Deal Desk

5 Reasons Your Deal Desk is Failing and How You Can Fix It

Adam Ballai
Nov 11, 2020

Growth, at all costs. That has often been the mantra of software businesses in the age of SaaS. However, as these companies have grown in size and revenue, so too has the complexity of their sales process.

As companies look to capture the most valuable, enterprise-level deals, they often realize that those deals are the ones that have the most touchpoints and the greatest level of complexity.

Enter: Deal Desk.

What is Deal Desk?

Deal Desk was created with those high-complexity, high-value deals in mind. It is where all relevant stakeholders – sales, finance, product, legal, success, and others – can discuss and work through deals.

The goal of Deal Desk is to find an agreement regarding the appropriate pricing of a particular deal. This decision is based on the summary presented through discussion with all involved teams.

Implementing a well-run Deal Desk can help reduce sales-cycle time by up to 40% while increasing productivity by 20%. However, an inefficient Deal Desk could not only cause you to miss these opportunities, but it could also be a net negative for your overall sales process.


What Makes a Great Deal Desk?

Great deal desks are built on three major pillars:

  1. Accessibility: A way to communicate consistently with deal desk.
  2. Process frameworks: A series of expectations and forms that keep the source of truth around the deal up to date.
  3. SLAs: A set of policies about how deal desk will communicate and operate with its consumers.

However, running a Deal Desk efficiently and effectively can be a challenge.

Here are some reasons your Deal Desk might be failing, as well as some suggestions on how to fix it.

Not Knowing Who is Involved in Deal Desk

One of the most important aspects of a well-run Deal Desk is mapping out all the key players involved and the parts they will play in the process. While each Deal Desk is different depending on the needs of a company, team alignment is universally important for Deal Desks.

Deal Desk managers should make clear which teams are involved in deals and what exactly their responsibilities entail.

In a standard Deal Desk, you will most likely want to include the following:

  • Sales
  • Success
  • Legal
  • Product
  • Accounting

Each of these players must know their part, as well as have visibility into the entire process.

Inefficient Processes

The entire point of Deal Desk and Revenue Operations more globally is to create greater cross-organization efficiencies.

Many companies, particularly SaaS, run their deal desks through email listservs and informal meetings. Other companies create complicated, custom-built workflows that can take hours to configure.

Neither of these processes meets the stated objective of Deal Desk – they are cumbersome, resource-intensive, and prone to mistakes.

An effective Deal Desk requires Templated Proposals to streamline standard deals while providing clear parameters and flexibility for Sales Reps to experiment and explore new pricing and packaging options.

Sales teams should have visibility into their deals in one centralized place. They should also automate their standard deal approval process while notifying the right teams for additional approvals to non-standard deals.

Protracted Deal Approval Process

The longer a deal is being configured, the less likely it is to close. Deal velocity is a critical goal of Deal Desks, and when the approval process of non-standard deals is too long, you are bound to lose your prospect's attention.

When you are working through the deal approval process, your prospect may be checking out competitors, having second thoughts about purchasing, or discussing internally the possibility of creating your solution in-house.

Streamlining the approval process is paramount when working through non-standard deals. Ideally, you should have a system for instant approvals and rules for routing proposals to the right teams and signers.

Sales Strategy Misalignment

Sales are not the only team involved with Deal Desk – success, finance, accounting, and even legal are all important pieces.

While sales teams might be well versed in the overall sales strategy, the other stakeholders in the process might not be. If they aren’t, it’s a huge liability.

All relevant teams, not just sales, need to be trained in the overall sales strategy. This includes providing them with the same assets that sales teams get – personas, competitive analysis, and sales playbooks.

They should also be included in all meetings related to revenue strategies and Quarterly Business Reviews.

Out of Date Terms

Nothing is more frustrating than going through the entire process of putting together a proposal, only to find out the terms of the deal are out-of-date. It can be a deal killer to tell your prospect that the proposal you just sent them is incorrect and needs to be redone.

Deal Desks should provide version control legal terms to ensure teams always use the most up-to-date, company-approved terms.

Having a deal desk that does not have a centralized repository of acceptable terms means that sales reps are highly likely to create deals that will not be acceptable.


Co-Founder & CEO

Adam Ballai

Adam loves to test the boundaries of what's possible with technology and learn what people value with it. From VR to the web, he loves to intersect this experience into the sales technology space by bringing new ideas to light directly with customers.

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