article | March 18, 2019
Prevent Your Revenue Desk From Becoming the Discount Approval Board
If you follow our Sales Benchmark Index blog, you have read our take on enhancing your Deal Desk to a Revenue Desk in the recent post “What Do You Do When Your Deal Desk Is Failing – Set up a Revenue Desk.”
Companies who have fully implemented a best practice Revenue Desk experience an astonishing estimated 5-12% overall sales productivity increase.
This increase is driven by:
Download the Sales Ops Functions and Descriptions Tool to outline the steps to follow for developing your sales ops charter, and to evaluate what sales ops functions to use, which to save, and which to throw out.
A Refresher: What is a Revenue Desk?
A Revenue Desk is a cross-functional leadership team that meets systematically to progress and maximize the value of opportunities currently in the funnel. This group of leaders includes representatives from Marketing, Finance, Legal, Engineering, Enablement and sometimes Product. The group meets twice a week and reviews large deals in the pipeline. These sessions are intended to leverage the full expertise of the leadership team. Decision makers are included to remove barriers earlier in the process. The team also provides strategic insight to maximize the long-term customer value. At the end of the day, the Revenue Desk’s central goal is to grow deals bigger and close deals faster.
A Revenue Desk Gone Wrong
The Revenue Desk is one of the most powerful weapons at a leader’s disposal. However, without proper design, this well-intentioned tool could quickly kill sales velocity and profitability. At SBI, a common mistake we observe is the lack of a clearly defined Revenue Desk charter. In most cases, this gap leads to the Revenue Desk being seen as little more than a “discount approval board.” In reality, the Revenue Desk should be responsible for much more than discount approval. In fact, the primary purpose of a Revenue Desk is to grow the size of deals and improve close rates.
For a Revenue Desk to be effective, a charter must exist that supports the following:
To ensure that your Revenue Desk maximizes deal flow and optimizes sales productivity, read on.
The Solution: A Defined Revenue Desk Charter
To prevent your Revenue Desk from becoming little more than a “discount approval board,” a Revenue Desk charter must be created. This charter will be owned by Sales Operations. As the head of Sales Operations, it is your responsibility to hold your team accountable to the fact that discount approval is just one of many purposes of the Revenue Desk. The primary purpose? To grow the size of deals and improve close rates.
As you build out your Revenue Desk charter, be sure to keep the following charter best practices in mind:
Too often, impactful initiatives begin with enthusiastic support, but proceed to dissipate as novelty wears off. To avoid this, be sure to remind your team that few other opportunities will add a minimum of 5% overall efficiency to your sales team. Additionally, be sure to consistently communicate the fact that the Revenue Desk does not exist to simply approve discounts, but to push deals bigger and increase close rates.
The Revenue Desk team should include Marketing, Finance, Legal, Engineering, Enablement and sometimes Product. This team should be customized to your industry and size of company. For smaller companies C-Level executives should participate. For larger companies, the desk should consist of regional representatives, director level decision makers, etc.
The cadence is critical and should match your flow of deals. If you have less than 10 new large opportunities per month, then meeting once per week is acceptable. More than 10 large opportunities per month, and you must meet at least twice per week. Ensure that you are setting the expectation that each decision-making delegate must participate.
If you aren’t tracking Revenue Desk KPI’s, you should not expect sustained optimal performance. A sample of these metrics include: Win Ratio, Deal Size, Upsell/Cross-sell, Profit/margin, Product portfolio utilization. How you measure the Revenue Desk is an organizational indicator of the value you afford the Revenue Desk, and will affect internal perceptions.
Historical data proves that the majority of a deal’s approval time is spent tracking down signatures. The documents go back and forth several times before eventually getting approved. Set the precedent that most deals will be approved on one call. In rare cases, two calls will be allowed if more information is essential. This approach will encourage the sales team to be prepared with key information.
These 5 best practices will provide you with a solid foundation for building out your Revenue Desk charter. This charter will ensure your Revenue Desk protects profitability and lives up to its primary purpose of growing deals and increasing close rates.
For further detail on how the Revenue Desk charter fits into your responsibilities as the Head of Sales Operations, download the Sales Ops Functions and Descriptions Tool .
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