5 Strategies to Drive User Adoption of CLM Software

To get a better hold on the hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of contracts that your enterprise handles, your team may have attempted a contract management solution in the past. Despite a significant investment, the contract managers in your organization ended up not adopting the software for a wide variety of reasons, including a steep learning curve, lack of relevance to current processes, and confusing terminology. Let’s review five strategies to drive user adoption of CLM software across your enterprise.

  1. Choose a Representative from Each User Group

One of the six steps to define the CLM software requirements for your enterprise is to build an evaluation committee that includes a representative from each one of the departments that will be affected by the CLM software implementation. It’s critical to provide a voice to all user groups before the purchase is made so that no group feels as if the solution is forced down upon them.

Having a representative from each group of end users will allow you to understand the needs, concerns, and pain points that should be addressed by the new CLM solution. To learn more about how to select an evaluation committee and how to define your CLM software requirements, download our whitepaper.

  1. Focus on User Problems, Not Features

Gain insights from end users about what is currently working and what’s not working with your current contract management system. Using the feedback from those conversations, your evaluation committee will be able to create a set of criteria to select some viable options. By focusing on the needs of users to select options from the start, your users will be far less reticent than if your evaluation committee were to present an option without any context.

Make sure to use the same language that your end users utilize on a daily basis. If you insist to call things by a dramatically different name, you’re already alienating your end users. Utilize terms and workflows that make sense to the end user.

  1. Select a Test Department for a Soft Launch

The larger a system overhaul, the bigger the need to start small.

Take a cue from the implementation of an electronic signature technology at the State of Hawaii government office. The first implementation of the eSign Service ran for three months only at the Office of the Governor, processing about 2,337 eSign transactions.  With the lessons learned throughout the three-month period, the State of Hawaii’s Office of Enterprise Technology Services was then ready to expand the eSign Service to all departments across the state. As of October 2016, the State of Hawaii government has processed more than 64,000 unique e-signatures across departments.

Just like in this example, select a manageable and highly visible test group so that you work in stages. Don’t try to solve all enterprise challenges in one sweep motion and gain inputs from high-priority employees in phases. The feedback that you’ll receive from this first group of users will be critical to the upcoming enterprise-wide rollout.

  1. Provide Ongoing Updates

Change creates anxiety. To ease concerns from users, provide ongoing updates of the entire process from setup of evaluation committee to report from soft launch results to announcement of enterprise-wide rollout.

Throughout these updates establish metrics to start measuring the benefits of the CLM software. For example, the State of Hawaii eSign Service initiative focused on the average time for a state document to be signed. With the implementation of e-signature, the State was able to reduce that average time from four to twelve days down to 129 and 181 minutes.

Choose KPIs that make the most sense for your enterprise. To get a sense of potential KPIs, review this list of six KPIs and this list of five more KPIs for evaluating your contract management processes. Maintain an online repository of all updates that can be accessed at all times by your employees and that can be used to submit feedback, share concerns, or provide suggestions. A website or forum using wiki software is often a good choice for such a repository. By keeping the process transparent and open to feedback, you’ll get more buy-in from end users.

  1. Set a Knowledgebase for Using CLM Software

Despite all your efforts to make the selection, implementation, and launch process of a CLM solution as inclusive as possible, you can’t call it a day once the system is live. This is just the beginning of the most critical phase of the entire process: instilling confidence about the system within all end users.

Prepare tutorials that are aimed to groups with different skill sets and abilities. While some end users may be ok with a searchable document, others will prefer to watch a video or have a person guiding them by their side. Add a help section to your existing knowledgebase or wiki in which users can find supporting documents or videos.

Two key types of materials that you should invest in preparing are a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) and a series of videos that capture screen and audio activity on your computer to demonstrate how to complete tasks. Don’t just answer questions and forget about them. Instead, leverage those questions to create a powerful knowledgebase for all users in your enterprise.


Improve the odds of a successful implementation of a CLM software by taking steps to increase user adoption. By choosing a rep from each user group, focusing on user needs, selecting a visible department for a soft launch, providing ongoing updates, and setting up a knowledgebase with useful tutorials, you’re setting yourself up for strong and sustainable adoption of the new system across your enterprise.

The larger a system overhaul, the bigger the need to start small.