Use Cases

How Deal Desk Became Your Most Important Sales Closer

Matthew King
Matt is Prelay's Content Director and a 3-time B2B SaaS editorial leader.
September 30, 2023

With increased scrutiny over deal margins and efficiency, you need a cross-functional owner – armed with the right systems – to hit your revenue goals.

Deal Desk Orchestrates the Riskiest Point of Any Sale

As companies scale, the closing process becomes a complex balancing act. Reps need input from teams like legal, finance, product, and leadership to get high-value deals across the finish line. But without a clear process, this internal tango is plagued with delays, poor communication, and fumbled opportunities. You need a cross-functional owner to coordinate these people and tasks, or else your revenue pipeline will crack.

Enter: deal desk, the answer to this puzzle for large and complex B2B sales. According to data from, roughly 70% of mature SaaS companies now have a deal desk.

This function works across internal teams to structure and review deals, manage non-standard requests (e.g. discounts, terms), and proactively spot and mitigate risks in the sales cycle. As an “organizational hub” for deal management, it’s the single source of truth for pricing, contracts, approvals, and much more.

Source: PwC Technology Institute

The value of deal desk has grown exponentially in today’s hybrid sales landscape. With teams hopping in across time zones, countless rounds of contract negotiations, and multiple do-or-die decisions from leadership and the buyer, deal desk manages the most vulnerable point of any large opportunity.

Deal Margins and Efficiency Matter More Than Ever

Investors’ renewed focus on sales efficiency has further elevated the role of deal desk. Revenue leaders are looking for ways to lower cost of sale, consolidate tooling, and curb discounts — all things that deal desk knows well. The function also continues to absorb new responsibilities, with commissions for high-velocity sales, renewals, and expansions being just a few examples.

Source: GTM Partners

Scaling your deal desk team doesn’t have to mean adding headcount. Public hiring data from FoundHQ shows that tech companies with strong GTM systems support 3x as many sellers with the same number of deal desk reps, a roughly 7-figure savings in overhead. 

Common Pitfalls Across the Deal Desk Process

With so much at stake in the deal closing process, you can’t afford to manage requests and approvals through ad-hoc workflows over email or chat. Neither can you rely on a generic spreadsheet to enforce your policies or standard pricing; the lack of automation and integrations only creates more manual work and blind spots for your team.

The Doom Loop of Ad-hoc Approval Workflows 

It only takes a few bad habits in your deal process to snowball into bigger business risks:

  • Longer sales cycles result from late requests, EOM bottlenecks & slow approvals
  • Opportunities slip due to poor internal execution & late visibility into deal risks
  • Sub-optimal margins follow from excessive discounting & non-standard terms
  • Market share drops as leadership has no feedback loop to pricing strategy
  • Team morale sinks due to self-forced errors & low revenue growth 

None of these pitfalls are inevitable. But to avoid them, rather than being an afterthought, deal desk must become an early and frequent partner in your sales process. 

5 Ways Deal Desk Improves Revenue Efficiency

Deal desk success begins with defining your team policies and processes, but just as important are the tools and systems you use to operationalize that framework. You want to make it as easy as possible for stakeholders to jump in and take action, while retaining a full audit trail for every request or approval, across product lines and regions. 

Below are five key challenges any deal desk must navigate, and the estimated revenue lift of an effective solution, based on PwC's experience developing hundreds of teams.

Challenge #1 – Growing deal complexity

  • Solution: Centralize request intake and use guided workflows to boost rep adoption
  • Pro tip: Use required fields to collect upfront information needed for execution
  • Revenue Impact: Shorten sales cycles by 25-40%
  • Tools: Prelay, SFDC Cases, Deal Support Requests, Email

Challenge #2 – Growing deal volume

  • Solution: Automate internal routing and make common approvals self-service
  • Pro tip: Prioritize your central dashboard by deal size and closing date
  • Revenue impact: Improve sales productivity by 15-20%
  • Tools: Prelay, CRM Automation, Zapier

Challenge #3 – Revenue optimization

  • Solution: Closely review non-standard pricing & discounts early in the sales cycle
  • Pro tip: Use context-rich notifications to help approvers take action quickly
  • Revenue impact: Improve gross profit margins by 5-10%
  • Tools: Prelay, CPQ Software, CRMs

Challenge #4 – Cross-functional coordination

  • Solution: Give AEs & deal stakeholders visibility into current status at every step
  • Pro tip: Push live reporting to your CRM, BI, etc. so leadership has clear visibility
  • Revenue impact: 5+ hours saved weekly on manual/duplicate sales forecasting
  • Tools: Prelay, Slack/Teams, Email

Challenge #5 – Risk management

  • Solution: Establish documentation to ensure legal & security criteria are met
  • Pro tip: Use required fields and actions as guardrails to enforce deal policies 
  • Revenue impact: 95%+ compliant deals
  • Tools: Prelay, CRMs, CPQ Software

Empower Your Deal Desk to Be an Accelerator

With the right systems and processes, deal desk can be a game-changer. More and more companies are building this function to drive sales velocity and predictability, while minimizing business risk. But scaling up can also come with growing pains. Learn about the tradeoffs of CRM tooling in our build vs. buy article, and check out this case study to learn how Cloud 100 companies are launching global deal desks in under two weeks.

Matthew King
Matt is Prelay's Content Director and a 3-time B2B SaaS editorial leader.

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