What were some of the best acquisitions

Acquisition - Definition and Explanation

Acquisition comes from the Latin “acquirere”, meaning to acquire. Actually it is nonsense from the word creation, because the correct noun would be acquisition. In German, however, we tend to add an “ion” to the end of the verb, which is why the word acquisition has become quite common and is also used in the Duden (as opposed to terms such as acquisition).

What does acquisition mean?

Acquisition stands on the one hand for the acquisition of other companies and in the Anglo-Saxon area is often summarized under "Merger & Acquisitions". So it's less about investing in parts of another company than about buying it and taking it over.

In the sales context, however, acquisition is mostly used as a synonym for the German word Customer acquisition used. In other words, it is about convincing potential customers to become a customer and buy something. You could define acquisition as follows:

Definition acquisition

Acquisition refers to the acquisition of customers and orders as part of sales. Acquisition therefore includes all measures to identify potential interested parties, to convince them of your own product and to close the sale.

Even if you want to win customers for a product in retail and the bookstore next door, the word acquisition is used almost exclusively in connection with B2B customers (business to business). The forms of acquisition depend in part on the product or business model (some of which we describe in more detail in the article Five Forms of Customer Acquisition), but the principle and the sequence of acquisition steps are comparable across industries.

How does acquisition work step by step?

The Acquisition process is based on the results of marketing and is greatly simplified in these 5 steps:

Step 1 - Get attention

In the first step, companies first try to draw attention to the product or brand in marketing campaigns. In the best case scenario, it will already be possible to obtain contact options. Addresses are collected, for example, at trade fairs, in competitions, social media campaigns or simply by researching addresses of companies where one assumes that they will be considered as customers. The specific goal is names, addresses, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses.

Step 2 - Qualification of the contacts

After the research, the aim is to "qualify" these addresses, i.e. the interests and needs of these people or companies are analyzed on the basis of existing information. For example, you can of course buy company addresses from a chamber of commerce, but how many of them are interested and worth the effort of acquiring them? Companies that go to a certain trade fair are certainly more interested in buying. Companies that are looking for a product on the Internet and may have already requested further information are even more likely to become customers. Are you dealing with a small or a large company? Do you know the decision maker or do you only have the contact details for the receptionist?

All of these factors play a role in how likely it is to acquire customers, and thus also how expensive it is. Because if I always have to spread very widely in my acquisition and address practically everyone, my return is of course relatively low compared to the effort (see also ROI or "Return on Invest")

The sales department then begins contacting the qualified leads in a variety of ways.

Step 3 - making contact and initiating business

The first step is usually e-mails and then the handset is picked up for the telephone acquisition. Some companies also rely on call centers or sales agents right from the start and start with cold telephone acquisition. However, this is legally very limited in Germany. In this interview on telephone acquisition, the acquisition agent Angelika Eder reports how this can look in detail.

The aim of this acquisition step is usually an initial personal meeting. Depending on the industry and target group, this process of follow-up can take weeks or months, because only in very few cases will a meeting and then be concluded immediately after just an email or a phone call. In order to clarify the basic process of the acquisition, it should be assumed here as a textbook.

Step 4 - persuade and sell

The personal meetings are about convincing the customer of the product and of yourself as a seller or service provider. At best, the conversation results in a specific discussion of the business or in the conclusion of the contracts. For many acquirers, the sales pitch embodies the supreme discipline of acquisition. Once the customer has been won, the delivery of the product or the provision of the service and, if necessary, further support follow.

Step 5 - Existing customer care and CRM

While for some companies the acquisition already ends at this point, modern companies have long since understood that the warm acquisition, i.e. the new acquisition of existing customers, is often much more efficient than the constant acquisition of completely new customers. In this context, one speaks of good customer relationship management (CRM). (Unfortunately, the German “customer relationship management” is no less cumbersome as a word). In order to be able to guarantee a good customer relationship over many years and with a large number of customers, CRM software is used in which all contact details, but also emails, notes, tasks or products that have already been purchased are noted. So even after months, the sales department can immediately see who has concluded a particular contract and which conditions have been negotiated and use this for a follow-up contract.

If you want to delve deeper into the subject of acquisition, I recommend our detailed acquisition encyclopedia in addition to the above-mentioned articles.