4 Tips to Streamline Contract Management Processes
Time is money.
This is why we strive to run lean, mean operations that are both efficient and effective. Figuring out how to streamline contract management processes can often be challenging because you may have become too comfortable with how thing are. It’s easier to go with the flow than to try to come up with a new process.
However, inefficient and dysfunctional contract management processes lead to unhappy customers, stressed colleagues, missed deadlines, and increased costs. Here are 4 suggestions that you may have not tried before to streamline your contract management processes.
1. Outsource Non-Essential Activities
Some processes are too tedious to be performed by managers or executives. Not to mention too darn expensive! If a data collection process takes about four hours, why are you assigning this tedious and repetitive task to a team member with a high rate per hour? Not only are you making inefficient use of that person’s time, but also you are very likely to bust your budget.
Instead, you could outsource these manual tasks to companies that specialize in data collection or entry. For example, you could gather more data upfront from your leads through your website by using virtual reps. These virtual reps chat with potential customers following a pre-approved script and then send the leads to the right salesperson. This in turn, speeds up the processing of leads and lowers your operating costs.
But don’t just stop at data collection and entry and take a cue from manufacturing companies. Identify your core processes that drive businesses and evaluate if it makes sense to outsource the non-essential ones.
2. Empower Employees to Eliminate Unnecessary or Redundant Processes
Just because a process has been in your contract management system for a long time, it doesn’t mean that it’s set in stone. Allow your employees to challenge the logic behind certain processes. If the person that created established those processes is unable to justify them, then those processes should be revised or removed.
Schedule every quarter a review of the contract lifecycle and listen carefully to the feedback provided by team members.
- Some processes that are considered standard may not be applicable to certain industries and/or clients.
- Some reports may need to be updated or eliminated according to the client needs.
- Create an environment that welcomes feedback. Some employees may be hesitant to voice their opinions for fear of being reprimanded. Others may be unawares that they couldn’t even voice their opinions.
3. Identify Small Inefficiencies
Let’s imagine that a sales rep may have a hard time finding a specific contract template. She spends about 15 minutes every time that she has to look it up. This doesn’t seem like a big deal, but what if this were to happen to every single member of a team of 150 sales reps? That would be a big problem.
This issue can be prevented with an enterprise contract management system that centralizes the management, storage, and distribution of libraries of contract templates and clauses. By identifying and fixing small inefficiencies such as this one, your organization can realize enormous time savings across the entire organization. The first step is to find out what are those barriers that are holding down your staff.
4. Prevent Errors with Checklists
Bringing new employees or temps up to speed is never an easy task. However, it may be harder than necessary due to the lack of checklists that detail procedures. By investing the time in setting up a point-by-point checklist for key contract management processes, you are increasing the chances of finding your own errors and correcting them before documents go out for client review. Those checklists should be included as default files in the contract lifecycle of any client.
Streamline your contract management processes by outsourcing non-essential activities, empowering employees to eliminate unnecessary or redundant processes, identifying small inefficiencies in processes, and preventing errors with checklists.