How Calm Led a Successful Ironclad Implementation and Achieved Nearly 100% Adoption
We used to require a 15-day lead time for an agreement and now a standard agreement takes just a couple days, while nonstandard deals take 5 days—a huge improvement. The content team has been blown away by the speed with which we're able to get contracts done using Ironclad. It's been a game changer for us.
According to a 2019 Gartner report, 50% of all first-time CLM implementations by 2023 will fail to deliver their expected benefits due to an unrealistic strategic technology roadmap. For Calm, the creator of the mental health app that helps people meditate, experience better sleep, and reduce stress and anxiety, it wasn’t an unrealistic technology roadmap that stood in their way. Their initial CLM and deal desk management solution simply couldn’t keep pace with the company’s hyper-growth—so they looked for a better tool.
Here’s a peek at how Henderson Lafond, Calm’s Director of Legal Operations, and Lauren Healey, Calm’s Manager, Deal Desk, found, implemented, and achieved immediate success with their new CLM and deal desk solution—Ironclad—in under 90 days.
Incumbent Solutions That Just Didn’t Cut It
Rapid growth is great for any company—unless you’re managing systems like CLM and deal desk, for which hyper-growth can quickly create unruly processes and overwhelm a team. As Calm underwent this stage, they knew that finding a centralized system for contracting—namely B2B contracts, consulting agreements, and MSA—would be critical to their ability to scale.
“We’re a very contract-heavy organization because we’re creating content for every speaker,” explains Henderson. “For every piece of content that appears in the app, there are typically multiple agreements in place—from the writer of a story or meditation to the narrator, background music, and recording studio.”
Lauren is responsible for partnering with the sales team on deals structuring and pricing, approvals, and the drafting and execution of all B2B contracts and Order Forms. She needed a solution to drive deal velocity and accuracy in order to enable the teams to drive more revenue with ease. “Ideally, most steps of the process should happen without human interaction—other than the signatures, of course,” she says.
And Henderson, on the legal ops side, wanted a way to surface information, facilitate contracts, and make legal resources available to the business so teams could self-serve.
Over time, they evolved from emailing back and forth about contracts to using a few different tools not intended for CLM or deal desk stitched together. Every part of the process was done manually, which led to several pain points for Lauren, Henderson, and the teams they work with:
- Manual work: Contracts and order forms were put together manually.
- No standardization: Deal data between systems and actual orders didn’t align, and salespeople had their own versions saved to their devices. Without a standard across the board, they lacked the ability to implement any sort of guardrails.
- Lack of empowerment: Lauren relied on a third-party consultant to make changes to the incumbent solution, which slowed her process.
- Downstream impact: For customer success managers and the finance team—who would see deals later—there was a lack of accurate data and reportability. On the legal side, the team lacked reporting capabilities and the ability to understand the bigger picture at a glance.
All in all, their solutions just weren’t scalable for their needs. “Our volume was increasing to the point where our incumbent solutions could not meet our needs anymore. It forced us to evaluate our tooling and explore an alternative,” says Henderson.
When looking for a new solution, Calm had several needs:
- User-friendliness: Any new solution had to be user-friendly for business users because they would be using the tool every day.
- Data: Henderson needed a tool that would provide the necessary data to understand how the Legal team is functioning and supporting the business.
- Automation: The solution had to remove the manual work involved in managing contracts.
- Flexibility: “We needed the ability to make changes on the fly because things are constantly changing in our business,” explains Henderson. For example, going from a specific type of narrator agreement to a release for performance contract required a tool that could accommodate such different use cases.
- Scalability: “Being a very lean team, we needed a system to support our aggressive revenue targets for the coming year that would scale with us,” says Lauren.
They landed on Ironclad and started their implementation.
The Importance of Buy-In and a Plan
Understand the problems you’re trying to solve.
Because they had stitched together solutions for other teams before, Henderson and her team had a deep understanding of the processes and use cases teams had for other tools. They started by asking about the problems teams faced with existing solutions. By becoming familiar with the incumbent solution’s shortcomings, they developed an understanding of how a solution like Ironclad would help.
Involve stakeholders early.
Henderson brought several stakeholders from across the company into the sales process so they could see the Ironclad before it was added to their toolbox.
Spend time talking to your stakeholders. This will allow you to build an implementation plan and launch that creates excitement about using a new tool.
Build a plan and align with team growth.
Having an implementation plan sets expectations and helps everyone feel looped in. For Lauren, who was launching Ironclad for a Sales team that was projected to grow by 200%, she saw an opportunity to align the new system with the new team.
Ensuring a Seamless Transition
There were many ways in which Henderson and her team created a smooth transition to Ironclad. Here are the key ways in which they achieved a successful implementation:
They worked with their implementation consultant: By partnering closely with our implementation consultant, we stayed accountable throughout the process,” says Henderson. What’s more, meeting their consultant weekly meant that there were no delays to implementation—or excuses for pushing it out.
Our consultant was a huge driver of our success in getting up and running on Ironclad so quickly,
They leveraged resources like Ironclad Academy: There are many resources outside of a consultant available to Ironclad customers, such as the Ironclad Academy, which Henderson and her team used extensively. “Ironclad Academy was essential to answering questions and helping us further understand the product,”she says.
They asked for help with complex needs: When it came to implementing more complicated workflows, Henderson turned to their implementation consultant to help. “We picked the two most used and complex workflows and worked on them together, which helped me understand the intricacies of the product and build from there.”
On the sales side, Lauren started with their most used workflow—the sales order form—which involved building out a Salesforce integration. For that, she partnered with her systems team for technical expertise.
They built their library of workflows: For deal desk, Lauren started with the most impactful workflow—order forms. “Giving the sales team the ability to generate their order forms directly from their Salesforce opportunities was, hands down, the biggest value driver for us,” Lauren shared. From there, she built out other workflows.
For Henderson, once she had built out the most challenging workflows with the help of her implementation consultant, she started building an extensive library of other use cases. “Building over 14 workflows ourselves was a game changer in being able to flip the Ironclad switch on within our organization,” she said.
They supported their team: During the first few weeks of implementation, Henderson held office hours, made training resources available internally, and offered additional support to anyone who needed it. “While I made myself available to help, most office hours were very quiet,” she says. “I think that’s a testament to how simple Ironclad is from a user experience perspective.”
For new folks joining Calm, Henderson continues to make resources available so ongoing onboarding is just as seamless.
Outcomes & Conclusions
With such a robust understanding of Calm’s needs and a comprehensive implementation plan, Henderson and her team rolled out Ironclad in just 71 days and achieved a near-100% adoption rate. The keys to Calm’s success in implementing Ironclad were twofold. First, they fully understood the problem they were trying to solve before they even started having conversations with Ironclad. Second, they spent a lot of time talking to and involving stakeholders in the sales and planning processes, which created excitement around using Ironclad upon launch.
Since switching to Ironclad, the Calm team has enjoyed several benefits, including:
Decreasing contract turnaround time from 15 to 5 days: By leveraging Ironclad’s workflow builder automation, the team shaves hours off of creating and executing contracts. “The contracts essentially generate themselves instead of having to have an attorney go in and create the contract from scratch for each of the different work streams,” says Henderson.
This had a huge impact on the team, which processes an average of three contracts per each of their more than 1,000 stories on the app.
Automating order forms to save time:
Lauren uses the conditional formatting feature that integrates with Salesforce to auto populate different language into each order form. “I used to go into Word and copy-paste different business terms,” she says. “Conditional formatting automates that workflow for me and ties into reporting for what terms were selected.”
Providing reliable, accurate data to streamline reporting:
“The foundation of any business is having accurate deal data,” says Lauren. Using Ironclad, she and her team generated all of their order forms directly from Salesforce and then move it to an archive stage. With all of these steps in one place, she has accurate data about every stage of the process at her fingertips.
What’s more, getting all terms into a standard system—out of Slack and email—has helped Lauren report on non-standard terms that are being negotiated. “We get a lot of questions from our leadership team about the number of negotiated MSAs we have, the dollar amount, how many turns they take, and the time to close,” she says. “ Ironclad provides us with that data, which helps to show value and where time is being spent, and it creates trust with leadership.”
Empowering the team to double sales without adding headcount:
With Ironclad, the Calm team can navigate contracts and dealflow on their own.
“The ability to move quickly and do things internally is just so valuable,” says Henderson. In fact, the team successfully doubled its sales numbers without hiring any new full time employees.
Removing bottlenecks, for both legal and deal desk:
“In many cases, when things are moving slowly, Legal is the team folks point to as the reason,” says Henderson. Using Ironclad, her team can check the status of a contract themselves and investigate if something is held up. “Being able to counter that story with the data and allowing people in to see the entire process – that’s made a huge difference for us,” she adds.
After reaching a near 100% adoption rate of Ironclad, Henderson has reaped perhaps the biggest benefit of all: making more of an impact. “Ironclad has freed me up to do other more strategic things, and there’s really no way to measure that,” she says. Lauren has enjoyed the same windfall of time to dedicate to other efforts.