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Revenue Operations

Can a Deal Desk Delight? Two Experts Weigh In

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Sales teams see the deal desk as either a huge barrier to closing a deal or a valued partner and champion expediter. Join our seasoned experts, Todd Johns, former Deal Desk VP at Salesforce, and Raja Singh, CEO & Founder of Revolear, as they share how to battle the status quo to reach peak deal desk efficiency.

“An effective deal desk function is critical in balancing short-term growth with the long-term health of the business” - Todd Johns 

What can a deal desk do for your sales organization? Deal desks help shape and structure deals, guide sellers to the right pricing and terms, act as approvers in deals, and help ensure deals get through the company machine so they close on time. 

When is the right time to set up a deal desk function at your company? Typically, it’s when you start to see that deals are declining in quality as reps become too focused on quantity or when there are too many bottlenecks in the approval process, slowing down sales.

What kinds of deals should go through deal desk?

“A deal desk function will see a lot more deals than any one given salesperson.” - Todd Johns

The short answer is: it depends on your organization, but you should balance structuring deals properly with allowing sales teams and leaders the autonomy to make their own decisions on a regular basis. 

Rather than guessing or manually reviewing every deal, tools like Revolear use AI and clustering algorithms to help you crunch through dozens of attributes to get a fine-tuned set of comparables. This data can help you identify the best contract structures and pricing without slowing down a sales cycle. 

Deal desk should be helping sellers make decisions quickly, rather than slowing them down. In some cases, sales is just looking for advice about options for structuring a deal and they don't need an actual approval. Deal desk is perfectly placed to partner with sales to handle these deals quickly.

How can deal desk be involved in the rhythm of the business?


“Salespeople need to manage their relationships and credibility with their customers. When they have to get approvals for every request, that reduces their credibility.” - Raja Singh

Deals move quickly when they are managed proactively. That’s why deal desk should have regular meetings with their sales leaders so they can do the upfront work on structure and pricing early. When deal desk only becomes aware of a deal as it’s crossing the finish line, you’ve missed out on creating a better deal. 

Ultimately, sellers avoid going to their deal desk when they see the function as red tape that will slow them down. Make sure to empower your sales team early with helpful deal advice that places them in a more confident negotiating position.

Deal desks delight when they partner with sales

“You don’t want to be the ‘no police’” - Todd Johns 

People will always ask for things that you can not, and should, agree to. But that doesn’t mean you should simply say “no.” Instead, offer plausible alternatives based on data and the history of your deals. Sometimes saying no will have to suffice. A successful deal desk works on building a relationship with the sales team so that when they hear “no,” they know it’s credible. 

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