A deal desk introduces a new approach to managing deals.

This is done by forming a team of stakeholders and decision-makers, establishing approval workflows, and effectively integrating automation tools.

This article highlights how a deal desk functions and its ability to transform the way companies tackle their sales strategy.

Let’s get to it!

Key takeaways

  • One of the primary functions of a deal desk is to bring together decision-makers from sales, legal, financial, and marketing departments to optimize the deal creation and execution process.
  • Deal desk stakeholders and their roles are clearly defined, streamlining approval workflow. Their cross-functional expertise enables them to create proposals tailored to customers’ needs.
  • A deal desk identifies upsell and cross-sell opportunities for existing customers by analyzing past deals and current contracts, and tracking renewal dates.
  • To further facilitate deal creation, a deal desk can utilize proposal management software to maintain a knowledge base, proposal templates, and information on past deals

What is a deal desk?

A deal desk is a team within a company responsible for managing and negotiating deals, contracts, quotes, and other sales documents.

Their role is to foster deal structuring and ensure that every deal in a sales pipeline is advantageous for the company in terms of return on investment and alignment with business strategy.

To maximize its effectiveness, a deal desk team often includes representatives from different departments, such as sales, legal, financial, marketing, or product.

Small companies may also opt for a sole deal desk manager or a deal desk analyst who fosters communication between teams.

How a deal desk functions to help nail your win rates

A properly functioning deal desk optimizes the creation, structure and execution of a deal while stopping potential problems in their tracks.

With all the moving parts connected to a centralized hub, you’re enabling the ability to:

1. Manage non-standard deals

There are deals that require more handling or negotiating than usual.

They are also known as non-standard or complex deals because of longer sales cycles when compared to a standard deal — deals which usually require only one or two sales reps to reach deal closure.

In managing non-standard deals, the deal desk function becomes crucial, as it addresses various aspects of a deal in a centralized manner.

Decision-makers operate as a cross-functional team, eliminating bottlenecks in the deal creation process.

2. Conduct an in-depth needs analysis

Before diving into deal creation, a deal desk performs an assessment of a client’s demands to identify their requirements and expectations for a solution.

For that, the team employs surveys and checklists to gather feedback from their clientele.

They also conduct market research to find challenges a client has with their current solution, their budget constraints, and identify key decision-makers in the company.

3. Generate personalized sales offers

After a deal desk gathers information about a client, they proceed to create personalized sales offers.

An offer meets expectations by containing a list of deliverables, features, usage clauses, and cost/renewal terms structured to uniquely solve all client pain points — including the option of different pricing tiers to further accommodate the client during the latter stages of negotiation.

Finally, a deal desk decides on the supporting sales collateral needed to strengthen a sales offer, such as a presentation deck, a one-pager, a case study, and other materials.

4. Foster deal creation with a knowledge base and templates

To maintain up-to-date information about products and a catalog of content from past deals, a deal desk employs digital tools like contract management solutions or proposal management systems.

These tools serve as shared digital spaces, where a deal desk stores information on past deals, pricing details, and other docs about products, making them accessible to approved employees.

To streamline deal creation, a deal desk creates templates that incorporate standardized terms, conditions, and pricing models in accordance with the company’s policies.

Proposal management platforms like PandaDoc have their own easily customized library of templates, enabling users to generate a final proposal with just a few clicks instead of creating one from scratch.

Screenshot of the template library

5. Establish an approval workflow for deals

To ensure that every deal is authorized before a sales team continues putting in their efforts, a deal desk creates an approval process for sales deals. This includes several action items.

  • Creating a framework for categorizing what standard and non-standard types of deals are. These criteria can be deal size, contract term length, contract value, payment terms, etc.
  • Identifying a list of stakeholders that should be included in the deal prep process and their role.
  • Deciding whether a deal should be approved before it can be shared with a customer. If yes, then determining who needs to approve the deal, whether it’s a team-based or individual-based effort.

  • Automating communication and negotiation using digital tools. For example, proposal management software provides a signing order feature that automatically delivers documents to recipients on the list, and the manager receives notifications upon approval completion.
  • Additionally, conditional approvals can be set up so that a doc routes to a designated reviewer once established conditions or criteria are met.
Screenshot showing the conditional approval workflow in PandaDoc

6. Mitigate risks associated with deals

When structuring deal terms, another fundamental deal desk function involves identifying and mitigating potential risks and their impact, ensuring the company’s interests are protected.

For that, a deal desk addresses challenging questions such as:

  • What if service disruption happens?
  • How would the client’s team growth impact the scope of the deal?
  • What if payment is delayed?
  • How might global or geopolitical events impact service delivery?

With this approach, a deal desk ensures that if a deal is closed, a company enters into a contract with a clear understanding of possible disruptions and a mitigation plan to safeguard its reputation and finances.

7. Forecast renewal opportunities for existing customers

Deal desk team members identify upsell and cross-sell opportunities to offer additional products and services to existing customers.

This work includes analyzing past deals, assessing existing contracts, and tracking renewal dates, which eventually lead to creating a new proposal.

To assist a sales team during negotiations with a customer, a deal desk creates several scenario quotes with various options for pricing, terms, and additional features.

Final thoughts

Overall, the deal desk functions as a strategic asset in the sales process, and having it fire on all cylinders can be a breath of fresh air for a company’s sales strategy.

It introduces new processes into the pipeline that aid in increasing the number of deals and converting them into revenue by effectively closing complex deals.

While a deal desk helps to negotiate between teams, build more proposals, and identify new revenue opportunities, executing these tasks is accelerated with the help of automation software.

Schedule a 15-minute demo to see how PandaDoc’s proposal management tool can help you to close deals faster!


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