This week, the Bowery Capital team hosted Julie Devine, Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Strategic Partnerships at Maxwell Health, to discuss “Acquisition Messaging: Before, During and After.” Maxwell Health is a platform that helps people make better health-related financial decisions by simplifying benefits and insurance. It operates as an online benefits marketplace to help consultants and small-to-mid sized businesses offer the best benefits to employees. Through its user-friendly platform, Maxwell streamlines administrative processes in HR and allows employees to easily choose and access their benefits. It was recently acquired by Sun Life Financial in June 2018.
Julie Devine is the Senior Vice President of Customer Success and Strategic Partnerships at Maxwell Health. Having joined in 2014, she has led the development of customer service, growth, and success at Maxwell. Her role touches on everything from account management to technical support teams and business development. Julie previously worked for eight years at Highroads, a SaaS startup offering health plan product management services to large businesses. Prior to that, she was a human resources consultant at Mercer. Julie holds a B.A. from James Madison University.
In today’s podcast, Julie discusses the effects of an acquisition on a company and how leadership can best communicate internally and externally throughout the stages of the deal. According to Julie, the timing and announcement of an acquisition depends on the dynamics of a company’s leadership and the deal itself. For example, if a company’s board of directors collectively decided on a strategic opportunity and is choosing to approach a buyer, the process would be more open. However, Julie cautions that the group involved in a deal’s execution be kept as small as possible. This not only allows key management to efficiently strategize but also controls for the risk of a premature leak to customers and media.
When deciding on who gets looped in on the deal, executive leadership must be extremely confident that the acquisition is happening. Additionally, the timing behind an announcement to customers and employees is crucial. A company should avoid sharing too much information too soon–on the other hand, it also doesn’t want to communicate too little information at too late a time.
Most of all, a business must be authentic and specific in its acquisition messaging. Leadership should be prepared to elaborate on why the merger is a good idea and why it was motivated. Additionally, a lot of preparation should go behind the announcement itself to ensure that messaging is cohesive, confident, and well-timed. According to Julie, some of the best ways to prepare for an acquisition is understanding the intensity of the deal, preparing in advance, and staying ahead of the game.
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