Everything you need to know about contract management software

The basics of

Contract Management 

The resources and knowledge you need to evaluate, choose, and implement contract management software for your business

Who said a contract needs to be a document in the first place? At its core, a contract is really a collection of data. Once you digitize your contracts, you’re unlocking a treasure trove of business critical information.

Mary O’Carroll Chief Community Officer, Ironclad Former Legal Director, Google

Mary O’Carroll Chief Community Officer, Ironclad Former Legal Director, Google


  • Offer: Something your business or counterparty wants and who will be held responsible for it.
  • Acceptance: A response to the offer. If the offer is accepted, this can include conditional acceptance, acceptance by action, or option agreement. When it comes to digital contracts, you can choose the best mode of acceptance for the agreement, from electronic signatures for high-negotiation agreements to clickwrap for no-negotiation agreements.
  • Awareness: Mutual acknowledgement of the agreement. With digital contracting, this is no longer a step that requires one version of the contract to be sent back and forth for signing. CLMs allow both parties to acknowledge and sign the same version of the agreement, no email or postage required.
  • Consideration: The value, monetary or otherwise, of the goods or services the contract is providing.
  • Capacity: All signatories must demonstrate that they clearly understand the contract before signing it.
  • Legality: Acknowledgement that the contract is subject to the laws of the jurisdiction in which it operates. Since these clauses are different for every area of jurisdiction, digital contracting can help by having pre-approved templates and workflows with the correct language for your location.

See anything missing from this list? Here are some of the “necessary evils” of contracts you may be assuming that actually aren’t required:

  • PDFs that are difficult to sign, hard to track, and become neglected in your inbox. Digital contracting means you’ll always have contracts that are easy to sign, track, and store, and ensures your team is always working on the latest version of a contract.
  • Negotiation that happens in phone calls, email chains, and hundreds of contract drafts. Why should negotiation happen outside the contract itself? Digital contracting enables you to collaborate, negotiate, and align with counterparties on the same draft, in real time.
  • Fear of redlines and revisions. Digital contracting makes it easy to edit within the contract and collaborate with colleagues on a shared platform. Even better? Ironclad has a DOCX-native experience to integrate seamlessly with your existing documents.
  • Losing track of contracts and the important information inside them. Digital contracting makes it so that you’ll never have to ask where a contract lives again, and you’ll never miss a future renewal.

Digital contracting is the missing piece of contract management that not only simplifies the contract lifecycle within your organization, but it also drives value and uncovers new opportunities for success.

Because of Ironclad, we’re able to see how contracts are living, breathing documents that really support the business.

Tom Sarakatsannis

Tom Sarakatsannis, GC at L’Oréal

During the contract creation or generation step:

  • You set the tone for the rest of the contract management process.
  • Contract requests are sent to the legal department.
  • Stakeholders are determined and internal alignment is confirmed.
  • The legal team creates the contract.

With Ironclad:

  • Empower business users from all departments to self-service their own contracts.
  • Legal is only looped in when they need to be.
  • Create easy-to-use workflows that are customized to your specific contract process.

During contract negotiation:

  • You communicate with your counterparty to come to an agreement.
  • Negotiate, redline and edit contracts.

With Ironclad:

During the contract approval stage, you’ll:

  • Run the contract by every business stakeholder for review.
  • Come to an internal agreement to proceed with the contract.

With Ironclad:

  • Internal review and approval can all happen within the same platform.
  • Automatically send to the correct reviewers at the right step in the process.

During the contract acceptance stage, your business will:

  • Decide how to sign the contract (wet signature, electronic signature, clickwrap).
  • Sign the contract.

With Ironclad:

  • Choose the best mode of acceptance.
  • You can sign contracts of any negotiation level.

During the contract fulfillment stage:

  • Both parties are held accountable to their contractual obligations.

With Ironclad:

  • The Data Repository serves as another layer of accountability for renewals and other obligations.

During the contract analysis stage, you:

  • Collect and review metadata from your contracts.
  • Store your contracts in a repository.

With Ironclad:

  • Unlock data and new opportunities using your contract metadata and the Data Repository.
  • Answer questions about contracts faster by having one reliable place to keep and search for them.

During the contract optimization step, you’ll:

  • Put your data to work, using your findings to improve processes, increase efficiency, or drive business.

With Ironclad:

  • Use intelligent alerts, process automation, and cross-system integrations to improve business operations and find opportunities for growth with the Data Repository.

During the contract renewal step, you’ll:

  • Decide whether or not to renew your contract.

With Ironclad:

  • Create alerts for upcoming renewals and stay on top of any additional action needed using the Data Repository.

With our previous CLM solution, it took months to figure out simple tasks like getting a turnaround time. The system had a lot of redundancy and was generally hard to use.

Heather Quinn, Contracts Administrator, Cofense

Heather Quinn, Contracts Administrator, Cofense


If we didn’t have Ironclad, could we extend a day to have 48 hours instead of 24 hours? Because that might be what we’d need. It would’ve been difficult without tools like Ironclad.

Anushree Bagrodia, Senior Managing Counsel & Legal Transformation Lead, Mastercard


I was blown away by Workflow Designer. No one else has Workflow Designer, at least not like Ironclad. So to give somebody like me, who is tech savvy and who loves building processes, a tool that I can master fairly quickly and use to build things that we need in real time and adjust in real time was probably what won me over the most

Sydney Dimick

Sydney Dimick, Contracts Administrator, Sarepta


Here’s why customers have successful implementations with Ironclad: 

  • It’s simple to set up and easy for any member of your team to use.
  • Make any changes or iterations without consulting your IT team.
  • Find the support you need with legal engineers and customer success teams.
  • Your entire business will love using Ironclad.

Learn more about partnering with Ironclad for a successful CLM implementation.

User adoption is the key signal that you did something right. Everyone in our sales org is using Ironclad.

Ashlee Best

Ashlee Best, Legal Operations Lead, Asana


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