Data my deal desk should track



A deal desk is the glue between your sales team and money in the bank. Having a strong deal desk function in place will do a couple of very important things for your startup, first it will increase the speed at which you can close deals and get money in the bank, second, if done well, it will tell you if you’re spending that money in the right places. Although deal desk’s are often thought of as nice to have until you’re a bit bigger as a SaaS startup they can often help a lot in the early stages of your company to understand where you should attribute the little amount of resources that you do have. Let’s have a look at what data your deal desk should track and why.

Contract Tracking Data

Contract data is one of the most important types of data that a deal desk should be capturing. Contract data is something that can often diverge from the data that you have in your CRM, the number of times that we’ve seen the dollar values and start dates on a deal not line up with what’s actually in a contract is, well, almost always. And if your CRM isn’t displaying the correct data for what was actually closed with a deal then it can cause issues for your reporting, your invoicing and understanding where you sit as a company. So what should you track from your contracts?

  1. Your deal desk should track: Actual start and end dates of your contract

    • SaaS contracts should have a start and end date of when customers get access to your platform, this is built into your contract but is often not reflected in your CRM. Keeping proper track of this will help your finance team and your potential investors understand your recurring revenue recognition and how many customers you’re layering on monthly

  2. Your deal desk should track: Recurring revenue and non-recurring revenue

    • A lot of early stage startups will have both recurring revenue that comes from software sales and non-recurring revenue that comes from professional services that they have built out to support the software sales. The non-recurring may come in the form of account management, onboarding, SSO or a number of other things. It is important to track the split of this and have them feed properly into your SaaS profit and loss statement

  3. Your deal desk should track: Liability

    • The amount of liability that is agreed to in a SaaS contract can have implications in the future when you are seeking investment or looking to renew contracts with customers. Keeping track of the level of liability in SaaS contracts and the contracts that are above what you would deem as acceptable liability will allow you to handle investment due diligence conversations easier and will help you to understand which contracts need to be renegotiated when they come up for renewal

  4. Which parties paper the contract was on

    • Often not thought about in the early stages of building a business but definitely something to consider is to keep track of whether or not the contract that has been signed was on your standard contract or on the customers terms and conditions. This will help you to understand how often you diverge from your own master service agreement and how often you are able to get customers to agree to your terms

Time tracking data

Just like any other part of your business the deal desk function is one that can be tracked and improved upon. When you’re scaling up a SAAS sales pipeline the procurement stages of the sales process are ones that can get drawn out and slow. The slower this process gets the more time it takes to get cash in bank which is a problem that kills most startups. So what should you be tracking to understand the levers that you, as a leader, can pull to speed up the sales process?

  1. Time spent in the legal redlining process

    • Just like any other process in your company the legal process can be broken down into stages. How long are deals spending with your internal legal team, how long are they spending with your decision makers and how long are they spending with the customers legal team. Having this information can help you understand if your legal team is appropriately resourced and where things are slowing down

  2. Time spent in procurement by customer type and by sales person

    • Starting to have an understanding of how complex your negotiations are for different types of customers can help you better forecast the time it takes to grow your annual recurring revenue

    • Customers in different industries and of different sizes will require contract negotiations of differing complexity, the time that it takes to get from contract sent to contract signed will give you an understanding of which customers are good to target for rapid expansion and which are a slow burn

Data that is well maintained, tracked and feeds back into the decision making of your organization as a whole is something that will help you assign your resources correctly and ultimately help you get from a early stage startup to a startup that will scale. Use your deal desk function as a tool to help you develop structure around this feedback loop.