Everyone knows the tale of Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, and everyone has their own “white whale” to obsess over in their relentless pursuit of completing a seemingly impossible task. For organizations struggling with their contract lifecycle management (CLM), it’s challenging to ensure all teams and tools involved in the contract management process are rowing in the same direction.
Luckily, there are three Ps (people, platforms, and processes) that will help your business correct course and sail through smooth waters to cover all the CLM-bases you’ll ever need. Each of these serves a different purpose, but together, they will establish a successful foundation for your entire CLM environment. Time to dive in…
1. People: Select a Leader of Your CLM Platform
Businesses are defined by the employees who put in the time and effort into running, optimizing, and scaling their companies. Much like the captain of a ship, the person in charge of your CLM platform must instill confidence in other employees and keep contract projects on track. This leader should have influence over your company’s CLM processes to ensure they align with your business goals.
Different departments such as the legal, sales, or procurement teams may be involved in the CLM process. The person you choose to be in charge of your CLM environment may not necessarily oversee one of these individual teams, but rather establish uniformity across the entire organization. This person should own the CLM implementation soup to nuts before and after deployment. Their core responsibilities include:
- Selecting and configuring a platform that best fits your company’s needs
- Granting user access to the CLM software
- Managing your organization’s contract governance needs
- Maintaining your company’s different contract templates
With this level of responsibility, the leader you choose to guide your contract management steps will make all the difference in whether you reach your destination of CLM-related bliss, or if your CLM processes sink.
2. Processes: Create a Clear CLM Process Flowchart
It’s not always easy to admit your mistakes. If your current CLM process continues to fail your organization, it’ll be necessary to let go and start fresh. To accomplish your goals, however, you must first look within and outline the flow of your existing CLM process to identify where your company is falling short. This analysis will ensure you make decisions that will boost efficiency and avoid any gaps in the future with your new and improved CLM platform. Have your teams create flow documents that identify their unique pain points specific to their departments.
For example, the sales team is responsible for initial contract requests, and the main point of contact in this process should be your Chief Revenue Officer or VP of Sales. This department’s biggest pain point may be pushing documents through quickly to close a sale. So what’s usually the holdup? Salespeople want results, and they want them ASAP. When contracts are involved, there are natural roadblocks that impede this immediacy. Back-and-forth redlines, lengthy approval times, and an inability to locate relevant client contracts or use the most up-to-date templates can all throw the CLM process off course.
The procurement team isn’t out of the woods, either, when the CLM process is involved. This department plays an essential role in third-party contract negotiations, and given this constant tug-of-war, your organization most likely has a Director of Procurement or the Director of Purchasing leading this charge. The procurement team’s main challenges are often operational. If this group has to constantly review third-party contracts manually, the likelihood of human error increases, and key terms and clauses in your contracts may be overlooked as a result of this unproductive process.
Although your sales and procurement teams may face certain challenges with the current CLM process, help is right around the corner. By creating a flowchart to reveal your current operational holes, you can select a CLM platform that best bridges these gaps. These insights will also ensure your CLM leader can keep track of the progress made with the new processes and software to ensure history doesn’t repeat itself with the issues that plagued your previous CLM environment.
3. Platforms: Ensure a Collaborative Experience
The final step in achieving CLM nirvana is to select the platform that will empower your business at all levels of your contract management process. Since multiple teams are involved in the entire CLM stage, any solution you choose should promote cross-department collaboration, no questions asked. Integration is another defining characteristic of an effective CLM system.
If you are like so many other organizations, you likely use a customer relationship management (CRM) solution. Look for CLM software that integrates with your existing systems, such as Salesforce. Such a feature will ensure your business can create an effective infrastructure where all of your existing systems work in harmony.
In addition to Salesforce, your organization may rely on other popular tools such as Microsoft Word and Outlook. Best-in-class CLM software will also offer Word and Outlook add-ins and extensions to allow your teams to work with programs with which they’re already familiar and comfortable.
Transform Your CLM Environment Today
With people, platforms, and processes working in harmony toward a common goal, your organization can finally take full advantage of all that modern CLM software has to offer. If you’ve struggled to incorporate any of the best practices above, or you’re ready to replace your outdated CLM system with a more advanced solution, there are calmer waters ahead if you know where to look.
Want to see how IntelAgree can help streamline your entire contract management process? Schedule a demo now to check it out!