GovCon merger and acquisition (M&A) activity moves with the market. Some years, we’re flooded by M&As. Other years, the M&A waters are more still. There’s an art and a science to guiding a successful GovCon M&A, as buyers and sellers adjust to current federal procurement practices and market priorities.
One thing that doesn’t change, though, is the essential need for effective, well-timed stakeholder communications – before, during and after the deal. Ultimately, communicating effectively helps you retain your key employees and customers. Here are six tips to help in your next M&A:
- Timing is Everything. For best results, integrate communications into your M&A strategy from the very beginning. Plan for who needs to know what, and when. Even before you know your announcement date (A-Day), build a timeline that works up to that milestone, through the day and into the days and weeks beyond.
- Speak Clearly. Start drafting key messages early. When companies come together, there are many compelling business drivers. Yet, what your people (your employees, customers, partners, investors) really want to know is, “why is this happening?” and “what does this mean for me?” You’ll want several overarching key messages that relate to everyone, with some tailored messages to address anticipated concerns and benefits for each audience.
- The “Who” Matters. Who will address your employees? Your customers? Investors? The media? While your CEO or president will be the primary spokesperson to break the news to each audience, you’ll want a team of communicators to carry the news forward and address questions. Define your communications team early. Make sure each representative has the needed training and information in time.
- Tailor Your Outreach. Use appropriate communication channels for each audience. An in-person or video conference before the announcement will arm managers with the news, tools and expectations for how they can help. Town halls are a great way to announce the news and next steps to employees. Customers and partners will appreciate emails with the press release, followed by personal calls and visits by designated company leaders. Investor letters and emails may be followed by a scheduled investor briefing. Press and industry analysts will expect phone interviews with your CEO, starting within the first few hours.
- What to Share. An M&A announcement briefing is usually a short affair. It’s a summary of facts, benefits and next steps. After that, people will want to know more. Make the follow-up materials clear, engaging and easily accessible. In addition to the press release, prepare a video message from your CEO. Share concise, factual Q&A documents for employees, customers and the public. Fact sheets and presentations or slide shares can help round out the reference library.
- Consistency is Key. It’s not over when the deal is done. Be sure to communicate major milestones and decisions. As you experience integration successes, share your stories, to reinforce your new organization as one that will continue to serve all stakeholders.
Well-planned and executed communications can smooth the way for all involved. To get you started, download any of our three M&A communications planning tools: a checklist, a sample schedule and a white paper on stakeholder communications.
If you’re looking for additional support, please let us know. As one of only a handful of agencies with an M&A communications practice area, we’ve helped dozens of companies to communicate effectively during this important time!