What is deal desk? Good question! Simply put, it provides a consistent process for approving complex, non-standard pricing and/or contract terms by leveraging cross-functional teams that may include Sales, Sales Operations, Finance, Product Management, and Legal. Deal desks are popular in B2B companies; more than 70% have a deal desk in their Sales organization. Executing deal desk effectively provides critical information on tracking deal decisions (consistency/price performance), trend analysis (time to close ratio), and deal integrity (compliance).
What can it help accomplish?
One the goals of deal desk is to speed up the approval process. However, in my years of working with numerous companies on their sales enablement processes, quite a few struggle with deal desk execution. Manual processes (email and spreadsheets), combined with siloed systems create complexity in their approval processes and create arbitrary, inconsistent decisions in approving deals. Sales Reps can easily become frustrated in trying to get a timely answer for their customers, and view deal desk as “deal prevention.” Research from Gartner CEB confirms this is a challenge, indicating that 20% of deals are lost or stalled because of internal complexity, and internal approvals represent 16% the sales cycle.
Automating deal desk is not only critical to reducing sales cycles, but improving the customer experience. It provides accurate data for analyzing sales performance and ensuring pricing and contract compliance, and has a direct impact on developing a competitive advantage.
Deal Desk Automation drives Digital Transformation
Companies continue to invest in digital transformation with limited results. According a McKinsey poll only 14% of business executives said their digital transformation have sustained performance results, while only 3% reported a complete success at sustaining change. Most leaders struggle to figure out what they need to change and how to go about it – “where does digital transformation begin”?
The projects that yielded the most success focused on the customer experience, companies taking an outside-in view of their business models and focusing on the customer journey. While deal desk automation has a significant impact on Sale Rep performance, the real impact is on the customer experience and the ability to extend the same pricing and contract terms to customers looking to order online/mobile.
Once the deal desk automation is complete, companies have access to better data on quote to contract metrics, and can then focus on addressing/measuring lead to opportunity and opportunity to quote. Using fact-based data to measure the overall sales and marketing process.
Salesforce Ecosystem for Automating Deal Desk
There are companies that continue to apply new technology on top of legacy applications in the hope of reducing the investment for automating deal desk. Leveraging homegrown Configure-Price-Quote (CPQ) solutions or siloed Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) tools that operate outside of your Salesforce platform increase sales cycle time by forcing Sales Reps to access multiple systems in order to get a quote and/or a contract through the approval process.
Extending your Salesforce platform to include Salesforce CPQ and App Exchange CLM Solutions like Conga Contracts, provides Sales Reps access the Salesforce platform to complete their everyday tasks. Approval processes and guided selling capabilities provided through these solutions ensures timely and accurate quotes and contract compliance. All contract information and associated pricing information is stored in one system, enabling accurate reporting and tracking of key sales metrics. It also enables monitoring of contract expiration and renewals, obligation management, and product pricing information.
Are you ready to begin the journey?
If you are ready to begin the journey to implement a Salesforce-driven automated deal desk, talk to Statera about our CLM and CPQ Readiness programs. We can help you understand where your organization stands on the CLM and/or CPQ maturity curve, and prepare you for the journey ahead.
John is a Client Advisor at Statera. He has leveraged his 20+ years of Go-to-Market & Sales Operations experience to help clients solve the Sales Enablement challenges that are impacting cost of sales and win rates. He specializes in helping his clients build business cases and roadmaps for success to ensure that processes, people and technology are aligned to drive high performance.