This episode’s guest, Mike Sullivan, is the Co-Founder and Chief Growth Officer at OneDigital. After more than 15 years at MassMutual and Aetna, he helped start OneDigital in the early 2000s and has been ramping up the company’s success lately behind the idea of growth acquisitions.
Do you want to just sell your agency, or do you want to join a team?
According to Mike, there is not a one size fits all situation for why OneDigital acquires certain agencies, but the biggest thing that works for them is that they put a ton of effort into learning about prospects and understanding if they would be a good fit together.
By and large the people that have made great partners in the past are people with the right attitude, energy, and intelligence who are still motivated in their field.
Increasing the Appeal of your Agency
Growth potential is incredibly important for OneDigital’s acquisition strategy. They put a lot of resources into investigating prospects organic growth potential and Mike mentions owners who are cognizant of this appeal to OneDigital.
However, at the end of the day the strategy of the owner must be born out in their book of business in order to make a deal possible with OneDigital.
You are what your book of business says you are.
Importance of Culture
Mike harps on the culture of OneDigital throughout the podcast as it is a core tenet of how they operate and who they decide to partner with through acquisitions.
An agency could be great on paper but if the culture does not mesh well with OneDigital, then there is a good chance it could be passed on. Their company culture is a foundation of their business and protecting the integrity of that foundation is more important than one deal or one acquisition.
Mike also talks about the 97% of owners who continue to stay with OneDigital even after their earn out is over following an acquisition. This is evidence of a win-win situation where a partnership has grown out of the initial acquisition.
We versus Me
Talking to the owner of an agency is a quick way to check the viability of a future partnership from Mike’s experience. OneDigital places value on leaders who see themselves as part of a team rather than being focused on themselves first and foremost.
If they do not see themselves as part of a team at their own agency, it stands to reason that following an acquisition by OneDigital they will continue to stay in the “me” mindset.
You can get to know a firm by talking to their leader, and does their leader talk about WE and US or do they talk about ME
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