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Constructing A Deal Desk with Danny Clune, Revenue Operations Manager at Newsela

In this episode of the RevOps Demystified Podcast, Tom Hunt and Alex Freeman are joined by Danny Clune, Revenue Operations Manager at Newsela.  They discuss the importance of constructing a deal desk, how to set up and run a deal desk function, and strategies to improve RevOps, and sales performance. 

Danny’s journey into RevOps 

While studying at Northeastern University, Boston, Danny did three internships, all of which were in sales and involved cold calling, selling telecom solutions, and convenient store sales. After graduating, in 2013, he saw an opening of Sales Ops Coordinator at FrontStream and immediately decided to join the role. 

Starting his sales and operations journey in 2013 until 2021, Danny worked with renowned companies such as FrontStream, Newsela, and Great Jones (A Roofstock Company) in several key sales ops positions. 

In 2021, Danny felt that it was time to explore new horizons and rejoined Newsela in August 2021 (the company he left in 2019 as Sr. Sales Operations Lead to join Great Jones) to transition into RevOps.

As of February 2022, he works as a Revenue Operations Manager at Newsela and continues to add value to the world of RevOps. 

Deal Desk: The biggest challenge explained  

Managing the deal desk (a centralized, cross-functional team that plays a part in facilitating high-value deals) is currently the biggest challenge. With only a hundred and fifty sellers and managers, it is extremely difficult to stay ahead of deals, especially because the company is trying to scale up its enterprise, and deals are becoming more complex in terms of size, value, and legality. 

Deal Desk helps companies to curate specific policies and guidelines to counter any possible issues and to deliver high-value deals efficiently. 

Product, pricing, and analysis strategy 

Companies need to make sure that their analysis strategy is up-to-date and that they always re-assess it. Outdated analysis strategy calls for constant discussion on improving product selection and price positioning. 

Even if you think that your strategy is up-to-date, “the growth-based companies should always reassess their strategy on a regular basis.” 

How to set up and run the deal desk function?  

  • Step 1: Every contract of identified threshold and special billing term must be flagged 
  • Step 2: Stakeholders must meet twice a week to discuss the execution of the contract and how the company can achieve small wins in between deals
  • Step 3: Emails are sent to the sales manager of possible options for the deals 
  • Step 4: When the identified type of deals start to come in, the team could set them up on a deal desk and outline the policies and guidelines to identify the type of sales the company prefers and what they will avoid. 

A simple form on the opportunity page of the website outlines the guidelines of a deal, and if a certain deal falls into the set criteria, it can be submitted after answering just two basic questions:

  • What is the demand of the customer?
  • What is the value of the customer?

This will automatically submit a case to the deal desk, which will be tracked in line with the set guidelines until it is closed. 

Vision for 2022 

In 2022, the core focus of the companies should be on identifying the top-selling products and the most potential customers to invest its resources in. 

This helps the companies to analyse the worth of each product and what value it brings to the company. 

Tips to improve RevOps and sales performance 

It is crucial to analyse the customer’s journey at every stage: top, middle and bottom of the funnel. 

Sales reps should take a rather indirect approach to reach out to the customer, for example, instead of directly reaching out to the customer, the sales reps should first identify and analyse what is being renewed, customer value over time, etc. 

The best way to master customer behaviour and value, sales reps should understand how to use data analysis tools and spend time looking into data and spreadsheets. 

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