In a big part of the B2B world, the people bringing the largest deals to the table are often heroes with tremendous formal or informal power. Because many of the biggest B2B-organizations in the world have more than 80% of the total revenue coming from less than 1% of the customer base, or often fewer than 100 customers. When you break down these numbers, you see that a few megadeals make up a large proportion of the 80%.
These revenue concentrations are often even hidden from the outside world since boards and management teams are concerned that this could be seen as a risk by investors. So what if we look at it from another angle? What if most of the largest companies in the world actually became that large because they were able to master and win megadeals?
If you are a megadealer or aspiring megadealer, it is worth knowing that many top megadealers have annual compensation packages exceeding 1 MUSD. It is also likely that we will see the same annual compensation development for megadeal marketers / ABM specialists.
There are no other books about megadeals
Very little has been written on megadeals, either from a sales perspective or a marketing perspective. In the world of sales, there is a move from traditional selling to automated selling as the deal sizes get smaller. But as the deals get larger, we are seeing an increase in complexity and the number of complex deals. See the illustration below from
A megadeal has four core attributes:
1. A deal size from 10 MUSD to 15 BUSD (could be larger but we haven’t found one)
2. High to ultra-high complexity in the deal (complexity here does not refer only to the complexity of the solution, which is often written about in sales books, but more about this later)
3. The deal includes change management
4. The deal often contains a mix of hardware, software and services
Complex B2B selling is too broad a term
When studying what fits under the umbrella of “complex B2B selling,” you’ll find a wide spectrum of deals. They are all called complex B2B deals.
Examples of companies that make megadeals are: IBM, SAP, GE, SAAB, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Skanska, Ericsson, Accenture, Tata Consulting Services, Siemens, Samsung Electronics and Huawei, to name just a few.
Managing a megadeal is not the same as complex selling
The reason we believe megadeals should be looked at apart from complex selling is because there are four aspects that are significantly different in how you approach sales and marketing when you are working with deals this large and complex. Other books on sales and marketing do not address these four aspects:
1. If your offer does not align with your customer’s key initiatives, it is almost impossible to find the money for your megadeal. (We address this in Chapter 1.)
2. Without an understanding of or the ability to influence the ecosystem around the deal, you will not close the deal. In most cases there are more than 100 relevant stakeholders (for many reasons this represents a really tricky part of forging a megadeal). (We cover this in Chapters 2, 3 and 4.)
3. Megadeals per definition involve a lot of risks. Being able to control and mitigate those risks, rather than just maximizing the upside, is a key capability - and it is barely discussed in most sales and marketing literature. (We address this in Chapter 5.)
4. Especially in the megadeals space, marketing has a bad reputation or not contributing significant business value. Today this is far from the truth - and we cover this in detail in the second section of the book.
Most megadeals are made with large organizations. In large organizations large sums of money are usually allocated to key initiatives/strategic programs. Megadeals are almost exclusively made in contexts where the buyer is not a handful of people, but many departments, countries and hierarchical levels. They also often involve whole organizations other than the buyer (i.e., often more than 100 people). To navigate, influence and move an entire ecosystem, you need a strong toolbox of methods and skills for marketing and sales. It is critical that you always have enough intelligence about the deal. When large amounts of money and major company changes are on the table, obtaining a low-risk deal is more important than a low price or an aggressive upside.
Common sense is not common practice
We know that everyone who studies this book (including seasoned megadealers) will walk away with two to three insights that will transform their business if implemented. But... we also know that common sense is not common practice and that people do not always act on what they know. In that case, everyone would have great, loving, intimate relationships, and be perfectly fit - and we know that the majority of people aren’t, so it isn’t! So instead of asking yourself the question, “Do I know this?” ask yourself:
• Have I personally mastered this and can I execute consistently on a high level?
• Has my team mastered this and can they execute consistently on a high level?
• Has our company mastered this and can it execute consistently on a high level?
We also recommend that you not just read this book, but rather study it and reflect on its implications for your business, both short and long term. It is an actionable guide that is created for execution. If you don’t execute, you won’t get the value out of it. If it is difficult for you to get your team to study the book you can also buy a management summary by the authors, both in written and video format. Live webinars are also available. 2-day training courses and transformational programs.
The book contains three parts:
1. Five cornerstones not included in normal B2B complex selling that are required to close megadeals. (We’ve given you a sneak peek above.)
2. Megadeal marketing and sales tools and capabilities that a stellar megadealer team needs to master and execute to gain a competitive edge. This includes, for example, a summary of the foundations of normal B2B complex selling, megadeal account-based marketing and enterprise social selling.
3. Megadeal complexities. Complex deals are often described as having many stakeholders, long sales cycles, and high real and perceived risk. This is an unfortunate simplification because there are six additional complexities to take into account. Entire books could be written about these complexities, but we asked experts in two of them to provide insights into their respective subjects. We are very grateful to Alexander Helling of Baseload Capital for his overview of the three most common financing structures in megadeals - and to David Frydlinger of Cirio, together with Kate Vitasek, founder of Vested, for their chapter on relational contracting, which we believe is an ideal fit for many megadeals.
About the authors
Christopher and Johan have worked with 100+ Fortune 500 companies whose marketing and sales are focused on large deals. Both frequently speak about megadeals and related areas such as account-based marketing and enterprise social selling and automated marketing mix modeling. Christopher Engman and Johan Åberg (follow us on LinkedIn).
1. Based on work with sales and marketing people in 100+ Fortune 500 companies and their largest deals, we created a set of hypotheses.
2. In 60+ deep interviews (2-10 hours each) with megadealers, we . have presented these hypotheses and asked for suggested changes, additions and deletions.
3. Proposing these hypotheses resulted in much better discussions than when we tried to start with a blank page with each respondent.
4. Adjustments were made on an ongoing basis based on the valuable input we received, making it possible to always show an improved version in the subsequent interview.
5. In each part of the book we identify and outline the best strategies of the best megadealers.
The megadeals domain is so complex that it would be impossible for us to map out every aspect of it in this book. That would be like trying to detail every system required for a mission to Mars. That said, we have used a method and a large enough group of respondents that we could say that our claims are scientifically proven. However, as practitioners of knowledge in 21st century, we do not see this book as an end, but as a means. Our intent is to open the electronic version of this book up for crowdsourcing of a sort, so that in future releases our glasses will be even sharper, and our scope wider, enabling us and others to see the megadeal ecosystem more clearly. Here’s how it will work: we’ll have requests after each chapter asking you to send in suggestions, examples, stories and critique. If publish your contribution, we will reference you (i.e., you will be named in that paragraph of the book).
Some areas not covered in this book
Becoming an expert at megadeals is not only about sales and marketing. There are several other key components to take into account. To go deep, this book is mainly focused on the sales and marketing aspects of megadeals. Some areas that are worth considering, but which are outside the scope of this book, include: How to build the megadeal organization, megadeal growth hacking, trade compliance, how smaller companies can transition to making megadeals, how to manage megadeal salespeople, and KPIs for megadeals.
Who should read this book
In our research, we have found that most megadealers excel at a few of the areas in the book - at least a few each (or they wouldn’t be megadealers). They are always lacking in at least one or two areas, or need improvement. Megadealers are very ambitious, so filling gaps in their toolbox is something they will do. This is why they are winning. If you are doing more conventional complex selling with deal sizes under 10 MUSD, and with medium complexity, you might want to join the big league of selling. The same is also true for marketers: a few of the areas are mastered by each person, but a few are still to be mastered. For aspiring megadeal marketers, understanding and learning about megadeals (both the marketing and the sales aspects) is critical for a career involving the biggest money in the business world. CEOs, CMOs and CSOs should also read this book to be able to implement part or all of its content. People outside the world of megadeals who read this book will get a fascinating look at the where the big money is, and a sense of the scale and complexity of the changes taking place in business today.
A new way to create practical advice with a scientific approach
We have taken feedback both from megadealers and others throughout the research and writing of the book. The subject is complex partly because megadeals are complex, partly because sales and marketing are transforming quickly, and partly because being a master at megadeals requires a strong competitive edge. We are digital at heart, and because of that, we wanted to create a new approach for this book, as mentioned above. The approach consists of two parts:
1. You will find tools, videos and workshop material online. The purpose is to give you inspiration and support in key areas so that you can quickly excel at making megadeals.
2. As you read the book, please send any insights, stories, additions, suggested deletions, etc., to firstname.lastname@example.org
If your input makes sense, we will include it in the next release of the book and note the source. We believe in the wisdom of the crowd.
Why did we write this book?
For most enterprise B2B companies, megadeals are the key drivers to success and growth. Yet within Fortune 500 companies, only a few know how megadeals are made. We are sales, marketing, and psychology nerds who have thought about megadeals 24/7 for the past 10-15 years and we strive to be the global center of excellence for megadeals. There are four main drivers behind our motivation to create this book and master the subject (all are equally important):
• Being able to share this knowledge with large companies as well as with high growth companies to help them master megadeals is a big inspiration.
• We have a personal interest in investing in megadeals and potential megadeal companies, and being able to add extraordinary value for growth.
• We want to help companies that have a true and strong “why” to make the world better and improve millions of lives.
• To create a strong and intimate network of the best of the best in order to help grow those B2B businesses who sell mainly to a few large customers.
As megadeals are not covered in any sales and marketing literature, we are grateful for the opportunity this has created. Growth hacking, sales, social selling, ABM and marketing literature exist in abundance for simpler sales. It is a great privilege to be able to to define a segment that is so important for most B2B companies.
Is marketing really important for megadeals?
The simple answer is yes. But let us explain why. Unfortunately, in some megadeal companies, marketing has a bad reputation or is seen as an event function and not as a key to protecting existing customers, winning new megadeal customers or growing existing megadeal customers.
Marketing can become an important competitive advantage or disadvantage depending on the level of the marketing department’s capabilities and authority. Technology has changed how large organizations make really important decisions.
• Internal transparency is greater than ever, and penetrates deeper into organizations, increasing the negative consequences of making the wrong decision.
• Today, more people are involved in these decisions (the record number we found was when 499 people had to sign an NDA on the selling side).
Megadeals also involve a lot of money and a lot of organizational change. Megadeal marketing can, at scale, provide straightforward executable principles that will give strong support to:
A. Lowering the perceived risks of the deal (trust)
B. Creating consensus around the major challenges, what type of solution is needed and what vendor would be the best fit (at scale)
We know for a fact (because of direct involvement) about deals larger than 100 MUSD that started completely on LinkedIn via social selling.
What drives megadealers and why aspire to that level?
It is not difficult to be among the top 1%. The tools in this book, when studied one by one, can be learned and mastered. As mentioned, many megadealers have great formal or informal power because their work makes a huge impact on the companies they represent, and on their customers and the end customer. If you are in sales or marketing and you want to make a big impact, then the world of megadeals is where you want to be. Many megadealers make more than 1 MUSD per year. When you are responsible for bringing in the largest amounts of money to your company, compensation is no longer a tough discussion. The biggest accumulated sales commission we came across in our interviews was 47 MUSD.
Furthermore, because of their size, scape, complexity and status, megadeals are deeply meaningful to the megadealers behind them. They present an opportunity to change the world for the better on a massive scale.
Johan and myself and the rest of the megadeals team hope that you will enjoy the megadeals book found here for world-wide delivery www.megadeals.com. Christopher Engman, co-author Megadeals, CRO/CMO Proof Analytics, investor in 13 enterprise selling B2B tech companies (mainly scaleups in martech and greentech/sustaintech)