Thought Leadership

Five Steps to a Strategic Sale

8th February 2018

By Jason Purcell

We have a five-stage SMART process we use at FirstCapital to help companies achieve a strategic sale. We touched on this in last month’s What Is Smart Dealmaking blog, and I’d like to explore it in more detail here.

Strategic Insight

There are two sides to every deal, and understanding the value to both sides is key:

1. YOU: An in-depth understanding of your business, paired with an informed sense of how you are differentiated in the marketplace.

2. POTENTIAL BUYERS: A firm grasp of buyers’ strategies, priorities, current capabilities and gaps, based on conversations and relationships with key individuals across their businesses.

FirstCapital value add: Any number of people can run a process. However without strategic insight, you may leave a lot of money on the table. You might miss a key player outside the obvious ecosystem but who has a strategic requirement to inhabit your space, or you might fail to fully realise the value to a particular buyer with a specific need. Our team invests a lot of time putting the pieces together to build the right picture and the right messaging before we present the client to buyers.


Once the target buyers are identified, it’s critical to articulate the opportunity, using the right language that will resonate with key decision makers, and backing the written materials up with impactful presentations and credible forecasts. First impressions count.

FirstCapital value add: Refining the documentation for individual buyers is key. We’ll hone the messages to different parties based on an up-to-date grasp of their priorities. Getting the tone and articulation wrong can turn buyers off and stall progress.


Most important of all is getting through to the right people, at the right time and getting face time with key decision makers. Over two decades we have built strong global networks with buyers.

FirstCapital value add: The depth of our relationship with buyers spans c-suite to corporate development. We constantly invest in keeping our networks and connections fresh and relevant. As one of our clients, Chris Harvey, founder of Salmon said, “FirstCapital’s ability to connect with the right buyers is excellent…. we got interest from the five biggest buyers in the world.” We’re also skilled at managing the roadshows and navigating corporate decision making processes to get the parties to the table at the right time.

Rigorous Negotiation

We believe in win-win deals, but we’re no pushover. We’ll negotiate with rigour and tenacity, managing the various different stakeholders (on all sides) with diplomacy, and leveraging competitive tension to optimise the outcome for our client.

FirstCapital value add: FirstCapital’s experience of negotiating hundreds of deals on a global basis means we are able to find creative solutions to difficult issues and steer the deal through the toughest part of the process. As our client Chirag Shah, chairman of MarketMaker4, said, “FirstCapital was able to negotiate without allowing emotions to interfere – which clearly resulted in a better outcome for us, and without harming the inter – personal relationship with  the  buyer”.

Transaction Close

Once a deal has been agreed, and exclusivity entered into, our client is potentially vulnerable. Project managing the different parties that are involved in the due diligence, anticipating and addressing any issues that arise, and maintaining focus on a smooth, timely and efficient process ensures that the deal that is closed is the deal that was agreed.

FirstCapital value add: This is where efforts earlier in the process really pay off. Excellent preparation ensures that everything is ready for DD, and helps to minimise the risks of delays.  Our support in managing the information flow and keeping everything on track allows our client to continue to focus on their business throughout what can be a very disruptive process, completing a full end to end service which delivers optimal results.