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07. 12. 2018

8 Powerful SaaS Sales LinkedIn Profile Tips

Money-maker or deal-breaker – is your LinkedIn profile optimized to help you sell?A busy sales rep’s LinkedIn profile gets views from hundreds of people for hundreds of different reasons, reaching far beyond direct prospects checking them out online.Every post, comment, like or share reverberates through the online community of 500m+ members, and building a powerful profile that pro-actively contributes to pushing new and existing prospects along the sales funnel can be an investment worth many thousands of dollars in its cumulative impact.Looking to turn your LinkedIn profile from a static bio into a lead-gen engine?Here are the essentials:1. PhotoOK, let’s get through this one fast - LinkedIn profile photos have the simple purpose of presenting you as an approachable professional. You might be amazed that this point even makes our list, but… let’s just say that there are some wide-ranging interpretations out there of what this concept might mean.Remember, the function of your photo is to help bridge the gap that exists from not meeting your customer in person. So, if your picture shows you cropped out from a blurry wedding group photo, behind reflective ski goggles or zoomed out to 1,000 yards on top of a mountain peak, you’re creating a needless barrier that can be solved with a neutral background and a cell phone camera. Easy fix.2. Banner imageYour profile’s banner image is freely available advertising space – why not make use of it?As a minimum, it should represent your brand for top-of-mind awareness – ideally with your company’s tagline.At best, have your marketing team create a banner image that delivers an elevator pitch of your offering, compelling headline sales data, an engaging screen capture or a client quote.  What’s likely to move prospects down the funnel faster – a generic cityscape backdrop or a powerful customer testimonial?3. Headline LinkedIn offers you the chance to customize your ‘headline’. This is not the same as your current job title – it’s what sits at the top of your profile, and what people will see when you pop up in their news feeds.To get the most out of it, tell people about the results you create, not your job function.Who’s going to get a foot in the door faster with target prospects in the video adtech space?'Account Executive' or 'Helping marketers improve ROI on video ad spend'Quick hint – it’s best not to go overboard here. Remember to keep it intelligible and relevant. You’ll see plenty of quirky and well-intentioned headlines that actually confuse more than they help, e.g. "Delighting customers with awesome user experiences"OK... so what do you do?4. SummaryYour summary sits right under your photo and is the centrepiece of your profile.This is your chance to promote your solution - not yourself.As well as an engaging overview of your product and how it helps customers, remember you can drive prospects to even more compelling sales materials – product overview videos, customer testimonials etc. Use specific page links - don’t make prospects work to find good information about your offering. If you want to frame your solution with some context about the company behind your product, try and keep it concise. A deluge of stats about growth, investment, awards etc. can obstruct your key message – the problem you solve for your customers.5. ActivityThis is where prospects can see what you’re up to on the LinkedIn platform. If you’re a real solutions expert in a niche community, that should shine through – what do you like, what do you share? What do you comment on, what do you say? Who do you engage with?Details like this can be the difference between prospects returning calls or answering emails… if they look for evidence that you’re engaged with your community but your profile is a ghost town – you have to work that much harder. 6. ExperienceWhen top sales reps summarize their experience, they find a way to intertwine their experience with results they’ve achieved for their customers. You can still showcase your personal performance, but take a look at the difference below:'Exceeded sales quota by 15% for 3x consecutive years' vs 'Exceeded sales quota by 15% for the 3x consecutive years, helping over 120 accounting firms save an average of 30% on payroll processing costs'7. MediaAttaching media to your profile (in the form of flyers, product overviews, data sheets etc.) is a chance to get any visitor who lands on your profile to explore your product. It often takes weeks of emails, calls, voicemails and old-school prospecting to get a chance to show a prospect the highlights of your solution – why miss the chance if they’re on your profile, ready to learn?Just make sure it’s up to date, and work with marketing to ensure content is evergreen. Outdated market reports, product releases or company news weaken your relevance and can do more harm than good. 8. RecommendationsWhile you’re not in control of any unsolicited recommendations graciously bestowed by benevolent co-workers or customers, it’s common practice for mutually respecting peers or business associates to request recommendations to round out their profile.If you do pro-actively seek recommendations (plenty of people do), it’s worth asking if connections can reference your business impact as well as your personal qualities.Again, the difference can be powerful:'Helen was a pleasure to work with - responsive and professional' vs 'Helen was a pleasure to work with - responsive, professional, and helped us dramatically reduce the amount of time we spent finding key data across our organization.'***Adaptive Tech recruits on behalf of high-growth SaaS vendors, filling roles at all levels including SDR, CSM, AE, Sales Engineering, VP and more.You can check out Adaptive Tech's SaaS sales vacancies in our job listings here.
30. 11. 2018

Seven Corporate Culture Lessons Learned from BELA 2018

Adaptive Globalization recently announced the winners of the 2018 Best Employers in Localization Awards.What did the selection process reveal about building a successful corporate culture in language services?Last week Adaptive was delighted to reveal the winning Language Service Providers across a range of employment categories in the 2018 BELA awards:Best for Employee BenefitsBest for Employee RetentionBest for Training & Personal DevelopmentBest for Employee WellbeingBest for Career ProgressionBest for Recruitment & OnboardingThroughout the selection process, Adaptive’s panelists dug deep into the structures, processes and philosophies each participating LSP has adopted to build their corporate cultures and create positive work environments for their teams.By studying this year’s winners, we were able to identify some clear trends visible throughout the leading language agencies – factors which thriving corporate cultures have in common.Understanding how outstanding culture is built not only has value for owners and managers of LSPs but can be extremely useful for candidates looking to benchmark their current workplace and evaluate career options.From our work evaluating entrants and winners in this year’s awards, here are 7 lessons we learned about creating a successful culture.Having a voice mattersRegardless of where an employee sits in the corporate hierarchy, successful cultures have channels in place to ensure that the business is receiving feedback from all angles. If team members have no structured opportunity to provide thoughts and ideas to management – be it via surveys, meetings, reviews or workshops – they’re given a passive role in overall company development and often fail to invest themselves fully in their work.Additionally, employees who are delivering services and building products (plus dealing with customers on a daily basis) often have vital insights to share to improve business performance, and failure to create pathways for this feedback to flow can stifle innovation and agility.Teams thrive when they see the bigger pictureIn a people-drive business like language services, talented and motivated teams are core of any successful agency. Attempting to unify effort and energy for complex teams without a shared vision of success can be exceptionally difficult, if not altogether impossible.There are natural and much-needed limitations in business concerning how transparent a leadership team can responsibly afford to be with their entire organization, but owners and managers who are excessively opaque about the mid and long-term goals of the company lose a valuable opportunity to bring teams closer together and drive performance.If large sections of the team don’t know where the company’s heading or what it’s aiming to achieve, how can they drive towards that goal?A clear financial path is a mustEvery business has ups and downs, and it’s not always possible for a company to guarantee fixed raise amounts or annual percentage increases to everyone in the organization (as much as a leadership team may wish to do so).Despite this, leading agencies work to ensure that staff – as a minimum – have a guaranteed opportunity to discuss earnings and to develop a path to advance their careers financially, even if that means being patient, learning new skills or helping the company reach performance goals.  Employees in a role with no idea what it takes to get to the next level, what compensation will be if they get there or how long it will take can’t reasonably be expected to show the same patience and commitment as those operating within a more structured framework.It’s natural for even the most loyal team members to wish to progress in their earnings as their tenure and careers evolve, and working pro-actively to create formal dialogue on the topic can offer a vital platform for communication.Flexibility is keyThere’s a wide range of working arrangements across the language sector, with some agencies almost entirely made up of remote workers, some offering a hybrid in-office / home office structure and some firmly based around an office location.Regardless of the model, flexibility is on the rise as a major candidate driver when choosing new career homes.With so much investment by employers in recruitment, career development and staff benefits, it’s a major hole in the net for companies to lose well-trained and motivated team members to competitors simply because they make it easier for a candidate to do something as simple as supporting a spouse with a school run or keeping in touch with family overseas. Flexibility can take many forms, but adapting to build win-win relationships between employers and employees builds solid foundations.People notice if extra effort is rewardedThere can be some stressful times in LSP life – from sales teams busting a gut to make big deals happen to PM and engineering teams working around the clock to deliver against impossible client deadlines…When that extra push goes unremarked, it can be tough for employees to swallow.Within an agency lifecycle there are times when this dedication and sheer hard work directly adds to (or even rescues) the company bottom line, and if the fruits of that effort aren’t reaching those responsible it soon gets noticed.Solving this doesn’t mean management splashing out on huge bonuses - nods of appreciation as simple as pizza lunches, half-days of vacation and other basic tokens go a long way to letting people know that their commitment in high-pressure moments is noted and valued.Investment in onboarding pays offThe onboarding experiences for new hires across the translation and localization industry can vary drastically. At the less structured end of the spectrum, in some companies it takes people weeks (or even months) to fully understand who else works in the company and what everybody does.Particularly important with international companies that have multiple office locations, employees settle in faster and develop a stronger commitment when they feel oriented and integrated from the beginning.Agencies which take the time to prepare a program to help new arrivals understand who they’re working with, how they can excel in their role and what skills they should be learning to build (in addition to office basics, like where the fridge is!) see a clear reward in engagement, performance and retention.Corporate culture is a priceless investmentCorporate culture impacts performance across agency life in so many ways that it is impossible to quantify its influence.From the calibre of candidate attracted to join the company (based on reputation), their mindset as they start (first impressions), their performance, resilience, commitment, team spirit, willingness to go the extra mile for colleagues and clients, propensity to innovate (and, of course, longevity), it permeates every area of the business.Beyond the scope of standard ROI calculations, culture is nonetheless a vital investment which connects all facets of successful business operations.Adaptive is proud to be supporting so many clients around the globe who place corporate culture at the centre of their organization, and welcome our annual opportunity to celebrate industry leaders and pioneers in this important field.***Thanks again to everyone who participated in Adaptive Globalization’s 2018 BELA awards – you can read about the results and find a full list of winners here. ***Adaptive Globalization fills jobs in Sales, Account Management and Sales Leadership in the translation and localization industry around the world – browse our full list of vacancies here.
28. 11. 2018

Five Prospecting Errors That Kill Deals

Could these mistakes be undermining your SaaS prospecting efforts?Successful software sales rep are hardwired to close opportunity – from identifying customer pain points to deftly managing price negotiations, the art of converting potential into revenue is the bread and butter of top-achieving sales professionals in all areas of the tech market.Building that pipeline of opportunity, however, is a different ball game.To close deals, you need deals to close – and creating the initial traction needed to get dialogue open can be a sticking point for reps trying to load up their sales funnels – especially those on the front lines of new customer acquisition.  Whether via email, social media, in-person networking or route one cold-calling – here are 5 prospecting blunders that keep valuable conversations from getting off the ground.Clickbait subject linesGetting busy prospects to engage with cold emails is a tough challenge, and innovative reps are often willing to try anything which generates the all-important open.However, there can be a price to pay on an emotional level if a prospect opens an email and immediately feels that they’ve been tricked or misled by what it contains.The below are just a handful of examples of common cold email titles that immediately arouse suspicion in the recipient:“Just for you…”[An offer for all email blast recipients – not just for me, at all…]“Re:”[Regarding… a conversation we’ve never had?]“The real reason you’re stressed out at work”[What if I’m not…?]As the sales rep, a bait-and-switch email subject line can be counter productive.You may have found right person, have a product of real value and have persuaded your recipient to open your email… but if your prospect’s immediate reaction is one of frustration then the opportunity dies right there.While it’s tempting to ‘get creative’ to drive open rates, integrity has long-term value – if your prospect loses trust upon opening your email, why would they believe the rest of its contents or your wider value proposition?Telling your prospect what their problems are“As marketing director, you’re well aware of the time drains X and Y can cause. You’re running from meeting to meeting, scrambling to keep pace with ABC…”Effective sales is about learning to understand your prospect’s pain points and working with them to find a solution.Here’s the thing – you don’t get to choose those pain points.You might have a very strong suspicion of what they are - and guide the conversation in that direction - but if you’re attempting to build a reciprocal dialogue with a customer then it’s important not to make sweeping assumptions.Why?Prospecting engagement is about encouraging someone to come and talk to you – the quality of your conversation and your ability to offer a solution will determine whether that discussion evolves into a sale.If you present yourself as a mind-reader who has it all figured out, you create the opposite dynamic.How can your prospect expect you to listen and learn in follow-up conversations if you start the relationship telling them about their life without even speaking to them?Information overloadWhether via email or in a call, blasting someone with every possible feature of your solution is typically more overwhelming than it is helpful.When unsure of exactly what a customer’s problem may be, it can be tempting for sales reps to load their email and demo pitches with every major product benefit to make sure they cover all angles, backed up with links to case studies and online resources.Instead of impressing the customer, this can cause them to lose focus in a mire of information.To better balance your initial approach, hint at what your product can do (a tight elevator pitch is key here!), then open the conversation up with some questions to probe for pain points and opportunity.There’s a reason terms like “lead nurturing” exist – prospecting involves the gradual cultivation of initial interest into targeted and detailed discussions around solutions to certified customer issues. Being too laid backSales reps with high emotional intelligence are permanently aware of the risk of pressuring a prospect too hard – excessive zeal to move the process along can drive potentially interested customers away.However, the reverse is also true. Some reps are so cautious to avoid hustling their prospects that their easy-going attitude can come across as indifference.While not pestering a prospect is crucial, it’s also important to establish a clear dynamic – customers need to feel that you truly believe that your solution will help them.If you don’t care whether or not they buy your product, why should they?Without that core belief as a foundation for the dialogue, there will be no pace and no energy in the process, and it may well die out.Not making the case for ROIThere’s often a perception that early prospecting engagements are no place to be talking about ROI – that’s a level of detail for when you’re further down the discussion path, right?Wrong.People need to understand from day one how your solution will help the bottom line – at least at a high level.Sure, they don’t need a complex mathematical breakdown, but entirely ignoring how your solution will pay for itself in productivity, revenue-generation or cost-saving benefits immediately positions it as a nice-to-have add-on.That’s a tough category to be in – you’ll need a prospect with surplus budget to even consider checking out your product.Keep in mind, when prospecting within large corporations you’re very rarely talking to the ultimate decision-maker straight away, so helping your initial contact feel confident that they can ultimately make a sound business case to get sign-off for your solution gives them the confidence that it’s worth exploring the offering in full.***Looking for your next SaaS sales opportunity?Check out Adaptive Tech's full list of sales jobs across the US and Europe here.We recruit for AEs, CSMs, SDRs, VPs and Sales Engineers across fast-growing and established SaaS vendors at all levels.
26. 11. 2018

Digital M&A – Deals That Shaped 2018

This year saw some landmark acquisitions in the digital commerce and communications industry – we review the highlights (so far). With the month of December still left to play out, 2018 has witnessed some big moves in the merger and acquisition arena across the digital marketing and ecommerce sectors.Despite competition for investment dollars from emerging peripheral markets (notably AI and blockchain), e-retail platforms, digital marketing services and payment solutions all attracted major attention from both trade and strategic buyers.With 7 acquisitions at $1bn+ closed in H1 2018 alone, several of the alliances struck throughout the year are set to alter the commercial landscape for some time to come.Here’s our pick of the standout deals of the year so far:Walmart buys FlipkartUS retail giant Walmart splashed out $16bn to acquire a 77 percent stake in Flipkart, India’s largest online retailer.Seen by analysts as a strategic move to keep pace with other e-retail heavyweights (chiefly Amazon, who moved onto Walmart’s home turf of in-store grocery shopping with their purchase of Whole Foods), the deal included $2bn of new equity funding for growth and left the door open for Flipkart to go public at a later date.Adobe buys MarketoAfter being delisted from the NASDAQ in 2016 by Vista Equity Partners for $1.8bn, Marketo found a new home for a hefty $4.75bn as Adobe looked to fortify their digital marketing offering (Experience Cloud) to keep pace with competitors Salesforce, HubSpot, Oracle and SAP. Beginning life as recently as 2006, Marketo added marketing automation to the Adobe product suite as part of a rapidly-expanding digital experience portfolio.Twilio buys SendGrid Variously described as an ‘engagement’ or ‘communications’ platform, Twilio offered developer-focused capabilities in channels covering voice, video, chat, SMS, social media and connected devices – with the addition of email marketing specialist SendGrid for $2bn in stock, a key gap was plugged (albeit for a price that stunned many onlookers). With the acquisition slated to close in the first half of 2019, combined revenues could be north of $700m by that point. Silver Lake buys ZooplaCarrying property listings for nearly 15,000 estate agency branches, Zoopla has been a dominant force in the UK residential property market and the ‘PropTech’ sector. US PE heavyweight Silver Lake, impressed by the growth of the online platform and its 50 million monthly visits, forked out £2.2bn for the ZPG group of companies – a nice deal for founder Alex Chesterman, who was also behind the LoveFilm movie subscription service acquired by Amazon.WPP & Dentsu splurgeLeading marketing conglomerates WPP and Dentsu Aegis both added to their sprawling portfolios throughout the year. While no single deal made the big news, the two giants got their checkbooks out on a number of occasions.WPP added Hirshron-Zukerman Design Group, Gorilla Group, 2Sale and Emark, creating additional capabilities in fields covering design, marketing technology, Amazon retail services and more, before announcing the merger of JWT and Wunderman to create a new advertising superpower.Dentsu hoovered up Whitespace, Amicus Digital and Global Mind, diversifying service offering whilst also adding headcount in Scotland, Australia and Argentina.PayPal buys iZettleIn May payment superpower PayPal spent $2.2bn to purchase Swedish fintech firm iZettle, adding point-of-sale hardware to its suite of commerce solutions. Timing was tight on the deal, as iZettle had filed for IPO only days before PayPal announced the news.Targeting the small business sector, iZettle uses a mobile-based card reader to allow digital payments, similar to rival Square.The purchase is part of a series of diversification moves by PayPal, who also own P2P payment platform Venmo and business loan provider Swift Financial.Adobe buys MagentoThe only acquiror to appear twice on our list, Adobe showed their ambition with a double-headline year, not only buying Marketo but also scooping up e-commerce platform provider Magento from European PE firm Permira for $2.68bn, a revenue multiple of over 11x.Once again up against Salesforce and Oracle (among others), Adobe saw Magento as a key gap in its ability to provide e-retailers with a comprehensive infrastructure and marketing solution, adding the capability to build, run and market web stores through a single platform provider.***Adaptive Digital recruits across Europe and the USA for digital marketing and ecommerce professionals, filling roles with brands & agencies in more than 20 countries. To view Adaptive Digital’s full range of open jobs, click here.
22. 11. 2018

Sales Careers: What’s the Path to VP?

Many ambitious sales reps have a career goal of one day moving into a top leadership role – what does it take to get there?For many software sales professionals, achieving the coveted title of VP of Sales marks the pinnacle of career development.Arriving as VP means reaching the top of the ladder - no longer a mere member of the sales team but positioned firmly in the driving seat, taking make-or-break decisions and helming the entire organization’s top-line fortunes. Adaptive Tech’s global team has recruited VP roles with startups, scale-ups and established software vendors across a range of SaaS market sectors.Through conversations with CEOs, first-time sales managers and career sales leaders, our recruiters have a privileged angle from which to observe how successful VPs developed the right mix of abilities and experience to move into top-tier roles.For all aspiring future sales leaders - how do you build the skill set needed to land, retain and excel in the role of VP of Sales? It’s not about being number oneOne of the most surprising things for up-and-coming reps to process is that the path to one day becoming a VP doesn’t necessarily involve being a superstar individual producer.Of course, you need credibility.A respectable track record of making and exceeding quota is a key requirement, but focusing on personal production at the expense of developing other important skills can hold back your rise through the ranks.Just as the fastest or strongest girl or guy doesn’t always captain a sports team, solo performance isn’t enough to build a sales leadership career on.  A rockstar account executive who can’t teach, can’t analyze their own performance and hasn’t built rapport with the rest of the team isn’t an attractive prospect for senior management looking to appoint a leader.Your current manager can teach you more than you thinkOne of the simplest ways to start building a feel for sales leadership and the skills required is to actively observe your current manager’s goals and struggles.While it’s natural to think of a sales manager’s only real concern as hitting their revenue number, detailed assessment will show a more complex picture.See what else your manager is grappling with – maybe it’s raising team morale, integrating new hires members into the group, re-engineering reporting structures or getting the best out of technology…Once you understand how your manager works, you can actively start to support them in their role. This places you naturally as a leader within your team - someone in tune with the key issues and aligned with leadership goals.A natural player-coach role can often evolve from this, leaving you well positioned for promotion opportunities as a key team member who understands the nuances beyond revenue production.Learn the leversWhile mid-tier sales managers may be able to run short-term sales promotions or experiment with new meeting structures, VPs have the full range of switches and levers at their disposal to drive activity and behaviors within the organization.To excel in the role, VPs need to:Know what their options areCommissions structures, bonuses, SPIFFs, contests, sales enablement resources, recruitment, training and onboarding, CRMs, territory divisions, team structures and hierarchies… VPs have the ability to adjust and configure multiple aspects of the sales organization and processes to increase results. Learning the full breadth of possibilities is key to the development of future sales leaders.Understand how they workIt’s not enough to know what can be tweaked, it’s crucial to have fully appreciate the possible consequences of each change. Sales organizations are delicate things, made up of a complex blend of people, emotions, ambition, technology and processes.Promoting team members may cause satisfaction for some, but resentment for others. Weighting incentive towards new account acquisition could leave renewals and upsells lagging. Lower quotas may make OTEs more attainable, but limit ambition…VPs need to be prudent strategists, aware of the impact any decisions may have both positively and negatively on their teams.Know when to use themTo run a sales organization effectively, VPs also need great awareness of how long each lever takes to ‘pull’, and how long it takes to impact.Faced with a looming quarter-end deadline, for instance, there’s little sense in cranking up outbound call KPIs which won’t be able to affect the short-term need. The goal is to focus on closing pipeline and bringing viable deals over the line – levers need to be pulled which switch focus to the right activity at the right time.Similarly, better content might be a vital solution to converting prospects, but it takes time to develop.Reps and mid-level managers with an eye on one day rising to VP should analyze their own environment on an ongoing basis – study the ‘levers’ being pulled, and watch what the consequences are.It’s surprising how much you can pick up even if you’re a few hierarchy rungs removed from your current sales leadership – the changes and impacts are there for anyone who’s paying attention to observe and learn from. Embrace the importance of dataWhile early sales management roles are often all about coaching a team to success, when it comes to moving the needle for an entire organization, data is the key.Mentoring, directing. training and incentivizing are the ways a VP will seek to drive behavior in a certain direction, but it all starts with understanding the stories in the data - this means how a sales group is currently operating, where the issues are and what types of activities need to be increased or reduced in order to raise the volume and conversion rates of prospects through the sales funnel.Even with powerful analytics tools, data isn’t always a neat picture or even drawn from the same source, so VPs need to build their own visualizations by understanding what they need to know, not just poring over out-of-the-box reports and hoping a solution will appear in front of their eyes.Reps without much exposure to working with data can pro-actively ask to get more of an understanding from their managers, and start to build an understanding of the key data points, ratios and relationships that allow for big-picture thinking and strategic decision-making.Take one step at a timeA true VP role is a unique position involving a wealth of decisions and responsibilities at a strategic level which are seldom within the purview of mid-tier sales managers.Although it’s important to develop an understanding of the challenges ahead, it takes time to build the bank of experience necessary to step up and lead the organization – so don’t worry about reading up on complex incentive structures of the theories of territory management if you haven’t got a solid track record of helping junior colleagues close deals or build pipelines.Those who rise quickly to VP focus on shining at every phase of their sales career, but play the game with their heads up - aware of what their managers and corporate leadership are doing, observing the impacts, and readying their skills for their next step forwards.***Looking for your next SaaS sales opportunity? Check out Adaptive Tech's full list of sales jobs across the US and Europe here.We recruit for AEs, CSMs, SDRs, VPs and Sales Engineers across fast-growing and established SaaS vendors at all levels.
09. 11. 2018

Seven things to expect when selling your LSP to private equity

Many language agencies are turning to ready PE capital to support growth – what impact will it have on your business?Private equity funding continues to make steady advances into the language services domain, with an increasing number of LSPs leveraging investor capital and expertise to springboard their agencies to the next level of growth (Frontier Capital’s exit of IP translation specialist MultiLing is the latest public success story).Unlike sale to a trade buyer, however, selling to a PE firm rarely involves an immediate exit from the business and is likely to be a two-stage process that calls for significant ongoing involvement from the owner.PE companies typically look to acquire a controlling or majority share of the business they are investing in, and work to provide resources that enable the company to pursue market opportunity that was previously out of reach.When things go positively, PE investment can mean phenomenal results for business owners – but it’s a special type of partnership that has to be carefully constructed.As an LSP owner considering growth options, what should you expect if you partner with a private equity group?1. More money to growThe primary asset that PE groups bring to the table is deep pockets that let business owners accelerate their growth trajectory and increase shareholder value. This may take the form of investment in sales, marketing or technology, or may – as is the case with LanguageWire’s recent acquisition of Xplanation – include expansion through M&A.Be ready, however, to justify every penny. PE partners aren’t spending out of their own personal piggybanks, but are beholden to investors in a fund which provides the capital used for their projects. So while a PE partner may offer access to big sums for investment in growth, the ROI of each decision will be carefully scrutinized to calculate the anticipated return.2. No place to hideJust as investment decisions will be analyzed in detail, so will every aspect of business operations. Costs, personnel, customer base – even the performance of the incumbent CEO.Some business owners thrive on this new pressure to deliver results, as privately-owned companies often lack a driving force to spur on aggressive growth beyond the personal ambition of the founder.A new group of motivated shareholders certainly provides this impetus, but business owners need to enter the deal with their eyes open and understand that the PE group’s primary objective is to deliver the best possible return on their investment. When faced with obstacles or indicators that they are falling short of forecasts, they won’t hesitate to act. In worst-case scenarios, this can mean layoffs, office closures or other big changes which can impact and potentially damage company culture.3. A new business partnerOften among the biggest adjustments business owners have to make in selling to PE groups is no longer being in full control of their organization. For founders who have run companies for ten or twenty years, to be bumped down to a minority partner can feel strange, even if the upside potential this creates is greater than anything they could have achieved independently (as is often the case).In real terms, accessing that upside means no more solo decision-making and needing to get along well with a new group of senior business partners. This doesn’t mean, however, that PE firms will be getting under the wheels of management on a daily basis – they are investors, not operators, and though they add experience, financial expertise and ideas, they will not be involved in daily functions and will leave management to do its job.4. An easier sale process‘Easy’ is a relative term in all cases, but there’s truth in the idea that selling to private equity groups can be a more straightforward process than selling to a trade or strategic buyer. PE groups have a mandate to acquire companies, often within a fixed time period (the expiration lifetime of the fund), and need to buy, grow and exit companies within that span in order to provide investor returns.As funds are spread across a portfolio of investments, PE groups accept a certain degree of risk in their work, also.With other buyer categories (for example private sale), it’s likely that a large percentage of the buyer’s personal net worth may be invested in the deal, or that they have a realistic option to simply pull out of the idea of making an acquisition altogether. This can lead to a slower, more ponderous process (often less well structured), which can be draining for the seller and a distraction for the business, especially if it doesn’t result in a deal.5. A new perspectiveAs mentioned, PE groups are not ‘operators’ who will be working actively inside the companies they acquire. In fact, many PE partners have never done anything even resembling the type of work which founders (or 99% of their employees) do on a day-to-day basis.Instead, they bring a different set of skills. Often armed with MBAs and the holders of multiple advanced business and financial certifications, PE professionals are seldom entrepreneurs and perhaps more accurately labelled professional investors.While they may not join you in putting their shoulders to the wheel, they will be highly adept at studying business data, finances and performance reports, spotting opportunities for efficiencies, expansion and guiding where investment capital should best be deployed.In the best partnerships, the analytical skills of the PE team coupled with the market knowledge of management creates a powerful team.6. A fixed exit timelineA significant degree of control that founders give up when selling to PE firms is the ability to dictate time-frames when it comes to exiting the company fully.Although a business owner already takes some chips off the table when selling their initial share to the PE firm to begin with, they are usually then locked in to executing on a growth and exit strategy which will enable the PE to deliver returns to fund investors.With most funds having a life-cycle of 5 to 7 years, this arrangement strips founders of the flexibility to run their companies for a long (or as little) as they wish, as the PE firm will look to sell their investment on for a profit during that window.7. A new set of stakeholdersOn an emotional level, some founders take some time to get used to the idea that their company - often built up with sweat, grit, late nights and plenty of risky moments – has become a vehicle for investment in a larger series of business partnerships. PE groups create their funds with money from wealthy individuals, pension plans, insurance companies and other investors looking to generate a return on their capital, and knowing that these unknown parties are ultimately the ones driving the decision-making within a business can be hard to process.With that said, many founders are able to retain significant degrees of both cultural and creative control of their companies after selling to PE partners, and think of outside investor involvement as simply fuel to power their growth of their company. While they may no longer own a controlling share, they remain the de facto business leader and can achieve personal wealth by leveraging investor funds that far exceeds anything attainable on their own.***Adaptive M&A works with the owners of translation and localization agencies to maximize shareholder value at exit by identifying the right strategic match from a diverse network of buyers and investors.You can learn more about our services here.