4 Techniques to Shorten and Improve your Contract Cycle
In May 2010, the Aberdeen Group released a report on how to shrink the sales cycle and focus on closing a higher number of sales. The first part of the report focused on the causes for long sale cycles. “We don’t convert enough leads to sales,” reported 59% of respondents to Aberdeen, 27% of those polled said they had insufficient knowledge of prospects already in their sales funnel, and 26% of respondents mentioned that they lost efficiency when they recreated proposals or contracts. It becomes clear that the two latter causes affect the first one. A poor contract management process will result in low conversions.
While it is certain that there will be bumps in any sales process, there are 4 specific steps that you can take to improve your contract management process.
1. Allow your staff cloud-based access to your contract templates.
Cloud computing and Software-as-a-Service (Saas) are far from just being technology buzzwords, they are currently permeating all levels of corporate America. Cloud-based contract management software is a secure and affordable solution for companies that are looking for flexibility and agility in managing their contracts. A SaaS contract management solution frees the organization from managing the technical application environment and requires low upfront costs for a complete end-to-end solution billed on a subsciption basis – and requires no hardware or software licensing costs.
More importantly it provides your mobile workforce 24/7/365 access to your contract templates. By adopting a SaaS solution your staff will save a lot of time in transportation on company time and vehicles to be able to start working or updating contracts. Business doesn’t wait and your sales staff shouldn’t have to wait until they get back to the office g to finish a contract if they already got the information in front of them. By accessing your contract and clause templates through a secure, password-protected site, they can to work right away.
2. Keep track of all changes throughout every negotiation stage.
Changes happen in business. The problem is when your contracts cannot keep up with those changes. With the advances in communication, we are constantly connected to our clients and changes happen on a daily basis. As emails, text messages, instant messages and phone calls criss cross each other, you need a solution that automates the following tasks:
- Document version control
- Full audit trail for your documents
- Documents or versions comparison to view differences
- Document combine feature during multi-party reviews and approvals
You need to go beyond Word and Excel and take your contract management to the next level. Make sure to select a contract management solution that allows you to increase accountability by providing author information on any edits and changes.
3. Prevent staff from deviating from pre-approved language.
It is not only important to keep track of changes, you need to be informed when a contract or clause deviates from pre-approved language. You have a legal review team for a reason and it is to expensive to just let its hard work to protect your business go to waste. Contract Logix offers includes a Contract Creation module in its contract management software that not only allows you to designate alternative language clauses, but also allow you to set specific user editing rights at the clause level. By keeping close tabs on who can modify the clauses and keeping a template library that facilitates drag-and-drop creation of contract templates using only approved clauses, you can have peace of mind that your contract language is always within pre-approved ranges.
4. Take advantage of e-signatures.
Since the enactment of the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act in 2000, e-signatures are becoming the standard to provide business protection against fraud and certainty for legal settings. Digital authentication is more secure than traditional pen-and-paper signature, and customers have come to expect it. It’s convenient and reliable — and that pleases customers. Additionally, it allows you to close faster on sales, which is your ultimate objective.
While it is much harder to improve your conversion rate, it is definitely possible to improve your contract management processes. You can shorten and improve your contract management process by providing your staff mobile access to your contract library. keeping better track of all changes in your contracts, preventing staff from deviating from pree-aproved legal language, and taking advantage of e-signatures.