6 Contract Management Strategy Dos and Don'ts

Improving your contract management strategy starts by looking at your contract management lifecycle and identifying ways to increase efficiency. Data-driven contract lifecycle management (CLM) platforms can help transform your digital contracting process. Using the latest Google Cloud AI technology and other features like contract workflows and data repositories, you can automate your workflows, promote collaboration, manage your contract metadata, and decrease risk.

Contract management is a mundane task that takes a lot of time, if done manually. Setting up a digital contracting system is a necessity to streamline your workflows and free up your time to focus on other tasks. 

‌A quick guide to contract management strategy

A contract management strategy is a business tool for implementing and overseeing all stages of a contract to increase efficiency and decrease risk. Using a central platform to manage the entire process and analyze data can improve contract workflows.

A contract management lifecycle has three key focuses ⁠— creation, negotiation, and approval ⁠—  and several points of execution. The general stages and related tasks of a contract management strategy flow as follows:

  1. Creation: You start with a detailed request, then draw up a contract that meets all the necessary specifications. Use automated contract management systems like Ironclad to  streamline this time-consuming stage.
  2. Collaboration: Every contract is a collaborative effort that requires negotiation. In this stage, the contract is reviewed by the relevant parties to ensure consistency and make changes as needed. 
  3. Signing: You finalize the contract by following the approval procedures, or creating your own workflow to meet the specific approval requirements of your contract. After this, execute the contract by getting all necessary signatures.
  4. Tracking: You ensure that your contract is maintaining its value and key stakeholders are doing their part in managing deliverables. You audit the numbers and build reports to help to improve business processes.
  5. Renewal: A crucial phase in any contract management lifecycle. Using automated notifications and reminders for contract renewals and expiration dates leads to less liability and smoother workflows.

A contract management strategy helps everyone on your team stay connected and aware of where a contract is in its lifecycle no matter what. 

Why you need a contract management strategy

Contract management strategies and systems have many benefits. Maintaining tight control over all contracts in your workflow is crucial in this increasingly digitized world. You must protect yourself from data breaches and cyberattacks. 

Documentation security is another vital component of contract management requirements. Using a multi-level password access system will lessen the potential for hacking and ransomware attacks. Ironclad is SOC II, Type 2 standard certified. You can rest assured that your contract data is fully protected.

A centralized repository of all contracts and related documents that is easily accessible by authorized people is a vital component of a business’s contract management strategy. It eliminates confusion caused by outdated information which in turn reduces liabilities.

Contract management software automates mundane tasks so that you can complete tasks that require your expertise. Use reminders to track the contract as well as remain on top of any outstanding tasks. 

Organization and efficiency in any company translate into time and money saved. Ironclad’s contract management software can improve collaboration and streamline your contract workflow with tools like Editor and Workflow Designer.

How to improve your contract management strategy: The 6 dos and don'ts

Managing a contract is tough to get right, and it requires a good strategy and workflow. Utilizing contract management software, like Ironclad, can help you develop an effective strategy that keeps everyone informed throughout the contract lifecycle process. 

Improve the way your company manages its contracts by following these simple dos and don’ts. 

DO: Set up a centralized place for contract management workflows.

Each contract has many stages that require the participation of multiple parties to execute. Having a centralized place to manage your workflows makes it easier for everyone to track each stage of the contract lifecycle. 

Using tools like Ironclad allow you to create, edit, and store all your contract data in a centralized location. It saves time spent searching for documents, either in physical file cabinets or email folders—Everything is in the same place and easily searchable. If someone urgently needs a specific contract, it’s easy to search for and find it. Empower your team to take initiative by using a collaborative contract management platform that gives them access to relevant contract process data from a centralized place.

DO: Include your staff when planning a contract management strategy.

Your team and anyone else involved in the contract lifecycle process will benefit the most from having a contact management strategy that considers their direct needs. Collaboration at every level is critical for a smooth contract process. 

Ironclad’s Workflow Designer gives you control over your contract management strategy and helps you include your staff in the process. You can use internal mentions and @ other users to stay connected with everyone involved on a contract. Hearing your team’s voice during the planning and implementation process of your contract management strategy ensures everyone is on the same page and feels motivated to take action.

DO: Maintain the plan once it has been implemented.

Once you successfully implement your contract management strategy, be sure to stick with it. Changing your plans mid-stream leads to errors, increased risk, and confusion on all fronts. Automate your contract management system to keep on-target and ensure every contract you create is up to standard.

Ironclad’s AI-powered tools help you automate all file and version management processes, including redlines, in one place. You can stay on track with your contract management plan by viewing the current state of each contract, and the Workflow Designer allows you to easily edit contracts while minimizing manual administrative work. 

Let’s be honest, life sometimes gets in the way of a good plan. Flexibility and transparency in your contract management strategy helps everyone stick with the plan, but also make adjustments when things change. Ironclad’s collaboration features empower team members to leave messages for each other within the contract when deviations happen.

DO: Analyze your data. 

A crucial element of any contract lifecycle strategy is data analysis. With the right data on your side, you’ll know what’s working and what isn’t, but searching through all the information related to a contract is time-consuming. Automating this process will save you all that effort, plus it boosts accuracy. Using contract management software decreases the number of errors because it knows how to find every mistake in a fraction of the time.

Ironclad offers sophisticated artificial intelligence to analyze your data and show you where you can implement changes. The Dynamic Repository helps you use your data to reduce risks and automate certain business processes to improve contract workflows. You can also embed your contracts with meta-data like the names and organizations of the signatories, contract value, the type of contract, and expiration and renewal dates.

‌DON’T: Pay for a unwieldy one-size-fits-all systems

Many contract management tools cost a lot, don’t meet all your requirements, and have a lengthy set-up process. Using them can slow your contract lifecycle process and create unnecessary frustration. Many make promises on what they can deliver without being able to meet them.

You want your contract management software to work for you and not the other way around. If the software is challenging to learn, your team won’t be able to use it to its full potential and probably won’t even want to try. 

Ironclad’s contract management software not only uses the latest Google Cloud AI technology, but it also integrates with your current systems seamlessly. Make contract collaboration and tracking easier for everyone involved by tailoring a workflow that meets your needs and those of your team. You can even create a contract management dashboard that suits your needs.

DON’T: Ignore built-in reminders like milestones and deadlines

Tracking your contracts once they are in circulation for approval, revisions, and signing is a crucial stage in contract lifecycle management. Milestones and deadline reminders help everyone in the contract management process stay on track. 

You can also use these reminders to help you remember when contract expiration or renewal dates are coming up. Ironclad allows you to automate contract milestones, renewals, and expiration date reminders so that you never miss a deadline.

Conclusion

Following these contract management guidelines will improve your entire process and contract workflow. Let Ironclad take the hard work  of designing a system out of your hands. Their contract templates can be adapted to any enterprise and free you up to focus your energy on tasks that require your exceptional skills. Run your business instead of letting your contract management strategy run you.

Ironclad’s software innovations include easy integration with systems such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and One Drive. They employ high-end security to protect your data against accidental loss or theft, and their team members will work closely with you to design a system tailor-made to your requirements. A well-designed, functional contract management strategy will optimize the process for your future contracts. Try Ironclad to help your business streamline its contract workflow to get the results you want.

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