Anyone who’s ever made a major purchase decision has probably done their own version of secondary research. Ever bought a car? Most people wouldn’t go straight to the dealership. They might have a type of car in mind, but they’ll want to make an informed decision. They might check out websites to compare features or read Car and Driver for expert reviews and ratings. They might seek out the opinions of current owners on YouTube or ask someone they know. That’s secondary research —compiling, curating, and analyzing existing data to drive informed decision-making.
Okay, that’s a super simplified version of secondary research. For mergers and acquisitions or partner scouting, you’d obviously want a caliber of secondary research expertise that goes further than a Google search. You’d want a thorough and nuanced understanding of industry disruption, regional and geographic specificities, and in-depth company profiles. The consequences of M&A decisions are high. Acquisitions and partnerships can carry enormous risks: financial, operational, and cultural. Comprehensive secondary research can give you the data and understanding to make the right decision.
The good news is there’s a goldmine of data in the public domain…if you know where to look and what to do with it. You can use secondary research to get answers to critical M&A and partner scouting questions:
At Escalent, we mine sources you wouldn’t find in a basic web scan. Sources can include subscription databases, government resources, patent filings, and financial statements. Our analysts have been known to reverse engineer an organization’s structure via LinkedIn and paint a picture of a company’s employee culture and future outlook through social listening. If needed, they’ll interview former employees or track down other experts who may have insights that aren’t available in the public domain.
In one case, a global technology client was looking to acquire an upstart player in the IoT (Internet of Things) realm. The challenge: so many upstarts! The client needed a clear overview of player potential in a crowded and fast-evolving field. First, we developed a framework to identify prospects that would complement the client’s value proposition. Then we dug into hard-to-find yet publicly accessible data to inform a shortlist of companies with the growth profile required. And to shorten the shortlist, we interviewed a handful of insiders identified through secondary research. We then created detailed profiles of high-potential contenders. The final product was delivered in the form of an easy-to-use interactive dashboard.
In another engagement with a global investment firm, our client was looking to enter the fast-evolving car-sharing marketplace. They had their eye on a few companies but needed more information before committing to what would be a significant investment. To add to the challenge, this was a nascent market where information was limited, sensitive, and difficult to quantify. Our approach combined a review of existing information, financial reports, industry opinions, company websites, and marketing materials along with first-hand conversations with early-adopter car owners to refine our client’s valuation approach. Over the years, investors and portfolio managers have relied on critical insights from our analysts to inform numerous such decisions and deal flow.
Secondary research is fast and cost-efficient. It is the ideal starting point for identifying M&A and partner targets, based on your business growth objectives. We help vet opportunities, assess risks, and deliver the insights you need to find your match and negotiate the right outcome.