B2B Revenue Acceleration
B2B Revenue Acceleration

Episode · 2 years ago

58: Acquisition: How to Adapt w/ Varun Kohli

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Acquisitions: You don’t have to tell everyone. You shouldn’t tell everyone. But what should you do?

On this episode, I sat down with Varun Kohli, Co Founder and Chief Business Officer at MachEye, to talk about surviving acquisition.

What we talked about:

  • Maintaining professionalism during transition
  • Whether it’s more advantageous for startups to be absorbed or remain autonomous
  • The 3 things you should do to discover the most opportunity during transition
  • When to stay and when to run
  • Understanding how to leverage transition from a marketing perspective

To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The B2B Revenue Acceleration Podcast.

 

If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, you can listen to every episode here.



Youare listening to be to B RevenueAcceleration, a podcast dedicated helping software executives stay on thecutting edge of sales and marketing in their industry. Let's get into the show, I welcome to be to be a reveneacceleration. My name is Oly with Ye and Mer today with Varum Kuli Cofondoand chief business offi SOT maci. How are you today Roon doing awesome and athanks for asking hind thanks for having me here. I absolute pleasure soautopic today, for the episode is acquisition out the Outwa tapt, whichis which is interesting because obviously, we've seen lots of ourclients recently being acquired and lots of movement following theacquisition. But before we go into the conversation Paron, could you pleaseintroduce yourself to augience and tell U Male about you, but also your careerin the Beto, be takindustry yeah, absolutely pusins, foras t'm, a veryproud father of of four and three quarters year old girl. If you ask meEle Sa for if you ask her she's, Ay four and three quarters and a loving husband from plas Wel, wear s of happy married life. However, not even a day passes by without my mwife, making fun of me that I learned how to write code for six years. I dohave bachelors in Computer Science and Masters and Computer Science, but Iwrote code for one year and switched to the darker side of marketing and whichis what my wife makes fun of that you lasted one year in engineering andswitched to the darkest side. On the work side, I like Skilling,businesnesses and working on problems that have a potential to make a tent inthe universe and one such problem that we're working on these days is in theBIC, bace, which is my work place, Marki. It's an Oto, atonomousintelligence platform with Qickler analetics. So far, people need to knowwhat to ask people need to search people need to play. We want to takethem to the PESLA of Pi World so that,...

...even if they don't know what to ask,they still get business intelligence at their finger tipes. So that's what I doand that's what that's who I am that's wonderful, well believe I toet I've gota very similar background to you. So I was what I was. I am a bachelor asWillina incuding and I had idid a degree, including when coding for sixmonths absolutely Ati went back to do a business chool and then I walkedinmarketing and now kind of marketing sell. So I don't think e's The dark orside, I think e's The brightor side, but that's only my opinion and I don'twant to get in trouble with your wife Olisten I I would do Thatso so terthrough your career. You were part of several acquisition and that's thereason why we want each to have youned the podcast today or on the topic onouttowar that Fazo to an acquisition. But to mention a few actually I willmention them mole because it's quite an impressive background, so scake Cobeing equiled by symotic iron pot, Aqui, Basi, school Saphor, trust Acquoire bySexor, competing wit, then become maccafe Wu. Then becomeintal tat,that's an interesting one and then oxide, which was which was obviouslyacquired by HP in indusries, like Saber security. We know that acquisitions arevery common, but like any acquisition, it means that a profesion as aprofessional you need to be flexible and be open to changes, be open toprobably being part of a large organization in most of the cases. Fromfrom from your from your background, so with the acquisition that you'vewitnessed, which one of the most romastic change and how did you addaptto it yeah? I think I probably answer this in two parts. One is the mostnumber of changes that I went through within that acquisition and the secondone is more drastic change. As you ask so number one is cifle cost. That iswhere I switched from engineering to marketing. What had happened was I wasactually writing code for an instant...

...messaging security. Think of slacksecurity in today's world and then the company got acquired as part of theacquisition most of the exats exxects were gone and there was no one topresent the solution and I started presenting the solution to customersply for me. Nine out of ten customers IV presented to part the solution,which is why the head of marketing CMO walked into my cube and said: Do youwant to do product marketing? And I said how do you spell that and e toldme a little bit about comic barteting and I said I'm not sure if I'll succeedor not so let me write code and do product marteting for six months. I'lldo both and that six month has not ended. Yet I've been still doing eproduct, markering and marketing, so that was sypher us. The big change wasfrom enginering to marketing and then CIPHETWAS getting acquired into securecomputing, Sif you're getting into macafe matifing het ignequired byinterr. So that was the number of changes that was the most number ofchanges on the gask change. I would probably mention orxite. I started atorxsite to do product marketing or a person I reported into this person andhe led product marketing for one of the point product which was twenty milliondollar product. So after a month or two of starting, he said I don't know ifyou need me for this, so why don't you run coric marteting for this, so Istarted running product marketing for that product. We grew it from twentymillion to eighty million within two mout and then I started running productmarketing for a one more product line. Alongside that one fast forward a year,I started running product marketing for all O forx side, Qoth Vodio passforward. Another year I actuet gets acquired into HB. I started runningproduct marketing for all of HP, ESP and a price security business unit, andthen before I left, I actually was there at the arxidhb Combo interestingenough for four years, five months and...

...six days and started with the productmarketing of Ar Twenty million product lime. And when I left I was runningmarketing for a billion dollar product line sut. I think that was the mostdrastic change. I would mention Butit is a too pretty life changing type ofIvender Tupen, which is which is absolutely wonderful, and thanks forfor sharing that we with us today from Yeuro aspecive, and I know that itdepends on the ACQUIRO. But we are some some of our clients being acquired orTraly, some acquiror speaking to us about the the kind of the delay to take off the autonomy awayfrom the start of company, remove the name, excet, etc. So, for example,company a got a Quolba company B and the brain of companyer gets removedwithin amounts. ORSO and everything is suching to company be and company vidosbusiness, onothe name of company, be from your perspective, how important itis, or is it for startups to remain autonomous within a larger group andremain a Gile of the velocity of selling the velocity of going topartners the appetite that startup withave to really get business out? Howimportant is that an autonomy from your pospective? I think we should do what'sright for the customer in certain cases when, for example, irimport wasacquired by Sisco, we were the security business unit of Tisco, so we createdthat disness unit and acquired multiple customers. Multiple companies underthat security, business, Yurit name, man, fertin other case things. It wascompletely absorbed. We have to think of it from a customer point of view.What is right for the customer? Are they the customers who's going to lookat multiple different solutions as individual products, or would it bebetter for customers to combine different solutions into a bundle intoa package? In those cases it makes more sensetrips of the company join. Theengineering team come up with new use...

...cases, which is what we did at SEMANTEC.We got acquired as kycure mobile security, but shortly after we exposedthat technology to Norton the consumer side of semantic, and so that we couldprotect not just the enterprise mobile devices, but also consumer mobiledevices- S, it all depends on what's right for the customer and that's whatI believe we should do as a company. That's a very good marketing ONSO.Putting the being a very custoos sent reak on sort, O wa question, I reallylike I vord and from from a mindset pespective. So again it will dependfrom one case to the other, but I'l show at some points. The employee of astarter wuld know that the maybe another company are trying to acquirethem or they may know that there is some adof terms being shot between csor whatever it could be, but they may feel that an acquisition is or horizonokay. So what's your experience of that kind of treet change is before thechange, but obviously there must be some apprension. So how do you as amanagement team comfor, the feeling that's keep tha ti motivated throughthe acquisition prior to the Equiton Ow? Do you SA it intelty yeah? I think oneof the advices that regard from boad members through one of thesetransitions was absolutely on the need to know basis. News needs to be known by people and ifyou don't need that news to be known, the should not be sharing this broadlywith the whole company reason being. Sometimes there is many a slip betweenthe cup and the lip, so you don't have to hell everyone and then what? If ideris these things? There are always something that can go rong. What, if Ideis, then it kills the motivation for the employees and they start making uptheir own stories as to something must be wrong. Why did someone not acquireus? So I think, unless an UNTEL, it is all baked and ready to me shared it's...

...probably advisable not to share prevatthing and, as we aveseen it multiple times that there is duw diligence andsomething gets found in due diligence. So we just recently found in the caseof semantic. You mentioned all the companies that kicule got acquired intosemantic and since we started talking now semantic also got acquired bybroadcop hework with nine companies. Eight of them have been acquired so far,but not that if you were just talking to eight acquirets, you were probablytalking to sixteen or twenty four acquirers and eight of them happend, socertanly ne to chear. This information only on the need to know bases, andonce it is once it is fully bigged. That is when you should Shar with thebroader employee pace, and that is what I did O believe it or not in case ofsky cad. We couldn't share with the employees, but this news was supposed to go lifeon Tuesday at six am pecific time, so I actually went with my wife and mydaughter, and then she was three year old to the office and afterward one ofthe guys actually used to work late. So I had to ask him to work from home thatday, like icoming up with some reason, and then we walked into the office inthe evening on Monday and decorated the office with balloons and cake, and thatwas the only day in my life when I drank champagne ax sxm in the morning,it's always apm somewhere else in the warld. So there is, there is no timethere is no wrong time to drink CHAMPAGNA. I would encourage or just todrink champagne S it's important. That's that's a ond off for storyactually and and from your your prospective. So you know, speakingabout this team and and going through the acquisition, if you were to giveadvice to teams with companies, are going throug an acquisition of the atthe moment. What would that be? I think, during as well as after one advice, Iwould give, is to be patient, be human and adapt that's what we do best ashumans. We adapt, for example. If there...

...is one seat and there's one person whositting on it, you can probably squeeze two people on the same scede, so weadapt te changes as humans. So that's the best thing we do and that's myadvice to eevnb patient and do the right things right for the customerright for the company when you are patient and when things our companiesget acquired, therewill be many voids that will be created and if you keep onraising your hand and keep running throu the fire and not away from thefire and good things will happen to you. So I would say, keep on doing that, bepatient, adapt and do it with a smile and good things will happen. He doingthis still the time you're having fun and learning something new and Yo WontBe Toot hied on Ndto. The fact that I joined this company and now it's notthis company. Now I need to move away from it as soon as possible. That's oneadvice I would gave. Please don't do that, don't run away from somethingalways run towards something unless until you have found your next passionunless an Untel, you found something that's going to make you happierhanging there and do the right thing for the customer enjoy and love whatyou do and Youll exel in that, and I think you are the live example of thefact that you can actually develop your skill, develop your career progress interm of you know, skill sets and everything through an acquisition,menou clear this Tou the two examples that you gave us, I believe the Cak Quand the arxside example of acquisition Wen.Clearly you you are e tremendous development in tem of intororrole interm of Inte oftor future an intem of city, H, ch H, which is great and andit's srue at sometimes we do Tenn to sn, maybe more. We Sell Stam than marketingteam or product team, but we see lots of people kind of living. The boats assoon as the acquisition is made- and it takes usually three to six months foralmost the whole- sells teem to begun,...

...and I don't know why it is a EAN. Youhave any OPINIONAS to why the service gays want to leave the ship so quicklyafter after aquisition is a. It depends on the personalities of people. So ifyou were hired to sell just this, and now your Poda changes and you're beingasked to sell more things and you're not comfortable with selling thosethings hat, they might not be a domain, they might not bear experties, which iswhy they tend to switch and try to sell El Different Com here, a differentproduct. But my advices try to find synelogies between products. Try tofind. How can you attack the same budget but expand your deal size? Idon't think the easier Seid than done, but have that open mindset and youmight be able to see certain things that did not exist earnier or evenafter the acquisition. Your company is the only one that can offer thatsolution. I'll give ou an example. We acquired web isolation, company ADSOMANTIC and shortly after we actually combined it with email and that createdindustry's first email izsolation, it did not exist as a product did notexist as a category, but since we had both the products, we could come upwith that a new usecase. So if I'm the sales Gy AD, I'm selling the emailsecurity. If I went to my customer with this very unique offering that shouldhelp me when to you. So that's what I would say: keep an open, mindsepmindset. Think of it from your customds point of view and see if you can givethem more than what you could get them earlier. Yeah hat makes perfect senseand, if goves to the marketing perspective, so what would you say themain differences between marketing in a large enterprise company like an HP, ac school, Maase, intail or and Tesul the startups? What you come from at hat the outset, yeah, I think, as a marketer. If I could say what are mytwo jobs number one, I want to meet the...

...revenue and pipe mine goals by keepingmy sales team busy and number two is awareness making sure everybody knowsmy brand in larger companies, one is accomplished by a set of products ascompared to a single product, so my revenue will come from multipleproducts, not just one product which is mostly common in case of startups, andsometimes these products would compete with each other, both for mindshare aswell as pocket Shair. So the example that I gave on the email,isolation think of it from the customer point of view which product should youpush think of it if they have a need and budget for this product today,let's focus with that product as compared to selling just that tool thatyou have an I start up. I don't care. What's your budget, I don't care.What's your pain point? That's all I have got to Salliat, so I'm going tofocus on that. So that's one difference on number one meeting: the Revenue Part:How do you meet revenue guidelines on the second one awareness front startupsneeded your startup is probably not known by many companies out there andI'll give you an example: Ind a second, the inclease of larger brands. Peoplemight already have a perception about you, so it's not that they don't knowsematic, but they do now symantic as an antivirus company. So if you have toposition semantic as a cloud security as an information security as an emailsecurity as a casby, you would have to change that perception. So wareness isthere, but it's a different flavor of awariness, which is perception that youneed to change on the thought of Front. I think awareness, how it helps I'llgive you a quick example. What we did was travel and Leisure magazine came upwith top fifty tourseinations and we were a mobile security company. All ofus, I'm sure you have done it- to take our phones out and connect to publicwifies to keep our cell phone cost low and they have done it murtiple time,especially if I'm going from us to Europe or you are coming from Europe tothe US. You would do that too, and there are many bad, malicious, wife, anetworks. So what we did was we ranked...

...those stewrish destinations by theirmaliciousness? How likely are you to get attacked if you take your phone outand connect to a Wiffi at Time Square versus London Ie? So that's what we didand it was very successful. Two hundred fifty plus TV channels, covereders. Itwent all the way to the today' show, which is watched by five million peoplein the US second most watch program in the US and once we were on TV and thatacually changed everything on the awareness rant. So one of my sales guyswas visiting New York giants office and he gave his gard to the recerconereception loked at it and said: Oh Sky Cure. We have seen you on TV, so thatis wat. A Green Cultu or any startupas on the wareness run. To Recap: WOR, I said two goals formarketers meet revenue number two meet Awaness, colls and revenue will comefrom one product. OWARD OS multiple product awayness goes from. No oneknows my brand to changing the perception, yeah thatlekes, perfectsense, Wull. Thank you for you, insight, todavor and the rellyappreciate. Thetime you took to to share some of your expients and some of your soutes werewe with the audience. If anyone wants to get in touch with you to carry onthe conversation or pick your brain, AP Broa, the specific topic, what's thebest way to get into Trisvorm, I'm at weekender Schore is on treader otherthan that, I'm on Linkdon at Coli Balroon. So both places fairly activereach out to me happy to help, and if you want to learn more about what weare doing at the Maki and Ar Approachd to autonomous intelligence happy tohelp there as well just end ani send us an email at hello at Maicom, okay, whatmany things again he was. It was absolutely Fonte. Six tweryonthe showtoday leasure as mine. Thank you. operatics has redefined the meaning ofrevenue generation for technology...

...companies worldwide, while thetraditional concepts of building and managing inside sales teams in househas existed for many years. Companies are struggling with the lack of focus,agility and scale required in today's fast and complex world of enterprisetechnology sales see how operatics can help your company accelerate pipelineat operatics, dot net you've been listening to, b, to b revenueacceleration to ensure that you never miss an episode subscribe to the showin your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening until nexttime.

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