Getting Deals Done with a Third-Party Deadline

I didn’t realize it at the time but one of the luckiest aspects of the Pardot/ExactTarget deal was that ExactTarget’s annual user conference, Connections, was scheduled for the second week of October 2012. So, when we were working on the acquisition, we always talked about getting the deal done just before the conference so that we could make a big splash at the show. With that firm deadline locked in, we moved forward in an expedient manner and got the deal down a few business days before the event.

In talking with members of the AirWatch team, they had a similar situation, only at a much larger scale. When they raised over $200 million in one of the largest Series A rounds ever, it was announced at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in 2013. When they sold the business to VMware, it was announced at Mobile World Congress 2014. In both cases, the largest tradeshow in their industry also provided a great third-party deadline for both parties to work towards so as to have a huge announcement for the show.

When working on a big financing, partnership, or exit, if you have a true third-party date to as a firm deadline, it focuses all parties and helps get the deal done in an efficient manner.

What else? What are your thoughts on having a third-party deadline to finish a deal in a timely manner?

One thought on “Getting Deals Done with a Third-Party Deadline

  1. Ah, the beauty of deadlines… Reminds me how a startup is a marathon of sprints. Sometimes, it’s pushing new features to grab more attention (lead to more sales), sometimes it’s the acquisition, etc.

    For better or for worse, third-party deadlines also give more credence for others to rally around, so it’s not just an arbitrary date created by someone else on the team. Of course, that can just point to another problem… Looking at it third-party deadlines like negotiations, it’s positions vs. interests.

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