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MEGA DEALS: How To Find And Win Your Biggest Opportunities

Bora Brännstrom, David Klättborg and Christopher Engman are co-founders at Mega Deals Advisory. On this episode of the Sales Leadership Show, Bora, David, and Christopher share how to implement a mega deals framework to encourage your sales team to chase down deals that will change the course of your organization.
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Transcript

Will Barron:

This episode of the show is brought to you from the Salesman.org HubSpot studio. Coming up on today’s episode of the Sales leadership Show.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah, if you’re in a scale up and you’ve just received a couple of hundred mil and there’s an enormous pressure to really grow that business, and the organisation that you have is significantly smaller and maybe not as experienced, and as many resources, you’re in a situation where you have to go to market really quickly.

 

Christopher Engman:

So we come in and really help them there and then we up… so good news is that the best sales people are relatively easily upgraded to our methodology.

 

Will Barron:

Hell sales nation, my name’s Will Barron and welcome to today’s episode of the Sales Leadership Show. On today’s episode, we have [Bora Brannstrom [00:00:48] David [Klattborg [00:00:49] and Christopher [Engman [00:00:51] and we’re diving into what I have on the table here, Mega deals. How to create and scale mega deals across your organisation, and mega deals aren’t just any old sale. Sales leaders, everyone who’s listening to this, mega deals are sales that impact your company long term that change the face of your company moving forward. So they’re well worth, well worth investigating and going after. Everything we talk about on this episode of the show is over at salesleadership.org. And so with that said, let’s jump right into it. David, Bora, Christopher, welcome to the Sales Leadership Show.

 

David Klattborg:

Thank you so much.

 

Christopher Engman:

Thank you.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Thank you, our pleasure.

 

What is a Mega Deal? · [01:44] 

 

Will Barron:

I’m glad to have you guys on. It’s going to be an exciting show. We’re going to dive into how we can scale mega deals across the organisation, and I’ll let you kind of suss out in between you, who you want to answer this first question, but this will set up the rest of the conversation. So if anyone who hasn’t seen the Salesman Podcast episode where we covered some of this, who or what is the definition of a mega deal? How do we know when we’ve got a potential mega deal on our hands?

 

David Klattborg:

[crosstalk [00:01:52]

 

“So first of all, you move from selling into a pyramid organisation, and all of a sudden, you’re selling into a matrix or a cube organisation, that’s number one. Number two is that when you’re no longer selling into a single function, but you’re selling something cross functionally, that’s number two. And number three is when your selling is no longer done by an individual, but rather by a team.” – Christopher Engman · [02:31] 

 

Christopher Engman:

Christopher here. I think I can give that a go. So when we did the research, we looked at deals between 10 million dollars and 15 billion dollars and they had to be… so both hardware and software services and they had to require some kind of change in the buying organisation. Now, since we’ve done the research and we’ve worked with some of the biggest companies in the world, but also a lot of scale ups. We’ve actually, surprise, we’ve learned a few things. So we’ve realised that actually the game changes from traditional… well from selling into orchestration when you’re moving. So there are three different things. So first of all, you move from selling into a pyramid organisation, and all of a sudden, you’re selling into a matrix or a cube organisation, that’s number one.

 

Christopher Engman:

Number two is that when you’re no longer selling into a single function, but you’re selling something cross functionally, that’s number two. And number three is when your selling is no longer done by and individual, but rather by a team. So when you’re selling as a team cross functionally toward an organisation that is either a matrix or a cube, you’re shifting from selling to orchestration. So that is actually a better trigger than the amount, if that makes sense.

 

Will Barron:

That makes total sense and I’m sure the amount still is a function within this because [crosstalk [00:03:13]

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah, yeah there is a correlation.

 

Key Identifiers of Mega Deals Where All The Extra Effort Becomes Worth It · [03:23]  

 

Will Barron:

Sure. [crosstalk [00:03:15] because we don’t want to do a deal which is worth 10 grand and do everything we just described, because we’ll go bankrupt with the amount of staffing and effort that will go into it. Is the A deal size that is a… obviously this is grey area. It’s ambiguous, but is there a rough deal size where all of the extra work and effort becomes worth it to sell a mega deal?

 

Christopher Engman:

So most of our clients are actually… they would say, especially using our old definition, they would say that they’re rather enterprised deals than mega deals.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Christopher Engman:

But we’re obviously… I mean, we’re working with some of the top 10 companies in the world in size, and some of their largest deals, but also military equipment companies, [Saab [00:03:59] is a great client of ours and they obviously do, what we would classify as really serious mega deals. But again, the definition… so when we have looked at literature and disciplines around enterprise sales, we find them over simplified.

 

Will Barron:

Okay.

 

Christopher Engman:

So first of all, they’re always, almost always very sales centric, but then you find books around the marketing side of it and they’re marketing centric. And they’re talking different language, so when you put people like David and Bora in the same room as a market tier, they can’t even communicate. So even for the enterprise deals, the mega deals discipline works really well, especially when you have the three layers that I just touched upon.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Let me also give an example to bring it to life. So for example, if I’m selling into an organisation where I have two or three stakeholders, and by influencing them through my own dialogue technique or negotiation technique, so it’s very dependent on me. The stakeholders are only a few, then it’s more of a selling process. And many of the techniques we talk about within orchestration, you don’t have to use and aren’t as applicable.

 

Christopher Engman:

No, they’re overkill.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

But to Christopher’s point, the example he gave is that starts to get more complex with stakeholders sitting in a matrix or a cube, cross functional-

 

Christopher Engman:

Even in different countries.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Even in different countries. Then all of a sudden, you actually… you can’t do… it’s much more difficult, at least, to do this on your own, so you need to sell as a team and that’s when these tactics and these techniques around orchestration becomes much more relevant.

 

Will Barron:

Sure.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Can I just actually… Chris, can you give one example where the deal size actually is completely irrelevant and that’s the one you give about the steel, when you’re selling steel.

 

Christopher Engman:

Right.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

That’s a good way of…

 

“The mega sales discipline is not only increasing the deal size and the win rate, and shortens the sale cycle, it actually makes your go to market cost lower. And this sounds counter intuitive, but a lot of the things we do is to look at the full funnel and see what things during the entire buying cycle is consuming the time, and we replace that with mainly videos.” – Christopher Engman · [06:01] 

 

Christopher Engman:

I think we have two comments to make here. So you actually asked when does the cost of marketing and sales… so when is that justifying this discipline? So this is interesting. The mega discipline is not only increasing the deal size and the win rate, and shortens the sale cycle, it actually makes your go to market cost lower. And this sounds counter intuitive, but a lot of the things we do is to look at the full final and see what things during the entire buying cycle is consuming the time? And we replace that with mainly videos. And a lot of it… so companies are spending a tremendous amount of time on a few things.

 

Christopher Engman:

First, they spend a lot of time on prioritising which are the key problems that we, as a buying organisation are trying to solve. They spend a lot of time on that and that ends up being often key initiatives in bigger organisations anyway. The second thing they spend on a lot of time on once they’ve decided which are the key problems they need to solve, they look at what are the alternative categories and sub categories of solutions that can solve that? And that takes a tremendous amount of time as well. Once they’ve decided we want to have this subcategory of solutions to solve it, they start another time consuming thing, which is to make the RFP list, so the capabilities that a selected vendor needs to comply with. But not only that, they spend a lot of time on trying to figure out what are the risk that we take going with this vendor and this type of solution?

 

Christopher Engman:

And lastly, they actually try to figure out what are your weaknesses? Because they want to know if I go to bed with vendor, I at least want to know what their weaknesses are. This is why reviews, even on hotels, the most read reviews are the worst, so the lowest score. Because you want to know okay, I love this hotel and I want to listen to the worst reviewers. What are they saying? “Oh, it was actually cold in the rooms. The food was horrible. It was a leakage, smell or something.” And if you are very sensitive to smell, you wouldn’t take that. So it’s the same in the B2B world.

 

Christopher Engman:

So since these are taking so much time, by using the negatives, your cost of sales in marketing is actually lower than using the traditional approach. Because when you have Bora’s example… and we have an analogy, you’re coming to a fortress. Inside the fortress, you have the buying organisation and your army is attacking this fortress. If you crack a small hole in one of the portals and you let one single warrior in, he or she will be completely demolished with a wooden sword against 500 other warriors. And that is how it is, and you know this. This is how it is to sell into matrix or cube organisations where you have a war about these priorities, so the top problems, the categories… it’s a war. And you cannot win this war in a cost effective way using the traditional approach.

 

Christopher Engman:

So I want to counter your question with a challenge in the question basically. But then Bora’s raising something else, which is a steel example. So you can have a steel company, they sell… for every year, they sell steel to you worth one billion dollars and they do that five years in a row. Is the sixth year a mega deal? No, not according to our way of seeing it, because it’s a transactional deal, even though the amount is huge.

 

David Klattborg Explains Why Sometimes a Mega Deal is Not Gauged By Its Revenue Turnover and How It Affects The Business · [09:08] 

 

Will Barron:

So is it fair to say then that a mega deal is irrelevant to all revenue turnover that comes from it is a deal that impacts the business and what level, whatever level we are in sales leadership that we’re listening to this. Our boss goes, “Well done for that one, getting the team together.” Is that a fair way to put it?

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah, yeah.

 

David Klattborg:

In a simplified way. Yeah.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yep.

 

Will Barron:

I’m trying to simplify it.

 

David Klattborg:

But we also… yeah. But we also talk about here is the analogy that Chris just made, it’s quite strange. When you look at the Fortune 500 companies we looked at and the interviews… now we’re over hundreds of mega deals across the world. It’s quite strange that the KPIs and the focus pretty much is on top of funnel and leads, leads, leads. Instead of going after the full [inaudible [00:10:04] create messaging, full funnel content and et cetera. It doesn’t make any sense. So if you… even if you do… mid sized deals, this way of doing B2B sales is much more effective. And if you set the right KPIs for the marketing team, you obviously have a much higher chance of succeeding.

 

Who Should Be Managing Mega Deals Within an Organisation? · [10:45]

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ll get into how we can shape the buying cycle with a mega deal with unique content at [inaudible [00:10:42] based marketing and all that good stuff in a second. But who should be managing this? So last time we had you guys on the show, we were talking about this from the sales persons perspective, the [inaudible [00:10:52] carrying sales person of why they should be sold on pushing forward mega deals, and I guess who they need to bring in from their team to help get deals closed. It’s a progressive. But from a leadership perspective, is this this the initiative of a CRO to be targeted towards mega deals and physically managing them himself or herself? Is this a marketing that approach? Is this something that sales managers can curate and then bring in people where they need it, to move the deal forward?

 

Will Barron:

Who… or should we have someone, if the organisations large enough, should we have a mega dealer within the company who is only doing this and only curating this, and only managing the team to create the content and to build these conversations. Who should be managing this process?

 

Christopher Engman:

I think you should ask that Bora. I just want to say one thing first. So it really depends on how large the company is and what capabilities they have already. It’s totally changes how you should run this.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah absolutely. And to Christopher point, whether you are in a scale up, or if you’re in a larger organisation, right?

 

Christopher Engman:

We call them giants.

 

“If you’re in a scale up and you’ve just received a couple of hundred mil and there’s enormous pressure to really grow that business, and the organisation that you have is significantly smaller, and maybe not as experienced and has many resources. You’re in a situation where you have to go to market really quickly.” – Bora Brannstrom · [12:00] 

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah. If you’re in a scale up and you’ve just received a couple of hundred mil and there’s enormous pressure to really grow that business, and the organisation that you have is significantly smaller, and maybe not as experienced and as many resources. You’re in a situation where you have to go to market really quickly, right? And in that case, you can either choose a traditional approach where we today see way too many organisations spending too much on sales resources. So for example, hiring sales people. And we all know the bell curve and the S curve and what that dictates. 

 

“Just because you hire more salespeople, it doesn’t mean it exponentially grows your volume.” – Bora Brannstrom · [12:39] 

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Just because you hire more salespeople, it doesn’t mean it exponentially grows your volume. What you can do, to Chris’s point earlier, is that you have your stars, the one or two, three rainmakers that are really good at doing these deals, and then you build the marketing machinery around these stars, right? Of the messaging and the content the distribution. And to do this really, really well, a couple of things need to happen. First of all, sales and marketing need to work really, really close in hand, right? Secondly, there needs to be a shift in how leadership sees the go to market strategy, right? So a shift in two areas. One, understanding that sales and marketing need to work much closer, not in silos, which we’ve seen way too many businesses today, right?

 

“Understanding that the investment that needs to be made is not predominantly in sales and hiring sales people. In fact, what we’re seeing the best mega dealer organisations today are actually splitting investment 50/50 sales, marketing.” Bora Brannstrom · [13:25] 

 

Bora Brannstrom:

But secondly, also understanding that the investment that needs to be made is not predominantly in sales and hiring sales people. In fact, what we’re seeing the best mega dealer organisations today are actually splitting investment 50/50 sales marketing, right? Which is the…

 

Christopher Engman:

And it’s trending up the market-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

And it’s trending up. To your point, in the next couple years, we think it’s going to be 70/30 marketing. And what does that actually mean when I say that? Well it’s back to my first point, where you build a machinery around the sales… the really good sales peoples stars to scale them. And back to daily’s point-

 

Christopher Engman:

And even cut the hang arounds.

 

“What you then do is, if you get this right, then your really successful salespeople, the ground troops if you like, and then you have marketing like airstrike support, but working throughout the whole deal, to David’s point, not just generating leads in the beginning and then walking away, but actually helping sales close deals. But also then implement deals and into key account management where you cross in an upsell.” – Bora Brannstrom · [14:02] 

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Cut the… exactly. To David’s point, what you then do is if you get this right, then your really successful sales people, the ground troops if you like, and then you have marketing like airstrike support, but working throughout the whole deal, to David’s point, not just generating leads in the beginning and the walking away, but actually helping sales close deals. But also that implement deals and into key account management where you cross in an upscale.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

So back to your question, for this to happen, leadership, both at… CEO level, but even at the highest sales in marketing level, needs to understand these dynamics and start to shift the way that they organise their go to market strategy. That was from a scale up perspective.

 

“The best salespeople are relatively easily upgraded to our methodology. The marketing side, though, needs to make such a quantum leap that they very rarely can do it.” – Christopher Engman · [15:10]

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah and also in the scale up, I think the second question you could answer David, but in the scale up, we’re typically selling to a CEO. And typically, they have a week or lacking marketing function or significantly under dimension, as Bora said. So we come in and really help them there. And then we upgrade. So good news is that the sale… the best sales people are relatively easily upgraded to our methodology. The marketing side though, needs to make such a quantum leap that they very rarely can do it. So we can come back to that later, but we have assigned an offering around that.

 

David Klattborg:

I just want to add that we say sales and marketing as a word together as one team. But it’s actually… what we mean is it’s-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Customer facing.

 

David Klattborg:

Yeah. And also,

 

Christopher Engman:

Customer success, how to product.

 

David Klattborg:

Exactly. Because when we say sales and marketing, if we should say everybody should work together, I mean it’s obvious, right? But we have to start somewhere, but what’s really key here is that the people, the ground troops, who is in the frontline, they need to come back with that information from the customer that paints what have happened during COVID, for example. Whether it changes out there and feed that back to marketing, so they can produce really good messaging and great content. That again, supports the ground troops. So it’s like this flow of information all the time. It’s pivotal.

 

Christopher Engman:

Couldn’t… I mean, you get David really savvy about the giant companies. And they actually managed it slightly differently. So Bora gave an amazing description of how the scale ups are doing this, so-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Stop it.

 

Christopher Engman:

Stop it.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Stop it.

 

Christopher Engman:

But I think both how the giants are doing it and how we sometimes engage with them, it’s a different model.

 

David Klattborg:

Yeah, but I think Bora, you’re in the flow. So go on.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Okay.

 

David Klattborg:

You were in the flow, so go on, because I think you’re on your flow here.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Okay, so let me start and you can jump in. What we see in some of the bigger corporations that we’ve been working with, excuse me… the change that I described at leadership level for a scale up tends to be in general, easier to drive, right?

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah, they’re smaller.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah, it’s smaller.

 

Christopher Engman:

Get everyone in the room.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Everyone in the room and also, there is in the scale up scenario where they just received a couple hundred mil, the pressure is massive.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah whatever, but they’ve received a significant amount of equity to… and pressure to grow in the next couple of years. So driving that change is… I’m not going to say it’s easy, but it’s easier. Whereas in the larger corporations where there is significantly the matrix and the cube-

 

Christopher Engman:

A few thousand commercial people.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

A few thousand commercial people, the legacy is really strong, right? So coming in and doing this shift that we talked about is not as easy and it takes time. There tends to be a number of early adopters and ambassadors that look at this and go… the way that we’re working today is not as effective, right? Because the rainmaker dependency that we talked about last time, and sales people working significantly more in an analogue way makes it very difficult and time consuming to sign these deals, right?

 

Bora Brannstrom:

But what we do in these cases is that we actually go and specifically and pinpoint deals, and offer something called deal orchestration. So we pick a specific deal team on a specific deal, and work with them around this discipline to help them close this type of deal, because what that does then is it ring fences a smaller group that’s working on a specific deal-

 

Christopher Engman:

It’s much less intrusive.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Exactly. And then by showing results and showing that wow, this actually… this different type of approach works. It then creates ripples on the water for others in the organisation to do a similar approach. But the change, to your point, from a leadership perspective is quite significant and as Christopher said, specifically on the marketing side.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah and particularly on the…

 

Will Barron:

Let’s make the assumption that the audience, they’re bought into this, right? They’re probably… we had this conversation many times on the Sales Leadership Show of demolishing some of these silos between sales marketing and increasingly, customer success or whatever we want to call it and however that’s going to change over the next few years is as many brands move to SaaS pricing models, as opposed to capital outlay. Clearly customer success is going to become more and more important. But if we… and let’s assume that everyone listening is totally onboard, they want to implement this, but they know we need to get mega deal [inaudible [00:19:33] involved.

 

Where Does Customer Success Fit Into The Future of Mega Deals? · [19:41] 

 

Will Barron:

We need to get people to read the book, but it’s going to be a, let’s say 12 month process to get everyone bought in, everyone on the same page. Where do you see all this moving over the next 12 months, 18 months, two years? Is customer success going to become more important? As we use your analogy of trying to get over the moat and we got one soldier in there, and perhaps that soldier, after the sale has been doing his customer success, as opposed to the B2B sales person who initiated the first deal. Is customer success going to become more and more important throughout this process and is sales perhaps going to become even less important as marketing collateral becomes more important as we… as the buyer says more time in the buy in cycle, doing their own research. What’s going to be the focus in the future and where does customer service, customer success fit within that?

 

Christopher Engman:

Right. I want to… before I jump into the customer success specific question, so you actually mentioned something 30 seconds ago where we have the silos between marketing and sales and customer success. So most people think that this is due to an organisational issue. It is not. It is because they have not agreed on a messaging architecture throughout the full funnel. So what you have is people believing deeply in different religions, sitting around the same table trying to agree on one religion. That will never work.

 

“The way to get marketing sales and customer success and product to collaborate is to have at least those four functions in one room, and agree on the full funnel messaging.” – Christopher Engman · [21:03] 

 

Christopher Engman:

They use different vocabulary. They look at things completely differently. So what we see is that the way to get marketing sales and customer success and product to collaborate is to have at least those four functions in one room, and agree on the full funnel messaging, which is… I mean, it’s hard to describe in this short time that we have on the podcast. But the messaging architecture is… if you followed us in the book, I think it’s chapter seven or something-

 

David Klattborg:

[crosstalk [00:21:24] it’s page 98.

 

Christopher Engman:

Page 98. Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

That is some knowledge of this book. I’m going to double check you there.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

What row David? What row David?

 

Will Barron:

What line?

 

Christopher Engman:

Rain Man. Rain Man. David “Rain Man” Klattborg.

 

Will Barron:

Love it.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah. So that chapter decides how you design a messaging architecture throughout the entire buying cycle, and that actually brings those 14 together by default. So it’s not an organisational… well to some extent there is, but the bigger thing is that there is a messaging architecture issue, they’ve never agreed on what to say and to which stakeholders. What they have agreed on, I think David touched on earlier, just top of the funnel, but that’s shit. That’s just like 5% of the whole communication journey. So they need to agree on a common religion, if you like.

 

The One Goal Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success Should Go After When Targeting Mega Deals? · [22:20] 

 

Will Barron:

Well let me ask you this then Christopher. So let’s say we got sales, marketing, customer success, we’ve got finance in the room as well, whoever else we need to get in the room, and we’re all… the point of this meeting is to agree on the one religion. If we could narrow that one religion down to one line, what would it be? Clearly the goal is to make profit for shareholders, right? For most large organisations, it’s a payback of VCs who have funded the venture so far. But within that room, what would that one line be? That one thing that we’re all trying to get behind that we’re all pulling in the same direction. What would that one sentence be?

 

Bora Brannstrom:

It’s not a one liner Will and it’s difficult to explain it, but the messaging architecture talks about how you get the client from unaware to wanting to buy, and then from wanting to buy to signing the deal. And then-

 

Christopher Engman:

And then how to engage [crosstalk [00:23:08] stakeholders internally.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Exactly. And the point Chris is making and he’s hit the nail on the head is that sales does that one way, marketing does that another way, customer success comes into the room and says, “Oh no, no, no. Marketing sales don’t know what they’re talking about. This is what we meant.”

 

Christopher Engman:

[crosstalk [00:23:25]

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Product comes in and goes, “They’re off their nut. This is what it actually is.” So it’s not about a one liner. It’s about… to Chris’s point, it’s being consistent in that message that you’re communicating to the client across all these different functions.

 

Examples of Messaging That Should Be Communicated Across Sales, Marketing and Customer Success To Improve Mega Deal Thinking · [23:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. What would be an example of… tonnes of clients that you have, what would be a few examples of what that messaging is that you can share for them?

 

Christopher Engman:

Well the… sometimes, it’s different if you say the message or the messaging. This is not the slogan or anything. This is the… it typically ends up with a pretty heavy PowerPoint or documentation where you talk about everything that happens throughout the whole buying cycle, in which stakeholders… and it’s following a recipe on how to do that. So it doesn’t end up with… it’s not uniting around connecting people, that’s not it. It’s actually how the whole dialogue journey will go throughout the whole funnel and that is… it doesn’t end up with a… I mean, yeah a buy effect is that you do get snippets of information that can be used as a one liner, because actually this is interesting. A buy effect of doing the messaging thoroughly is you often… our clients are often shifting their main target, because they realise “Oh shit, we’re competing with a few categories and subcategories that we weren’t aware of. We have focused too much on our direct competitors, but actually this is a completely different category. They’re eating our lunch and we haven’t thought about them as a threat.”

 

Christopher Engman:

But when we do the messaging analysis, we realise “Oh, we’re actually going to be kicked out in a few years. So we need to really think about this and shift focus.” So we often come in talking messaging and then we end the workshop where the customer goes, “We’re actually shifting our cannons.” But if we say that it’s a positioning exercise on top of it and there’s a targeting exercise, they’ll be scared. But actually a buy effect that it’s refining your targeting and your positioning in the market. It’s not just the messaging architecture. Does that makes sense?

 

David Klattborg:

A good way to try that is to try that at home. We’re trying to [inaudible [00:25:47] something at home or explain something, so I want to buy this TV, it’s very, very expensive and I have to sell that to my wife for example. Or when you sell something internally in your organisation. It’s not like just I want to buy this great product and this is the product that I want to buy. If it’s big amounts, you will get the immediate questions. So what are the different alternatives? So that’s the first kind of layer.

 

Christopher Engman:

And not just competitors, but completely different ways of solving the same thing.

 

David Klattborg:

Yeah. So maybe you don’t need a TV, maybe it’s something else. The new Samsung projector or-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Or you want to be entertained.

 

David Klattborg:

Exactly.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

So you can be entertained.

 

David Klattborg:

So it’s entertainment instead.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

TV’s one option.

 

David Klattborg:

[crosstalk [00:26:38] TV.

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So we’ve got [crosstalk [00:26:40]

 

“In the enterprise and mega deal space, it’s not whether one function is more important than the other, all of them are really important in mega deals and enterprise. What’s going to be more important is, to Chris’s point, to get them to sing from the same hymn book and work much more succinctly as one team, throughout the whole deal.” – Bora Brannstrom · [26:55]

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Will sorry. Can I just… I just want to answer your question that you asked that kicked off this whole debate. Your discussion was what’s going to be more important, customer success or sales? Or is customer success going to be important? So just to tie that loop off, so it’s not about… what we’re saying here, in the enterprise and mega deal space, it’s not whether one function is more important than the other, all of them are really important in mega deals and enterprise.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

What’s going to be more important is going to be… to Chris’s point, to get them to sing from the same hymn book and work much more succinct as one team, throughout the whole deal. That’s going to be really key. That’s, I think the big shift that we’re going to see to become even more successful within the mega deals and enterprise space.

 

Christopher Engman:

Horrible hand over between marketing and sales to where marketing qualified leaders, that’s shit. It maybe works in a transactional world when you have gazillion prospects, but when you’re moving into enterprise and mega deals, it’s not the recipe.

 

How Salespeople, Marketers, and Customer Success Can Work Together Towards One Common Goal and Agree on The KPIs That are Effective in The Generation of Mega Deals · [27:40] 

 

Will Barron:

Okay. So let’s talk about this idea of a recipe or a hymn book or again, we’re all sat in this room. All the leaders that need to be there to make these decisions. So we’re coming up with the buying cycle, the extended buying cycle on the fact that we want to grow these accounts once we’ve got them, once we’ve got that initial foot soldier through the whole crack in the castle wall, right? What do we need to do from a KPI perspective if a marketing qualified lead is no good? Clearly in this case, it’s not going to be… [inaudible [00:28:07] in a white paper did not lead to necessarily a mega deal. As simple as that, right? What do we all need to agree on if we all sat in this room on KPIs that are effective that do lead to the generation of mega deals?

 

Christopher Engman:

Right. Should I? Yeah. So we look at lagging KPIs and leading KPIs. So the lagging KPIs obviously, did you close the deals? What was the lead time? What was the win rate? What was the amount? Et cetera. So those are the things you want to achieve. The leading KPIs are in the indicators that you’re on the right way. So a few things are important in large deals. First of all, since you’re selling into matrix or a cube and you’re selling cross functionally, one of the things you really need to achieve apart from moving them forward and forward and forward in your sales process, you need to win votes.

 

Christopher Engman:

So a few of the KPIs are really based on… for example, how many first contacts are we generating in LinkedIn in this account that we’re targeting, and do we do that with several of us? So several of us growing our network within this account, on simple things like what’s the traffic on our website? Do we have one or two people coming into our websites from this account? Or do we have plus 50? Because often times, people… even in the end, not just mega deals, in the enterprise space, they’re underestimating the size of the audience inside the account. There’s so many stakeholders that you never see or never meet. So those are some of the… leading KPIs that we look at.

 

Christopher Engman:

But I mean, you can look at leads. There’s nothing wrong, but what we see, which is driving completely wrong behaviour is that you have marketing qualified lead, but as a bonus generating KPI for a marketing team, then they will be by default, play a very insignificant role in an enterprise and mega display. They’ll be frowned upon and these guys have been, like yourself, have been really amazing sales leaders internationally and-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Stop.

 

Christopher Engman:

Here, et cetera.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Stop it, stop it.

 

Christopher Engman:

And honestly, I don’t know if you would agree on this in public, but when you talk about the kind of marketing support you’ve had in the past, it’s a joke, right? You’ve been solo warriors and having been this silent warrior came in through this portal with a sword, and then it takes forever to close those deals.

 

David Klattborg:

And it’s often not because it’s lazy people-

 

Christopher Engman:

No, no, no.

 

David Klattborg:

They don’t-

 

Christopher Engman:

No. It’s actually coming from the leadership.

 

David Klattborg:

Exactly.

 

“If you ask sales people, “What do you need from marketing?” They instinctively say leads. But when you ask them, “What are you struggling with?” They go, “Well, I can’t get traction on this client.” – Christopher Engman · [31:05] 

 

Christopher Engman:

Often times, CEOs are ex-sales leaders and sales leaders of the past are used to marketing doing just lead generations. So they come up, also they’re CEOs and they’re dictating that we should have sales people, because that’s what I know. Why increase the marketing spend? That’s just weird and then they go… we just… and often, if you ask sales people, “What do you need from marketing?” They instinctively say leads, but when you ask them, “What are you struggling with?” They go, “Well, I can’t get traction of this client. Why is that?”

 

Bora Brannstrom:

I’m struggling to [crosstalk [00:31:15]

 

Christopher Engman:

I can’t get ahold of the top leadership. I can’t get ahold of the user base. There’s another client in there, they seem to be well known and I’m struggling towards a stronger brand.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

There are three or four stakeholders I can’t influence because I can’t get ahold of them, et cetera.

 

Christopher Engman:

Those are things that they struggle with when you really sit down with them.

 

David Klattborg:

Or I keep repeating myself over and over again, doing the same [crosstalk [00:31:37] answering the same questions.

 

Christopher Engman:

[11:30] in the evening, I’m answering the same email again and again. GDPR compliance or what kind of integrations do you do?

 

Will Barron:

Look guys, I’ve been there. The last organisation I worked for, a multibillion dollar, privately owned organisation, the audience kind of… I don’t name them, but the audience know who we’re talking about, right? [inaudible [00:31:56] company. We had no CRM. Literally no CRM. Occasionally a spreadsheet would get bounced around, right? We were doing deals anywhere from 50,000 pounds for a camera stack up to a couple million, which is a nice boost to the turnover of a full operating theatre and full run out of imagining equipment and everything else that goes in the… and partnering with all the billion dollar brands too to support the theatre with managed surfaces. And all this stuff, right?

 

Will Barron:

Our marketing team in the UK was one dude who literally was there to make PowerPoint presentations look [crosstalk [00:32:29] yeah. I agree [crosstalk [00:32:32] I’m totally on board with-

 

Christopher Engman:

Roll ups, brochures and PowerPoints.

 

What Sales Leaders Can Do to Convince Marketing Leaders to Adopt The Mega Deals Selling Approach · [32:55] 

 

Will Barron:

And clearly, the value of those versus… well I could do a lot of it myself with… the graphics [inaudible [00:32:43] in the past. We can manage that, so he was literally… he was a nice guy, but literally was zero value to me. So there’s going to be a lot of sales leaders and sales people who listen to this who are totally onboard. So with that said then, let’s attack this from the sales leadership perspective. They’re onboard, they want to close more mega deals. The sales team want to close mega deals. They want to have an impact. It goes beyond just the commissions and [inaudible [00:33:06] that they’re going learn from doing well. They want to have an impact on the organisation. They want it to grow. They want to change the culture. They want to push towards being a bigger player in their marketplace. They want to help organisation and the brand.

 

Will Barron:

What the heck do we say to a sales leader? Marketing leader, sorry, who isn’t on board with any of this. How do we rope them in? What can we tell them to convince them that this is the best approach, other than getting you guys involved? Getting the buck and slap them over the head with it. What else can we tell them?

 

“If you really manage the mega deals and enterprise marketing seriously well, you are worth your weight in gold.” – Christopher Engman · [34:13] 

 

Christopher Engman:

I’ll give you a quick comment before some of you guys tag along. The very simple answer is that those marketing leaders that understand the larger deals and they know how to run, it can be the mega deal discipline or something of the sort. They’re kind of annual salaries are really, really, really high. I mean, they make a tonne of money. If you look at the average market here, they’re struggling with pennies on the… I mean, they’re underpaid compared to the senior sales execs. So there’s a big reward on the other side. If you really manage the mega deals and enterprise marketing seriously well. You are worth your weight in gold. That’s a very superficial answer, but that is the reality.

 

David Klattborg:

Yep. The first I would do is to take the messaging out… the fundamental messaging and then from that, do my… sales messaging into the company I’m trying to… and also lead by example, because there are a lot of things that you actually can do like drive thought leadership. We talked about that before. Start by just posting, do the small things and lead by example, then it will get ripple effect. Because we see some people who actually read the book, the mega deals book and start to do this, people start to talk them internally. So this is great stuff. Where does it come from? And other rejoins and that creates ripple effects. They go from being hero, sales hero for example, in a country to everybody in the entire organisation across the globe knows about them.

 

David Klattborg:

So that’s a good way I would say to answer your question. Where do you start? If you’re a sales guy and you’re trying to sell this into the bigger organisation. Start by leading by example. Start somewhere and then use the messaging architecture to try to sell that idea internally, because it’s really, really powerful.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yeah. And just to add to David’s point. If I’m a CEO or a chief revenue officer, et cetera, and I’m looking at my organisation and I want to start doing these things that we talk about. You have a couple of options, right? You look at your organisation and you say A, Do I have the talent internally to do this? Right? And if you do have the talent internally to do this, that’s one way to go. Another option is… or you try to look, is there external talent I can bring in that can do this, right? What we’re seeing at the moment, and it’s one of the reasons why we exist is that based on everything we’ve just said, it’s very difficult to find… both rainmakers out there that understand this orchestration. The book you’ve got there, we’ve interviewed 60 of them, and even if you find them, they cost an arm and a leg.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

The other… but to find marketeers to Chris’s point, is even a bigger quantum leap, because most of them are very well immersed in the long tail and the mid… the SME, B2B space but not in the enterprise space. So if you come to the conclusion, as a CEO or chief revenue officer that I don’t have the talent internally, then you need to look externally, right? And if you look externally, there’s two different options you’ve got. Either you bring in a set of different type of external players like a… an agency, a social selling expert. A marketing expert, right?

 

Christopher Engman:

Sales coach.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Sales coach and everything, but then you need to try and put all this together yourself, and if you don’t have that skill and competence.

 

Christopher Engman:

You’re back to the several religions around the table.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

[inaudible [00:37:19] on the table. You’re gong to lose time, there’s a risk of failure and ll that kind of stuff. Your other option is to bring in one stop shop, really understands how you bring together sales marketing, other customer facing functions in a mega deals and enterprise orchestration strategy to come in and actually do it for you in the organisation, and then upscale your sales and marketing people and other customer facing people, so that you quickly get up to speed, because then you get up to speed quickly, you hit the ground running, right? You minimise risks or failure and from there, you can upscale your organisation to learn how to operate in this manner. So it really depends where you are and what choices you’d like to bring in.

 

Will Barron:

For sure. Look, that makes total sense from the perspective of we know what is a mega deal, what isn’t a mega deal. We know if we’re just doing average deal size of I don’t know, 50 grand a pop. There’s a clear ROI if we start doing one deal a year, one deal every couple years of 27 million a pop. If it makes more sense than there’s a clear ROI and that makes total sense.

 

How Sales Leaders Can Categorise, Manage, and Focus on The Right Deals When Their Salespeople Are Bringing In Numerous Mega Deals · [37:27] 

 

Will Barron:

Just one final question guys for the sales leaders listening to this. We’ll narrow it back down to sales leaders and the managers and the teams below them. What do we do when everyone is sold on this idea of mega deals, and we start seeing the CRM? Every sales rep now has 17 potential mega deals that they want to work on. From a sales leadership perspective, what can we do to manage the… because the sudden influx of huge deals that all of these super optimistic sales people are going to start throwing at us. How do we start to… I know this is probably a conversation for another hour long podcast, right? But how do we start to categorise them? How do we work out what we should focus on? And how do we essentially trust our team to only bring us and get senior leadership involved in deals that could be actual mega deals?

 

Christopher Engman:

Well I think… so since it’s at least manageable to upgrade your sales side, that can be done via a few workshops, et cetera, and we gladly deliver those. The marketing side though, is so far behind and so underfunded that there’s a quantum leap. So what we’ve done in the last six months, and that offering, this is why our organization’s growing like wild fire at the moment. So we’ve said… we’ve realised that we can’t coach the marketing teams to make the move. So we have created something called a factory where we come in and six to 24 months, we set up the marketing factory, targeting enterprise and mega deals entirely, including creating videos, setting up 14 [inaudible [00:39:58] techniques, the KPIs and everything and we do it very, very fast.

 

Christopher Engman:

And based on a standard recipe, of course we tweak it a bit client by client, but very little to be honest, it is a standard recipe and it works tremendously well. Yeah, the messaging is unique per client, but it’s following the same-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Framework.

 

“The number of marketeers in the market who do understand the larger deals, there’s so few that you can’t find them.” – Christopher Engman · [40:17] 

 

Christopher Engman:

Structure, same framework. So we’ve realised that the number of marketeers in the market do understand the larger deals. There’s so few that you can’t find them. And if you find them, they’re so overpaid. I mean, they’re just making a tonne of money because there’s very few of them.

 

David Klattborg:

Not overpaid, they’re worth it.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah. No, they’re worth it, but they make a gazillion of-

 

David Klattborg:

[inaudible [00:40:37]

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah. So we decide a different offer. We say, “We can’t coach marketing to make the shift. It takes too long.” So we come in, we set it up, hands on and we run it for six to 24 months, and then we hand over the keys back to the client when they’re ready for it. And in the meantime, we can train the marketeers they had and some of them, they might need to get rid of, but some of them we train. So we upscale them and then they can gradually introduce new people, but into a set factory, because as you know, it’s so much harder to assign and build a factory versus working in it. It’s completely different.

 

Salespeople Need More Training to Better Target, Handle, and Close Bigger Deals · [41:17]

 

Will Barron:

Sure. So the answer if you’ve got sales people through mega deals, do you need more training? Is that fair to say?

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah, the sales side, more training. Things like how you act in front of a camera, because it’s way more media driven these days. How you act in the webinar. We see senior sales execs that have been really impactful in a room. All of a sudden, you put them in front of a video camera and then if you can see me now, they’re like, “Yeah.” And then they look into the [crosstalk [00:41:45]

 

Will Barron:

They’re probably a lot like me 80% of the time on this show. That’s probably what I’m looking like.

 

Christopher Engman:

You look amazing. We have struggling. We see you down there, but we have the camera there. So we’re kind of going…

 

Salespeople of The Future Versus Marketers of The Future · [42:00] 

 

Will Barron:

I got one… I’m conscious of time here guys, so I’ve got one final question and this is really interesting to me, the conversation so far, a lot of this has been flung back towards marketing. And this juxtaposes the… what you mentioned earlier on that perhaps in the future, marketing will be 70% of the efforts and sales will be 30%. Right now, it’s perhaps 50/50.

 

Christopher Engman:

The funding, the funding.

 

Will Barron:

Sure, sure. Of course, funding and scale down to individual efforts and FNLs, right? So with that said, sales people, right or wrongly, and this is doing media films and FNLs are sometimes seen… and myself as a sales person behind all of the leadership and the content reproduced, right? We’re a little bit seen as knuckle draggers. The stereotype is that we’re… they’re cold calling, pestering people and it’s the Mad Men TV show and another films in media, marketers are seen as these super sharp individuals who can throw a brand together and a logo on a page and drive millions in revenue and there’s definitely a separation between the two.

 

Will Barron:

How do you see culturally this changing in the future? As perhaps there’s going to be less used car people. We don’t need them. We can reset your car online, right? We don’t need crappy sales people anymore. So there’s going to be more enterprise deal makers, as opposed to cold calling, knuckle dragging sales people. How do you see the culture around these two stereotypes changing in the future. Do you see sales becoming more of a profession that people want to get into, as opposed to people fall into?

 

“The modern sales person in the enterprise and mega deal space is a marketing and sales hybrid.” – Christopher Engman · [43:30] 

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah, yeah. And also, the modern sales person in the enterprise and mega deal space is a marketing and sales hybrid.

 

Will Barron:

Hybrid, yeah.

 

Christopher Engman:

And you guys have been part of that transformation.

 

David Klattborg:

Exactly.

 

Christopher Engman:

When we started working together, you were-

 

David Klattborg:

Very analogue.

 

Christopher Engman:

[crosstalk [00:43:42] sales leaders and you’ve noticed. These guys, when they walk around in the city, they often like “Oh, this is mega deals David.” So all of a sudden brand names and that would not have been without media. It would not have been the case. And we… I can’t remember when we reached out to a client, last time. We get all… so since we’re so visible in short videos and podcasts like yours, which is that one. We’re visible in ads. We’re using our own… so we’re eating our own dog food, as you Anglo Saxons would say.

 

Christopher Engman:

And even for our business. We unfortunately don’t do mega deals ourselves. Our deals are… if not mini deals, they’re medium deals. We-

 

David Klattborg:

So far.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah. We’ve benefit immensely from our own discipline. We try to, so you might have seen us. So if you follow us, you’ll see that where you’re saying, we’re talking about… we’re using the same things as we talk about.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

David, maybe you just want to share-

 

Christopher Engman:

And we have… I mean, maybe we have good timing or good luck, but we’re growing like wildfire. We were two people nine months ago, now we’re 15. We have clients now in North America, Europe, Asia already and we really want to build a global company around mega deals. So we want… this is very humble. We want to be the Goldman Sachs of mega deals.

 

Will Barron:

Love it. Love it.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

But David, maybe you want to just share from a cultural perspective, the shift that Will is asking about the shift you and I went through in the last two years going from a very kind of I don’t know sales person to a hybrid.

 

“In the future I can see a person being really good, having a lot of followers on whatever social media it might be, it could be Tik Tok. Even if you choose to be a sales person, or even a mega dealer, or you can choose to become a politician because it’s all about creating followers, and what you do with all those followers. There’s a lot of people listening to you, so you always have to do as you say, and eat your own dog food.” – David Klattborg · [45:36] 

 

David Klattborg:

Yeah, yeah. That’s exactly what you’re referring to in your question because we are becoming hybrids of sales and marketing. Everything comes on with leadership and everything. So I mean, in the future I can see a person being really good, having a lot of followers on whatever social media it might be. It could be Tik Tok, even if you choose to be a sales person, or even a mega dealer, or you can choose to become a politician because it’s all about creating followers. And what you do with all those followers.

 

David Klattborg:

You have to… there’s a lot of people listening to you, so you always have to do, as you say, and eat your own dog food. There’s always someone watching you. You’re always on stage. So in the media society we’re living in today, you need a lot of new skills that you didn’t need being a sales professional three years ago, two years ago. So the quantum leap, I would say we have done is from very analogue, physical need things, phone calls, emails to completely shift today.

 

“This is why it’s becoming a hybrid. So you need to take your incredible sales skills and move them in front of a camera, move them into a webinar, and then you scale it.” – Christopher Engman · [47:22] 

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah. But I want to say something else Will. So in today’s media landscape and you’re a great example. You are selling… maybe not in a face to face [inaudible [00:47:04] where you’re selling in a video. You’re selling in a podcast. You’re selling interest he webinar. You’re selling in an article. You’re not necessarily… I mean, we’re sharing insights here, but maybe someone listening say, “Oh wow. I like this mega deal discipline. I want to buy from these guys.” If we’re lucky, but sales is… this is why it’s becoming a hybrid. So you need to take your incredible sales skills and move them in front of a camera, move them into a webinar. And then you scale it.

 

Christopher Engman:

So if you have people like these guys that have really proven sales people, sales executives and you scale them, then they’re sale skills are multiplied. That’s why it’s no longer as clear divide between marketing and sales, because you take the best sales people and you multiply them through marketing.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

But just add this as an example. So you said that the last podcast we did with you was downloaded 40,000 times, right? So both David and I have had significant number of emails to us saying, “Oh, I say you on the podcast with blah, blah, blah. It was great. I’d love to her more. I’d love to do more.” Now David and I weren’t selling in the podcast, we were driving… and I know you love this word Will, thought leadership around-

 

Christopher Engman:

He doesn’t like [inaudible [00:48:22]

 

Bora Brannstrom:

No, no. But he’s right. It’s a very fuzzy [crosstalk [00:48:25]

 

Will Barron:

Cliché, yeah.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

No, no, no. That’s why I did this. But we were actually sharing insights around mega deals and deal orchestration like this, and it’s download 40,000 times and people are listening to this and being influenced, that’s the new norm.

 

Will Barron:

Well look, I’ll give you guys one example and [inaudible [00:48:45] right and we’ll wrap up with this. You can tell it’s a little bit… or we can find out about mega deals in a second, right? We… I know you guys can’t see it, but you’ll see this in the final production of this show. It says in the front of this very desk HubSpot studio. So we’ve just done and closed the biggest sales podcast sponsorship that’s by a mile over multiple years with HubSpot. And this all came from… [inaudible [00:49:09] marketing team tuning in and the sales team tuning in and watching the podcast and learning from it.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Right, right.

 

Will Barron:

So we’ve done other projects with them in the past, so I had that… it’s me. There’s not multiple people. There’s me. I was that foot soldier in-

 

Christopher Engman:

[crosstalk [00:49:20]

 

Will Barron:

Organisation.

 

Christopher Engman:

Yeah.

 

Will Barron:

Yeah, there’s no cold culture. There’s no emails. They reached out to me. It was all very seamless, all happened very quickly, very fast and they wanted to grow. I guess you could call a strategic partnership. They didn’t want to just throw ads on the podcast itself. They wanted the brand on it. They wanted to refer to the studio space here is the HubSpot Studio Space. And that all came about from exactly what we talked about on today’s show of it’s easy for [inaudible [00:49:47] organisation, because I am the head of marketing, head of sales, head of customer service and everything else. So I just have a… I guess a weird conversation with myself with all these different things pinging around. You scale this out to multiple people. We’re doing-

 

David Klattborg:

Good example.

 

Will Barron:

What you’re describing to find a mega deal for us. This has had a massive impact on our organisation. Revenue is way up this year on last year and-

 

David Klattborg:

Good example.

 

Will Barron:

[crosstalk [00:50:11] huge part of the HubSpot deal that we’ve done and again, as we’re talking about this episode, we are using media. We’re scaling the messages across an account, as opposed to multiple accounts [crosstalk [00:50:23] spamming the market place, and the sales process that is… I wouldn’t say simple, but really pleasurable of, “Hey, we want to work with you.” “Oh, I’d love to work with HubSpot as well. They’re a great organisation.” And there is strategic alignment behind everything that we’re doing and it all falls together nicely. Now, obviously enterprise sale is slightly more complicated than that, but that’s how I view mega deals and-

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Principles are the same.

 

Parting Thoughts: The Mega Deal Book and How to Get In Touch With Today’s Guests · [50:45] 

 

Will Barron:

Yeah. The principles all kind of align with this. So just for the audience to tie [inaudible [00:50:48] do it for me, that’s why I’m sold on this. That’s why I’ve had you all back on the show again, and with that guys, tell us about Mega Deals the book and tell us where we can find out about the services that you offer as well.

 

David Klattborg:

You find the book on megadeals.com or Amazon or other book stores online, pretty much. You find us mainly, I would say on LinkedIn, but on all social media-

 

Christopher Engman:

Or [crosstalk [00:51:13] .com as well. Obviously.

 

David Klattborg:

Sorry. Were you saying Tik Tok?

 

Christopher Engman:

We’re using Tik Tok as well actually. One of our missions is to always test new things. So we’re playing around with avatars at the moment, and also with Tik Tok. So that’s part of our mission portfolio.

 

David Klattborg:

All socials. You can find us. Yeah.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Yep.

 

Will Barron:

Good stuff. Well I’ll link to all of that. I will very specifically link to the Tik Tok account and we’ll drive traffic towards that as well over at salesleadership.org. And with that guys, I want to thank you again for joining us on the Sales Leadership Show.

 

David Klattborg:

Thank you.

 

Christopher Engman:

Thank you.

 

Bora Brannstrom:

Thank you so much Will. 

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