Contract workflow coordination: 5 time-saving tips
Contract processes often delay the legal department, sales teams, and many other organizations within a business. You can improve these contract processes by enhancing contract visibility and creating a smoother counterparty experience. You can even automate large parts of your contract processes to save time and money managing your agreements.
Efficient contract management is a critical component of improving workflow coordination. Accurate data helps drive decisions and pinpoint where contracts tend to get stuck. This will enhance legal and sales relationships by eliminating common contract bottlenecks.
Now you can improve your systems and let your teams focus on revenue-generating activities that drive the business forward. These five tips can help you improve your company’s contract workflow coordination.
1. Improve contract visibility
To overcome the challenges of contract bottlenecks, legal teams need visibility and insights into their contracts. This includes key data and updates at every stage of the contract lifecycle.
Team members need to know how contracts move through the approval process and proactively address inefficiencies that hold up deals. A few essential tools significantly improve contract visibility.
Turn tracking lets legal teams prioritize their time appropriately, meaning you can focus on contracts that need your attention and which are still waiting for a counterparty. Legal deals with numerous contracts at one time, redlining multiple agreements concurrently and keeping to tight timelines.
Turn tracking provides visibility into where contracts are in the lifecycle by monitoring turn changes as they happen. It also removes the manual back-and-forth required by legacy contract lifecycle management (CLM) systems.
Everyone can see each team’s processes and workload to identify and repair contract bottlenecks as they happen. This speeds up deal cycle times and improves overall contract workflow efficiency.
An advanced CLM software uses a dashboard to centralize important information. The dashboard lets legal teams navigate past, current, and new workflows. It also offers an intuitive search feature to make it easier for teams to find specific workflows in an extensive list.
The dashboard helps improve visibility by:
- Showing workflows that are assigned to you and others
- Showing which workflows are active and those that are complete
- Providing access to the contract data repository
- Integrating a workflow designer
- Identifying and contacting all participants and internal stakeholders
2. Use data to drive your decisions
Contract metadata and process metrics can help drive your decisions with accurate information. Contract metadata assists parties in sorting, reviewing, and tracking agreements. It contains structured information that makes it easy to link, access, and integrate various agreements.
Contract metadata can save hours of contract administration by making it easy to review the basics of an agreement, such as the value of the contract, its terms, and the date it was signed.
Contract metadata can help:
- Streamline communication between teams and departments
- Enable consistent and effective monitoring with relevant updates
- Provide clear and simple summaries of complex data that are available to everyone
- Allow you to search and report on contract repositories to facilitate new contract generation
Information that helps streamline your processes
Modern CLM software puts you in control of crucial data to help improve workflow coordination. Contract metadata gives you vital information to help improve contract workflow coordination. This information includes:
- Signature date and method: Back-end records of when and how a contract was signed help you improve your contract workflows. They also provide key details you need to enforce agreements should a dispute arise later.
- Type of agreement: The digital repository identifies and stores the type of agreement. This makes the agreement searchable and helps you make informed decisions about this agreement type.
- Legal obligations under the contract: You can more easily fulfill your legal obligations when you know what those legal obligations are. This avoids legal risk and improves customer satisfaction with your company, which can drive sales of future products and renewals.
- Renewal dates: The software analyzes contracts for renewal dates. This keeps you up to date to renew the contracts you want to continue and avoid accidental renewal of contracts you don’t.
- Cost of contract: The cost of the contract is an essential metric in driving company growth. It is also important when deciding what types of contracts to automate.
- Internal stakeholder information: You need to know who is an authorized signer, approver, and much more within your company. This lets you know who is involved in a particular contract across the entire company.
3. Create a smoother counterparty experience
Customers expect a smooth experience from start to finish. You want it to go well from the day you initiate contact with a customer to the day they sign. Disruptions and delays reflect poorly on your company and legal team. You can create a smoother experience by collaborating with counterparties and internal stakeholders in one place.
You can securely collaborate with counterparties using the same tools you have. Legal can provide counterparties with these advantages without compromising account security in the process. The counterparty never gets access to the software environment, but they can utilize the many tools that help improve contract workflow coordination.
The benefits of centralized communication
You can easily align your internal team and counterparties by updating, sharing, and approving contracts directly within the CLM software. This gives you and your counterparty a smoother experience by:
- Eliminating bloated email threads, forwards, and BCC’s
- Utilizing an activity feed that displays actions and details about an agreement
- Granting counterparties access to tools like @mentions, comments, browser-based DOCX editing, and more
- Reducing negotiation time by 43%
- Connecting to internal stakeholders and counterparties in one convenient location
4. Automate all stages of the contract process
You can develop automation for all stages of your contract processes, drivings faster sales, contract approvals, and much more. Automation reduces the time your legal team spends manually editing and approving contracts. You can standardize agreements with taggable fields for any information that must change in the standard agreement.
Legal automation is especially helpful for low-value, high-volume contracts. Many companies fall victim to the mistaken belief that they should negotiate every contract, but some are simply not worth it.
Negotiating an agreement requires lengthy back-and-forths, waiting on counterparties, and your team’s time reviewing contract terms individually. This is time-consuming and wasteful when you could concentrate on higher-value agreements.
Examples of contract automation that benefit your business
Automation frees up your time and improves the coordination of your contract workflow. The following examples demonstrate how automation can help legal operations streamline contract management at all stages:
- Forecast sales and reduce bottlenecks: Sales is an integral part of the business. These teams can use integrated Salesforce software that speeds up deal flow by gaining economic order quantity (EOQ) visibility to help forecast the sales funnel. It can also help remove common contract bottlenecks that slow down their processes.
- Use public workflows: Public workflows deliver contracts to customers in the shape of a URL. Customers can self-service their acceptance for standardized agreements they access via the link, allowing them to accept contracts without ever speaking with a legal or sales representative.
- Use the workflow designer: A workflow designer is a no-code tool that helps your team upload contract templates, tag fields, add signers and approvers, and add conditional contract clauses. It automates contracts to reduce manual editing and save significant time.
- Automate communication: Your legal operations and other departments can automate communication with email notifications and the CLM activity feed. These automatic updates keep you in the know and help you be proactive about your contracts rather than reacting to problems after the fact.
5. Strengthen the relationship between legal and sales
Many relationships between legal and sales teams have room for improvement. This is usually because inefficient CLM processes slow down the sales funnel, creating problems company-wide. This often gets blamed on legal, even when it is not your fault.
You have an obligation to make sure contracts are accurate and enforceable. Modern CLM software lets you meet your commitments and streamline contract processes to help sales meet their revenue goals.
Legal can use contract automation to let sales and counterparties self-service contracts. This empowers the sales team to reduce contract turnaround time, thus improving sales and the company’s bottom line.
Legal and sales teams should work collaboratively to find solutions to common problems. Together, they can:
- Automate contracts below a specific value to improve efficiency
- Maintain accurate and complete contract records
- Collaborate instantly in a shared platform
- Utilize the activity feed to stay on top of important deadlines
- Use data metrics to make objective decisions for improving sales and contract processes
Save time and improve contract workflow coordination with CLM software
Utilizing these time-saving tips can improve your company’s contract coordination workflow. You can enhance contract visibility at every stage and use metadata to improve your processes. This includes improvements to the counterparty experience, as happy customers drive sales and improve your bottom line.
Automation with CLM software helps you streamline all stages of the contract lifecycle. This allows legal and sales to focus on revenue-generating activities, improving the relationship between teams and further driving your company’s success.
These time-saving tips can help you make significant improvements to your contract lifecycle.