4 Ways Self-Service Contracts can Transform Business

Whether it’s a document for a vendor, a new employee, or a customer, the non-disclosure agreement (NDA) portion of a contract is essential to making sure your company’s confidential information remains that way. Yet, despite the benefits of an NDA and seemingly everyone’s understanding of its value, it’s still a sore subject for many people across the organization.

Your coworkers in sales, marketing, HR, or finance might not realize the painstaking lengths legal teams go to make sure the language is properly drafted to protect the organization, vetted, and approved. Nor do they understand that different types of engagements require different clauses. And since most NDAs are produced manually, any backlog of requests can create bottlenecks that significantly slow the contract completion process.  

It’s easy for those unfamiliar with the ins and outs of disclosures to be annoyed with legal, but in reality you’re just doing your job.

Self-service is the name of the game

Scrutinizing each word of an agreement and fine-tuning the details isn’t—by nature—a process you can hurry.

Or can you?

As more and more businesses get hip to the idea of saving both time and money with automated document creation and management, the producing NDAs within larger contracts shouldn’t been exempted. In fact, a substantial portion of the contract lifecycle that can successfully be automated without taking anything away from the critical role your team plays.

Software solutions like Conga allow teams across the enterprise to request a contract through legal and automatically get an approved contract back—including relevant NDA clauses—within seconds. Self-service capabilities are transforming the way businesses work internally with each other, as well as with vendors, customers, partners, and parties.

Here’s how:

One: Automated processes don’t need manual intervention

Creating a new non-disclosure agreement generally requires the same kinds of information: company name, relevant dates, confidential information definitions, and indemnification language, among other bits of data. Sales and other departments who generate contracts in volume tend to store all the pertinent details in a content management system (CMS), but may not have the proper templates in place nor the NDA clauses handy to pull into an acceptable contract form.

Automating the process eliminates the need for manual intervention from the legal team by:

  • Electronically gathering all data in one place. Legal teams don’t have to spend extra time hunting down information.
  • Auto-generating the contract using an approved template. No topsy-turvy formats that don’t meet standards and have to be redone.
  • Quickly triggering legal approval. With a click of the button, the contract goes out and comes back. No more tapping toes while others wait for you to fit it into your schedule.

Two: Getting the proper contracts in place quicker helps drive sales

When sales teams are rushing to meet quota, they may have several prospects lined up and ready for contracts. But that’s where the rush usually grinds to a halt. Pushing contract creation, negotiations, and approvals through legal is a futile exercise if your team already has a full plate. Meanwhile, the clock is ticking.

Automated solutions accelerate sales cycles by routing NDAs and other contract documents to the appropriate reviewers according to easily configurable business rules. Starting the contract process with speed, accuracy, and efficiency sets the tone for the business relationship to come, increasing the likelihood of upgrades and renewals.

Three: The language in contracts is properly vetted

There’s a reason why not everyone is a lawyer: legal language makes lots of people go cross-eyed. Fortunately, your team is inherently good at that stuff. Which is why you know when terms, clauses, and other legalese are correct, and when it isn’t.

Self-service contract creation ensures that only properly vetted language makes it into an agreement by:

  • Pre-populating contract templates with pre-approved clauses and terms. Reuse standard clauses or update existing ones instantly to maintain standards and compliance. Your team will be happy and sales and other teams can breathe a sigh of relief.
  • Putting the onus of accuracy on legal professionals (where it belongs). Using pre-approved language means no more guesswork by non-legal departments, while dramatically reducing the time legal teams spend creating or refining disclosure language.

Four: Non-legal professionals use the correct contract every time

Salespeople sell. Marketers market. Finance pros do things with numbers. None of them are focused on the minutiae of legally binding documents. There are countless business scenarios in which contract expertise is imperative and when contract management is left up to non-legal professionals, the likelihood of crucial language or information slipping through the cracks grows exponentially.

Self-service contract management solutions allow non-legal professionals to mix-and-match terms and conditions from pre-built clause families to ensure they’re using the right contract language every time. Now, teams can:

  • Confidently moving their processes along. No more back-and-forth queries with your team about unique situations, taking up precious time and introducing doubt.
  • Skipping inefficient chains of command. Chains of command are important, but not when someone needs to make a simple contract request that can effectively un-stick a sticky situation.

Hopping on the self-service bandwagon

We all moaned and groaned when self-service checkout appeared in grocery and retail stores. But in the end, we understood the benefits.

Why cling to manual when something can be automated?

Automating the contract lifecycle with self-service contracts helps fill a huge gap in efficiency for businesses, while also improving accuracy and compliance and reducing costs.