Dear SaaStr: What Happens To Employees When a Company Gets Acquired?

The truth is, it varies, and it’s fair to have anxiety here.

Generally speaking in most acquisitions:

  • All engineering and most/all product employees will be retained. Many times, with a retention package.
  • Sales + success individual contributors are retained, but sometimes with short-term goals. Few acquirers want to get rid of your revenue team immediately, but often their goal is to integrate them into the larger revenue team within a year to eighteen months. Most acquirers don’t support a true stand-alone sales team forever, even if they should.
  • Managers and administrative employees are often at risk. Often, marketing and sales managers are not retained. “Middle management”, so to speak, is often viewed as not desired by acquirers. Finance and general G&A professionals are also often viewed as in the “want them for 6–9 months but maybe not longer” bucket. CMOs often seem to have a very short tenure post-acquisition in particular.

But you just don’t know. Acquirers are smarter than they used to be. The goal is to retain more of the talent. More sales teams and marketing teams in particular are being retained. Acquirers have learned in SaaS in particular, you want specialized sales and marketing teams. If you just bought a good one, you want to keep it!

Assume they want to keep you. But find out quickly if they don’t.

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