Accelerate the Creation of Contract Workflows Between Sales and Legal
Automated contract workflow templates for standard contract processes can dramatically shorten the time that it takes to create contract workflows between the sales and legal departments within your organization. Automating your contract workflows makes it possible for sales and legal stakeholders to spend less time approving, redlining, signing and routing sales contracts manually and instead, focus on more strategic projects.
Manual contract approval workflows waste time
As companies mature, the number of stakeholders involved in, or the complexity of, the agreement process dramatically increases. Without a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution to tame this complexity, organizations are stuck with manual processes that cause wasted time, unnecessary risk and dissatisfaction for customers and employees.
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?
- You send a draft copy of a proposed sales contract to your supervisor, your sales manager, your regional sales manager, your sales director and your vice president of sales on email. Everyone comments on and tweaks your contract in a progressive reply-all email thread. That is, everyone except your sales director. Your sales director, instead of commenting on and tweaking the last version of the contract, comments on and tweaks the first version of the contract that no longer exists. You go back to square one and risk losing the sale.
- You send a draft copy of a proposed sales contract to your supervisor, your sales manager, your regional sales manager, your sales director and your vice president of sales on email or through your CLM platform. Everyone comments on and tweaks your contract in a progressive reply-all email thread or in a single version on your CLM platform. Everyone signs off on the final version. Except legal, which either didn’t know the contract existed or hasn’t got around to looking at the first version you sent over. You go back to square one and risk losing the sale.
Those scenarios sound familiar because they’re common within larger corporations.
In our 2019 State of Contract Management survey we asked more than 800 people involved in managing contracts at their organizations a few questions.
- 80 percent said they share contracts within their organization and externally with business partners, customers and prospects through email
- 53 percent cited approvals as their biggest challenge in the contract process—far more than any other challenge cited by the respondents
Why risk losing the sale because of poor internal contract workflows? There is no good answer to that question.
Improve your internal contract workflows with a CLM solution that includes customized workflow templates.
What are CLM workflow templates?
CLM workflow templates allow business users to build new sales contract workflows in minutes with predefined standard templates for approvals, redlining, signature and routing. These templates allow users to quickly automate and customize standard contract processes leading to quicker time to value.
Workflow templates make it possible to build approval processes for each stakeholder in sales, legal and other teams, customizing the email language and setting expirations. You can then link to a workflow that will automate sending it out for customer review, and ultimately get the contract signed after both parties agree.
You can add predefined, or standardized workflow templates to your CLM platform for each of the four steps in a typical sales contract process:
- A template for approvals
- A template for redlining, or making changes
- A template for signatures
- A template for routing
Customize each of those templates for your unique situation and connect them into a master workflow template. You control who sees it, who approves it, the order of approvals, who can suggest changes, who can make changes, who needs to sign it and how it moves from one user to another. You also can attach time limits or expiration dates to each step as well as make the entire contract workflow process visible to all approved users in real time.
Visible to all approved users in real time, including legal.
That means your legal department can concurrently review your proposed contract as it moves through your internal sales process and can add, delete or amend any language, terminology, terms and clauses that could give you problems later. The goal is having sales and legal work separately and together simultaneously to reach a final and approved sales contract at the same time. No one is waiting on the other department to do its work, and you’re reducing the number of touches by each department on a single contract to as few as possible.
The benefits of CLM workflow templates
Automating contract workflow processes increases the speed of sales, from the time the contract is generated all the way through to when the customer signs the contract. This means faster time to close deals and more time for you to pursue additional sales. Your organization also delivers a better customer experience by making the sales contracting process as streamlined as possible.
Automating your contract workflows also makes it possible for sales and legal stakeholders to spend less time approving, redlining, signing and routing sales contracts manually and instead, focus on more strategic projects.
The best way to measure the success of using CLM workflow templates is tracking your contract cycle time, or how long it takes you to create a sales contract and get it out the door to a customer. You also can track the time elapsed between each step in your internal contract cycle.
Learn more about DocuSign CLM and how workflow templates can help accelerate your contract cycle times and increase sales.
In another recent blog post, we’ll look at how workflow templates can accelerate the creation of internal workflows to produce master service agreements