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Merrill Sales – Transforming a 50-Year Old Company from the Front

| July 17, 2018

We fondly refer to Merrill as a fifty-year-old company with the heart of a start-up -- and it turns out that we're not alone. As we approach the five decade mark, Selling Power magazine spoke with some of our leaders to learn more about what's driving Merrill's transformation and success.

Merrill Corporation is the most important company you’ve never heard of! For 50 years, Merrill has been a market leader in providing service and technology solutions enabling high-stakes financial transactions like M&A, IPOs and debt offerings. Our clients — CEOs, CFOs, general counsels, lawyers, bankers and accountants for the most important companies in the world – lean on Merrill for deep expertise, flawless execution and discretion.

Like many industries, Merrill’s business has experienced rapid technology-oriented disruption that has fundamentally altered how work gets done and how our customers engage with the company. As a result, Merrill has thoroughly transformed every layer of its service model, guided by the voice of our customer. Today, with DatasiteOne, our new market-leading technology platform, Merrill is a SaaS-led business, enabling global capital markets and attracting more new customers each day.

As with all things, it starts with the people. You can build the strategy, but if you don’t have the talent, it’s hard to change a business."

Sales is at the center of Merrill’s transformation, led by Todd Albright, Chief Revenue Officer and Worldwide Head of Sales. “As with all things, it starts with the people,” says Albright. “You can build the strategy, but if you don’t have the talent, it’s hard to change a business. It’s even harder to create a result that customers and shareholders care about. We embedded design in everything we have done across leadership, our associates, training, enablement and incentives. Ultimately, it’s about winning—if you recruit the best athletes, give them great support and pay them well, you’re going to build a sustainable, winning culture. Who doesn’t want to be a part of that?”

Sales transformation was part of a wider, company-wide revitalization. In 2014, Rusty Wiley joined Merrill as Chief Executive Officer, after serving as General Manager of IBM’s Banking and Financial Markets. He brought a clear vision of a technology-led organization that invested and grew with intent. Thomas Fredell joined as Chief Product Officer after leading product strategy at multiple, rapid- growth start-ups, including Snagajob. Tom Donnelly joined as Chief Financial Officer from Digital River, a leading e-commerce company. Albright himself had led multiple sales transformations at other companies, most recently as Senior Vice President and Head of Sales at SunGard (now FIS Global), the #1 ranked ‘Best Company to Sell For’ by Selling Power Magazine in 2014.

This year, supported by six guiding principles – Speed, Simplicity, Security, Service, Expertise and Innovation – Merrill released the only SaaS app for due diligence in the market: Merrill DatasiteOne.

The company’s passionate, loyal customers have been thrilled with the new product. Merrill sellers are talking to top investment bankers, private equity partners, corporations and law firm partners across the Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe, sharing how DatasiteOne can accelerate M&A deals while providing key analytics around potential buyers and sellers.

With DatasiteOne and Merrill’s focus on innovation, the company invests in finding and hiring sellers who have a passion for their customers and a thirst for winning.

Merrill sellers offer customers more than a technology product – they provide a 360-degree partnership, backed by Merrill leadership.

For Doug Cullen, Global Chief Marketing Officer, putting customers’ needs first– and ensuring DatasiteOne can support the successful navigation of all aspects of mergers and acquisitions – is paramount. That means everyone at Merrill is focused on marketing and selling. A global 24/7/365 project management team of M&A experts supports the foundational work that helps deals get done. The sales teams are at the epicenter of that mission.

“We do about 7,000 M&A deals a year and have a fanatically loyal customer base,” says Cullen. “Our ability to provide continuous innovation via DatasiteOne strengthens these relationships and positions us as the market leader. Add in what I consider to be the best sales organization in any industry, and it makes Merrill a fun place to be.”

When you have a platform with an intuitive UI designed with input from our customers, along with the backing of a world-class service and product organization, selling for Merrill is exciting and rewarding.”

What does a day in the life of a Merrill seller look like?

“When a seller at Merrill wakes up in the morning, regardless of time zone or global location, they have the opportunity to truly help a customer do their job more effectively, efficiently, and with ironclad data security and privacy,” says Mark Williams, Chief Revenue Officer of North American Sales. “When you have a platform with an intuitive UI designed with input from our customers, along with the backing of a world-class service and product organization, selling for Merrill is exciting and rewarding.”

How do you ensure sellers are equipped for success?

Merrill’s global sales enablement function maximizes seller success. “When someone makes the decision to join Merrill, I see it at as our responsibility to ensure they have all the tools to win, period! This includes ensuring they know our industry, our buyers, our product, and our customer value,” says Russ Walker, Vice President, Global Sales Enablement & Alliances.

“What do all sellers want? They want to be in front of customers to demo DatasiteOne. They want to close deals with referenceable customers. We partner with our demand generation and product marketing teams to drive market and customer interest. Our inside sales team thrives on putting our sellers in front of interested buyers. If that type of supportive environment doesn’t excite a sales pro, I don’t know what will,” continues Walker.

What is next for Merrill?

“Continued international sales expansion and constant high-value enhancements to DatasiteOne will drive even more customer value and retention,” says Albright. Sales professionals have a vast array of options to choose from when selecting an organization to sell for. Merrill Corporation should be a destination for sellers who want to be part of a winning team, and one that they are confident has their customers’ and their own success at top of mind.

Read more at Selling Power online.

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