Sometimes the things we need to change the most are the things we can see the least. It’s hard to get an objective look at where we stand. Yet the way work gets done, as well as customer expectations, are changing. We need to evolve in order to keep up – and thrive – in an increasingly automated world.
1. You keep your contracts on paper – in a filing cabinet!
Contracts are difficult enough to keep track of and manage in electronic form – on paper it’s nearly impossible! Just think, B2B companies manage an average of 20,000-40,000 contracts at one time while 85% of those companies are using manual processes to manage them. If your contracts are on paper, you don’t have a prayer of keeping track of where the contracts are or what they contain. This is a big part of the reason why 12-15% of contracts are actually lost. That’s right, flat-out lost.
Solution: Keep your documents in a searchable digital contract repository that has unlimited storage, retrieval and archival functions. Ensure your repository is both flexible and configurable for your needs.
2. You missed another contract renewal, you’re stuck with the same unfavorable terms you had last year, and there’s a penalty to pay.
Keeping track of what’s in all those contracts is impossible without some kind of contract lifecycle management solution. No individual can keep all of those terms and conditions, dates, renewals, etc. in mind. Even if you’ve got the world’s most impressive spreadsheet.
Solution: A contract management tool should always allow you to create automated alert notifications for every conceivable action item that needs to be managed – in turn eliminating risk while maintaining compliance and control.
3. Your sales team copies data from your CRM and pastes it into a Word template so they can send out a contract or quote.
Copying and pasting takes a lot of time – something that most teams can’t afford in today’s fast-paced, competitive, customer-oriented landscape. It also leads to plenty of errors, introducing mistakes that take a lot of effort to fix and that produce a lot of headaches. It’s easy to lose track of documents created this way (who’s hard drive is that quote on, anyway?), and the documents that go out probably have as many different versions of your branding as you have employees sending them.
Solution: Let’s face it, contracts and quotes can be complex. Managing various terms, pricing and service levels, approvals and versions leads to confusion and unnecessary back and forth for teams throughout an organization. Find a tool that simplifies this process and allows your sales team to request or generate contracts directly from your CRM.
4. Your legal team has hundreds of clauses and no way to effectively manage or maintain them.
You know you just made changes to the language in a contract but don’t have a standard place to house the clauses for later – let alone search on all existing clauses. Hunting for the latest version of a clause can be time-consuming and monotonous. Keeping track of what’s in all of your contracts seems nearly impossible.
Solution: Understand how critical it is for organizations to continually optimize efficiency and workflow. Look beyond the standard clause library and hone in on machine learning. Focus on the tools that have sophisticated logic that learn language patterns within a company’s contracts, both signed or in negotiation, and compares them to the company’s most commonly used clauses. You want to be able to search on clauses to see how your clause language is evolving while also automatically triggers flows and approval processes based on those clauses.
5. You need an NDA for a customer, and it takes a week to get it, once you request it.
You want to move forward, but it’s hard to feel like you’re on track and moving at speed when you have to wait for other departments to get back to you. Besides, you don’t want to send out a legal document that doesn’t include the essential protections your company needs.
Solution: Self-serve contract creation tools allow you to request your contract through legal and automatically get an approved contract back – within seconds. Not all solutions are created equal! Look for a tool with self-serve capability not only in contract creation but in its workflow capabilities to automatically route tasks to the appropriate party.
6. You want to close your deal before end of quarter, but you miss because you’re waiting on approval from legal.
Nothing is more frustrating than getting the deal almost to the finish line, and then having to wait to finally close it. If you could just take on some of the more basic contracting processes yourself, you’d hit – even exceed – quota much faster.
Solution: A solution that allows you to generate a contract using clauses pre-approved by legal right from your CRM. This will allow you to put together bullet-proof agreements, so you don’t have to get a stamp of approval on every single one.
7. You redline the wrong version of a contract.
Once you discover your mistake, this means you have to go back and find your changes, then go through your email to find the version you should have redlined, then redo the redlines on the correct document, then send it back to the other party. This is a huge time sink, and it’s so easy to make mistakes as you go through the process (again)!
Solution: A tool that allows you to automate negotiations securely and effectively. Look for a tool with a collaborative workspace for contract negotiations to take place between buyers and sellers. This workspace should have check-in and check-out capabilities to ensure participants are always working on the latest version of the contract and associated documents.
8. You have to jump all around, from screen to screen and solution to solution, re-entering data into each of them as you go, in order to get anything done.
Need I say more? Technology is supposed to enable us, make our lives easier and more streamlined, but if systems aren’t well integrated, they can actually make our lives more complex and our processes less efficient.
Solution: A solution that was purpose-built to offer end-to-end automation across business cycles, roles and processes. We can help you streamline, integrate, and automate to accelerate your business, allowing you to thrive in an automated world.
The signs all point to contract automation, but choosing the right solution can be a daunting task. With a broad array of functionality available in the marketplace, each system has different capabilities and strengths.