The Painless Way to Merge CRMs Post-Acquisition
Despite the fact that global M&A activity slowed during the third quarter of 2018, last year registered as the second highest global value on record: $2.72 trillion across 13,575 deals.
The highest global M&A value ever – $2.94 trillion – was posted in 2007, and word on the street is that 2019 could be even bigger.
With M&A activity on the rise, it’s about time companies figure out how to effectively integrate systems of record post-acquisition. This is especially true when it comes to merging CRM systems. If done incorrectly, companies could lose millions in lost deals.
Aaron Romigh, chief operating officer of Miller Heiman Group, a global sales performance company, is no stranger to this area. Some might even consider him an expert on the topic, as he helped Miller Heiman Group merge 15 CRMs into one following a series of acquisitions about three years ago.
What considerations do companies need to make before beginning this process? Romigh sat down with us to share some of his wisdom and insight.
Channel Futures: Why did Miller Heiman Group have 15 CRM systems? What challenges did this pose for the organization?
Aaron Romigh: Like many companies today, we went through a series of strategic acquisitions, with multiple legacy brands placed under the Miller Heiman Group logo. With those brands came a series of systems to manage post-merger.
Before merging CRM systems, our sellers had to call their sales leader to give an opportunity update. Next, they’d call their operations team lead to provide new timelines. From there, they’d update the client, build a new quote and send that quote when any small change needed to be made.
This took a tremendous amount of selling time away – we estimated about 50% at one point – and made the job of our sellers into an administrative burden. That’s not where you want a seller spending time. You want to free them up to chase revenue and correspond with clients.
We also saw a lot of siloed activity happening post-merger. Work was not managed centrally or in a consistent way. Most of our sales leaders avoided our CRM systems and managed via forecasting calls and a series of Excel spreadsheets. Fifty-odd Excel spreadsheets globally is not an effective way to run a world-class business.
We needed a better way.
This is why we didn’t just adopt a CRM. We changed our entire back-office process flow and attached it to our CRM launch. We integrated legal, finance, tech, ops and sales processes through a network of systems all connected to our new CRM. This took about 24 months from start to finish.
CF: What did you learn during this process of merging CRM systems?
AR: The takeaways for other companies merging CRMs is that change is hard. Sales organizations must center change around a shared methodology. At the end of the day, CRMs are often just big databases that are used as compliance tools. Sellers comply with data entry that is rolled up to a sales manager and leader and eventually the organization. Without a strategic approach to CRM use, it’s really just a database. It makes a sales leader and an executive’s job easier.
Thinking about sellers and how we can positively impact their results is in our DNA. This is why we wanted to build something that helped a seller see a CRM as part of their everyday work to close a deal — not something their sales leader made them do. That’s the next wave of CRM — CRM 4.0.
This next era, CRM 4.0, comes from an industry shift toward science-based selling rather than …