There is an emerging best practice in Key Account Management that successful B2B firms are quickly deploying. The best practice is a “Revenue Desk”. In this blog, I will outline the role of Marketing in this critical new Key Account process.
But first, let’s quickly touch on what a Revenue Desk is.
The Revenue Desk is not the Deal Desk
Most Sales organizations utilize a Deal Desk. A Deal Desk’s purpose is to ensure pricing is suitable for both the customer and the company. It is generally a strategic group of sales and pricing leaders that helps justify pricing discounts. This process is utilized during the sales process once the prospect has reached a pricing stage. Don’t get me wrong, there is value in the Deal Desk. In fact, see the attached links below for a more clear picture of the benefits and value of a formal Deal Desk:
The Revenue Desk is not the Deal Desk; it has a very different but no less important mission.
In terms of Revenue Enablement an emerging best practice is the Revenue Desk. The process is a “pre-contract” process that includes leaders from more than just Sales. This group of leaders should include Marketing, Finance, Legal, Engineering, etc. The group meets once or twice a week and reviews the larger deals in the pipeline. These sessions are intended to leverage the full expertise of the leadership team. They also provide sales with the appropriate tools they will need to close the deal faster. The Revenue Desk empowers the sales person and breaks down silos that can slow deal velocity.
Below is a visual example of the Revenue Desk to help with this explanation.
Also shown is a sample of the agenda and topics in a typical Revenue Desk meeting.
The Role of Marketing on the Revenue Desk
Because of the direct tie in to revenue and sales velocity, Marketing is a key member of the team. As a crucial member, the Marketing leader has four important responsibilities:
1. Market Insights: Marketing in the role of the Revenue Desk must ensure an “Outside In” view is maintained. Marketing via Product Marketing should provide trends, messaging and insights through the customer lens. Marketing should bring a customer-centric view to the meetings. What is happening within the industry, sector that could affect a deal? What trends in the marketplace or within the prospect’s company could impact deal velocity? These are questions the Marketing representative should answer.
2. Competitive Insights: Marketing must also bring a perspective of the competitive landscape to the Revenue Desk team. Marketing via the Market Insights or the Competitive Intelligence function should have ample tools at hand. These tools will ensure the team is aware of looming or incumbent competitors strengths or weaknesses. Pricing insights, win/loss analysis, and a full SWOT analysis of competitors are just a few tools needed.
3. Marketing Analytics: Marketing via Marketing Operations should provide relevant insights into the BDT’s interactions with your company’s material. The MARTECH stack has come a long way in just the past few years. If your organization has kept pace, the Marketing team should be able to provide valuable insights. Site visits, email opens, social media interactions, and downloads are all metrics that should be tracked. These insights are key to the development of the Revenue Desk’s success.
4. Messaging and Call Planning: Market insights, competitive insights, and analytics should provide an appropriate starting point for the team. The next step is to ensure the sales person has the appropriate messaging and plan. Marketing as part of the Revenue Desk should bring key strategic messaging to the meetings. Value propositions are my favorite place to start.
- What is the customer’s problem (Problem Statement)?
- What is the customer’s use case (How do they use your/a competitor’s product to solve this problem)?
- How does your organization solve this problem better than anyone else (Your Value Proposition)?
Marketing should help the team craft an appropriate messaging strategy around these key points. It is important to leverage the previously mentioned insights also. These message points then go directly into the sales person’s call planning documentation. Marketing can go so far as to help role play the call with the sales person.
5. Air Cover – Noise in Market: Messaging in the market place, and tactics like SEO, social media or nurture campaigns should complement key account plans. This last point should be a two way street of information flow. Intelligence should flow from the marketing organization to the Revenue Desk and vice versa. As an example, you wouldn’t want to market an alternative lower tiered product. Especially when they are in the buying stages of your premier product. Marketing does not want to create any doubt or confusion among the BDT on active deals. Marketing should ensure the message and air-cover tactics are aligned to the key account plans.
For the Marketing’s role, I have added a checklist of Key Account questions they need to answer:
There is much more to the list!
The above list is by no means all-inclusive. There are always caveats and exceptions to the role of each team member on the Revenue Desk. Each Key Account will have a nuance to it that requires the team to adjust or augment expectations. Each team member will have different backgrounds, talents and resources that they bring to the group.
The beauty of the Revenue Desk is that it enables the team to be agile. The team is agile in their planning, strategy and response to each key account. This agility enables a faster deal velocity, larger deal sizes, and more wins.
For assistance with Revenue Enablement, and turning your organization from inward-out thinking to outward-in thinking, download our Revenue Enablement Tool.