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Last year was a banner year for merger and acquisition (M&A) activity around the world. In the first three-quarters of the year, global M&A deals reached US$3.3 trillion and cross-border deals hit $1.3 trillion. In 2019, organizations that are flush with cash may be tempted to continue this trend by jumping on the first promising acquisition opportunity that comes their way. However, a short-sighted approach to deal-making is unlikely to help a company maximize long-term value.

Gartner recently took a look at the practices of companies that we’ve termed “efficient growth leaders”—organizations that have demonstrated consistent long-term growth compared with their industry peers—to learn what they’re doing differently when it comes to M&A. The answer is that they take a more purposeful, bold, and strategic approach to these deals.

Based on our research, here are five things these efficient growth leaders do to achieve consistent success in M&A.

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