquisitions (M&A).”
When combining businesses, the most common casualty is leadership positions like Chief Operations Officer or Chief Council, because the new company probably doesn’t need multiple officers fulfilling these positions. This change in vision can mean the company you used to rely on for a crucial service or product no longer aligns with your business in a way that is optimal.
What to Expect
“Services are affected whenever these companies merge, and more often than not, especially if they are larger, it might take years.” This wisdom comes from Derek Donian, Senior Director of Sales Engineering at Netfortris, who goes on to explain that for a more nimble provider like Netfortris, “the landscape moves so quick now that our customers can’t take that amount of time to allow these large companies to merge.”
Also of Netfortris, John Young, EVP of Sales, “I would say customer service gets affected a lot in these mergers,” which makes sense, if you think of it. The customer base of two companies is being shuffled together, most often with different CSM systems managing them, not to mention account managers and customer service reps.
What Can You Do
The first piece is to be open and communicate with your account management reps early and often to ensure that your visions align. If your provider is going in a completely different direction than what you are comfortable with or what will benefit your own philosophy it might be time to find another to fill the role.
If you choose to stay, it doesn’t hurt to ask for price adjustments, better spiffs, or some other incentive. Be sure to stay in touch to maintain knowledge of the proper escalation paths you need to service your own customers. Keep in mind that no matter who you are talking to on the company side, they are personally and professionally experiencing a bit of a tumultuous go, so if you lean into commiseration and avoid irrational requests, you will be held in a higher regard.
If you need to leave, do some research about other vendors. There are smaller and larger players in almost every industry, and you may have a few options open to you.
You do not have to accept mistreatment by your partner, and a merger is no excuse for customer abuse. But keep in mind that the ball is in your court during a merger; you can capitalize on the disruption to reevaluate your current needs and perhaps make your own strategic move.