Contract management: almost everything you need to know
Effective contract management can easily be overlooked but can help businesses to save time and money, minimise risk and boost sales potential.
What is contract management?
Contract management has a number of elements, such as contract creation, execution and analysis to maximise the operational performance of your business and cut financial risk.
It can offer a number of advantages, notably the time and money saved through generating, reviewing, approving, signing and renewing contracts, as well as the additional risk management capabilities introduced by the process.
Used well, contract management frees up time and money to expand sales and boost revenue and regularly changes depending on market trends.
Contract lifecycle management
A key aspect of this is contract lifecycle management (CLM), the process by which an organisation can strengthen and exploit the value of its contract portfolio to shorten the sales cycle and lower the costs of customer acquisition.
Focusing on the lifecycle is key to generating time and cost benefits. What’s more, if you can increase productivity in managing contracts, you can get deals signed faster and turn to other business.
The steps involved with processing contracts under the lifecycle comprise multiple tasks and individuals from different departments, as well as the customer.
The exact requirements, however, depend on the organisation involved and are particularly influenced by the company’s size.
Contract management for large businesses
Large businesses tend to have different demands and requirements when it comes to contract management. They need a secure document and contract management platform such as DocuSign CLM, that allows them to generate documents, collaborate with stakeholders, and automate business processes to accelerate the path to revenue - all while keeping things accessible yet secure.
It can often help larger businesses to consider breaking the contract lifecycle into a seven-step process, which helps to separate and simplify the generation of contracts, administration, execution and storing of all necessary documentation.
Contract management for small businesses
But contract lifecycle management is an important consideration for all companies, not just the larger ones. Smaller organisations often need to be more agile and work with smaller budgets and teams, forcing them to do more with less. This can often mean that manually generating, sorting through or managing agreements is a waste of time and money that could be better invested elsewhere.
This was part of the thinking behind the recent launch of DocuSign Gen for Salesforce, an easy-to-use app that allows sales reps to automatically generate polished, configurable agreements with just a few clicks - saving reps time while eliminating errors.
Importantly for smaller and medium-sized businesses, apps like DocuSign Gen for Salesforce are easy to set up and are admin-friendly, saving time and hassle as reps get up and running without professional services.
Benefits of digital contract management
There are many benefits associated with digital contract management. It is faster, allowing businesses to get deals signed and underway far quicker than in the past. It is cheaper, saving both time and money. It is more efficient: perhaps most notably, the best CLM solutions leverage workflow automation capabilities that allow businesses to configure automated workflows based on different contract types, with new workflows automatically triggered based on the document activity and contract cycle stage.
This can help keep a deal on track by sending the contract to the right people, along with reminders when actions are required, helping to prevent bottlenecks.
Perhaps most importantly, digital contract management is robust and confidential, offering a secure audit trail. This is a key advantage of contract management with DocuSign, which allows you to track your documents through every step of the process.
Additionally, by using an electronic signature platform, you’ll maintain a complete, automated history of every activity, including viewing, printing, sending, signing or declining to sign a document.
Contract management best practices
Digital contract management can provide significant advantages in following contract management best practices.
There are a number of elements to keep in mind, with DocuSign CLM offering these key features:
Contract management through tools like DocuSign Gen for Salesforce and DocuSign CLM can help companies achieve these best practices. It’s about much more than saving money and building efficiencies: it gives you the time and frees up the resources to expand your business.