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Ironclad Is for Closers Pt. 2: How Digital Contracting Powers Sales

October 15, 2019 5 min read
Damon Mino, Ironclad VP of Sales

In Part One of Ironclad Is for Closers, Sales Engineer Alvin Cheng set the table for how “Ironclad does Ironclad,” especially when the stakes are highest at quarter end, and deals need to be closed fast and furious. In Part Two, we spotlight the sales leadership POV courtesy of Ironclad Vice President of Sales Damon Mino. A former attorney, Damon knows first-hand how old-style manual contracting can hinder deals from closing on time and how digital contracting is turning all that around, setting a new standard for sales floor efficiency

Damon, at quarter end, with the clock ticking, I’m sure you don’t want deal blockers, whether they’re systems, paperwork or people.

There’s an adage in sales, “Time kills deals.” 

When it counts, you always have to sprint. And Ironclad helps us do that to close deals at a high rate. In fact, last quarter we closed 22 deals in just two days. That’s serious contract management speed. 

I imagine the bigger the company or opportunity, the greater the variables and chance things can go off the rails.

When you’re trying to close six-figure enterprise or mid-market contracts, each with a ton of redlines and multiple stakeholders in different GEOs, it’s just not possible without a digital contracting platform, which keeps everything centralized and stakeholders aligned and and focused on what’s important. 

Imagine the complexity of closing a deal with a multi-national corporation with lawyers in London and San Francisco, for example. If you’re handling contract negotiations manually — emailing Word docs back and forth, leaving voicemails and waiting for after-hours replies over email or Slack — last-minute language curveballs and redline review can just kill the deal or push it into next quarter. I’ve seen that happen. 

Not knowing what’s happening with deals must be aggravating, for example, if they’re stuck on someone’s desk. 

Yes, I never want to be wondering, “Who knows if this deal is going to get done?”

As a former lawyer, I know for a fact that I didn’t quite appreciate the stress level of the sales team as they tried to keep track of every deal in redlines while also trying  to close out the quarter. Now, as a sales leader, I get it; and I love Ironclad because you get complete visibility into the moving parts — not only when a contract is in Legal, but who’s approving what. For example, if I see that data rights are holding up a key point, I can call on my prospect to move things along. 

Every minute counts as the quarter ticks down, and because Ironclad allows my team some visibility into the “legal black hole,” we’re able to help move things along. It’s a game-changer for the sales team.

Let’s go under the hood in Ironclad. In your mind, what makes the deal workflow really work?

I think of it as a collaboration loop. 

Normally, the more parties involved, the more redlines involved, the more things — even little ones — can slow down deals. That’s not the case with digital contracting and Ironclad’s Workflow Designer, a self-service tool that enables legal teams to control their own contracts and contracts policy. You can make a little tweak, say SLA language, to a contract in Word, dump it back into Ironclad, and everyone sees the redlines in a central place. That allows teams to review and move fast. 

I look at the Ironclad platform as the orchestrator, an end-to-end efficiency machine. You can watch the deal flow, see whose plate it’s on for review or signature, and whose plate it just left.

Streamlining contracting workflows

Give us a specific example, one of those 22 quarter-end deals and what it entailed.

Without naming names, it involved a multinational financial services provider, a huge opportunity. As part of the deal, we worked off their [contract] paper, and engaged our own outside counsel. All told, between both parties, there were about a dozen people involved, including six to seven lawyers. Naturally, we had to deal with multiple redlines and contract iterations. But nothing got off track. 

Normally, on an enterprise deal this complex, you’d have to turn everything over to a full team on the way to the finish line. But on the Ironclad side, in the end, it was two of us here, me and our GC, Chris Young. 

That’s certainly negotiation efficiency. What other advantages does a digital contracting platform give you?

In the bad old days, just trying to determine a contract renewal date or something as simple as marketing logo rights on a deal was a problem. You might sit on your hands for days waiting for Legal to give you an answer while they sourced the details. 

Now, with Ironclad, all I have to do is type in the client name and “logo rights” and Ironclad surfaces the contract, highlighting the text “logo rights,” so I know in minutes. That immediate insight just doesn’t exist without a digital platform. Frankly, before Ironclad, I just hated going to Legal and asking about logos because I knew it would take forever to find out. 

In closing this out, I want to return to collaboration. It must be such an important tool from the Sales Floor to the C-Suite, with so much back-and-forth between parties.

Especially when handling redlines and approvals, collaboration reminds me of a social media app experience, that “always in the moment” feel. For example, think about having to provide background and context to a company’s COO, someone who may not have been intimately involved in every step of the deal but has the final sign off due to non-standard terms and language. 

Pre-digital contracting, you’d have to dive into deep detail, writing time-consuming emails, repeating and summarizing all the relevant points, which of course soaks up valuable minutes — a luxury you don’t have at the end of the quarter. With Ironclad, you don’t have to keep repeating context for everyone. The latest redlines, key terms and language are all there in easy-to-review audit trails, from the beginning of the deal. 

Remember, when the deal is at the redline stage, most of the selling is done. At that point, you can’t afford to break or delay the deal because of simple paperwork or unanswered email. Ironclad makes sure deals get done.

In Part 3 of Ironclad Is for Closers, we hit the Sales Floor with Ironclad Account Executive Melanie Wong for an up-close look at a major quarter-end deal facilitated by our digital contracting platform. For more on powering the Sales and Legal partnership, download our guide Dealmaker to Dealbreaker.

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