How pivotal is Salesforce in the acquisition/valuation process for organizations?

Jen Contino |
 Salesforce |
 May 25, 2022

An Interview with Former Chief of staff at a SaaS company.

I had the privilege of sitting down with a former chief of staff at a recently acquired software company. Due to the recent sale and the organization’s privacy, he and the company shall remain anonymous. This former Chief of Staff has been through the acquisition process multiple times, not only performing the acquisition of companies but was responsible for performing the due diligence to prepare this particular organization at the time for purchase by a private equity firm. Additionally, I wanted to learn exactly what it is about the Salesforce that provides additional value throughout the sale, so I connected with Cole Conroy, CEO of Roycon, and Lila Logue, Regional Sales Manager at Roycon to get a little more context.


Acquiring Organizations

What does a Private Equity firm look for in the tech stack?

There is a certain suite of tools that, if they existed, you’re pretty much guaranteed that there is an established level of maturity and productivity in a particular organization. If this former chief of staff was acquiring a company that had the Salesforce platform, he immediately knew that organization was more likely to have mature processes, which ultimately meant they were more productive. He said, “There’s a certain level of reassurance. when a company has Salesforce.“ He also sees a correlation between companies that have Salesforce are more likely to be more connected with clients, which means there are more opportunity points of being able to touch customers. When Salesforce is done right, it can offer a 360-degree view of the customer, and the customer data is critical to the sale of the company.

The acquisition was more streamlined.

The sale of a company can take years; an incredible amount of effort goes into the due diligence and preparation to sell a company. This 100 million dollar company took about one year to sell in this instance. A team of about 4 people took on preparing data and doing the due diligence to prepare reports, data, and information for the private equity firm. Due diligence is all about data. Being able to connect to distributed systems so you can cross-check the value of information is critical. With Tableau and Salesforce, this team was able to do it much faster. Tableau produced executive-level visualizations as part of the due diligence process. These visualizations were not only interactive and engaging, but the data was more reliable. Imagine trying to sell a 100 million dollar company with excel spreadsheets and piecharts? Salesforce has the ability to export information to your org, which expedites your ability to find that due diligence point.

Without Salesforce, this effort would have likely taken double the amount of effort. When acquiring a company, the assumption is if you have a visualization tool like Tableau, it means that you’ve gone through the process of cleaning your data. Especially when you see that a company has had Salesforce for 2 – 3 years, you know they’ve been through the data game. They’ve cleaned their data, streamlined their processes, and are generally running more efficiently than other organizations that don’t have Salesforce.

A private equity firm needs a firm white space analysis to really understand the sales data and methodology, and if they were to acquire your company, they need to know what is the real opportunity for cross-selling and up-selling. If a company has Salesforce, the ability to integrate their data into your platform can happen very quickly. So producing a white space analysis can happen fast. They can reliably understand which customers you’re targeting, how you’re going to sell to them, and so they know how they’re going to handle the marketing component, how the sales team can leverage the platform, and reliably understand the sales process.

“If we didn’t have the complementary platform, Salesforce, we couldn’t have done that white space analysis.”
– Former chief of staff at a software company

A company’s valuation with Salesforce.

In the end, this company was able to tie back the investment piece and produce the necessary data required to successfully sell the company at an even faster pace than what was initially promised to the board. This was due to Salesforce and its automation abilities. If those tools were not made available, and this company did not invest in the platform, create the right processes for data, and train the staff, this acquisition would not have gone so successfully. The reliable data would not have been produced so quickly.

So does Salesforce increase a company’s valuation? When I asked this former chief of staff, he said, “ I can confidently say yes.” He believes it increased this particular organization’s valuation by approximately 10%. They fully invested in the platform. He says, “You can’t truly get the value out of the Salesforce platform if you don’t fully invest in the people, process, and what it takes to get your customers to the right place. If you don’t invest in these pieces, the likelihood of getting the true value is much slower.” By investing in all of the above, this organization successfully achieved a 360-degree view of the customer. Additionally, they were able to make the platform available to their customers, increasing their value to their customers. Their customers no longer needed to pick up the phone to find out information or create orders; they could simply access everything they needed through Salesforce, Communities, and Knowledge.


The why and the how.

What is it about Salesforce that helps streamline the acquisition process?

Cole Conroy, CEO of Roycon provided me with a great example of a client who had the specific challenge of getting funding. While they had a successful and thriving business, they couldn’t easily and reliably present the data to prove it. They needed to be able to describe the acquisition cost of customers, ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), Lift, and CHURN, and they couldn’t immediately provide that information to get funding. With a Salesforce implementation, this specific organization presented the necessary data reliably and accurately to secure the funding it needed to grow.

If a company is trying to raise money and can’t answer the necessary questions, Salesforce can provide the answers and validate them. Cole says, “If you have to rely on QuickBooks and accounting, the process is more arduous. If I invest in company AI, want the company report that shows me how our pipeline is trending, what we close, and how we’re doing, then we’d easily be able to measure the health of the business.” When you use a tool like CPQ (Configure Price Quote), you can quickly view reports and dashboards that are up to date. The forensics of the data is accurate. Cole says you can easily prove the MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue) per month, per client, per contract with CPQ, or a well-configured Sales Cloud.

“Salesforce allows companies to ideate, design, build. test and deploy much faster than any other platform due to the declarative capabilities of the system and the robust framework.” -Cole Conroy, CEO Roycon

When speaking with Lila Logue, Regional Sales Manager at Roycon, she supports this idea and, simply put, states that Salesforce comes out of the box with sales, service, accounts, contacts, etc., all the things you need to run your business. This makes it convenient to understand the gaps in data, conduct comparisons between orgs, and as mentioned above conduct a whitespace analysis.

Additionally, the core data model is more transferrable. It expedites the process of merging and consolidating orgs, which helps in the process of mergers and acquisitions. Once an organization is acquired, your admin is going to need to be able to merge the data from different orgs, and since Salesforce has the ability to use field-tracking, even if there is a mistake made, we have the ability to roll back the data.

Lila also offers the perspective that private equity firms care about predictable revenue, and Salesforce, by the nature of its name, is sales-driven, and we can capture that information. Outside of the sales data, private equity firms want to understand how an organization manages its support function and its ability to deflect case creation because service is generally a cost center, not a profit center. So evolved organizations that have better support processes generally do better in acquisitions because support is always a huge cost. When organizations have an Experience Cloud Community with knowledge articles and an Einstein bot answering questions, you’re deflecting cases from being created and saving money by not having to staff the positions to field those questions. Using the knowledge base allows you to leverage repeatable content in a self-service way, and using an Einstein bot allows you to field questions and provide assistance to customers without a human behind the chat.

Reassurance with Salesforce

It seems like if you don’t have Salesforce, you’re going to be negatively impacted from a valuation standpoint or an investment standpoint. So, what is it about the platform that provides a certain level of reassurance when it comes to selling, purchasing, or acquiring funding? Why is there a certain level of confidence in a business when it comes to organizations with Salesforce?

Visibility
Salesforce provides its customers with complete visibility of their business throughout the entire business cycle, from understanding what your ideal customer looks like to invoicing and payments.

Predictability
Einstein Forecasting builds a smarter and more predictable pipeline, and this AI technology can bring more certainty and visibility to forecasts.

Performance
With Salesforce, we can accurately measure in real-time:

    • MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue), ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue), Churn, and Lift (CPQ)
    • Whitespace – what has been sold and what can be sold to a customer based on what they currently have/don’t have. (CPQ)
    • Revenue Recognition Models (Billing)
    • Accounts Receivable (Billing)
    • Past Performance by User, by Department, by Division, and by Company (Sales Cloud)
    • Compare against other time periods (YoY (year over year), MoM (month over month, QoQ (quarter over quarter))
    • Forecasts by User, by Department, by Division, and by Company (Sales Cloud)
    • Sales by Product, by Customer, by Region
    • Cloud-based, it doesn’t use local resources, so you don’t have to maintain servers or need staff to maintain those servers.
    • Service: AHT (Average Handle Time), ASA (Average Speed of Answer), FCR (First-Call (contact) Resolution), CSAT (Customer Satisfaction), and NPS (Net Promoter Score)

Growth Capacity
Salesforce allows companies to ideate, design, build, test and deploy much faster than any other platform due to the declarative capabilities of the system and the robust framework.

Efficiency
Salesforce enables companies to spend less time searching, managing, and manually entering data, so they can spend more time growing their business. It allows them to move faster by automating time-consuming tasks, increasing team collaboration, and reducing the need for redundant tasks. Salesforce has been shown to increase sales productivity by as much as 34%.

Extensibility

AppExchange

Salesforce’s AppExchange has you ready to head into the new future with a suite of solutions that meet the needs of your next steps. Most B2B companies leverage the AppExchange to automate tasks, consolidate information, and integrate systems with Salesforce more closely. Some of these apps can allow your business to integrate into other systems faster, saving you time and effort in getting disparate platforms to talk to one another.

Lightning Platform
The Lightning platforms framework consists of HTML-based components that are easily extensible and customizable to help businesses create customized experiences.

API
With Salesforce’s friendly API framework, connecting to other systems to Salesforce.

Trust

Salesforce is transparent about what is going on with its platform in real-time (htttps://status.salesforce.com).
Whether you’re looking for funding, selling your company, or just building your enterprise, Salesforce is building data-driven companies by providing them with a platform that manages large amounts of data and presents the necessary data to make good business decisions. Cole says, “Companies that use Salesforce are and can be data-driven. You excel at what you measure.” So, matter what your plan is, Salesforce is setting you up for the future.

Salesforce remains the number one CRM for the eighth consecutive year despite the growing enterprise software market. The Salesforce platform only continues to evolve and grow its overall market share position and revenue more than any other CRM. For more information about implementing or enhancing your Salesforce instance, connect with Roycon.

Definitions & Terms
ARR (Annual Recurring Revenue): A metric used by SaaS or subscription businesses with term subscription agreements, meaning a defined contract length. (Source: Zoho)

MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue): is the predictable total revenue generated by your business from all the active subscriptions in a particular month. It includes recurring charges from discounts, co https://callminer.com/blog/what-is-csat-definition-how-to-measure-csat-and-tips-from-experts upon, and recurring add-ons but excludes one-time fees. (Source: Zoho)

Lift: Represents an increase in sales in response to some form of advertising or promotion. Monitoring, measuring, and optimizing lift may help a business grow more quickly. (Source: Practical Ecommerce)

Churn: The churn rate measures a company’s loss in subscribers for a given period of time. (Source: Investopedia)

Whitespace Analysis: what has been sold and what can be sold to a customer based on what they currently have/don’t have.

YoY: Year over year.

MoM: Month over month.

QoQ: Quarter over quarter.

AHT (Average Handle Time): Add your total talk time, your total hold time, and your total after-call tasks. Then, divide by the total number of calls – that figure represents your average handle time. (Source: CallMiner)

ASA (Average Speed of Answer): Average speed of answer is defined as the average amount of time it takes for a call center to answer a phone call from a customer. Included in this metric is the time a caller waits in a queue. The time it takes to navigate through an IVR system is not factored into ASA. (Source: CallMiner)

FCR (First-Call (contact) Resolution): A metric that measures a call center’s performance for resolving customer interactions on the first call or contact, eliminating the need for follow-up contacts. The FCR metric is essential for monitoring a call center’s operating cost efficiency and customer service delivery effectiveness. (Source: sqmgroup)

CSAT (Customer Satisfaction): This is a measurement used to quantify the degree to which customers are satisfied with a service, product, or experience. In most cases, the term “CSAT” is used in connection with “CSAT score,” which refers to the numerical measure of customer satisfaction. (Source: CallMiner)

NPS (Net Promoter Score): Measures customer experience and predicts business growth. This proven metric transformed the business world and now provides the core measurement for customer experience management programs around the world. (Source: NetPromoter)

Have a Question? Ask Lila

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