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Episode 7: Everything You Wanted to Know About Deal Desks (But Were Afraid to Ask)

by Hannah Rose | Dec 22, 2021 10:00:00 AM

Today's episode is the last one of the year. To all of our listeners and viewers out there, thank you so much for tuning into the show every week. We appreciate your interest and engagement with the show, and we can't wait to bring you even more episodes in the new year. Until then, have a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year, and remember, you can't solve upstream problems downstream. 

What is the RevOps topic we’re talking about today? Deal Desk. It’s a good thing only RevOps people listen to this because saying Deal Desk may have caused heartburn for thousands of sales reps. (Sorry, not sorry!)




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Show Notes:

Deal Desk is something that came up with Jess for the first time with a client of Imagine’s a few years ago and at the time she had never heard about it. So for her it’s a fairly new concept, though in reality it’s an old concept.

For those of you who are not familiar, what is Deal Desk? 

History: Deal Desk goes back generations. In the beginning, salespeople would be working on certain things and the Deal Desk was where all the information was exchanged. If you think of the marketing world, you might call them traffic managers. It’s someone who is responsible for the information. There would be different inventories with different people that were constantly being updated. Deal Desk was the one that made sure that the salespeople had access to the information that they needed. Where it got misapplied in a lot of ways is where the heartburn comes from. It was responsible for ensuring that sales reps were in compliance with whatever systems, tools and processes were there. 

So what is the job to be done for Deal Desk? Is it being able to put the right pricing in place and compliance for the sales reps? Or something different? 

In a lot of ways it’s the traffic manager. The traffic manager doesn’t put the creative together or choose the photo, but they make sure that the right image is in the right place at the right time where these things come together. The primary role that, historically, Deal Desk played was that of intermediary and facilitator. 

In today’s world what is a Deal Desk’s job? 

It’s situational. A lot of what a Deal Desk did is now done automatically. I can quality control information by setting up the technology correctly, and instead of being pushed back I can set it up so that reps are cued to get it right. In very much the way that total quality management eliminated inspector seven and built the genius into the system, with the proper implementation of technology, I can eliminate a lot of the historically prime functionality of what a Deal Desk does. 

Having a Deal Desk reduces waste of time. It also has the effect of reducing the likelihood that a rep is going to miss important information because it has to get cleared beforehand. Even if you don’t call the function a Deal Desk, there’s a good chance you have something in place that’s similar.

If you don’t have a Deal Desk or a similar function, what do you need to implement some kind of opportunity review? 

One place where a Deal Desk type functionality can come in is, what are the things that reps are doing that they’d be better off having someone else do? Any place where there is a lot of friction, any place where salespeople are spending wasted time, or if you see false positives, that’s when it’s good to introduce a Deal Desk.

Who should be on the Deal Desk team? 

That’s a hard question to answer in a generic fashion. There needs to be someone that’s head of sales from a strategic element. You should have someone that has some authority and leadership on your operation side, maybe on your finance side, and certainly on your sales side. You probably want to have a sales engineer or solution designer that is part of it.

To create a Deal Desk function, where do you start? What are the key components that you would need to be able to create that functionality? 

This is why Deal Desks have bad names because they’re treated generic. Doug thinks a Deal desk should form organically, especially when looking on the process side. As you begin, ask yourself what are you trying to do? Don’t start out addressing everything with a full Deal Desk. A good Deal Desk should increase the resilience and velocity of the sales organization, which doesn’t always mean it creates efficiency in all facets.

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