Revolutionizing Enterprise Contract Management with Apttus and Salesforce
How does your organization manage its contracts? Is it through a manual and cumbersome process, red-lining word documents and sending approvals back and forth via email – processes that can take weeks or even months? Or perhaps you’ve invested in a contract management solution but are not seeing its full value or feeling the benefits of your investment?
Front and back office solutions like CRM and ERP often receive board-level attention and budget focus, yet many companies are unfamiliar with the true value of the Middle Office. Middle Office processes start the moment a customer expresses a desire to purchase a product or service all the way through to the acquisition of revenue. This includes product and deal configuration, pricing, quoting, contract management, digital commerce, order management, billing, and revenue recognition.
The Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) process, which is a crucial part of the Middle Office, is often overlooked as contracts are generally seen as the final and burdensome end to a sales deal. In reality, contracts impact most departments within the enterprise organization on a daily basis, including:
Marketing – Vendor contracts are needed for event locations and to engage with external agencies such as telemarketing, design, public relations, etc.
IT and Facilities – Office locations and IT equipment (laptops, phones, and monitors) are often leased and these contracts are important for managing renewals and updates.
HR – Employment contracts, litigation issues, and external application solutions such as time-off management or expenses all require negotiation and contract management.
Partner/Channel – Forming agreements with your go-to-market selling partners are an essential part of building any business, as they serve as an expansion of your own sales team.
With all these departments using and managing contracts, it makes sense to manage them as effectively as possible. However, many companies—even large sophisticated organizations — have contracts gathering dust in a filing cabinet, locally saved on employee laptops, or scattered across multiple digital systems… and not a single person knows exactly where they all are!
Built on the Salesforce platform, Apttus CLM delivers a powerful, intuitive, comprehensive and robust enterprise-grade solution, the benefits of which can be seen across the entire business, not just in the legal department. Other areas that benefit include:
Sales – having an inbuilt contract management solution within your CRM provides a critical 360-degree view into your revenue recognition process, reducing contract approval times down from weeks to hours, which in turn speeds up sales cycles. It will also reduce the risk of revenue leakage from Account Executives as an approval process can then be implemented within Salesforce to prevent rogue discounting. Renewals and upsell/cross-sell opportunities are easier to manage and identify, driving growth and more predictable forecasting capabilities.
Finance & Legal – An effective contract management solution will ensure compliance with internal company policies as well as external regulations such as ASC 606 in the US and IFRS 15 in Europe while giving teams the visibility and control of contracts enabling GDPR compliance..
IT – A sophisticated contract management solution will centralize contract data and permissions while keeping everything in sync and maintaining functionality, saving IT resources, time, and money as well as reducing the risk of confidential information falling into the wrong hands.
Customers – Most importantly, a streamlined contract approval process working in harmony with your Salesforce CRM solution will improve customer satisfaction and give customers the best impression of your organization before you have even sold to them. And we all know that happy customers stay loyal for longer and tend to spend more money over time through renewals, upsells, etc.
If you already have a contract management solution in place but are questioning its value to your business, then consider the following when doing your due diligence at renewal time. An effective contract management solution should:
1. Connect seamlessly to front office tools (such as a CRM) for maximum selling efficiency. Apttus benefits from considerable advantages by being native to the Salesforce platform like mobile access, advanced analytics, and the ability to run business in multiple currencies and languages
2. Make it easy to find contracts, search for files, find clauses or terms, or measure the effectiveness of your contracting process.
3. Give the Legal department the power to improve contract performance by providing insight into contract cycle times, term usage, and commonly negotiated clauses.
4. Provide an easy-to-use repository which empowers Sales with the ability to track renewals, identify opportunities for up-sell and cross-sell, and improve contract terms over time.
5. Offer a single solution for both buy-side and sell-side contracts
Once you have decided to shop for or review your existing contract management provider, consider things like the Gartner Magic Quadrant report for independent guidance on which solution best suits your organization’s needs.
In summary and bluntly put, having outdated contract processes (or not having them at all) can negatively impact your entire business. If your legal team is struggling with the number of contracts that need to be processed at the end of quarter, deals can be delayed and targets missed. If your sales teams can quote non-standard pricing and discounts, then you are facilitating a source of revenue leakage. If you have no real visibility to when your renewals are due, then business can be lost and forecasting becomes unpredictable. Like the old proverb, ‘For want of a nail’, neglecting a ‘simple’ area of your business like managing contracts can have a profound impact on your top and bottom lines.
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail!
Apttus is a global provider of the Middle Office platform that allows enterprises to automate and optimize their most critical revenue and commercial relationship management processes. With our 13+ years’ experience, Apttus pioneered Enterprise Contract Management Solutions for hundreds of global enterprises and continues to innovate in areas concerning collaboration, user experience, productivity, and AI. Analysts rank Apttus as the global gold standard for the Middle Office, Enterprise Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM), Quote-to-Cash (QTC) and Digital Commerce solutions.