What is Contract Management Software?
Contract management software helps companies create, manage and achieve maximum value from their contracts. Instead of your contracts living in a filing cabinet, you can manage them in a centralized repository, which gives you the ability to track, analyze and search your contracts at any time. Organizations are then able to streamline sales, standardize templates, increase efficiency and eliminate risk. Contract management software includes the entire contract lifecycle: from initial authoring and generation of contracts, through negotiation and signing, and into storage and renewal management.
The variety and multitude of Contract Management Software can make it hard to determine which one would you suit your organization’s specific needs and structure. The following is a comprehensive guide to help you ask the right questions as you search for a CM software best-fit: How can it help you? And how should you start to pull your key vendor list together?
The Process Behind Contract Management Software
1) Automate contract REQUESTS with a guided self-service tool, allowing potential customers to request contract type, timeline
and urgency as needed
2) Sales can GENERATE a contract from a legal-approved clause library – eliminating legal bottlenecks –
and third-party contracts can easily be imported and made into templates, as if they were created by your org
3) All NEGOTIATIONS are tracked, whether ‘Track Changes’ is on or off
4) Easy APPROVALS with e-signature capabilities speed up the contract cycle
5) EXECUTE the contract while seamlessly getting contract details to fulfillment and STORE the contract in an easy-to-access repository
6) Terms and metadata can be pulled for REPORTS, and actionable data can be SEARCHED and tracked for review
7) Bring visibility and COMPLIANCE to guarantee both parties hold up their ends of the agreement
8) Maintain your relationship with your customers and set reminders to RENEW and AMEND contracts before they expire
Who Needs Contract Management Software?
Templates and clause libraries give you full control over creating contracts and significantly decrease the time you spend preparing and reviewing documents. With full visibility into contract terms, you can eliminate restless hours spent worrying about contract compliance, and instead focus on tasks that make use of your expertise.
With access to a legal-approved clause library, sales reps can produce and send out contracts with the correct legal language – using parameters and conditions set by legal – therefore eliminating legal bottlenecks and speeding up the deal cycle. When it comes to renewing quotes, you can set up reminders so easy renewal opportunities don’t slip away and you continuously drive sales with existing customers.
Allocate revenue, ensure compliance and eliminate risk more efficiently with full visibility into contract terms and conditions. You also gain a better understanding of where your resources are distributed because you have the ability to access and search any and all contracts.
The Benefits of Contract Management Software
Every area of your business benefits from automating your contract management solution: Sales gets contracts out quicker; Legal ensures compliance; Finance measures company’s performance. Without Contract Management, you not only run the risk of not keeping your end of the deal, but also stalling your sales cycle when contracts aren’t going out.
When determining if you should purchase a Contract Management Software, keep in mind the following key benefits:
- Individuals with the right permissions can search, review and/or analyze contracts on a single online repository
- Renewal management helps companies keep relevant contracts, while eliminating documents that are no longer useful
- Alerts and notifications regarding key dates and conditions reduce revenue leakage and improve compliance regulation
Simplified Negotiation Process
- Legal creates a database of approved standard terms and conditions, which business users are able to use to draft contracts
- Import third-party contracts to use once or turn into a template for repeated use, and tag texts from scanned images or PDFs for easy search
- Each draft tracks all changes made to the document and are stored within the software
- Work within Microsoft Word while connecting with Salesforce to provide a familiar UI for quick user adoption
Metrics and Tracking
- On-demand or automated reports are easy to create and interpret, so you can keep an eye on workflow bottlenecks and contract analytics
- Risk analysis mitigates noncompliance and risk by auditing contract values, payment terms and SLAs in all agreements
How to Choose a Contract Management Software Vendor
Before choosing a vendor, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Do you want a SaaS solution or a single-instance CLM product?
It is hard for one vendor to do both well, so keep in mind your roadmap and what product will ultimately work better for your organization. SaaS offers zero maintenance “sign on and go” capabilities, whereas with single-instance CLM, you are responsible for maintaining the back-end processes.
What systems do you need to integrate with?
Think about where your ERP, CRM or eProcurement tools are housed and what systems have easy integrations and compatibility with them. If you think about how your systems will connect now, you’ll have bigger payoffs and an easier implementation process in the long run.
Are your contracts buy-side, sell-side or both?
Depending on what contracts you focus on, you need to keep in mind the apps you are trying to connect to.
- Buy-side apps: eSourcing, eProcurement, project management or invoicing
- Sell-side apps: CRM tool, revenue management system
If your contracts are both buy-side and sell-side, you’re going to want a solution that can connect the entire business process, from your CRM to your ERP.
What industry are you in and are there specific contract challenges within your industry?
Contracts, just like industries, must cater to certain needs. Do your research and focus on a vendor that has specialized and mastered Contract Management in your industry.
So, To Bring it All Together…
With Contract Management Software, the benefits you gain span from internal business values to external competitive advantages. You’ll improve your orgs contract strategy, increase collaboration, provide a greater end-to-end process support, find areas for improvement, increase the accuracy of revenue forecasting and increase your overall agility and effectiveness.
To find out more about Apttus Contract Management check out our product page/ultimate guide.