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The 5 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid in Megadeals

It can be difficult to know where to start with navigating a megadeal. You’re handling millions – maybe billions – of dollars and an entire ecosystem of organizations and people. It can get a little overwhelming.

Fortunately, there are sales and marketing pros that have gone before you (even if current literature doesn’t reflect it).

Christopher Engman, CRO/CMO of Proof Analytics and author of Megadeals, travels the world to speak about managing huge business agreements. At #B2BSMX 2019, Christopher shared five major mistakes to look out for when operating a megadeal.

Here’s what we’re unpacking today:

  • How to align with an organization’s key initiatives
  • Understanding and leveraging the ecosystem of a megadeal
  • Addressing risk in a megadeal
  • Acting as a guide for your target accounts

This post is based on a live session from #B2BSMX 2019 with Christopher Engman. You can listen to the full session here and below.


Orchestrating a megadeal

Christopher: In megadeals, it’s not about me selling to another person. It’s a lot about orchestration. 

So, the people leading the sales efforts around the megadeal are running a team of people. It includes quite a few different skills and components. It’s account-based marketing. It’s enterprise social selling which is different from normal social selling. And, it’s dialogue techniques.

1. Not aligning with key initiatives

Christopher: The first item of the top five mega mistakes is not being aligned with a key initiative.

Typically, with larger organizations, if your deal is not aligned with one of their key initiatives, you’re not going to see big money from them. An easy takeaway that you can apply immediately is to look for key initiatives and they’re typically found in annual reports.

There are normally 3-5 key initiatives. The good news is that since they are so important, they’re well-communicated. Even if you can’t find them in the annual report, by just asking a few people in that organization, you will get them. It’s so critical that the whole organization understands them and assists in implementing them.


2. Failing to understand the ecosystem

Christopher: The second mistake is to believe that megadeals are done with one organization.

You need to convince an ecosystem of organizations and people, not just the stakeholders within your account. In a megadeal, you need to get parties outside the buying organization aligned, as well as consultants, partners, adjacent software.

Understand and map the ecosystem, not just the internal stakeholders.

3. Failing to achieve consensus

Christopher: The third one is failing to achieve consensus.

Large purchases are done by many people especially when you have big changes and risk on the table. Very few top managers are making big decisions alone. They need to anchor it to not only get the decision through but also if something fails they’re not fully responsible.

ABM and enterprise social selling plays a great role in consensus creation.

4. Missing out on a Trojan horse

Christopher: The fourth mistake is to miss out on a Trojan horse.

Some people say, “You mean a champion.” No, the Trojan horse. You can find them in meetings. What they do is they open up a door, saying they’re willing to talk. We’ve heard evidence that unless you have a few Trojan horses, you will not make a megadeal.

Trojan horses are typically a lower title and their way of executing power is through information. Too many people say, “Always go for the C-suite.” But no megadeals are ever done starting at the C-suite because if you go in with too little information, you will be fried alive.

You need to build the attack from beneath. You need to do research calls so when you attack the C-suite, you’re super prepared.

5. Failing to address risk

Christopher: The fifth mistake – which is a large one – is failing to work with risk.

The best megadealers are openly talking about risk with their clients. And not just risk when not doing anything, but rather risk when doing something. If you appear too perfect, they’re not buying from you.

Any senior megadealer is openly saying that they have weaknesses. They’re also not solving all the risks; they’re leaving some risk on the table. It’s not credible otherwise if you solve all the risks.

The most advanced companies are even integrating risk into their offerings. You can charge much more if you’re seen as trustworthy and low risk. You can charge a really high premium.

Be a guide for the customer

Christopher: Overall, as marketers, we talk too much about what we sell. The decision process has a few more steps that we need to include and they’re often in the sub-category level.

Example from Climeon:

Climeon works in green energy. But before you go into what Climeon does, you need to describe how heat power competes with solar power, wind power, etc. That’s the question that everyone has. 

Then, you need to understand the different types of heat power. Once you’ve gone through this and you talk about why you’re the best vendor, you’ve positioned out almost all competitors. You become really good at qualifying or disqualifying because all of a sudden you’re a guide for the customer.

It looks simple, but it’s tricky.