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Jason Owens: Transforming Salesforce’s M&A SaaS Integrations with Empathy

Salesforce M&A Leading with Empathy


Mergers and acquisitions are a strategic decision that can deliver great benefits to your business. However, it can be completely disruptive for new employees. In this episode, discover how Salesforce approaches M&A SaaS software integrations and evangelizes the SAM practice across the organization.

Episode Summary

If you’re looking for the Easy Button to integrate software during an acquisition, you’ve come to the wrong place. Certainly, there’s a ton of hard work and thought that must go into it.

But, there is something that makes it easier: empathy.

At Salesforce, SAM leader Jason Owens considers empathy the guiding light as he and his team go through the integration process.

“When we’ve had really good integrations for companies that have been acquired, it’s because we started with empathy.”

In addition, having a flexible playbook has been critical to their success, because every M&A is different. Jason considers it “One of those things that’s as much art as it is science.” 

With as many acquisitions as Salesforce does, their SAM team has some experience under their belt. By combining technical know-how and people skills, they’ve matured their approach into a scalable process.

Guest Spotlight

Name: Jason Owens
What he does: Leads global ITAM at Salesforce
Connect with Jason online: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

Embrace the Democratization of Software

“What does citizen managed application development or application use look like? I think there’s a shift in the industry to move away from calling that shadow IT and to look at the democratization of applications and application access and say, ‘hey if it doesn’t meet the criteria that we set to be an enterprise managed application, then we want to help teach you how to properly manage it so that it’s secure and performant.”

Evangelize Software Asset Management Across the Business

“As soon as somebody sees a six or seven-figure cost savings, they’re like ‘oh, let’s do more of that, let’s tell other people about that.’ So, suddenly you have, even if it’s not acknowledged as pure software asset management, it is an increased governance of particularly SaaS software applications that is driving a reinvestment value into our business.”

Tackle M&A Software Integrations with a Plan

“We name M&A as a function within our space and say, ‘Look, this is a thing.’ Salesforce is never gonna just stop acquiring companies, so we can’t bury our head in the sand. We have to deliver processes. And we have to deliver procedure. And we have to integrate with the BT M&A organization to deliver and set up ease of integration for our acquired team members. “

Lead with Empathy through Mergers & Acquisitions

“You really have to lead with empathy when it comes to M&A, because you have individuals who everybody’s like, ‘I’m working for this company. It’s a great company.’ Everybody wants to go to work. Everybody wants to do well. And then all of a sudden, ‘oh, no. What I thought I was doing for the next X number of years of my career journey, my plans, my healthcare, my everything’ is suddenly completely different at the flick of a switch.”

Think of M&A as an Opportunity to Discover New and Better Tools

“We’ve actually seen some tools that were heavily in use at some acquisitions where we said, ‘ooh, this is actually really good. They have good terms. What does that look like for our standardization internally? And we’ve pivoted to tools that were heavily in use at acquisitions because of the fact that it was advantageous to the business.”

Your Software M&A Playbook Must Be Flexible

“We have playbooks, but our playbooks have to be super flexible because not every M&A is the same. First, from a size perspective, the line of business, what they do. There’s all these things you have to figure out. And, it’s one of those things that’s as much art as it is science. Because it’s not just what the contract terms and dates are, it’s what does this look like from an effort and initiative perspective to get this stuff across the line.”

Top Quotes

11:25 – “You really have to lead with empathy when it comes to M&A.”

16:19 – “The number one thing that every software asset manager should start doing is talking to the people that are using your software.”

Recommended Resources

Check out other episodes here, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.



Cory Wheeler

As Zylo’s Chief Customer Officer, Cory is responsible for helping our customers drive ROI and SaaS Management success with Zylo. He helps companies of all sizes effectively discover, optimize, and govern their SaaS through Zylo’s platform and services. Prior to founding Zylo, Cory spent 15 years in finance and procurement, managing categories and sourcing teams at Arthur Andersen, BearingPoint, and both Takeda and Astellas Pharmaceuticals. He built the procurement organization at ExactTarget, and managed the integration with the Salesforce Marketing Cloud procurement organization in 2015. He and his family reside in Indianapolis, IN, where they can be found cheering for the Purdue Boilermakers and Chicago Cubs.

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