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Why it Takes a Community to Build a Profession

Deal Desk implementation in sales organizations is consistently rising, and so is the demand for data, insight, and best practices for Deal Desk professionals. Following our recent joint panel, we caught up with Steven Chung, Founder of Deal Desk Association, to get his personal perspective into Deal Desks. Steve was a Deal Desk professional seeking a community to support and enhance his professional growth. He couldn’t find any, so he created one. 

In this blog post, Steve shares his insight and expertise, and why it takes a community to build a profession. 

What made you establish the Deal Desk Association? 

Steve Chung: I started out as a social service professional in New York City before transitioning into government technology sales as an SDR, and later as a Deal Desk professional. 

I established DDA because I was constantly looking for a professional community and resources to become better at what I do, but I couldn’t find them. I realized I’m not alone in this search, so I decided to create the community that my peers and I needed.

What makes a deal ‘worthy’ of a Deal Desk?

Steven Chung: There’s no one-size-fits all answer to this question. I believe Deal Desk involvement depends on the maturity of the company and the Deal Desk team. Organizations have individual criteria, but it’s good to figure them out ahead of time. 

I would recommend looking at these factors: Deal size, company size, and custom clauses, which make deals more complicated by design.

When is a sales organization ready to create a Deal Desk?

Steven Chung: There’s no universal point in time. If an organization identifies an increasing rate of errors in their order forms, it’s ready for a Deal Desk team. 

It’s important to determine the point in the sales process in which a deal desk becomes involved and comes into play. It can be at the very beginning, when first connecting with a high value prospect, upon signing, or any other stage that is predetermined. 

What are some of the main goals for the Deal Desk?

Steven Chung: I believe some of the main goals for a Deal Desk is to drive greater knowledge and predictability, which is becoming a very sought-after capability in sales. We all want to make educated decisions. 

Deal Desk increases transparency, enhances customer experience, and promotes collaboration and accountability. All those together can be harnessed to improve and shorten the sales cycle and to optimize the buyer’s journey. It smoothes the process for both seller and buyer. 

How does tech empower Deal Desks? 

Steven Chung: Tech empowers Deal Desks by allowing more insights to be drawn and more
informed decisions to be made. CRM and CPQ solutions can provide Deal Desk professionals with all deal information at a glance, and keep all stakeholders fully aware of the process at all times. 

It can be a treasure trove of data, that when properly analyzed can provide a lot of insight.  On top of measuring performance, tech solutions offer automation of sales playbooks to increase the performance of sales teams and set them up for success. 

What should Deal Desk professionals consider when choosing their tech solutions?

Steven Chung: I would recommend considering three main factors: 

  • Integration– it’s important to check that any potential new tech ‘plays nice’ with other solutions and tools currently in use by the company. Without strategic integrations, your solution may actually generate problems, by being another ‘add-on’ and making the process disjointed and cumbersome.
  • Scalability– when choosing a tech solution, you want to make sure it’s flexible enough to match your business needs at any given point. You want to know that whatever size of business  and volume of deals you have today, your chosen solution can match your needs tomorrow, next year, and many after that. 

Getting a tech tool implemented and your team fully trained to use the system is a complicated, long process (did anyone say Deal Desk?) and it should be one that offers scalability, so it remains effective long term.

  • Ease of use– from my experience, sales tech lags behind in digital transformation, but it is catching up. That said, any sales tech your organization adopts should be quick to implement and easy to manage. 

I often hear about companies purchasing tech that requires heavy code, or dedicated third-party consultants. Get user-friendly and responsive tools. You want to know your team can easily make changes and that your managers can see those changes in real time. 

What are some tips you can share with Deal Desk professionals out there?

Steven Chung: I’ll use a cliche, because like most cliches, it just nails it: Knowledge is power. I would encourage Deal Desk professionals to learn more about the sales, operations, finance, and legal functions of their organization. Having a foundational working knowledge of what other departments are doing and how they’re doing it is a key element to success in this field.

What’s your greatest achievement as a Deal Desk professional?

Steven Chung: My best moments as a Deal Desk professional were those in which I achieved the exact purpose of Deal Desk, reconciling historic contractual data and correcting financial metrics. Those were moments when everything seemed to fall into place and make sense, and obviously, directly affected the bottom line. There’s great satisfaction there. 

That said, I’m most proud of establishing the Deal Desk Association and building its community. I have no doubt that partnering with DealHub, which is a leader in CPQ innovation and B2B sales tech is going to enrich that community and nurture its professionals.



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