How to Build a Champion M&A Team

for Your Growth Company

Getting the playmakers on the field

  • Know What It Takes to Close a Successful M&A Deal
  • Know The Key Players on Your M&A Team

Tampa Bay’s 2021 Super Bowl championship was a night of triumph for players and fans alike. It’s a story Buccaneers fans will be telling for years, as quarterback Tom Brady led the team to their first Super Bowl title in 18 years and crushed the Kansas City Chiefs in a 31-9 blowout.

 But could Brady have pulled off a victory without tight end Rob Gronkowsi’s spectacular touchdowns, or running back Leonard Fournette’s 135 yards? Could they have shut down the Chiefs so effectively without the relentless strategy of defensive coordinator Todd Bowles? Or what if wide receiver Mike Evans had missed that 31-yard catch in the second quarter? 

Everyone loves a champion quarterback, and Tom Brady’s MVP title was a well-deserved honor. But the truth is that Super Bowls aren’t won by quarterbacks alone. It takes a full team of elite players at the top of their game to pull off a championship.

 What makes Brady such an effective team leader is that he knows the value of each player as well as how the team should function together as a whole. It’s the same ability that sets high-performing CEOs apart.

 Effective CEOS make it a priority to build exceptional teams right from the start because they know those teams are crucial for achieving their vision. Whether you are investing in growth and profitability or developing your M&A strategy, you’ll be relying on your team members to run successful plays.

What Does It Take to Close a Successful M&A Deal?

As M&A activity has exploded in 2021, many growth companies are considering opportunities for profitable deals that offer premium multiples. Most sophisticated companies realize, however, that relying on their internal team alone is not enough to close the deal. They need a team of M&A experts with the unique skills and expertise necessary to achieve the results they want.

 In founder-led companies, however,  the day-to-day leadership team is often responsible for running the deal as well as growing the business. The problem is that the team may not be fully established or may not have the necessary blend of skills, competencies, and experience to achieve success with M&A. Even those who do have the experience usually don’t have the bandwidth to juggle both sets of responsibilities. As a result, internal teams often feel pulled in too many directions, which places the deal at risk and results in severe fatigue and burnout.

If you want to close a deal quickly and successfully, you need an A-team of advisors who can support your internal workforce and keep the deal on track. Here are the essential components you’ll need to consider:

  • Strategy – You’ll need a coach who provides strategic acquisition services and puts together your deal playbook.


  • Leadership – An effective leader will serve as your deal quarterback. This person needs strategic insight, the agility to move quickly, the insight to pull the right information together when a deal is on the table, and the foresight to manage complex scenarios from start to finish.


  • Advisors – You’ll also need a team of professionals who can support your internal team with expert knowledge and help you achieve the highest return on your investment. They will keep your deal on track, make sure you have the details you need, and help you put your strategy into play.

When all of these skills come together, magic happens. You’ll be able to move quickly to secure deals with high multiples, and you won’t leave deals on the table due to inaccurate details or delayed financial reports.

Who Are the Key Players on Your M&A Team?

The next question you’ll need to answer is: Who are the key players that will bring these skills to your team? We’re glad you asked.

People are the key to running a successful business, and you’ll need the right people on your team to achieve the results you want. Here’s a look at six deal professionals you’ll want to include:

  • Strategy Advisor – An external strategy advisor like CFO Alliance will come alongside you and help you architect the deal. They will coach you through the process, make sure you have done all your due diligence, and keep the wheels turning so you don’t miss out on opportunities.


  • CFO – The CFO works hand-in-hand with the strategy advisor to build out the deal strategy and make sure it aligns with overall business strategy. They also serve as quarterback, putting the deal into action and keeping everything on track.


  • Investment Bankers – Investment bankers serve in an advisory role and may contribute to deal strategy. Their market expertise is critical as you establish valuation and consider how deals may evolve. They also bring a holistic view to the process and will help structure the financial aspects of the deal.


  • Tax Attorneys – A skilled tax attorney will help you structure the sale, walk you through all of the relevant tax implications, evaluate the potential for capital gains tax, and consider any net operating losses on the part of the seller.


  • Legal Counsel – As you conduct due diligence, you’ll need a team of legal experts to run through the details of the deal with a fine-tooth comb. They will also identify any deal-killing structural problems or liabilities before the sale moves forward.


  • Accountants – Skilled accountants work with the legal team to make sure all financial statements and valuations are accurate. Deals may require different accounting specialties (for example, a tax accountant and an audit accountant).

Deal Success Is a Team Effort

Football fans often speak of a quarterback “carrying the team to victory,” and it’s true that the quarterback is the linchpin to any team’s success. But it takes a team with strong players in every position to achieve the kind of victory we saw at Super Bowl 55.

The same is true when you’re ready to sell your company. With the right team around you, you can achieve premium multiples, better deal quality, faster deal velocity, and stronger buyer confidence as you carry the deal all the way into the end zone.

When you’re ready to build out your M&A team, CFO Alliance is on your side! We work with both sell-side and buy-side teams to optimize your deal outcome, provide essential financial leadership and strategy, make sure you have the financial visibility you need, and serve as an extension of your executive team.

Give us a call to learn how we can coordinate efforts with your internal team and external professionals to improve deal success!

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