How to Boost Fourth Quarter Contract Management

As we are entering the fourth quarter, your contract management team still has time to meet your 2014 goals and start preparing for next year.

Here are 5 ways to boost your contract management processes during the fourth quarter.

1. Put on the Good Word for Your Clients

The most sure-fire way to secure your job is by securing that of your clients. As we get towards the end of the year, it is very likely that managers and executives are gearing up for their performance reviews. Now it is it time to work on improving your client management.

  • During meetings in which your client’s supervisors is present, take the opportunity to praise the great results that your client has achieved by working with you.
  • Take the initiative to submit projects that you have worked with your client to local and national competitions or awards. For example, marketing agencies can submit projects for review for the annual Marketer of the Year event.
  • Schedule an annual performance review meeting on top of the regular quarterly meeting. Take the time to prepare a one -page report or table summary that your client can easily share across departments to show good performance.

2. Use Leftover 2014 Budget for 2015 Projects

Throughout the year you pitched several projects to you clients, only for them to shut down most of them. Don’t take it personally, they are just trying to protect their budgets as much as possible.

The thing is that they do such a good job at guarding those monies that often they find themselves with unexpected surpluses, which they need to use or lose! This tends to have every single year so set an automatic email reminder every year through your contract management system to have a couple projects ready for these situations.

3. Finetune 2015’s First Quarter

Take a cue from your clients to do some housekeeping of your own. Set aside some time on your contract life cycles to double-check estimated revenues and expenses for 2014.

A particular point for revision are contract renewals: don’t assume that clients will automatically renew contracts. Just like you should have presentations for those budget surpluses, you should have presentations for those contract renewals. Remember that among the top reasons why client defections occur, “indifference by supplier” is one of the most quoted by clients.

4. Set the Stage for Growth

Nothing is more frustrating than failing to secure new contracts due to a lack of manpower or resources. As your company grows, so will your processes.

According to the Institute for Supply Management, the typical Fortune 1000 company maintains between 20,000 to 40,000 active contracts. If your company were to grow to that level, would a paper-based or subpar contract management system cut it? Logically, the answer is no. This is why you need to invest in a contract management software that adapts to your company size and that you can upgrade over time to a contract management system.

5. Train Sales Staff

If your company cannot meet its sales targets for several years in a row, part of the problem may lie in that the company is not spending enough time and money on training its sales staff.

In regard to this issue, the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm, recommends five specific tasks:

  1. Assign sales team managers and empower them to spend 50% of their time in coaching others rather than closing sales.
  2. Take a daily pulse directly from the field through your sales staff.
  3. Create and maintain a constant dialogue between marketing and sales divisions so that the sales personnel has better intel and can focus on the most valuable targets.
  4. Consider raising your prices to get rid of unprofitable customers and improving your bottom line.
  5. Develop a more frictionless referral program for your clients and vendors.