March 22 by Suraj Sampath

As a Business Development Representative (BDR), we’re tasked with working with Account Executives (AE) to set meetings on their calendar, so that they have the opportunity to generate business. However, more often than not, the people you want to get a hold of are difficult to reach, and, when you do reach them, you have only 15-30 seconds to grab their attention and parlay that attention into positive education or a meeting for your Account Executive. So what is something that will capture their attention quickly and powerfully?

Whats so Interesting About Mergers and Acquisitions?

For me, I’ve noticed what really grabs attention quickly is talk based around merger and acquisition activity, and, while this can halt deals, it can also be an extremely compelling reason to reach to potential customers about their business processes.

Why? Think about it: when businesses purchase or merge with another company, the process involved is incredibly complex, requiring multiple sets of business systems, ownership of said systems, new customers and new competitors – and the list goes on and on. And after all the business has been concluded, guess what that means for the new executives overseeing the result: new sets of problems. Specifically in this case, the problems are never going to be straight forward, and will likely keep them up a longer than they would want to admit.

Contract Management Conversations Go Hand In Hand with Mergers and Acquisitions

On the flip side, it’s a pretty compelling place for us, as a Business Development and Sales organization, to start. While there are multiple areas where Contract Management discussions come into play, let’s instead talk about where the conversations I’ve found to generate meetings and get me paid.

And those conversations begin with the legal department, and what many of them are (still) doing to manage all of their new contracts. Specific to Mergers and Acquisitions, Legal gets the pleasure of reviewing, finding, storing, and tracking all of the new contracts coming in. Once, I asked a legal team – whose company had rapidly grown via M&A – how they were handling the reporting for contract expiration. They told me the scariest thing possible. They said “I don’t know, we can’t”, and from that moment onward I knew we had an company process through which we could immediately add value. Believe it or not that same conversation has played itself out over and over again – and if you don’t believe me look at my W-2’s, kidding, but not really.

Major Contracting Pain Points

In a survey Apttus conducted with over 50 enterprise legal departments, more than 50% of departments described their most significant pains around contract management to be the time lost on administrative tasks due to limited resources. In addition, almost 50% described pains around the pressure from other department for quick turnaround on legal work. Those problems don’t go away after a merger or acquisition – when you add more contracts, and more processes into place, without the guarantee of additional legal resources. On a more personal level, those problems can also the difference someone’s promotion or dismissal – but those problems are also where compelling and frank discussions are started, often leading to genuine process changes.

ASC 606 Doesn’t Make it Easier

If you acquire a company that has a very manual process for storing and creating contracts, those problems simply become amplified. There are issues around understanding who has edited the contract last, understanding if the terms that were signed are still favorable now post acquisition, being able to track spend across different lines of business, and, just recently, if the contracts are in compliance with the new ASC 606 standards.

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