Sell-side contracts are often the responsibility of the sales and sales operations teams. The work of these teams is far from over once a deal is closed as that’s only the beginning of the entire contracting process. From requesting contracts to authoring and signing off contracts, sales ops have to juggle between multiple processes while concentrating on their main function, which is to reach their sales targets. As contracts can get complex and time-consuming in the absence of integrated processes and automated workflows, implementing a sophisticated, AI-powered contract management solution can ease the burden of sales teams and make contracting easy, fast and accurate. Yet, as per an Aberdeen group report, 85% of companies are using manual processes to manage sales contracts!
Let us look at how advanced contract lifecycle management increases the efficiency of sales ops and why implementing it makes perfect sense, especially when studies show high-performing sales teams use nearly 3 times as much sales technology than under performing teams (Salesforce survey report):
1. Easy request intake
A contract management solution makes requesting for a new contract quick and easy. It auto-populates the right contract template from the data the sales teams fill into a pre-configured form. The sales teams also have the option of generating new requests from their CRM platforms, or through Outlook, rather than having to log on to a new CLM platform. Through robotic process automation, this template or the first contract draft is immediately routed to the right person for approval, who gets alerted of the same. This automation in generating new contract requests and workflows reduces the time taken for this process from a couple of weeks to as less as a couple of days or even hours.
2. Seamless collaboration
Advanced contract management systems can be easily integrated with a company’s ERP, CRM, and billing systems. This ensures effective collaboration and increases interdepartmental visibility and transparency. Sales ops teams can collaborate with other teams like legal easily through the CRM platform. Any amends made at their end reflect in the contract management system immediately. Moreover, all amends made to contracts are automatically routed to the legal team for approval reducing the turn around time. This CLM integration with CRM enables sales teams to seamlessly manage and process all their leads, customers, and contracts within the CRM platform itself, rather than having to log into multiple platforms.
3. Real-time visibility and tracking
It is important for sales teams to manage contracts not just during the authoring, reviewing and sign-off stages but also post sign-off. Integrated contract lifecycle management systems provide a real-time view of all key contract information in the form of a dashboard. All approaching deadlines and other key data are reflected in CRM systems like Salesforce as well, enabling sales ops teams to take necessary steps on time. Sales operations are also alerted with triggers and reminders of any renewals ensuring ample time for negotiation.
4. Advanced compliance management
Contracts come with a large number of complex regulations and obligations and any breach of these could lead to heavy financial and reputational losses. These state, national, and federal regulations change and update all the time and the same needs to reflect in the contracts to stay compliant. This makes monitoring contracts to ensure full compliance a necessity across a contract’s lifecycle. Reviewing hundreds of contracts for compliance is next to impossible if handled manually but equally hassle-free with advanced CLM. Contract management solutions through updated smart clause libraries and pre-approved templates ensure contracts are compliant during the authoring and review stages. They also keep an accurate audit trail by automatically saving all versions of documents. Any updates to regulations or discrepancies in obligations fulfillment are promptly reflected in both the CRM and CLM platforms. This ensures effective monitoring of contracts and compliance throughout their lifecycles.
Considering the increased risks and delays involved in contract closing time and revenue generation if handled manually, it is in the best interest of the company and sales teams to identify and implement an apt, integrated contract management solution. This will not only ensure greater efficiency and compliance but reduce contract and sales cycle time and enable the sales and sales operations teams to close deals and sign-off contracts faster.