How Contract Managers Can Support Business Development
It seems to happen every year. Contract managers get so busy with day-to-day operations that the renewal dates for existing contracts just seem to sneak up on them, as well as sales and marketing managers! Sometimes it even appears that those contract renewal dates pile up during the busiest of periods.
While business development may seem at first look to be an assignment strictly for members of the marketing and sales departments, the reality is that contract managers can provide essential support and streamline the entire process. Let’s review how contract managers can achieve this.
Supporting the Marketing Department
When an account manager is assigned to a client, that individual is in charge of identifying the needs of clients and providing ideas for potential projects. While the account manager periodically calls clients just to ask how they are doing and what they might have coming up, the account manager may not be fully aware of hiccups in contract management processes.
One example is the challenge of scope creep or scope gap due to a non-customized statement of work or delays due to legal problems with a non-performing subcontractor. To be able to properly meet the needs of the client and find out about opportunities for cross-selling company services, the account manager should have access to status updates on current contract management processes. Through CLM software, a contract manager could provide read-only access to an account manager on assigned clients or create automated email alerts for specific contract processes of key interest to the client and account manager. Armed with this information, an account manager would make his or her periodic client touches more timely and with a higher chance of business development.
Supporting the Sales Department
A highly satisfied client can provide referrals to other divisions and departments. When a sales manager is looking to secure work from those referrals, he needs to have access to the client’s contract history. That history provides insights into necessary steps in the client’s processes. For example, the client’s enterprise may require additional documentation to include your enterprise in a preferred vendor list for the other division or department.
Instead of having to research the process from scratch, the contract manager can share existing documents and other relevant data from the contract library. Here is another opportunity in which CLM software comes in handy: the contract manager can grant remote access to the sales manager to a list of customized and pre-approved contract clauses and templates for use with that specific client. This would allow the sales manager to save time and resources. After all, securing new clients is estimated to consume 80% of the business development budget.
Integrating Business Development into the Contract Lifecycle
As you can see from these several examples, the key for more efficient business development is to integrate activities related to marketing, client management, and sales into the contract lifecycle of each one of your existing clients. By customizing a contract lifecycle, your enterprise can make better use of the “IBFP Method” to increase the approval rate of new project proposals.
IBFP stands for Issues, Benefits, Features, and Proofs:
- By making better use of contract data and processes centrally stored in a CLM solution, your team gets a better understanding of current issues (“hot buttons”) that are vitally important to your client and empower your marketing and sales staff to address those issues through relevant proposals.
- Having remote access to current contract data and the ability to perform text searches enables your business developers to highlight the unique features that differentiate your enterprise from potential competitors.
- Remote access allows your sales and marketing staff to gather objective evidence right away. By leveraging these proofs, you can irrefutably back up your claims that your enterprise is truly different.
- By addressing the needs of key stakeholders through unique features backed up by objective evidence, your business developers are able to highlights the benefits of using your enterprise. Contract management helps your enterprise tie its features to client issues and helps clients view the benefits of working with your enterprise.
By leveraging your contract management processes, your organization can improve its business development activities, provide timely support to sales and marketing departments, and integrate business development into the contract lifecycle.