M&A advisors and investment bankers are a diverse group. While each banker can bring a special skill or expertise set to their firm, these four common traits are shared amongst the most successful middle market M&A professionals.
1. Pipeline Focused– The best M&A professionals don’t allow themselves to be bogged down in the deal process. While each transaction will undoubtedly take many hours to close, the best deal makers never stop thinking about the future pipeline. These deal makers do not live and die by a single deal but instead look at their dealbase with a big picture approach to ensure the ebb and flow of the deal cycle is as systematic as it can be.
2. Systems Driven– Productive M&A professionals can work on more than one transaction at a time. To do this, they rely on a variety of systems to ensure visibility and control of all live deals. With an abundance of low cost tools available online to help bankers manage deals, the best dealmakers do less work– leveraging technology to ensure maximum productivity.
3. Commitment to Delegation– Deal makers who try to own each step of a transaction often find themselves with little time to do much else. Delegating to an internal or on-demand team can free up labor hours to add more value to the transaction in other ways. No deal maker should be expected to be an expert at each step of the deal cycle (lead gen, sales cycle, deal management, deal marketing, diligence management, term negotiation etc.). The best deal makers do only what they do best and let other experts support other areas of the project.
4. Own a Long Term Measurable Strategy– Most M&A firms are small businesses (just with much larger upside). Good small businesses owners are strategic and deliberate in their approach to the management of the business. M&A firm principals are no different. The best M&A principals have a plan, and know how to benchmark their performance to the plan in an easy to derive, objective way. Knowing how to scale lead generation, control cost, and manage cash are fundamental to any business including M&A.