A serial entrepreneur who's done business on a global scale, SupplySide Group Chairman Ansir Junaid has seen a lot of deals. Among the most important lessons he's learned through his vast M&A experience is the importance of being sensitive and respectful of different cultures when acquiring a business.

"Diversity and inclusion at all levels is critical," Junaid says. "You've got to really live that and you have to be more about humanity when you acquire companies."

Dealmakers want companies with the right blend of innovation, revenue and growth protentional, which can be hard to find. But deals shouldn't be just about a multiple or EBITDA. It's also about people.

Once a target for an acquisition is found, Junaid says what he's learned is that it's critically important to have a detailed integration plan to support successful transitions.

"The last transition we did, we planned it for six months," he says. "It took two years. So, it takes longer to integrate than what you expect."

While many companies and deal professionals recognize the importance of taking a data-driven approach in business, Junaid says businesses have changed so much in the past year that the pre-COVID data is just not valid anymore.

"It's tough with M&A activity to really look at the data because previous data doesn't exist anymore," he says. "The new data is up and down. So, you've got to take a deep dive to figure out their customer behavior, whoever you're acquiring."

Junaid spoke at last year's Cleveland Smart Business Dealmakers Conference about his M&A experience and how the pandemic has affected dealmaking. Hit play on the video above to catch the full conversation.