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14. 12. 2018

Does Personal Brand Matter In SaaS Sales?

What does personal brand mean, how do you build one… and do you need it to sell software?The idea of ‘personal branding’ doesn’t seem to fit naturally into the software sales space at first. Personal branding for, say, a life coach?Sure. Life coaches are what they sell, so it stands to reason that they work hard on building their own reputation as much as that of the service they offer. Software sales rep? Perhaps not so obvious.Sales reps concentrate on promoting an existing brand – that of the software manufacturer whose product they’re representing. Why would they need – or want – a brand of their own?And yet some of the world’s greatest brands (many of them in tech) are closely linked to the reputations of the key individuals who are behind their success.Apple had Steve Jobs, Microsoft and Bill Gates are inextricable for many, and the visionary leadership of Jeff Bezos continues to push Amazon to new heights.In these high-profile instances, personal brand and corporate success intertwined to create an enhanced reputation and ultimately drive spectacular results.In the era of social selling, can sales reps learn from this marriage of personal and commercial brand-building pioneered by entrepreneurs, and what benefits can it bring?What is a ‘personal brand’?It can be helpful to start by clarifying what personal brand is not.Despite the efforts of many would-be internet entrepreneurs, a personal brand is not about working meticulously to create a public-facing image which is at odds with a concealed reality.Instead, personal branding is about taking action to ensure that your passions, values and experiences are clearly and authentically communicated to an audience – ideally a targeted audience that moves within your commercial field and will derive value from being included in your network.In it’s simplest form, personal brand is how others see us.While sales reps may work for someone else’s organization, represent a product they didn’t build, or earn a living by selling a solution they didn’t design, each person is an individual with a unique trajectory and set of experiences.Throughout their careers, sales reps (while following a broadly similar career pattern):Help different customers in different marketsEncounter and solve different commercial challengesRead, analyze and react to different news sourcesNetwork with different peers, managers and out-of-industry contactsAttend and learn from different events, conferences and trainingsDevelop different methodologies, approaches and valuesThe sum of these factors – plus many others – creates a unique profile.If the prominent characteristics of this profile can be accurately and regularly shared with a relevant community, the result is the development of a personal brand.How does it help?The way we develop our professional personas can have a direct impact on our ability to exert influence, attract opportunity and ultimately drive sales.An easy way to understand personal brand in action is to take a moment to think about the people we would turn to in our personal lives for guidance or advice.They often have a lot in common with one another.They’re usually people we trust, people with integrity, experienced in the field in which we’re asking for assistance, and – if they’re outside of our immediate circle – people we’ve heard positive things about from our own close contacts.Personal brand in business replicates this pattern, and helps professionals in all disciplines to establish a reputation in their domain which draws business and opportunity towards them.That reputation can differ greatly from one individual to the next.One person’s personal brand may be anchored in work ethic, another’s in innovation.Someone else may build their brand around thought leadership within a niche field.Whatever the foundation, personal brand provides people with a platform from which to communicate with an engaged audience – ultimately creating the opportunity to impart advice, generate discussion, facilitate introductions, share content or recommend a purchase.How do you build your brand?Although the power of personal brand lies in its authenticity, it does require careful definition in order to be consistently communicated. As with any brand, this exercise involves some fundamental categorization:Your audienceWho is it that you help, what is the market sector in which you hope to attract a following and develop a reputation?Your valueWhat core problem do you solve, and what value does your network and audience derive from their connection to you?Your authorityWhat is your credibility founded on, what is your experience and what have you accomplished?Your identityWhat’s your story, what are you passionate about, and how does this fit your brand narrative?Defining and brand and inventing a brand are not the same thing.Where inventing implies plucking a set of values from thin air in order to create a desired (and unsubstantiated) veneer, definition means working out what’s at the heart of your professional identity and making sure brand-building activities are aligned with this.***Once you’ve defined your personal brand, it’s time to put yourself out there and engage with your audience.Opportunities to develop brand identity are all around, as long as activity supports brand objectives by sharing relevant value with a target audience.Common steps to build personal brand include:TwitterLinkedIn (articles, vlogs, groups and thread discussions)Podcasts (personal and guest participation)YouTube channels (explainer videos, Q&As, tutorials, reviews)WebinarsBlogs (corporate blogs, Medium articles, industry publication guest blogging)Meetups and networking events (hosting, organizing and attending)Conference and event participation (panel moderation, roundtable participation, keynote speaking)Whether it’s solving a specific business problem, reposting an article or patting yourself on the back by sharing positive customer feedback, there are abundant opportunities to connect your daily professional experience with your target audience in a way that creates value for them while strengthening your persona.Telling stories, teaching and entertaining all help to reflect your values and interests.Build the right connections with the right people, and the rewards will soon follow.***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.
07. 12. 2018

How to Increase the Value of your LSP

What strategic steps can localization and translation agency owners take to increase valuation at exit?If you are the owner of a language services business, you likely follow industry M&A news with a keen eye: tracking deals, monitoring buyer and seller motivations, and – crucially – observing valuation trends.In a buoyant international market there continues to be a steady flow of both small and large deals featuring trade, private equity and strategic buyers, all competing to create and capture value across a fragmented commercial landscape.Although transaction details are not always published, a substantial amount of data is available to LSP owners who have not yet set their exit plans in stone and who wish to gauge the market temperature. At the lower end of the valuation spectrum, some agencies change hands for 2-3x EBITDA, while buyers have paid as much as 10-20x in instances where a high level of strategic synergy between buyer and seller was identified.Although not ‘on the market’, and often pursuing short-term goals of growth and profitability, most agency owners have one eye on the future, and are always interested to know what decisions they can be making today to increase their agency’s valuation upon exit.Based on Adaptive’s work representing both buyers and sellers in a wide variety of M&A scenarios within the language services sector, here are some actionable tactics that all LSPs can adopt to raise their exit multiple.  Focus on ‘sticky’ marketsTypically among the major drivers of buyer motivation, building a customer base in a sector with high barriers to entry from competition is a proven method for developing a high-value agency.The industry has seen plenty of high-profile M&A deals done in major verticals such as Life Sciences, IP, legal and financial, but there are plenty of other niche areas available for agencies still looking to define a specialism.Of central importance to buyers is not only that an agency have a customer concentration in a particular vertical, but that this focus be supported by a unique combination of expertise, resources and workflows - making it tough for non-specialist agencies to steal market share.Penetrate accountsDeep and durable client relationships are another significant point in favour of an agency looking to sell. From a buyer perspective, having impressive client names on your customer list is markedly less impressive if those relationships show signs of being vulnerable to attack from cheaper or higher-quality competitors.Agency owners looking to drive shareholder value over a multi-year time-frame are well advised to build strategic penetration and consolidation plans for their highest-spend customers, ensuring that they do everything possible to retain their business. This typically means establishing multiple points of contact, working across multiple client business sectors and prioritizing customer service experience at every opportunity.Build unique workflow solutionsAn additional step to cementing key client partnerships involves anchoring the relationship in the service delivery itself.Many LSPs which sell for market-beating multiples have embedded themselves as an indispensable supplier to top customers via customised solutions, client portals, technology configurations or other bespoke offerings.While enterprise-grade workflow integrations can require significant financial investments to be made by the LSP, smaller gestures nonetheless contribute to solidifying partnerships.Wherever agency owners see opportunity to deepen their engagement with their customers’ tools and teams, it’s usually worth pursuing.Lock in key staffThe stability and commitment of management teams is another item which sits high on a buyer’s priority list.As well as looking for a capable and well-organised team, potential investors will be assessing the degree to which they can depend on that team post integration.Involving upper-tier sales, technology and operational managers in equity plans which are tied to the success of M&A outcomes is a standard method of aligning incentives at this critical time, and owners who identify key personnel within their organisation should waste no time in ensuring they are incentivised to remain with the company through exit and help make that transition as successful as possible. Keep the books cleanThough neat and tidy bookkeeping seldom adds to the value of a company directly, much of the M&A process is about establishing trust and confidence between buyer and seller. First impressions are extremely important and set the tone throughout the rest of the information-sharing and negotiation processes.A company whose accounts are accurate, up-to-date and require minimal explanation is on the front foot when it comes to discussing its overall value as an acquisition target.Conversely, an agency whose finances are inconsistent, unnecessarily complex or poorly presented may be at a disadvantage in other areas of the negotiation process, simply owing to the impression created. Find the right buyerWhile it may seem common sense, it’s a critical factor very often overlooked by business owners in any sector.The single biggest value driver in any transaction is the synergy between buyer and seller. The value of any business is only what a particular seller is prepared to pay to acquire it, and that valuation is largely subjective – based on the additional value that any given buyer believes they can unlock through pursuing the acquisition.With this in mind, it’s vital that agency owners commit as much time as possible (and as early as possible) in forming a comprehensive understanding of where their ideal buyers may come from in the market. Whilst the temptation may be for owners to focus energy on ‘polishing’ their businesses ready for a sale to a generic buyer, that time could be better rewarded in working with a specialist partner to review and engage the market in depth.The ‘right’ buyer will pay more than a less synergistic acquiror, no matter what steps an owner may take internally to tweak business processes.***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.
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.