Vendr: Deal Room

Max Berger
One-man design studio

SaaS procurement is inefficient, slow, and costly.

Stakeholders involved in procurement deals spend weeks emailing back and forth, coordinating between teams, obtaining signatures, and more.

What if we could streamline the way they work? What if we could change the way we purchase?

Purchasing takes weeks - and time kills all deals.

Between emailing contracts back and forth, trying to schedule meetings, facilitating between finance, legal, and procurement teams, and lack of information into customers’ buying processes, there are countless factors that slows down the speed of SaaS purchasing.

-> Customers - usually tech managers - often don’t know their company’s own buying and procurement process, and are left confused and unsure where to kick off the process
-> Stakeholders don’t know what’s needed to execute a purchase and get the order form accurate
-> Buyers and stakeholders don’t know their company’s approval processes & final signers, causing additional back-and-forth
-> Order forms are usually incorrect (wrong signer, email address, legal non-negotiables, etc.) adding time to cycles

Vendr is a hit with customers for saving them time, money, and effort - but Vendr’s procurement specialists spend a lot of time on tasks that can be simplified and automated - such as scheduling kick-off meetings and requesting basic documents.
“I spend 60% of my day on administrative tasks ... my biggest obstacle is lack of visibility into key information I need to get an order form approved. It definitely hinders my productivity in getting a purchase submitted quickly, since we don’t always have the luxury of time.”
Vendr Buyer (procurement specialist)

The solution? Build a single portal for everything needed for SaaS deals.

Across-the-board reports of constant email back-and-forth, administrative tasks, and unnecessary cycles made it increasingly clear to us that what stakeholders were missing was a single, centralized place to manage deals. They needed a place to visualize deal status, request, upload, and download documents, answer questions, view client/company information, and negotiate on pricing. This deal room would remove extra cycles, time, and work for stakeholders in creating an order form, getting it signed, and post-signing processes - freeing up time for Vendr’s Buyers to focus on what’s most important: negotiating for customers.

Deal Room

Our north star version of Vendr’s Deal Room included several features that would streamline the purchasing process. However, our short-term goal was to launch a V1 product that satisfies the two most common stakeholder needs - keeping track of document versions and scheduling meetings and finding mutually available times (leads to excessive back-and-forth).

Our goal was to launch a bare-bones version of Deal Room to test user adoption, reception, and obtain feedback.

Version 1: the MVP
Version 1 of Deal Room reflected the layout, design style, and typography of existing Vendr applications. Because our goal was to quickly ship V1 to obtain feedback and test, we focused our efforts on building functionality, optimizing performance within existing Vendr workflows and systems, and interviewing stakeholders (both on Vendr’s side, supplier side, and customer side). In development, we also relied heavily on research-driven methods that analyzed existing tooling.

This simple V1 enabled stakeholders to easily:
-> View outstanding tasks
-> Schedule calls (data pulled from GCal)
-> Upload documents requested by stakeholders

We received lots of positive feedback on Deal Room from Vendr Buyers, software suppliers, and customers. They loved the platform’s ease of use and clarity of instructions - which we used to keep in mind for future iterations and versions.

Ways we measured success in our first iteration:
-> Stakeholders reported that it made them faster at their jobs.
Automations from the interal Vendr application enabled them to send “kick off” Deal Room links to new customers, streamlining manual processes.
-> Software suppliers expressed positive feelings towards the platform.
In research, they expressed concern that a platform like Deal Room would make them feel “brushed off” and like they weren’t “important enough” to a Vendr Buyer. However, post launch, the same suppliers were pleasantly surprised by the experience, reporting that it felt much more “personal” than they assumed it would be.

Version 2: the functional product

With Version 2 of Deal Room, we had more flexibility to rebrand - including new font selection, color selection, and visual language for web applications. With this, we aimed to usher in a new era of Vendr, one that felt fresh and new to our clients and Vendr Buyers alike.

Now having the flexibility to remove the white vertical navigation on the left side of the page, we updated Deal Room with a horizontal navbar separating a “tasks” page and a “documents” page. The tasks page served as a user’s home base, prompting them to schedule meetings or upload documentation as requested. They are also able to easily visualize task status - a helpful visual indicator to encourage users to complete tasks quicker (and move deals along faster). The documents page housed all uploads, enabling users to view, download, and delete uploaded documentation.
Tasks screen when a user clicks on a task that prompts a document upload.
Documents screen when a user navigates to it

Launch and what’s next

We launched Deal Room by sending our first link to a customer to kick off a renewal process using Deal Room to upload required documents and schedule a required meeting. To the team’s excitement, Deal Room’s use skyrocketed, customers loved it, and stakeholders reported positive feedback. 
Deal Room was later credited for notable improvements in company revenues, user satisfaction, and user experience (both internal & external).

Released in 2020, Deal Room was in use until 2023, when Vendr launched the Vendr Intelligence Platform, essentially the north star version of Deal Room. Incorporating negotiation, supplier, and SKU insights, contract analysis, automated deal flow and deal status visualization, intake-to-procure workflows, automated approvals and integrated workflows, and much more, the Vendr Intelligence Platform (VIP) combines all the aspects of our north star Deal Room product.