After a merger: how to combine CS teams

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James Fisher
James Fisher Member Posts: 7 Contributor
edited July 2020 in Metrics & Analytics

Hi CS team, 

So I worked for Periscope Data and then we merged/got acquired by another company. The Periscope team has been working fairly autonomously since the merger (May '19) and we are just beginning merging our CS teams. 

Does anyone have advice/experience on this? What to be aware of, what to tackle first etc. We are starting to have team members report to new directors, break the team into regions, and eventually handle customers that have significantly different products (with the end goal of a fully unified product)

Looking forward to hearing feedback and if others have been through this! 

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  • Kevin Mitchell Leonor
    Kevin Mitchell Leonor Member Posts: 248 Expert
    First Comment Name Dropper First Anniversary
    edited June 2020
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    Should be a good opportunity to merge what each company does best when it comes to Customer Success and work on standardizing.

    My suggestion, treat Periscope and Company B as if they are your customer. Manage their onboarding, develop a success plan, benchmark against that success plan, and review lessons learned.

  • Alex Turkovic
    Alex Turkovic Member Posts: 61 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    It's hard to get super detailed without the context of knowing each business, but I've recently been through something very similar and have a few items of interest:

    • Leadership structure: I think that in combining CS functions, the first step has to be to identify a clear leadership structure for the new org before anything else can fall into place
    • Unified Metrics: Having a standardized set of metrics across all CS teams will help to unify the language
    • Cross Training: Ensuring all CS members begin to know each others products, processes and challenges
    • Getting Ahead of Redundancies: This isn't the most pleasant topic, but whenever this sort of thing happens, redundancies are almost inevitable. We as leaders typically know the value each of our team members bring to the table better than anyone - so part of this time period should be spent ensuring that each team member is being utilized as fully as possible in the areas where they shine and have expertise. There's nothing worse in this situation than someone who is idle, doing something they may not be inherently good at or passionate about, as they will likely be targeted for reduction.
    • Cross Sell Playbooks: You are not only combining your product suite - but you are combining your customer base. Working cross functionally to identify how you are going to cross sell each product into the existing white space will be important to turn in some early wins.

    I'm sure there's more - but this is top of mind. Hope it helps!

  • James Fisher
    James Fisher Member Posts: 7 Contributor
    edited June 2020
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    Hey Alex, this is great and very thorough - really appreciate it. We've made strides on the first three points you mentioned, feels good to be trending in a direction that others have also gone. 

    The redundancies one is an interesting - due to COVID-19 we have already had company wide layoffs, with the CS team not walking away unscathed. As we merge teams into regions, it will be good to keep this point in mind. 

    Thanks again!

  • Alex Turkovic
    Alex Turkovic Member Posts: 61 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    My pleasure! If there's more I can think of, I'll post it here.

  • Scott Morgan
    Scott Morgan Member Posts: 24 Expert
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    edited June 2020
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    Alex nailed the major points. Some other point or sub-points:

    • Update the customer journey: Most likely it will take some time to integrate salesforce instances, billing, support, and other business units. The customer journey will change as those points merge. During M&A customers get nervous because of the change. Knowing how the customer will now experience the new company and the new friction points will help smooth the customer journey.
    • Have clear escalation paths and issue management. This is a sub-point to leadership structure. As the different business lines merge the CSM will need to know how to move the escalations, customer voice, or product information through the new org. Sometimes this will be updated weekly or more frequently.
    • Include your team members in the integration process. Let them help you. Create cross functional merger teams to bring the companies together. Set the objectives and have the team build out the tasks and work through the implementation.