February 12, 2016
By Michelle Seger, Global Sales Strategy and Change Management Leader, SalesGlobe
“If you want to have clean water, send it through a filter,” a sales executive said recently. He was discussing the new deal desk function at his company, which consolidates and organizes information for non-standard deals, and makes decisions to keep the sales process moving. “We need visibility and a way to understand the impact of our decisions for non-standard deals. Our deal desk also helps us identify trends.”
Deal desks have been used by sales organizations for several years, but are gaining popularity because they create efficiencies in the sales organization and offer creative solutions for customers. In a recent SalesGlobe survey, 70% of companies had a deal desk in their sales organization; but nearly 30% of respondents had not yet heard of a deal desk. The deal desk function is making a difference for companies by providing a mechanism to support non-standard deal requests and is having a noticeable impact with adjacent activities – like pricing and contracts — that support the deal process.
Deal desks don’t handle all sales deals. According to our study, 90% of non-standard pricing deal exceptions are managed by the deal desk; and in 20% of the organizations, the deal desk also manages and reviews standard price deals.
A high level of authority and empowerment to make decisions are two critical attributes of a deal desk. The deal desk has the information, power, and authority to cut through the red tape of approvals and make real decisions regarding the pricing and contract negotiation phases of the sale.
Other responsibilities of deal desks include:
The empowered deal desk is proving to be a successful model, and companies are asking for more. There are untapped opportunities to leverage this function to drive sales engagement, performance, and results.
Organizational structures of the deal desk function vary depending on the roles and responsibilities assigned to that function. The deal desk is most effective when cross-functional roles are responsible for pricing and contract management of the deal. The addition of analytics can help with deal decisions, trend analysis, and deal integrity (compliance). Although analytics may not report into the deal desk, it should maintain a close tie and report into sales operations for the most integrated approach.
Below are typical deal desk roles that report into sales operations.
Follow the guidelines below to ensure your deal desk is operating at full potential, or to establish a deal desk function in your organization.
A deal desk function in your sales organization can have a powerful impact on improving and building customer relationships, driving sales rep productivity, and ensuring that the business is executing on deals that make sense for both the customer and the company.