Contract management is an undeniably tough job with high stakes — after all, your contracts govern your business relationships, and poor CLM processes often cost businesses up to 9% of revenue annually.
To make matters even more complicated, many different teams and departments inside your company play a role in the contract process, and everyone has varying levels of contract management skills. So, it can be challenging to distill exactly what needs to be done and how to do it.
In this blog, we’ll discuss three critical contract management skills — communication, collaboration, and organization — and how CLM software can help your team improve in these areas
Constant communication is critical for any role, but it’s even more important when the success of your contracts are on the line. Since visibility is key for faster contract negotiation, lines of communication should remain open and clear — a major challenge considering the volume of agreements that administrators, contract managers, and general counsel juggle on a regular basis.
However, CLM software makes complex communication easier in a couple of ways:
- Reminders: Teams are imperfect. And if they’re manually managing hundreds of agreements — each involving multiple stakeholders — contract details are bound to slip through the cracks. But with intelligent CLM software, you can customize reminders for every agreement you store in the platform. Need to create a reminder for a check-in or touchpoint, or want to be warned about an upcoming expiration date? You can create an alert, modify its name and due date, and even attach notes or comments to it. Plus, if the reminder is meeting-related, you can notify internal and external users that the event is approaching.
- Customizable dashboards: While customizable dashboards also fall under collaboration and organization, don’t underestimate their utility as a communication tool. Not only do customizable dashboards allow you to dictate what contract details you see and how you see them, but it provides a self-service capability for the rest of your team. Does your COO or CFO often request reports about what’s been committed to in your contracts? All they have to do is log in to see contract details at a glance — no more back-and-forth required.
From sales to finance to legal, contracts must pass through many hands before they are greenlit. And the more contracts you need to shuffle through this process, the more overwhelmed and siloed your departments will become, slowing down your contracting process even further.
To prevent stalled contracts, you need to streamline your approval workflows — but how do you collaborate on contracts in a way that’s seamless and doesn’t feel like a hassle?
You leverage your CLM software’s collaboration capabilities.
Here are a few features you can use to ease collaboration between departments:
- Electronic signatures. No need to sign into a separate tool, sift through hundreds of emails, or manually sign, scan, and reupload your signed agreements. With eSignatures, you can prepare your contracts for signature directly in your CLM platform, then securely sign from various devices including phones, desktops, tablets, and laptops. Even better? Some platforms, like IntelAgree, offer unlimited e-signatures and users to make the process easier for all signers, including third parties.
- Integrations. Are you discovering language inconsistencies across your contracts? Or do you want to accelerate the redlining process by adding in a clause library? Find a CLM platform that offers integrations with tools that you and your vendors and clients use every day, like Microsoft Word and Outlook. Using these tool add-ins, your team can easily access approved contractual language to expedite the negotiation process.
- Notifications. As your contracts progress, how are key parties being notified? With a CLM platform, you can trigger email notifications to the appropriate parties as your contracts move through the negotiation process. Sending a contract out for signature? An email will notify the signers that they have an agreement waiting for them, and in that email, they can click a button and be brought to IntelAgree to electronically sign the document.
Considering that 71 percent of companies misplace 10 percent of their contracts, it’s no wonder why organization is a sought-after skill for contract management. Fortunately, organization is also easy to achieve with intelligent CLM software.
- AI-powered centralized repository. Not only do centralized repositories allow you to store and manage all your contracts in one place, but they also provide contract summaries for each agreement. With an AI-powered search repository, you can perform granular, Google-like searches to surface contract data like payment terms, Force Majeure clauses, and expiration dates. You can also streamline naming conventions and track historical versions of each contract within your repository, so you have one single source of truth for each agreement.
- Contract creation wizard. Using a contract creation wizard is a great way to ease the burden on your legal department and reduce the risk of using outdated contract templates. Ideal for low-risk, high-volume standard agreements, a contract creation wizard walks contract creators through a series of legal-approved questions to populate terms in a contract. You can also assign user permissions to extend contract creation capabilities to more team members, or keep it tightly controlled within legal. Additionally, if non-standard terms are added, favorability ratings will be triggered and the contract will be routed to the appropriate party for additional approval.
Improved Skills for Improved Contracts
For any contract manager or legal team to be successful in contract management, they need to be adept communicators, collaborators, and organizers. Fortunately, these are also three key areas that CLM software is designed to support, with features ranging from customizable dashboards to searchable repositories.
Looking for more ways to streamline your contracts and successfully execute more agreements? Visit our blog for more contract management insights, tips, and trends.