Deal Desk
Deal Desk

Deal Desk: What Does Success Look Like?

Many companies have already bought into the value of implementing a Deal Desk in their organization to help align the process of non-standard deals. These companies understand that deals of this sort require an alignment across multiple deals that other deals do not. 

So what is Deal Desk?

Deal Desk is a place where all relevant stake-holders – sales, finance, product, legal, success, and others – can discuss and work through deals, usually ones that are non-standard

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

In order for a Deal Desk to succeed, there are some things that are table stakes:

First, the role of a Deal Desk manager must be clearly defined: what are the responsibilities of the person charged with its management? 

Things such as proposals for complex deals, managing their workflow, and owning the approval process are all generally under the purview of Deal Desk. 

Once the role is defined, you’ll have to decide who the various stakeholders in the process will be. For most companies, the players involved in their Deal Desks include:

  • Sales Reps
  • Customer Success
  • Product Managers
  • Legal
  • Accounting

Though this may differ from company to company. 

However, a Deal Desk could be meticulously planned and still fail

Why? 

Because “success” was not defined from the outset. 

How can you know if you are succeeding if you don’t know what success means?


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Why Did You Implement Deal Desk in the First Place?

The first question to ask is what it is that you are trying to accomplish with Deal Desk. Why did you decide to implement one from the start?

Were deals falling through? If so, why? 

By answering this question, you have taken the first step in defining success for your Deal Desk. 

Let’s look at 2 important areas in which Deal Desk is meant to alleviate organizational issues that are impeding your ability to close non-standard deals and how you can measure them. 

Manage Complexity

As businesses move from a bottoms-up sales motion into the enterprise, the complexity of deals increases exponentially. While a bottoms-up approach enables you to have standardized pricing 

When we talk about Revenue Operations, the north-star metric is revenue. When it comes to Deal Desk, revenue from non-standard deals – the deals Deal Desk was meant to facilitate – increases. 

The reason most companies institute a Deal Desk is that they have begun to take on more and more complex, non-standard deals. At first, the hands-on requirements of these deals may not seem burdensome if there aren’t many of them. 

However, as your enterprise GTM operation grows, trying to manage these without a Deal Desk becomes impossible. A successful Deal Desk is one that manages this complexity in order to alleviate additional stress on the rest of the GTM operation. 


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LTV and CAC

While “Managing Complexity” isn’t really a metric, there are a few that you can keep an eye on:

  1. Lifetime Value (LTV)
  2. Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

Obviously, for a strategy to be viable, the LTV must be greater than the CAC. However, if this ratio is only slightly above 1, you really can’t call it a success. 

Depending on your goals, you want to have a 3x or greater LTV as compared to CAC. 

Contract Errors

As the complexity of a sales process increases, so too does its Customer Acquisition Costs, exponentially

Managing the complexity of non-standard deals means you must plug all the holes that would increase the sales cycle and minimize any chance of mistakes occurring. 

One of the most costly mistakes that can be made in a complex deal is having contract errors.

Including this Contract Error as a metric for your Deal Desk will help you better identify areas in the process in which the complexity is impacting your ability to smoothly close deals. 

Standardization

As part of that optimization, standardization of proposals is another important piece of the puzzle. 

A Deal Desk is implemented when the difficulty of dealing with non-standard deals becomes too burdensome for your existing sales structure. The goal of a successful Deal Desk is to take what is non-standard – something that changes with every deal – and make it standardized. 

When speaking of “Standardizing” in the context of Deal Desks, we should focus on two main things:

  1. Templated Proposals
  2. Approval Workflows

Proposals present a particular challenge for complex deals as they often require a level of customization. By creating templates for proposals while adding clear parameters and flexibility, Sales Reps can experiment and explore new pricing and packaging options safely.

With approval workflows, you can set rules for instant approvals and configure rules to route proposals to the right teams. By doing so, you optimize the closing process while making sure only deals that meet your set criteria are approved. 

Organizational Alignment

When you ask someone the question: “What is Revenue Operations?” the answer will invariably include a reference to the alignment of various organizations across the company. 

But what exactly does “alignment” look like?

According to a survey by LeanData, 84% of professionals agree that revenue is a shared responsibility across multiple departments. 

While most companies understand the need, according to the same survey nearly 40% of respondents don’t feel their companies are meeting that need. 

Organizational alignment that centers around the Deal Desk means that all members of the GTM organization, across multiple departments, 

Measuring organizational alignment as a metric is a bit tricky, but when we look at the things that can go wrong when an organization is misaligned, we get a better understanding of what to look for. 

The goal of aligning GTM teams around a Deal Desk is so that each member of the team plays their part – a tightly connected chain. 

When one link in the chain fails, everyone fails.

Alignment means that deals don’t get lost between the cracks, that the wrong contracts don’t go out, and that the process of passing a prospect off from one team to the next goes smoothly. 

Sales Velocity

Sales Velocity is one metric that can help us better understand if a Deal Desk is fully aligned. Deal Desks should facilitate faster, smoother sales for more complex deals. Has your sales velocity increased since implementing a Deal Desk? If so, by how much? 

Marketo has a fantastic formula for measuring Sales Velocity:

In the context of Deal Desk, we want to look at how many deals are coming across the desk, what the potential revenue would be, and the conversion rate of them moving from the proposal stage to closed. We then divide that by the length of time this process takes from start to finish.

Increasing Sales Velocity means focusing on these 3 levers:

  1. Increase Conversion Rate
  2. Increase Average Deal Size
  3. Shorten the Sales Cycle

Each of these levers can be optimized with a GTM team that is fully aligned around a Deal Desk.