In this episode of Trunk Talks we speak to Robert Glazer, Founder & CEO of Acceleration Partners. Bob is a serial entrepreneur and online customer acquisition specialist with an exceptional track record and passion for growing revenue and profits for B2C based companies. He is a top-rated speaker and contributing author, and has presented to large global audiences at over 20 conferences including adTech, Internet Retailer, DMA and Shop.org. His first book, Performance Based Partnerships will be available on May 15th, 2017.
Bob discusses the value of waiting patiently when approaching a transaction. Patiently waiting does not mean sitting idle and waiting to be approached. Owners should be active in the market discussing opportunities with other agency owners. By talking to other agency owners, listening to podcasts like Trunk Talks, and engaging with intermediaries allows an owner to develop a deep understanding of what they are looking for, current market valuations, and greater knowledge of market trends.
Owners should never be afraid to put talks on hold and check back in 6 - 9 months down the road. Bob discusses numerous opportunities that he put on on hold because of initial unrealistic expectations and then came back to find they were unable to complete a transaction at their expectations. Not only did he avoid making a potentially disastrous deal, but these discussions and talks increase the amount of valuation data and market confidence he has.
It is important to be actively involved in the market to stay abreast of current trends in the space. Bob discusses seeing the opportunity for consolidation within his specific industry because of the types of conversations he is having with various industry stakeholders.
As we’ve discuss in previous episodes of Trunk Talks, an earnout provision is a common method used in structuring mergers and acquisitions. It is often used to bridge the gap between the views of buyer and seller regarding the value of the agency and create long term incentives for the owners to continue to make the business successful. However, because of all the variables associated with earnouts and difficulties achieving the earnout requirements, this is the most common area in which many post-acquisition disputes arise.
In this episode, Bob makes a strong claim that reducing it to 1 year or even eliminating the earnout period may make more sense. There are a number of factors that are out of the agencies control that have a big impact on whether the earnout is achieved. For example, if an agency’s biggest client is Hilton and the acquiring company has Mariott, then the agency could be forced to lose one of their biggest clients through no fault of their own. This can have a material impact on the ability of the agency to achieve their earnout.
Putting a long term incentive plan in place for the team that matches the agency goals is important. Whether the goal is to scale or to sell, Bob believes that creating incentives elicit greater commitment and drive from the team. This aligns the team with the strategy - this is extremely important because the success of the agency is dependant on its team. A common long term incentive plan for smaller agencies is a phantom stock plan that gives selected employees many of the benefits of stock ownership without having to invest or the accompanying complexities. The phantom stock represents the value of the company at the time and can increase over time as the company grows, with employees benefiting from the delta. Agency owners should find a long term incentive plan that works best for their team and company.
Julius is an influencer marketing platform that provides marketers with the data & campaign management tools required to organize a successful influencer marketing strategy
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