Surviving Customer Mergers, Acquisitions and Splits
Business mergers, acquisitions and splits happen all the time. You hear about the fear generated by these changes - layoffs, stock changes, etc... but what happens to the vendors that serve these companies?
When these types of changes happen within a company, the effects ripple beyond just the company itself. These changes also bring uncertainty to the suppliers, vendors and even the end customers of the company. So, as a vendor, how do you embrace the change that comes as the result of such a split? That all depends on the history of the customer relationship and current state of the account. It’s important to remember that, regardless of how you're managing the account currently, you are influencing future decisions that will be made by your customer. Are you delivering on your promises? Offering valuable industry news and thought leadership? Are your representatives responsive and quick to resolve issues? If you find yourself saying "yes", then a merge or split doesn't have to be scary. Why? Chances are, your great service has nurtured solid relationships and created brand advocates within the account.
Relationship management plays a critical role in your program's current and future success. If you're doing the right things, the right way, people will appreciate and remember you. If your customer undergoes this type of split, you have a better chance of being able to influence someone on both sides; so you not only retain your original program, but gain a second. We've had the chance to experience this first hand. A customer of Populus Group recently underwent a split, and based on the great things we had done for them, we were asked to set up a duplicate program with the company offshoot. Had we not been delivering results or nurturing our relationships, we could have been blocked at the new organization and/or dropped from the current customer during the transition.
Consider the impact your everyday service can have on your future. Are you making choices that are good for you, or for your customers? Are you memorable, and for the right reasons? When was the last time you asked for feedback? Protect and influence your accounts while you can, so you can worry less about the outcome of an acquisition or split.