From seeking a Marketing & Sales Director to choosing a partner with which to grow the company’s business
An Italian IT company, after several years of growth and business development in Italy and abroad, finds itself facing shrinking revenues. This is due to a structural crisis in the sector in which many of the end-users of its software operate.
To counter this downward trend, and potential loss of customers, the company starts to develop software packages, derived from its core business applications, which may be usable in a number of other sectors.Although technologically very advanced, the company is commercially weak; over the course of its decades-long history, its key success factor has been the excellence of the products and services it has offered to a few national and international blue-chip customers.The company is not in a financial crisis; on the contrary, it is comfortably liquid, as a result of having sold off some non-strategic shareholdings.So the company turns to Contract Manager, asking for a highly experienced Sales and Marketing Director who can quickly build a new commercial function, draw up a strategy and a commercial policy, create a sales network and increase revenues and sales margins.
The interim manager’s objectives
Before going ahead and identifying an interim manager with a commercial background to involve in the project, Contract Manager is tasked with carrying out an all-round company check-up, in order to define a strategy for relaunching the company. The team chosen to conduct the check-up is made up of managers with proven IT experience and managers with finance and business strategy expertise. The outcome of the check-up advises against bringing in an interim Sales and Marketing Director, as requested by the company. Such a move would involve too many risks, however solid the company’s financial position might be.
Contract Manager’s solution
Contract Manager assists the company in rethinking its strategy, supporting it in weighing up the pros and cons, costs and benefits of all the strategic scenarios identified in the check-up and deemed potentially viable.The chosen solution is the search for a strategic partner with a complementary operational profile. Contract Manager is then tasked with undertaking the whole project: from researching and selecting the partner to negotiating the partnership agreement; from evaluating the company’s capital to defining the capital transaction; from drafting the preliminary contract to closing the deal.The team undertaking the partnership project is the same one that performed the check-up. This makes for greater shared knowledge, consolidated teamwork among the interim managers involved and an already established relationship with the management of the client company.
Actions taken by the interim managers
The project is completed in 12 months. The interim managers immediately try to gain time by carrying out several different phases of the project in parallel. Once the profile of the operating partner is defined, scouting can start, favoring those companies in the sector that are already familiar to the team, and quickly setting up the first exploratory meetings.Particular attention is paid not only to matching the profile, but also to some “softer” (but no less critical) aspects of partnership: a “good fit” in terms of corporate culture, people management policies, the “feeling” between the managers of the two companies.These checks produce immediate positive results for one of the companies identified. Consequently, a letter of intent is signed, together with a confidentiality and exclusivity agreement. A due diligence can thus start and a long and complex negotiation resulting in an actual preliminary contract.The operation could be closed in about 9 months, if it weren’t for the need to see also to the spin-off of some non-strategic assets, as foreseen in the contract.However, the operation is completed within the agreed deadline. Contract Manager’s team provides assistance to the client company right through to completion, looking after even the smallest details.
Thanks to the operation devised, organized and managed by Contract Manager, the client company has found a strategic partner, which:
- has locked the parties into partnership through an operation in which they have taken a stake in the company’s capital;
- has immediately promoted and commercialized ready-to-use software packages which are complementary to their own products currently installed at thousands of companies of all sizes;
- has put the technological know-how of the client company to good use, entrusting it with the development of innovative proprietary software and the provision of 24/7 customer service.