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How To FIND And CLOSE A #MEGADEAL

David Klättborg and Bora Brännström are the co-founders of Megadeals Advisory, where they help B2B companies doing large deals implement a scalable marketing and sales orchestration.

In this episode of The Salesman Podcast, David and Bora explain what a Mega Deal is, why you should care, and how to start closing more of them.

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Featured on this episode:

Host - Will Barron
Founder of Salesman.org
Guest - David and Bora
Co-founders of Megadeals Advisory

Resources:

Transcript

Will Barron:

Coming up on today’s episode of the Salesman Podcast.

 

David Klättborg:

It is great if you can close 10 deals instead of a mega deals. What we see in the research or what we saw in the research is that you actually tend to sign a mega deal out of a existing deal. So it’s very, very seldom that you go in and sign a mega deal, the first thing you do.

 

Bora Brännström:

To become a big B2B enterprise company, you can’t do it without doing mega deals.

 

Will Barron:

Hello, sales nation. My name is Will Baron, and I’m the host of the Salesman Podcast, the world’s most downloaded B2B sales show. On today’s episode, we have two legends. This is an incredible episode, we have David Klättborg and we have Bora Brännström from Megadeals Advisory which you can find over at megadeals.com. And that’s exactly what we’re getting into on today’s episode of the show, how to close a mega deal. One, what it is. We define it. Two, who you need on board. And then three, how you can qualify and start to move down this process of closing mega deals. Everything we talk about including the book is available in the show notes over at salesman.org. And with that, let’s jump right in. Today’s topic, we’re going to go a few steps further than we ever have done in the past. And we’re going to talk about how to close not just any deal, but a mega deal.

 

Why Would Salespeople Want to Close One Mega Deal Instead of 10 Smaller Ones? · [01:30]

 

Will Barron:

So just to tee up the conversation, and we’ll see where we go from here. But just to sell the audience on this idea of closing mega deals, why would I want to close one mega deal over 10 smaller ones? What is the benefits of going down this route and this approach?

 

“What we saw in the research is that you actually tend to sign a mega deal out of an existing deal. So it’s very, very seldom that you go in and sign a mega deal as the first thing you do.” – David Klattborg · [01:50] 

 

David Klättborg:

Well, I mean, it is great if you can close 10 deals instead of a mega deals. What we see in the research, or what we saw in the research is that you actually tend to sign a mega deal out of a existing deal. So it’s very, very seldom that you go in and sign a mega deal, the first thing you do. So start with 10 and then grow from there and a lot of people talk about cross selling, etc. But you often find the opportunities to do a mega deals within the accounts you actually have, by growing them. Also, it’s very important since in the research, we saw that 1% of the deals could actually stand for 80, 90% of of the revenue and the profit. So the importance of these deals are massive. So you don’t want to lose one of those accounts as well.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

David Klättborg:

You want to add anything to that?

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. Just add to that. I mean, it’s quite amazing when you think about it but mega deals is the second largest monetary flow in the world. And you’re like what? So M&As right? M&A’s. Mergers and acquisitions are the largest monetary flow in the world. Mega deals is the second largest monetary flow in the world. So to David’s point, when we looked at all these Fortune 500 companies, it was only just really a handful of a, small number of accounts that stood for a big volume of the business, right? So it’s really the kind of the holy grail of your business. And the… Sorry, I lost my train of thought. Hold on.

 

David Klättborg:

Rainmaker.

 

Bora Brännström:

No, no, no, no, no. I completely lost my train of thought. Sorry, well.

 

One Mega Deal Can Represent 80, 90% of One Sales Rep’s Revenue · [03:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Let me ask you this. Let me ask you this, Dave, just to clarify on that last point. Because I think this might blow people’s minds as well. Is that one mega deal is 80, 90% of one sales reps revenue that they generate? Or is it one mega deal could be 80, 90% of the revenue of an organisation?

 

David Klättborg:

Right. So I mean, some of the scale ups that we meet on a regular basis, they can have like one account or two, three accounts, that stands for 80, 90% of their total revenue. So that’s the importance of these big deals. So imagine signing another one of those right? And how much faster you scale, and that has a huge impact on the valuation of the company as well. So one of these mega deals could actually double the revenue, and it could actually triple or 5X the evaluation in the end.

 

“To become a big B2B enterprise company, you can’t do it without doing mega deals.” – Bora Brannstrom · [04:55] 

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. And just triggered what I was going to say. You’re right. So it is the business. If we look at one of the biggest Swedish companies Will, it’s a well known brand but I think it’s 16 or 17 accounts, stand for over 80% of the volume and it’s one of the biggest Swedish companies. And we saw the same trend across the Fortune 500 companies that we looked at, right? So to David’s point, it makes a huge difference. The other thing that we… An hypothesis that we’ve come to, we don’t have enough data to say it is like this but we haven’t seen anything contradictory yet. To become a big B2B enterprise company, you can’t do it without doing mega deals. Right? And we were interviewing a gentleman called Mark Ogden, who built Eloqua. You might know that the company was first in the world with sales and marketing automation. He sold it to Oracle for 800 million. And his point was that when you get-

 

David Klättborg:

[inaudible [00:05:21] Mark Organ.

 

Bora Brännström:

Mark Organ. What did I say?

 

David Klättborg:

You said Ogden.

 

Bora Brännström:

Oh sorry, Mark Organ, excuse me.

 

David Klättborg:

It’s a thunder.

 

“When you get to around 5 million ARR, as a business, you have to go upstream and start doing big deals, if you really want to grow otherwise you get stuck.” – Bora Brannstrom · [05:39] 

 

Bora Brännström:

So I’ll just say that again. So we were talking to Mark Organ, who started Eloqua. And first with sales and marketing automation and sold it to Oracle for 800 million. He made the point that when you get to around five 5 million ARR, as a business, you have to go upstream. And start doing big deals, if you really want to grow otherwise you get stuck. So it’s back to your question. And the research that we’ve done, when we looked at these companies, it’s really, really important to be able to do mega deals for the health and the growth of the business.

 

How Mega Deals Can Skyrocket a Salesperson’s Career · [05:59] 

 

Will Barron:

And I just wanted to give the audience a bit more context on this, right? Because you’re not just doing a mega deal and hitting your sales quota as an individual contributor and sales person, and getting a pat on the back and well done. You’re probably off speaking with the board members and sitting with your CEO and getting kind of getting promotions, right? This isn’t just a, you do your deal and you’ve hit your quota for the year. This is, especially if you can then manage the account and if you’re at the top of the food chain in your organisation, with regards to that. This is something that could be, your whole career could be based around, right?

 

“On average, when we looked at the mega deals we interviewed, on average, they (salespeople) were doing $1 million a year on bonuses, doing mega deals.” – Bora Brannstrom · [06:31] 

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. And to your point, on average, when we looked at the mega deals we interviewed, on average, they were doing $1 million a year on bonuses, doing mega deals. So it’s also for the individual to your point. Well, it’s a very financially lucrative place to be in, space to be in.

 

Key Characteristics Of a Mega Deal From an Organisation Perspective · [06:45] 

 

Will Barron:

For sure. For sure. Okay. It’s a big context there, but let’s give it an overlay of context. Is there a set of key definitions that make up what a mega deal is? Is it just the biggest deal your organisation has ever done? Or is it over criteria that kind of locked it into that mega deal category?

 

David Klättborg:

It’s actually up for grabs. But in the book, the research looked at companies, Fortune 500 companies, we also interviewed 60 of the, I would say one of the the best mega dealers in the world across the globe. 50% or 40% actually were women. And what we saw was that it’s… Sorry, take it again. So, it’s actually up for grabs. So a mega deal definition by the book is, The Megadeals book is from $10 million and upwards. But a mega deal for you is something else that a mega deal for us.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

“A mega-deal in this context is involved with a lot of change management. It’s often a combination of hardware and software. And you buy as a team on the buyer side, and it also requires you to sell as a team. So it’s much more complex in a lot of senses. It’s not just the money. It’s a lot of people on the buying side inside the organisation, but also outside of the buying organisation.” – David Klattborg · [08:15] 

 

David Klättborg:

But a mega is in this context, is involved with a lot of change management. It’s often a combination of hardware and software. And you buy as a team on the buyer side, and it also requires you to sell as a team. So it’s much more complex in a lot of senses. It’s not just the money. It’s a lot of people on the buying side inside the organisation, but also outside of the buying organisation. So it’s a huge ecosystem.

 

“I think the key difference is, in a mid-sized, complex B2B deal, you tend to have a handful of stakeholders that you can actually get hold off or meet. And with a good dialogue technique and with a good negotiation technique, the individual can actually close a deal like that. Whereas in a mega deal, you start to have significantly more stakeholders, you have a much more complex ecosystem with different players impacting the ecosystem. And it goes from being an individual in a sales process to being a bigger team in an orchestration discipline.” – Bora Brannstrom · [09:02] 

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. And to add to what David is saying, when we studied in the research, that was the definition we looked at some of the biggest deals. But what we’ve really experienced and observed as we start to go in and help companies do and orchestrate these type of deals, is that there is just a bigger demand from scale ups. So companies that are scaling, that need to do mega deals, to really boost their growth like David was saying. I mean, you sign two or three mega deals in a scale up and you can two, three times the volume of your business, which 5, 10 X’s the value of your business. And it’s just as relevant there. And I think the the key difference well, is in a mid size, complex B2B deal, you tend to have a handful of stakeholders that you can actually get hold off on or meet. Right? And with a good dialogue technique and with a good negotiation technique, the individual can actually close a deal like that, right?

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Bora Brännström:

Whereas in a mega deal, you start to have significantly more stakeholders, you have a much more complex ecosystem with different players impacting the ecosystem. And it goes from being an individual in a sales process to being a bigger team in an orchestration discipline. But you could still be signing deals that are half a million, a million, two million, three million. But it’s the complexity of the deal that defines it. If that makes sense.

 

The Difference Between Closing a Mega Deal Versus a Complex Deal · [09:58]

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. Okay. So let’s get just a bit more practical I guess. What is the difference then if the audience will be familiar with a, what we call systematic selling or a complex sale. Is that a set process for closing a mega deal? Versus what would traditionally be called a complex sale? That’s hundreds of books have been written about at this point. Is there a process for mega deal and is different? Or how does it differ to that of a complex sale?

 

Bora Brännström:

All right. Let me take a stab at this one. So that’s a really good question. And there are, we’ve seen some really some very, very clear differences. That also reflect as, and you were alluding to it Will, challenges that we see a lot of enterprise businesses face as they try to go about doing mega deals in a similar fashion, as they would in a less complex deal. So let me give you a few of those. So the first one is rainmaker dependency. All right? So, in the research we did we saw that these mega deals were done by one or two in a scale up, for example. A CEO and someone else, right? And then in even in some of the biggest deals that we looked at, it was four or five names that were being flown around to help orchestrate these deals. And without them, the deal wouldn’t happen. Right? So that’s one. The second thing that that then generates. The second difference is the point I made previously, which is being too dependent on too few stakeholders, right?

 

Bora Brännström:

So as I said, previously in a midsize deal, it’s enough with one or two, and you drive that deal yourself. But as the deal gets more complex, it could be 10, 15, 20, 50, 200, 300 stakeholders that you need to influence, right? And you go away from being individual sales person dependent, and going from a sales process to more of an orchestration discipline, right? And the ecosystem significantly grows. So all of a sudden, you have players outside of the organisation that you’re trying to close, that also impacts the deal. Politicians-

 

David Klättborg:

Third party [crosstalk [00:12:02]

 

“What we see today unfortunately, is that marketing and sales in many organisations are working in silos. So marketing tends to be more of a leads generator, they hand it over to a salesperson, who then goes and does the sale. In a mega deal, that does not work well.” – Bora Brannstrom · [12:50] 

 

Bora Brännström:

Suppliers, third party consultants, etc. Right? So first, you’ve got rainmaker dependency. Secondly, going from very few stakeholders to a much broader ecosystem. Now to organise and to be able to orchestrate, you need to go from selling to orchestrating. This leads to the next challenge, Will. Right? And the big difference is that to be orchestrators, you need to work as one big team, right? So it goes from individual to these rainmakers being orchestrating and orchestrating the ecosystem in their own organisation, the ecosystem and the customers organisation, etc, etc. And to be able to do this, they can’t do it alone. So this is where marketing becomes extremely important in a mega deal. Because what we see today unfortunately, is that marketing and sales in many organisations are working in silos. So marketing tends to be more of a leads generator, they hand it over to a salesperson, then then goes and does the sale. In a mega deals, that does not work well. Right? So marketing is, imagine like air support, right? Flying over the deal. And you’ve got these rainmakers as troops, right. And they’re dropping these kind of bombs is a bad analogy.

 

Bora Brännström:

But what they’re doing is they’re doing three things. They’re creating really good messaging, turning that into really good content short videos, long videos, blogs, posts, etc. And then pushing it through different distribution tactics like social selling, IP targeting, retargeting, etc. And influencing that huge ecosystem, because one individual can’t do it. Right? So, and that leads us to, I’ll just make two more points around this which is a big difference. So for sales and marketing need to work together to be able to orchestrate this, but even the whole organisation needs to work together from product to finance and all that kind of stuff. But what then needs to happen is, in what we call industrialising sales and marketing, and scaling sales and marketing, right? Because as the rainmaker is orchestrating all these different stakeholders and marketing is supporting as their support, right? You then need to be able to scale your content in videos, right? That’s being pushed out into this ecosystem.

 

Bora Brännström:

But you also need to, the repetitive tasks that a salesperson does in explaining the value proposition over and over again, and explaining how to implement. Bringing in the IT person and bringing in compliance, that’s coming to the meeting for the 500th time rolling their eyes because they hate these meetings. You can turn them into short, short videos. So just to summarise. It’s a long answer but they’re awesome. It’s a really good question, Will. Because it’s really rainmaker dependency right? So how do you scale the rainmaker? Secondly, going from few stakeholders to a significantly larger stakeholder, moving from selling to orchestrating, right? That puts pressure on marketing and sales to work significantly tighter as kind of air’s and ground support, right? Which then puts an onus on scaling and industrialising your efforts. I hope that makes sense? But as the process becomes more complex, so does how you manage and orchestrate the ecosystem within a mega deal.

 

The Individual Within an Organisation Who is Tasked With Going After Mega Deals · [15:38] 

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Okay. About 15 questions come from this. First one, if we’re going to kind of start with the foundational elements of this, of how it’s built and how it’s led. You said the word orchestra a bunch of times, Bora. Is there a conductor to the orchestra? Is this led by one individual or are these deals so big that they are tend to be led by a group?

 

David Klättborg:

So the conductor or the orchestration leader, these are these rainmakers. And we say these are skilled people who have often years of experience. But what we come from is I would say the traditional sales. So both Bora and I’ve been rainmakers but in, I would say in the old world. So when we were interviewed for the book, we were kind of blown away because we never been able to articulate how we did it. So it was the first time that we actually got an instruction how the Serena Williams or Wayne Gretzky’s or Zlatan’s of the world, actually do it. And what we realised was that we need to become more media. Because we moving into a lot of more film making, we need to create more posts, articles. But to use a word that this buzzword today, but drive thought leadership. But really understand the audience, engage it. You can add a bit of fun into it. I think you are good at that, Will.

 

David Klättborg:

And also really educate, and don’t go for the masses, but really find your niche and your target group. Really understand the pains that they have, etc. All about what I’m talking about. The thing that holds this together, all of the things that Bora talked about. The glue that holds this together is actually the messaging. When we read the messaging part, the messaging architecture in this book, we were quite blown away because I never seen anything like that before. And I worked with sales for a long, long time.

 

How to Spot Mega Deal Opportunities and Decipher Whether They are Worth Investigating Further · [17:51]

 

Will Barron:

So we’ll get into the messaging in a second, but I guess we should take a step back here. How do we know if a mega deal is on the table? Say you take me selling medical devices here in the UK to the NHS. I would sell individual camera systems they’ll be used in theatres. And occasionally you kind of once or twice in the last seven, eight years, nine years I was in the business. I would sell a whole operating room or a series of operating rooms. So then you’d be in the kind of millions and multiple millions. And for the organisations I work for, they were, I don’t know whether you’ve cast it as a mega deal. We can come back to that in a second, perhaps. But they were big deals that made then the whole NHS Trust that had bought them, then buy over stuff on top of it. And over the course of 10 years, maybe it would then become a mega deal.

 

Will Barron:

So how do we know when a customer is a potential… How do we know when it’s worth investigating further with a potential customer or with a current customer, whether there’s a potential opportunity to work more closely with them?

 

Bora Brännström:

That’s a really good question. So, let me just ask that in two ways. So the first thing you’re talking about absolutely backed up by the research. So what you’re talking about is the land and expand. We haven’t seen a single mega deal that we’ve looked at. There are, I’m sure there are exceptions but we’ve not seen a mega deal in our research that you do from day one. So you come in and you do a huge mega deal. It’s exactly the way you describe, Will. You come in, you do a deal. You gain the trust, because mega deals is all about trust. And as you gain that trust, you start to expand into a larger deal into mega deals. So that’s number one. The second piece of your question is how do you qualify or disqualify? How do you know it’s a mega deal? And this is a brilliant question. Because what we saw on the research, there was a huge difference between how these mega dealers operated and how traditional sales people and sales people doing midsize deals operated.

 

“As salespeople we are schooled to think about sales is a numbers game. The more you fill the pipeline with, the greater the chances that you sign something. And in transactional sales, I agree. But in mega deals, it’s the other way around.” Bora Brannstrom · [19:36] 

 

Bora Brännström:

And as sales people we are schooled. We’re schooled to think about sales is a numbers game, right? The more you fill the pipeline with, the greater the chances that you sign something. And in transactional sales, I agree. But in mega deals, it’s the other way around. So the mega dealers are actually almost religious about disqualifying mega deals, right? Because doing a mega deal takes so much time, money and energy. And we see a lot of companies just running after these deals because it’s a nice shiny object to sign right? And there are a number of criteria, we call one of them key initiatives in our book. If they don’t feel some of these criteria, the mega deal won’t happen. So these mega deals actually go in with a disqualification mindset. They’re trying to inject themselves from a deal. Because they know that they go for fewer deals, but they increase the chances and likelihood of signing the deal so when rates go up.

 

How Salespeople Can Identify Trigger Events That Could Spark Mega Deal Opportunities · [20:36]

 

Will Barron:

What would be an example then, Bora of one of these criteria or a trigger event that would trigger then the salesperson to go, “Hey, there’s an opportunity here.” As opposed to waiting for the buyer to say, “Hey, this is great. And we would like to work with you further.”

 

“If what you’re selling doesn’t align to and support the buyer in achieving one of their key initiatives. So, one of their top strategic, priorities, big bets, whatever you call them. The mega deal won’t happen.” – Bora Brannstrom · [20:55] 

 

Bora Brännström:

So key initiatives is the one we talked about in the book. It’s one of the five cornerstones. And what we saw in the research was that if in a mega deal, if what you’re selling doesn’t align to and support the buyer in achieving one of their key initiatives. So one of their top strategic, priorities, big bets, whatever you call them. The mega deal won’t happen. Because it’s in those key initiatives where the money and the resources is invested for the bigger deals. So one of the quickest thing, and I think one of the, as a business that you can start implementing tomorrow. Start to understand that obviously the business that you’re going after, but what key initiatives do they have? And is what you’re selling as a mega deal helping them achieve one of those? If not, eject. If yes, well, that’s the first trigger to move on.

 

David Explains How Salespeople Can Track Key Initiatives In Buyer Organisations That Could Present Mega Deal Opportunities · [21:50] 

 

Will Barron:

And very practically, tell me if I’m wrong here. But it seems like we could just go into our CRM, find our top 10, 15 customers, whatever the numbers are. Look on the homepages, go over if they’re a public company, any shareholders notes, come up with a list of key initiatives and then just have them in the CRM. Perhaps on an important document or a page. And then we should just be, maybe every quarter or so just having a flick through to see if they’ve changed. And to see if our product or service can help with them. Am I on the right tracks with this?

 

David Klättborg:

Definitely. And you can have this in a even more strict way. So one approach is to have like a dragon’s den. So you have maybe the head of sales, head of marketing, maybe even the CEO depending on the big this company is. And you come with your different prospects or customers and say, “They have just this key initiative or they’ve change this key initiative into this. And I think we have a go ahead here. This is an opportunity.” And then the dragon say yes or no. And when you say yes, you double down on them and add their support with all the different tactics like ABM, retargeting, social sell enterprise, social selling and all the other tactics. So you really focus as one team on those specific accounts. So it’s really about, to Bora’s point, disqualification is about saying no. Say no to maybe 90%, maybe 80%. To have a bigger yes to the ones that you really go after.

 

Will Barron:

Sure. Bora, you cringed slightly when he said this word. And I think it’s cliche and, not overused but it has a purpose. But it can be misconstrued as, “Well, this idea of thought leadership, right?” Because what does it mean? Does it mean you’ve got a blog? Does it mean that you’ve got a YouTube channel? Does it mean, you’ve got 50,000 subscribers on whatever it is?

 

David Klättborg:

Yeah, exactly.

 

Why Salespeople Need to Position Themselves as Thought Leaders and Not Persky Salespeople When Going After Mega Deals · [23:45] 

 

Will Barron:

So, can we narrow this down? Because maybe, and I’m picturing here an audience member they’re driving along in the car and they go, “Oh crap, I think I’m onto something here. There’s one organisation, what we’re doing in this project, they’ve got tonnes of money. And it allows you on their key initiatives, my sales, the director, managing director of the company gave me a pat on the shoulder for just getting in the door. What does this individual need to do from a perspective of their own individual thought leadership, to get them to a position where they are then I guess, able to have these conversations without being looked down on as just a pesky salesperson trying to claw more cash out of the customer? What do they need to do to position themselves as an expert that a large organisation would want to deal with?

 

Bora Brännström:

That’s a really good question. You’re actually kind of, you really hit the nail on the head when it comes to the heart and soul of mega deals. And we call it the messaging architecture that you were referring to before. So what we see more and more, is that companies are getting better and better in the B2B world, had actually starting to scale. So using account based marketing tactics and techniques, to start to scale their message targeting stakeholders and organisations. So we’re seeing that. But where I think they’re a little bit behind still is the message and the content that they’re scaling. Right? So to your point, Will, the message and the content is still very much around the benefits and features of their products. Me, me, me, me buy from me, right? And the problem with that is twofold. The first is, you don’t differentiate yourself because most of the competition is pretty much saying the same thing. So the clients they’re going, “Okay. What is the difference between all these competitors?” And the second thing is, you then end up differentiating on price, and we know what that does for margins.

 

Bora Brännström:

But what we see the best mega dealers do, is they follow a complete different framework, what we call the messaging architecture and split it into three sections. The first we call the fundamental messaging. Now the fundamental messaging gets a customer from, “I don’t know who you are.” To, “I’m engaged and I want to buy.” But we all know Will, I’ve been there. I’m sure you’ve been there. We’ve had customers saying, “I want to buy.” And then we lose them, right?

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

“Some of the better mega deals and companies look at the macro environment that your client is in, what’s going on and describe that macro environment and the change going on in that environment, and explains the change drivers and why they need to make a change. Because if they don’t need to change them, why would they want to buy something different?” – Bora Brannstrom · [26:42] 

 

Bora Brännström:

So the next part of the messaging, we call deal closing messaging. And it takes the customer from, “I want to buy to I want to sign.” All right. And then we have the third part of the messaging which is orientational messaging, which draws a much broader audience to take notice of you and your business and whatever you’re selling. Now, so what this does, rather than talking about the benefits and features of your product, you’re actually educating, challenging and entertaining your audience. So we don’t have time to talk about all of it in this session, but I’ll give you a little snippet. So the fundamental messaging, rather than going in and talking directly about the benefits and features of your products, some of the better mega deals and companies look at the macro environment, that your client is in, what’s going on and describe that macro environment and the change going on in that driver, and explains the change drivers and why they need to make a change. Because if they don’t need to change them, why would they want to buy something different?

 

“Just because your client needs to make a change because of a pain, it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy from you.” – Bora Brannstrom · [27:27] 

 

Bora Brännström:

Now that change creates some kind of pains and gains, and they’re really good at understanding the pains of these clients based on the changing macro environment. Now, still you have companies doing this relatively well. But then what we see happening well is they go straight, they say, “Look, this is the change going in your environment, here’s the pain it relates to you, come and buy from me. They missed two very important layers. And one of them is what we call category choice and sub category choice. So just because your client needs to make a change because of a pain, it doesn’t mean they’re going to buy from you. They’ve got different categories of options that they could go down, right? And then they have different sub categories of options they can go down. And they evaluate all these different options, right? So should I do this? Or should I do that? Or should I do this? Should I go down this solution or that solution? Right?

 

“What the messaging architecture does is it helps you paint a picture of the decision process that the client needs to go through, from change driver, pains down to category choices and subcategory choices before they even think about buying from you. And if you create really good content around the change drivers and pains, the category options and sub category options without even talking about you as a business or limiting that, you drive phenomenal thought leadership that engages your audience, and helps them through the buying journey, towards your category of solution that you’re offering to solve that pain.” – Bora Brannstrom · [27:52] 

 

Bora Brännström:

And so what the messaging architecture does is it helps you paint a picture of the decision process, that the client needs to go through, from change driver pains down to category choices and subcategory choices before they even think about buying from you. And if you create really good content around the change drivers and pains, the category options and sub category options without even talking about you as a business or limiting that. You drive phenomenal thought leadership that engages your audience, and helps them through the buying journey, towards your category of solution that you’re offering to solve that pain. I don’t know if this is making any sense. But that’s the one piece. Then to deal closing messaging, I’ll just very briefly talk about. The first piece gets them engaged. But we also see is there’s a huge difference between getting a customer engaged, and as they get closer to buying, it’s complete different content. It’s much more around risk mitigation. So if I spend five million on this, what are the risks for me as a business? So you need to mitigate those risks, or deep dives.

 

Bora Brännström:

I mean, if you’re buying a house, the closer you get to buying the house, the more you want to know about the details of the house, right? It’s the same thing in a big deal. So in the deal closing phase, you need to shift more towards risk mitigation, deep dives-

 

David Klättborg:

Referrals.

 

Bora Brännström:

… referrals-

 

David Klättborg:

How to.

 

Bora Brännström:

… how to and all these kind of things. So, I don’t know if that’s… It’s easy to explain in these five, six minutes but if you do this really well, and we haven’t even talked about orientational yet. But if you do this really well, it diverts the conversation from talking about you as a vendor, and much more on driving thought leadership around the decision journey, and why they should go down that journey and buy from you if that makes sense, Will?

 

How Salespeople Can Create Ever-Green Content That Positions Them as Experts and Improves Their Chances of Consistently Closing Mega Deals · [29:44] 

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense. One thing here, and tell me if you guys agree. Because I’m doing some of this on a tiny scale. In that, and there’s a point to this that I’ll come to in a second. But it seems like a lot of work, right? To put all this together. And tell me again, if I’m right or wrong it seems like the further you go down this process, the more in depth the content has got to be. Perhaps you start off with a series of YouTube videos outlining the problems or change in the marketplace. By the far end of this, it’s reports or books or coming on site and consulting and things like that. Right? So with all that said, I’ll ask you this, David. How does this scale from a perspective of, once we’ve done all the work once can we do this again, using a lot of the same content with over mega deals? Is this just something that we do once and have to start again every time? Or can some of this be reused?

 

David Klättborg:

That’s a great question. And the answer it can be reused.

 

Bora Brännström:

Not reduced but reused.

 

David Klättborg:

Reused, definitely. Some parts of it you need to actually change, but not all of it. So typically, when we help our clients, we see that the change drivers on top, or describe them if you like on top of the tree. Change drive are often pretty much the same. The categories can also be pretty much the same or the subcategory as well, but you need and also to refine into that specific customer. So there will be changes, but a lot of it you can actually reuse. I can’t give you a percentage but it’s not definitely like that. You do it for one customer and then you have to start all over again. It’s not like that you can reuse.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Bora Brännström:

It also depends on the industry of course. Where also for example, if you’re within a specific industry or a vertical to David’s point, there’s a lot you can reuse just tweaking slightly. But if you change industry for example, then the whole messaging architecture could change. So it really depends also what audience you’re targeting and within what industry vertical deal we’re talking about.

 

David Klättborg:

Yeah. So I mean, we come from a company, American Express. Today, they have three different business lines. So of course, you need different messaging for all those three, and you will also shift it depending on the customer you have in front of you. But yes, there’s a lot of it that can be reused.

 

Will Barron:

Because one of the reasons I ask this, and I’ll pitch it to you both now. But it seems like in some organisations, this will go… It depends on the culture of the organisation,. If it’s a startup, if has a founder perhaps that has done this before in scaled organisations, they’re going to embrace this with open arms, right? Because it’s its IP, its intellectual property, it adds… Just all this documented adds value to the organisation. Going through this process wrong seeing if you don’t win the business, will help with messaging for every other deal that you probably put together.

 

David Klättborg:

100%.

 

How to Convince Skeptical Executives In Buyer Companies of The Benefits of Investing in Your Proposed Mega Deal · [32:44] 

 

Will Barron:

So there’s real value in all this. But what happens, David, Bora, when we start to pitch some of this to a sales manager or sales director, or we get slightly favourable on the food chain. And we really think we’re onto something but the leadership are not bought into this. What do we need to take to them to convince them to allow us to spend the time, energy and resources to at least have a go at closing one of these mega deals?

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. So that’s when, I remember in the beginning, I explained the difference between the mid size deals and the larger deals. So what you’re explaining now is you’re expanding the ecosystem of influences, right? And to your point, as you get into a mega deal you’ve got different functions, different departments, senior management, etc, impacting. So this is when you need to start to scale your message. So how do you scale your message? Once you’ve got the messaging nailed, you use it also in your meetings. Face to face, which is now more on Zoom of course, but in your discussions because you know where they are in the messaging, and you can direct your communication. But to your point, if you start to then turn it into the content we talked about, whether it’s a short video, a long video or a post, right? And then you start targeting the stakeholders that you’ve identified around in the ecosystem. So to your point management would be in that ecosystem, because you need to influence them. If you start to direct that content, through social selling, through IP targeting, through retargeting, webinars, or podcasts, or whatever it is, right?

 

Bora Brännström:

Then you’re starting to influence this ecosystem without actually physically being there or through digital means. In a mega deal, it’s a combination of the physical touch points, whether it’s a meeting or a call or whatever. And the digital touch points of using these different distribution tactics, and distributing the different parts of the message. And it’s when you get that combination right, you’re able to orchestrate.

 

David Klättborg:

I can also add the importance of a broad entry.

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. Good point.

 

David Klättborg:

Sometimes I did a mistake back in the days that I focused too much, let’s say on the CFO. And that happens to be a gatekeeper, right? And we all know what happens. You can’t take any turns or any ways left or right or above him, because then you lose all the trust. And he or she says, “Why do you talk to the head of sales all of a sudden. We had this conversation. I own this project.” So broad entry is key, in a mega deal.

 

Broad Entry: How Sales Teams Can Target Numerous People in an Organisation and Spark Mega Deal Conversations · [35:12] 

 

Will Barron:

And what does that look like? And I can talk to my perspective of selling medical devices, is that going and seeing the CFO who probably physically has to sign something to get the deal done. But also getting involved with the surgeons, the theatre staff. Is it very literally just going broad and speaking to lots of people in the account?

 

Bora Brännström:

Yeah. So the first piece would be mapping the ecosystem, which is the second cornerstone. Right? So to your point, all those names that you said you would map up, and you’d say, “Here are the…” I’m just making this up. “The 25 stakeholders in the organisation that we need to influence. And here are three outside the organisation that we need to influence.” So first you map them up. And then to David’s point you, what we call divide and conquer. So, maybe you would go and talk to three of them. One of your team would go and talk to two of them, another part of the team would go and talk to another three of them but at the same time. So now all of a sudden, what you’re doing is you’re infiltrating the organisation that you’ve mapped up with several people in the team at the same time, so you’re building relationships very early, simultaneously. So maybe product would go and build with product, compliance would go and build with compliance. I’m just making this up. Right? So sales with sales, someone else with procurement.

 

Bora Brännström:

And when you do this simultaneously, you’re building that broad consensus. And then it’s difficult for one person to say, “Why you talking to him or her?” Back to David’s point, if you first talk to one person you do that for a month or two, you’re kind of stuck in that trap.

 

David Klättborg:

And it’s important to also mention that when you… When Bora says go and talk to, you mean digitally as well.

 

Bora Brännström:

Both.

 

David Klättborg:

Both, right?

 

Bora Brännström:

Both. Good point.

 

David Klättborg:

So that’s really, really important. So from the beginning, you use all these different tactics. And you’re not only working with marketing, top of funnel. But you have the support of marketing all the way through. And even after you’ve signed them.

 

Bora Brännström:

Yes, of course.

 

David Klättborg:

We all know about buyer’s remorse, why BMW invest a lot of money once you’ve actually bought a car? Because then you’d start to think about, “Did I make the right decision here?” And that happens, of course, in a mega deal as well, right? So it’s super important to keep feeding them with the right information.

 

Bora Brännström:

Sure.

 

David and Bora Talk About The Mistakes They See Organisations Making When Targeting and Negotiating Mega Deals · [37:45] 

 

Will Barron:

I’ll ask you both this one question. We’ll start with yourself, David. What’s the one thing if you have to narrow it down just to one thing that you see people, organisations, orchestrated groups do wrong when they are trying to put together a mega deal? What’s, if you could narrow it down to just one specific thing, David, what would it be?

 

David Klättborg:

I would say the easiest thing to do something about, even tonight or today is look into the key initiatives. So you probably don’t disqualify enough. And even if you’re doing midsize deals, you should probably, if you take a look at yourself disqualify, say no to much larger number of accounts and double down more on a few of them. And really tailor to that industry or even better or if you’re doing mega deals into that specific account you’re going after and double down on that one, I would say.

 

Will Barron:

And what about yourself, Bora? I don’t want to kind of cause a massive argument and a fist fight between us. But do you agree that that is the biggest thing that you personally see or anecdotally see go wrong with mega deals? Or what’s your thoughts on that?

 

Bora Brännström:

No, it’s a really valid point. And just to be, let me compliment then to add a different perspective. There’s two I’m struggling between, and I’m going to cheat here and say both of them. One of them is the inability to build trust. That’s the essence of a mega deal. Whether you’re not mitigating customer risk, or to David’s point, going after the right deals. Or whether you’re unable to influence the ecosystem. It’s all around building trust. And the second thing I would say, and sorry I’m saying two here. But the second thing I would say is, we see a lot of organisations unable to make the shift and the transition from two things. One, how they go about doing midsize deals that we talked about initially. And secondly, transitioning to what David was saying earlier to be going from being more analogue to more media. So going from the kind of physical presence to combining it with a digital presence. So I would say those two, it’s the inability to build trust and the second one is making that transition to kind of the mega deal space.

 

Which One is More Impactful? Trust of a Brand or Trust of an Individual Salesperson When Negotiating Mega Deals? · [40:16] 

 

Will Barron:

And when you say trust, the answer is undoubtedly both right? But is it trust of a brand? I can trust Red Bull or Coca Cola. Or is it trust of the individual? That’s, “I’ve listened to David, I’ve listened to Bora. I’ve heard their quotes on thought leadership. I’ve listened to [inaudible [00:40:28] podcast, I’ve read the book, and I trust them as an individual person.” Which one is most impactful in a mega deal?

 

Bora Brännström:

You want me?

 

“On a personal level, there are some things you can easily do to build trust. I mean, if you say that you’re going to send something on a Wednesday, send it on Wednesday. And be on time.” – David Klattborg · [40:43] 

 

David Klättborg:

No, I would just say both of them are extremely important. So you need to work with both of them. I mean, on a personal level, there are some things you can easily do to build trust. I mean, if you say that you’re going to send something on a Wednesday, send it on Wednesday. And be on time, etc, etc. And then you have the other part. And when Bora talks about building trust, I immediately start to think about two things. One is that we tend to talk too much about ourself. Our product, benefits and features. 

 

“In a mega deal, if you’re a smaller, not that well-known brand, how do you come across as trustworthy? It’s not by telling how great you are. It’s really understanding what they are thinking about you.” – David Klattborg · [41:35] 

 

David Klättborg:

So as Bora said we’re schooled to talk about these things, and we forget about how they are viewing us. And then what risks, even if there are just perceived risks. But there are a lot of risks in doing these kind of big deals. And in a mega deal, and if you’re a smaller, not that well known brand, how do you come across as trust worthy? It’s not by telling how great you are. It’s really understand what they are thinking about you. So, there’s a great saying, “You never get fired from buying from IBM. Right?”

 

David Klättborg:

And that’s just because of this. Because we are our brains are very, very old. We haven’t changed that much. So back to [inaudible [00:42:15] thing fast and slow, and loss aversion we are 2.5 times more, how do you say it?

 

Bora Brännström:

Likely to move away from pain and-

 

David Klättborg:

Likely to move away from that pain or risk, than going after-

 

Bora Brännström:

Opportunity and pleasure.

 

“You can’t mitigate everything. It’s also important to understand, I can mitigate this. This I can mitigate maybe to 50%. But we have to live with that risk.” – David Klattborg · [42:43] 

 

David Klättborg:

Opportunity and pleasure, and the upside. So we have to think about that when we sell or we market something. So how do you mitigate? And you can’t mitigate everything, right? It’s also important to understand so, I can mitigate this. This I can mitigate maybe to 50%. But we have to live with that risk. And if you don’t bring that up to build trust, and your competitors come in and talk about these things, then you’re in a bad place.

 

Bora Brännström:

Yep.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. And I think I’ve anecdotally only ever worked for just by fluke, I guess more than anything else. The best medical device companies in the industries. And I’ve closed so many deals, David, just on the back of working for this company who have a blue logo. Not really any much more than that. And as you described, in an acute situation where a surgeon has your endoscope or camera inside a physical, a real human being who’s heart is beating on the table there. They’ll pay a little bit more-

 

Bora Brännström:

Spot on.

 

“I think there’s an understatement among salespeople on the benefits of working for a great brand, with great products and great organisation. And there’s often an overemphasis on sales skills and hustle. Why would you want to make your life hard by working for a crappy company? I’ve never really understood that.” – Will Barron · [43:50] 

 

Will Barron:

… they’ll work with you, they’ll use your consulting services just because of that brand recognition. So I think there’s real value in understanding that for the audience. Especially, perhaps there’s some of the audience right now fortunately or unfortunately, who were looking for jobs who have been through redundancies, different things. I think there’s an understatement in sales people on the benefits of working for a great brand, with great products and great organisation. And they’ve been there’s often an overemphasis on sales skills and hustle. And why would you want to make your life hard by working for a crappy company? I’ve never really understood that. So, I just wanted to double down on that point.

 

Parting Thoughts: The Mega Deals Book and How to Get in Touch with Bora and David · [44:13] 

 

Will Barron:

And with that, chaps, why don’t you tell us a little bit about Mega Deals. I’ve got the book in front of me for everyone who’s watching this on YouTube. Clearly you can’t seem this if you are listening to this on the podcast, the audio version of this show. But tell us about the book where we can find it and where we can find out more about both you guys as well.

 

David Klättborg:

Yeah. So the book really describes what we have talked about today and a lot more, of course. And it’s a great discipline. It’s a true guidebook. And actually, it’s the first book in the world that combines all these different discipline into one discipline. And I never seen a book like that before. Even if you look at midsize deals, if you look at the biggest deals in the world, there’s no other literature. And if there is, please feel free to share that with me on LinkedIn, I really want to know and read that book as well.

 

Bora Brännström:

And just to be clear. Just to add to what David is saying, you’ll find literature out there that talks about the sales element.

 

David Klättborg:

Yeah. Hundreds of those.

 

Bora Brännström:

You’ll find literature that talks about the marketing element, you’ll find literature that talks about social selling and all that stuff. But to David’s point, we’ve not seen anyone that’s written about a discipline, that puts all of this together in an orchestration discipline. And for me, that is mind blowing, Will. Because when you look at what came out of the research… So we were just telling you that mega deals is the second largest monetary flow in the world. Over less than 1, 2% this is from the research, but less than 1, 2% of the company’s clients stood for over 80% of their volume, the holy grail of their revenue and profit. Only a few rainmakers in every business can actually orchestrate these deals. And nobody’s written about it. It’s like really? That’s unbelievable. And that’s where the research started, by the authors.

 

David Klättborg:

And you can find it on Amazon or megadeals.com or website.

 

Will Barron:

Perfect.

 

David Klättborg:

It’s like 30 bucks, something like that.

 

Bora Brännström:

Yep.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well, I’ll link the book. I’ll link both your LinkedIn profiles, I’ll link the Megadeals Advisory and the website in the show notes of this episode over at salesman.org. And with that chaps, I really appreciate your time. I appreciate you insights on this. I love this topic. It’s absolutely fascinating. And I will thank you again for joining us on the Salesmen Podcast.

 

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