Deal desk: what it is and how automation can transform yours

If you’ve worked in and around sales long enough, you’ve probably heard that selling is a team sport.

This maxim likely rings true for you and your team as— generally speaking—sales teams often need the following before they can close high-value, complex deals:

  • The product team’s buy-in on the proposed product roadmap
  • The legal team’s sign-off on any redlines 
  • The customer success team’s approval on the level of support that’s promised

To help your sales reps get these approvals quickly and receive the guidance they need to excel, you can provide them with a deal desk.

You can read on to learn more about what a deal desk is, why it’s important, and how automation can help you implement one that’s best in class. 

Related: How to implement any sales automation in 2021

What is a deal desk?

A deal desk is a place where sales reps can discuss specific items related to their opportunities with colleagues in product, support, marketing, legal, among other functions. The opportunities are typically high in dollar value (relatively speaking), and the topics that arise often carry significant implications beyond the sales org.

It’s worth noting that a deal desk can take various forms. It can be anything from a recurring meeting with sales reps and their cross-functional stakeholders to a channel in a platform like Slack (which would include representatives from all of the relevant departments). 

Why a deal desk is important

With the context above in mind, here are some reasons why implementing a deal desk is well worth the effort.

1. It helps employees across functions improve at their jobs

Sales reps clearly benefit, as the deal desk allows them to get internal approvals and find the answers they need to move a deal forward—or stop it in its tracks. But it also benefits the other stakeholders who are involved. Here are just a few examples:

  • Product managers (PMs) can uncover the specific product features that prospects value the most, which can help PMs shape their roadmap
  • Marketers can learn about the value props that resonate with their ideal customer profile and double down on them
  • Customer success can better understand the types of support that incoming clients need and prepare appropriately
  • Legal can pick up on common requests and make adjustments that mitigate future bottlenecks on their end

Over time, these team-specific improvements should translate to even more sales and to higher customer retention.

2. It ensures that your team takes on the right customers, under reasonable terms

If your sales reps close big deals by making promises that your colleagues in product or customer success can’t support, your organization’s reputation and bottom line will suffer down the line. Customers will churn in droves, and their poor experiences will reach the masses through word of mouth and 3rd-party review sites. 

A deal desk helps your team avoid this doomsday scenario, as it provides a system of checks and balances: Your product team confirms whether the opportunities are a good product fit; your legal team confirms whether the terms of engagement are fair or are unnecessarily risky; your customer success team confirms whether they can, in fact, support clients a certain way, etc.

Related: How a RevOps team can help your organization scale

3. It facilitates reciprocation 

By asking for and taking input from other departments, your sales reps can show that they respect their colleagues and value their opinions. This can lead to sales’ colleagues reciprocating in all kinds of ways, whether it’s legal reviewing documents after hours, customer success agreeing to a higher tier of support for certain clients, product allowing for ad hoc product customizations—and so on. 

How automation can supercharge your deal desk

To keep those in your deal desk collaborating effectively, you can implement the following automations with an enterprise chatbot:

Empower reps to easily update their opportunities 

To help your reps manage the opportunities in their deal desk, you can allow them to update any within a tool they’re already using, like Teams or Slack.

Here’s how:

1. Your sales reps type a command like “list opportunities” in the business communications platform via an enterprise chatbot.

2. The chatbot searches for and retrieves the sales rep’s opportunities in your CRM platform.

3. The chatbot lists out the opportunities for the rep in the business communications platform.

Note: Steps 2 and 3 happen in real time.

Workbot listing out a rep's opportunities in Teams

4. The rep can select “Update”, which prompts them to pick the specific opportunity they’d like to edit.

5. Once the rep submits their changes, the edits are automatically reflected in the opportunity’s page in your CRM. 

This saves your reps time, as they don’t have to move to your CRM every time they need to update an opportunity. And, assuming the automation motivates reps to update their opportunities more often, everyone else who’s part of the deal desk benefits, as they can access the latest data when reviewing the opportunities.

Related: A guide to leveraging a sales chatbot

Streamline internal approvals

You can also use automation to help your sales reps request approvals with ease and to enable stakeholders to review and accept/reject any with the click of a button. 

Here’s how it can work in the context of a rep requesting legal to review the contract’s redlines:

1. A rep submits a deal desk request in their CRM.

2. The request gets posted to a specific channel within your organization’s business communications platform.

3. The approver is tagged in the post, and they can decide to accept or reject the request within the business communications platform, or review it further by clicking on the link to the opportunity (which is also included in the post).

4. Once approved, the channel gets notified through another post.

You can improve your deal desk through automation in even more ways. To discover these additional use cases and to explore the ones above further, you can schedule a demo with one of our automation experts!

About the author
Jon Gitlin Content Strategist @ Workato
Jon Gitlin is the Managing Editor of The Connector, where you can get the latest news on Workato and uncover tips, examples, and frameworks for implementing powerful integrations and automations. In his free time, he loves to run outside, watch soccer ( matches, and explore local restaurants.