Word docs, spreadsheets, emails, Slack messages...
If you are managing your Deal Desk this way, you've likely come to the point of saying, "there has to be a better way."
You aren't alone.
One of the biggest frustrations we come across is speaking with operators whose sales process includes having agreement templates saved as docs and then customized per agreement.
For years, negotiating and closing deals, as well as billing, have been split across spreadsheets, CRMs, and countless apps.
But, here's the thing, spreadsheets and word processing have not fundamentally changed in decades.
While this may seem like it could work in a low-velocity environment, it becomes a huge headache very quickly. If you are thinking about building a scalable sales process, I assure you it's time to ditch the spreadsheets.
An agreement builder with a built-in pricing calculator and a user experience with the sales rep in mind.
Below are seven reasons to think about leaving those spreadsheets in 2022.
"To err is human."
Humans make mistakes; it's our nature.
When it comes to something as complex as a sales agreement, with all of its discounts, terms, and SKUs, manually working with saved docs is almost guaranteed to result in an error.
That is not only bad for the company; as an operator, that leaves you with a feeling of uncertainty about all deals being sent to prospects.
And uncertainty is something we all hate.
We also know how hard it is to get reps to enter accurate data. Eliminating spreadsheets from your Deal Desk will relieve your reps of one more manual data entry task.
During the deal closing process, decisions get made on pricing, terms, and structure, and "Dummy docs" are not conducive to creating a record of those decisions.
Companies using docs for their agreements will often have to scramble to look through old emails, Slack conversations, and text messages to figure out why an agreement from six months ago included a discount or had a specific term removed.
It's critical to have a trail of information on a deal's structure that another team, such as Finance, can easily access.
As a company scales, this problem becomes increasingly more challenging to deal with. Audit trails are an important piece of compliance as well; none wants red flags from auditors or investors!
Do you want data on your approval process? Perhaps you want to track approval stages?
When your agreements exist in a spreadsheet, not only is the automation of your approval process more difficult, all the data around approvals can't be used to build automation around.
These data points include how many nonstandard deals are being submitted, what kinds of nonstandard deals are being submitted, how deals are being rejected, and more.
With a platform in place to handle this, your Operations team can spin up reports to give you visibility into your approval metrics.
Somebody sends me a copy of an agreement; I change two things and save it as version two; the other person makes changes, he saves it as version three.
If you back and forth, you get 50 different versions. It gets complex and tracking changes become impossible.
And, when legal asks why something was changed, you can forget it if there is no version control with revision history.
"If it's not in the CRM, it didn't happen."
We've all heard this, and it's 100% true.
When creating agreements with docs, the data from those deals do not automatically get synced with your CRM. To get the data into the correct record, a manual copy/paste has to happen. Manual data entry leaves room for - you guessed it- errors!
Downstream teams also don't get access to critical deal information when agreements are created outside of your CRM. This leads to further silos among teams - not good.
When multiple teams like Sales, Legal, Finance, Customer Success, and Operations are involved, using spreadsheets takes more people away from the single source of truth.
So your contract was approved. Yay! But how do you ensure information doesn't get changed after the fact?
Whether it's intentional or not, data can be changed if you're running your Deal Desk in spreadsheets. You don't want someone accidentally changing approvals or anything else after your deal has completed its approval process.
How do you ensure reps aren't over-discounting? How do we ensure reps are using standardized quotes and terms and conditions agreements?
in a recent interview, Jonathan Krangel, Head of Revenue Operations at Retool explained his experience with this kind of situation:
Our sales reps were given a Word template to write up their contracts and their MSAs. And they literally had the ability to put whatever, wherever they wanted to put it.
This was not good.
Source: Deal Desk Interviews: Deal Data Integrity With Jonathan Krangel of Retool
With no guardrails in place - and there are rarely are guardrails on docs of this sort - you run the risk of deals being sent to prospects that don't conform with the discounting and pricing rules of the business.
If reps are allowed to discount with no governance, that is potentially lost revenue.
Guardrails aren't meant to be restrictive. They're meant to enable your reps to move fast with systematized rules of engagement around deals.
No matter the humble beginnings of your sales org and all the processes, there comes a time to leave spreadsheets and templates behind.
But what are you supposed to replace it with?
Many operators will think of systems such as Salesforce CPQ... and cringe. Whether you've experienced it yourself, or have heard the stories from others; an implementation of that sort is a huge undertaking with a lot of pain that comes along the way.
Not to mention, CPQ doesn't solve for the experience of a rep building out an agreement. They don't get to see the changes made in real-time, and many end up reverting back to the old way of doing things.
The RevOps Agreement Builder takes a user-first approach. We've built a tool that lets reps edit custom templated agreements and see the changes they are making in real-time.
A built-in pricing calculator gives reps the opportunity to immediately view how a change in discounting, or an additional SKU, will impact pricing.
RevOps also solves for the pains of an operator - namely, fears of reps going beyond the rules set for agreement pricing and terms. RevOps provides operators and managers the ability to set guardrails for customization and approval workflows for non-standard agreements.
So, ditch the dummy docs. Your teams will thank you.