Contract Management: A Competitive Edge for Your Sales Staff
In the age of the Internet, by the time most buyers are ready to buy, they’ve already researched the products or services they’re buying and the sellers in the market.
Because these buyers are so well-informed, the sales cycle has been shortened, and sales teams must be able to move quickly to keep pace.
Essential to that speed is an efficient automated contract management system. Sales representatives who have the support of contract management software to free them from time-consuming administrative processes have a distinct competitive advantage over reps still burdened with paper-based or spreadsheet contract administration tasks.
With the benefit of automated contract management, reps have more time to identify and nurture leads and to develop creative selling strategies. They can be productive, rather than wasting time on avoidable hassles such as chasing down legal or financial contract approvals.
And streamlined contract administration is far from the only competitive advantage for sales reps who are backed by contract management software.
Today’s buyers expect the contracting process to be easy, fast, and convenient. Contract management software fulfills that customer expectation and makes for a better customer experience, resulting in more repeat business.
For example, contract management software can send email alerts-internally and to the customer-whenever certain thresholds are crossed or conditions met.
“When renewals are automated, it not only drives increased revenues, it also strengthens customer relationships,” points out a recent article on SellingPower.com. “Customers want to know 1) when a solution they purchased needs to be renewed, 2) that it will be upgraded, or 3) that their maintenance plan will soon expire. When vendors manage that process for them, customers know they’ll be covered when it counts.”
As the SellingPower blog mentioned, automatic renewal reminders increase renewal rates, thereby increasing revenue.
But that’s not the only way contract management software boosts revenue. Automation enables deals to close faster, allowing the revenue impact to be realized sooner. It also results in higher closing rates, because deals sometimes fall apart if delayed.
Additionally, contract management increases revenue by tracking non-compliance. With manual contract management, there are often missed opportunities to collect allowable revenue due to under-performance by supplier and vendors. But with automated contract management, these opportunities are automatically acted upon.
Likewise, contract management software can prompt action when the enterprise is in danger of noncompliance that would reduce revenue.
Legal and Regulatory Compliance
Not only does contract management software simplify and accelerate the legal and regulatory approval process, it can provide always-up-to-date contract templates and flagging of any problematic language. It also can alert to any contracts that fall outside of corporate policy. It acts as a monitor, keeping contracts in line.
Contract management software assimilates, analyzes, and reports contract data, which enables the sales team to easily access and learn from contract histories. Sales reps are better able to make educated decisions and to anticipate customer needs. Top-performing sales organizations proactively use analysis of the business intelligence gained from contract management software to identify sales opportunities that otherwise might have been missed and to negotiate more-favorable contract terms.
Contract management software can easily be integrated with customer relationship management software so that the business intelligence gained from contract supports creative collaboration and facilitates a coordinated focus between sales, marketing, legal, IT, and management.
Enterprises that don’t utilize contract management software are placing their sales organizations in a difficult competitive position. With contract management software now available on the cloud to ease the upfront costs, there’s no reason for delay-the time to move to automated contract management is now.