Two large healthcare companies stood to gain leading positions in their various markets by combining forces through a merger. To realize the potential benefits, however, it was crucial to integrate each firm's unique sales approach into a single sales model.
The starting point: One firm used a salesforce composed of specialists, who sold only the products of a specific business unit. The other firm relied on a more centralized team of generalists, who sold a wide variety of products.
Adding to the complexity of the task, management set an aggressive timeline to achieve synergies and hit financial targets, all while remaining highly focused on avoiding disruption to the combined customer base.
Bain worked with the company to design an end-state salesforce with a new reporting structure and an optimal mix of generalists and specialists, while capturing synergies and minimizing customer impact. The collaborative effort included a number of key steps:
- Identify the current state of the salesforce at each company, including headcount, organization structure, products sold, territories and customers covered, and compensation design.
- Engage with business and commercial leadership to develop an integration thesis, while framing and analyzing various options for the future-state salesforce.
- Design the future-state salesforce and analytically pressure-test the resulting changes to the customers, territories, and products covered to ensure a smooth transition.
- Launch and manage an implementation program in the first year to deliver synergies on an ambitious timeline. This includes migrating to a new organizational structure and a new set of roles and responsibilities, communicating clearly to key stakeholders and identifying quick wins.
Working closely with the client team, Bain developed a comprehensive recommendation with the following elements:
- An optimized mix of sales generalists and sales specialists, designed to suit the combined company’s commercial objectives in both North America and Europe.
- Analytically rigorous territory maps, product coverage and compensation design, with a tactical plan to minimize customer disruption and train sales representatives on the combined product suite.
- An overall sales transition roadmap for year one, encompassing all aspects of the sales transformation, including quick-win pilot programs.
- A weekly, executive-level decision mechanism to guide the process and solve problems as they arise.
Within the first year after the merger, the two salesforces were fully integrated:
- Customer orders remained steady during the sales transition, and financial performance in the impacted business units exceeded internal forecasts.
- Sales representatives were shifted toward the future-state, guided by the new organization structure, territories, product coverage, and compensation design in both North America and Europe.
- The combined company was also on track toward full integration of sales enablement tools, including revised training programs, rationalized sales IT systems and updated sales dashboards and performance metrics.
In addition, the broader merger integration program:
- Realized net synergies in the first year of 1.6 times the initial target.
- Identified net synergies for the third year expected to exceed expectations at 1.5 times the initial target.
- Established trust and strong working relationships between Bain and the client's management team.