Published: August 19th, 2016

Over the last decade, but especially the past two years, many sizeable IT manufactuers and service providers have merged. Corporations with thousands of employees will come together. Many people are wondering if they will be employed there in a week, a month, six months etc. After personally spending 12 years working at Dell in sales, I have friends at dozens of IT companies. This is a topic that comes up at virtually every golf game, every local pub meet-up, every lunch. Both Managers and Individual Contributors alike have these conversations.

Sales is safe

From my personal experience and observations within sales, I have seen companies acquire their biggest competitors, as well as complementary technologies, and one thing is clear in the statistical majority: sales people aren’t let go in a merger.

So that’s the good news.

Here’s the bad news: you may have a new boss.

Get to know your new boss

When new bosses come in, through a merger or any other hierarchical change, that’s when it may be time to hit the panic button. This isn’t just in sales, look at The Toronto Maple Leafs management when Shanahan came in.

Use social media to learn about them

Now, there are smart things that you can do. You need to friend up the new boss, without kissing their behind. How? Well for one thing, you should learn what’s important to them. An obvious thing you can do is use social media to your benefit, and scan Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn for clues.

Want to go more in depth? Try finding a past sales rep of your new boss on LinkedIn, and reach out to them for a conversation, maybe position it like this:

“Hi Cheryl, my name is David. I see you have endorsed Roger Sterling, and you were his direct report. He has recently become my new boss, and I’d like to buy you a coffee and learn about his preferences and strengths as a leader. Or if you prefer, just a phone call. Let me know your thoughts! 🙂 Thank you.”

Then when you meet, take advantage of that time, be as nice as you can be…and hey, it’s a networking opportunity as well. Again, same life skill if you had a crush on someone, and was picking the brain of one of their friends to see what hobbies they like, etc.

Use this knowledge to know them personally

Another thing is to quickly size up your new boss, and find out their life interests outside of work. One of the best networkers I have ever met, my friend Chris, is brilliant at this.

  • Are they a foodie? Ask them for a restaurant recommendation.
  • Are they a sharp dresser? Ask them where to buy a new suit.
  • Do they love concerts? Ask them to help you get tickets.
  • Do they like to meet customers? Book them on 3 meetings with your best customers that also like you the most.
  • Do they like sports? Try and get them out for a Jays game, or round of golf, or invite them into your next sports pool.
  • Are they a Type A no BS sales leader? Put a lot of work into your first QBR.

Chris taught me that people LOVE to be used for their strengths. I started doing this when he told me that, and it helped me build relationships and break down barriers with people, that I couldn’t previously crack for many years.

But sometimes new management is a good thing. If you have had the same manager for a long time, it is an opportunity to gain new skills, perspectives, and networks.

Now get out there and build a new relationship, and sell something. It’s time to make it rain. Stir the pot.