Today’s revenue leaders face a daunting number of tasks. Support more deals with the same or fewer headcount. Scale a limited pool of internal resources to move complex opportunities forward, quickly. As many as 20+ internal stakeholders, and 3x as many deliverables, are now often involved in a single commercial or enterprise sale.
This growing deal team encompasses a variety of specialized “assists” that have become key steps in the SaaS and B2B sales cycle:
- Technical questions requiring a product expert
- Requests to a sales engineer (SE) for a technical demo
- Deal Desk approvals for contracts and discount pricing
- Legal, IT, and Security reviews
- Guidance from subject matter experts (SMEs)
- And much more…
Like many enterprises, you might be running some of these deal support motions in Salesforce today, using a standard Cases object or a custom-built Deal Support Request (DSR). Maybe you’re evaluating one of these options for the first time.
While this “homegrown” approach is convenient, and may seem financially prudent, there are also important limitations and opportunity costs that revenue leaders must consider. This article highlights those key build vs. buy tradeoffs, and a few common misconceptions.
Salesforce is your source of truth, but it can’t do everything.
There’s a good reason Salesforce became the modern CRM system of record. Its cloud-based software was accessible from anywhere, a radical idea in the years of on-prem. But more importantly, Salesforce was built to support great data integration from other tools that are more focused on end-user engagement.
Over the past decade, new email and sales enablement platforms have emerged to optimize rep outreach beyond Salesforce with better UX, tracking, and collaboration – while still driving insights back to the CRM. Today, a new category of team selling technology is helping companies orchestrate internal deal support teams in a way that drives repeatable success and reportability.
Custom SFDC objects won't track team interaction data.
Salesforce’s native tools and objects work great in specific scenarios. The standard Cases object was devised for customer issue resolution, and is still widely used for that purpose by support teams. Custom DSR objects maintain easy request intake within the CRM, while offering more flexible data input.
But here’s the catch: at the end of the day, both options largely function as a static support ticket. If deal orchestration beyond an individual is required, those interactions will spill across ad-hoc channels such as Slack/Teams and email, creating blind spots around resource utilization and how teams are actually working through a deal.
Without the ability to track team interactions around a request in REAL TIME, it’s nearly impossible for revenue leaders to pinpoint the insights they need:
- How often are teams communicating around a deal?
- Where internally (e.g. team, individual) is a deliverable held up?
- Which activities correlate with higher win rates?
- Where are teams over- or under-resourced?
When it comes to analytics, Cases offer limited reporting on volume and submission time, but only in retrospect. A DSR can track who is doing what and for how long, but its static template lacks a full audit trail of internal team interaction and deal activity (which is critical not only to sales leaders, but also customer success).
No homegrown deal support solution is “free.”
Now more than ever, companies face pressure to extract more value from their existing tool set. Keep in mind, though, that building and maintaining any object in Salesforce is far from a turnkey effort. Just a few examples of challenges include:
- Building it for the first time requires extensive work with your SFDC administrator to properly configure the Case object or custom DSR.
- A clunky UX can cost you deals as AEs struggle to navigate a slow or confusing process that isn’t very transparent.
- Lack of accountability plagues deal coordination since there’s no prebuilt functionality to notify stakeholders or manage projects in-flight.
- Recovering lost deal information suppresses productivity, as teams search through emails or chats for the relevant deal context needed to take action.
- High ongoing resource costs for RevOps to constantly update and maintain the Case or DSR object, at the expense of more critical revenue-driving needs.
- Blind spots for business analysts for whom gathering more data tied to the request is a pipedream without real-time interaction tracking holistically built into the software.
If you’re not paying a vendor to guide this process, then you’re taking on the responsibility yourself, or you need to delegate it to others across your company. That translates into significant opportunity costs – namely, all the critical revenue-driving projects you can’t complete, which you may have more expertise in.
The biggest risk of all? You may not know exactly what you need to build, and after all is said and done, those resources have led to an irrelevant solution.
Challenges surrounding home-grown solutions have plagued companies for decades. As experts across industries built solutions to address these process and growth challenges, many companies are beginning to recognize their own internal limitations, as well as new opportunities to invest wisely in solutions that will buy back their time and labor in dividends.
Purpose-built platforms unleash productivity and enhance your CRM.
Whether it’s managing a technical deliverable, or coordinating a complex approval, teams across the board – Sales, Presales, and RevOps – know it’s often hard to actually get work done in Salesforce. It’s also difficult to hold teams accountable there. You can assign tasks, but without service-level agreement (SLA) reporting or real-time notifications, you’ll struggle to keep people and projects on track.
Internal deal teams squander significant time and resources trying to run a fluid process through the static templates of a Case or DSR. A purpose-built deal management solution meets users where they are to simplify workflows, then integrates centralized team tracking data back to your CRM, making your Salesforce analytics more granular and valuable than ever.
With Prelay, for example, revenue teams can launch “Assists” in a couple clicks from Slack, Chrome, or Salesforce. Upfront SLAs and live notifications drive team and individual accountability, And, centralized deal coordination pushes insights to your CRM, where leaders can pinpoint bottlenecks and deal health.
The bottom line on build vs. buy
Today’s multi-threaded sales marathon requires an equally dynamic approach to deal management.
If all you’re looking for is a customer resolution workflow, then Cases may work just fine. But for any process regarding your internal deal support, the static record of Cases and even a custom DSR will increase your risk of miscommunication and poor execution, while leaking critical account knowledge.
Tap into greater productivity for all your internal stakeholders and smarter, more cost-effective resource management by exploring a purpose-built solution like Prelay.
De-risk your deals with better data in Salesforce
- Solution Overview: Team Selling Platform
Appendix: Questions to discuss with your team
As you evaluate which path is right for your deal support needs, you’ll want to discuss the tradeoffs with key stakeholders across departments and gain their early buy-in; this will bolster adoption once the new process is live. Below are some discovery questions to discuss as a group.
What priority use cases are we solving for?
If your scope is limited to customer issues or complaints, then Cases might be a good option for your team. If you’re looking for any kind of internal team request – from technical demos to deal desk approvals – then, even with a custom object (e.g., DSRs), you'll run into challenges with team coordination, accountability, and overall tracking.
How is our market and deal cycle evolving?
Disruption is a constant across industries today, and companies are adding new products and services to fend off competition. Reflect on how your sales process has changed over just the last year or two. Can a homegrown solution adapt to support those evolving deal workflows? How often is your team relying on ad-hoc channels or docs to actually work through a deal?
What teams will be getting involved in deal execution?
Think beyond your initial use case(s) to possible requesters and assignees across legal, finance, engineering, product specialists, overlay teams, solutions engineers, and beyond. As support teams hop in at different points throughout the deal proces, is there an easy way to get the right people involved, while holding them accountable to actions and deliverables?
How will we support multiple use cases across teams?
When you started, a single team (or individual) was probably managing a handful of different deal support needs. Now, other teams and departments want to rethink how resources are utilized and tracked throughout the deal process. Do you have a centralized, flexible way of scaling your deal management to support those teams?
Is maintaining a homegrown solution worth our time?
Every revenue team has limited deal resources, but some are more strapped than others – especially during a turbulent market. Can you afford the opportunity costs of one or multiple full-time team members maintaining a homegrown solution? If your company expands through new products or acquisitions, will you be able to scale to support those evolving deal needs?