When you consider the ideal features of your legal and contracts team, what are they? If “a collaborative spirit” isn’t on the list, it’s time to move it closer to the top. Contracts are likely your company’s biggest bottleneck, and fostering a collaborative legal team could be the key to getting things moving.
A collaborative legal team provides all sorts of benefits. Legal may sometimes be relegated to its own corner of your business, but when legal is an integral part of operations, you could revamp your contract management process altogether. Let’s take a look at why collaboration is essential and how to start the process.
The Benefits of a Collaborative Legal Team
Collaboration might sound touchy-feely at first, but the truth is, it can actually affect your bottom line. After all, contracts are a risky business. Companies regularly spend several thousand dollars executing a simple contract, and that cost is largely due to inefficient processing. The average business processes thousands of contracts and spends around 40 hours per contract. With that amount of investment on the table, you can start to see why collaboration is key.
Keep reading to see what you’re missing when your team isn’t collaborating. And here’s a big hint: while risk is inherent within contracts themselves, eventually it trickles down to your entire organization.
Faster Contract Times
When everyone’s on the same page with contract management, you don’t spend nearly as much time with the back and forth. Those red lines add up, so getting things correct at the beginning is the first step toward making your contract management process more efficient.
If your contracts are faster, your potential customers have less chance to rethink or change their minds. When circumstances change, a stalled contract sometimes becomes a “no.” You can avoid losing the contract altogether by producing a consistent, clear, and correct agreement with little back and forth.
Better Risk Management
When your teams don’t communicate, you lose the expertise of individual departments. Before you know it, sales is promising things it can’t deliver, and legal is nixing perfectly good ideas because of a lack of correct information.
Multiple stakeholders must weigh in for all parts of the contract to be consistent and sound. If legal is an integral part of your contract process, then sales understands its limits and legal understands its potential.
This also holds true with ever-changing regulations and compliance. When stakeholders create contracts in a collaborative environment, it’s less likely that contracts will miss important regulatory markers.
Reducing silos also helps make each department’s contributions more visible. Visibility helps reduce mistakes and re-dos in the long run because you can begin each contract with a better idea of each department’s needs.
Sales, for example, can craft offers with an eye for legal and accounting language, so there’s less back and forth about what’s currently allowed or possible. Legal has a better understanding of the financial aspects of creating and executing a contract and can integrate that better into the process. Accounting understands client needs and sales negotiation, so they’re better prepared for curveballs.
Breaking down silos gives teams a collaborative rather than an oppositional attitude. Legal gets a bad reputation for squelching new ideas due to regulations. With the right cooperative approach, this attitude becomes a vital portion of creating realistic goals with your contracts.
Building a Collaborative Legal Team
There are a few key components to encouraging a sense of collaboration. Here are a few to keep in mind.
- Choose the right contract management software – Contracts shouldn’t be pushed through by hand. The right contract management software ensures that you have a logical workflow for multiple departments. It can streamline the process of creating contracts, tagging (and finding) precedent-setting contract drafts, and can flag any potential issues. Unlimited e-signatures are a bonus.
- Host regular trainings – Interdepartmental trainings allow each team to see what goes on behind the scenes. They also allow departments to exchange information freely and to meet face to face. Trainings also give each department an idea of what to consider across the board when creating contracts.
- Encourage knowledge sharing – Collaboration is a top-down process. While there may be those on your team who are naturally inclined to collaboration, C-suite and decision-makers must actively encourage collaboration by being open to communication (yes, including constructive criticism) themselves. Mediation for conflicts between departments is also crucial. Flex those soft skills muscles in communication and see your contract management process ease.
Legal and Contract Collaboration
Your organization collaborates for contracts, but whether that process is productive or painful depends on your company culture. Fostering collaboration helps ensure that the contract management process is more efficient and less risky. And with the cost of contracts soaring, collaboration may finally help reign in those costs.
Once you break down your silos, your teams can craft better contracts and get to yes faster. Add in critical tools like trainings and contract management software, and your legal team could find themselves to be an integral, rather than oppositional, part of the contract management process.
Looking for one of those critical contract management tools? Schedule a demo to see how IntelAgree can increase your contract management collaboration and efficiency.