How to Evaluate Sales Contracting Software for Your Organization

Many companies know they have problems throughout their agreement process, but aren’t sure where to start in order to improve that process. Agreements can touch every team at an organization and it can be hard to pin down exactly where specific pain points originate or how to start fixing them. Because of the broad scope of agreement workflows, it can be easy to simply accept the status quo and the pains that come with it. In this post and the subsequent series, we’ll help your organization break the entire agreement process into smaller steps and pose simple questions to determine if sales contracting technology is right for your company, where it makes the most sense to start, if you should act now, and which contract technologies should be considered.

You may ask - why should the sales contracting process be a priority? Well, contracts are the foundation on which business is done and getting it right has a significant impact on revenue at nearly every company - according to the International Association for Contract and Commercial Management, ineffective contract management costs businesses up to 9.2% of revenue. This is no surprise since 94% of organizations prepare agreements using highly manual processes according to a Forrester study commissioned by DocuSign. This manual contract work doesn’t only impact revenue though, it slows business down, hurts productivity, increases costs and leads to poor experiences.

The question isn’t whether contracting is an issue, it’s what should be done and when. Modern contracting tools can solve a lot of the problems, but evaluating technology is never easy, so we’re going to cut through the noise and help you understand how to make the best decision for your organization.

Clarify if sales contracting technology is right for you

You’ve probably bought software before, but have you been able to maximize adoption and ROI of that software? If not, you’re in good company: 93% of sales teams and 91% of HR teams say they aren’t getting full value out of their software.

What’s causing that drop-off? Sometimes the software wasn’t needed in the first place. Other times, it was poorly implemented or there wasn’t enough organizational support. Whatever the reason, you can avoid those problems by taking specific steps to evaluate and prioritize your contracting technology needs. 

The first step is to answer several key questions:

  • Is contracting technology suitable for your company? To be of real value, contracting software needs to support broader company goals, objectives and initiatives. If it doesn’t, you won’t get the value you should expect. Establishing a clear link between company goals and the impact of new technology will lay a strong foundation for long-term success.
  • Where should you start? Contracting technology can touch many parts of a business, including sales contracts, employment agreements, vendor onboarding and a lot more. To make the strongest business case, you want to prioritize processes that maximize impact and realize value quickly. Nailing the first deployment will highlight the execution of the program while at the same time support the case to digitize additional contract processes.
  • Is now the right time to implement? It’s crucial to jump in only when conditions are right at your company. If there are organizational headwinds or other big projects taking up all your energy, it may be better to hold off until circumstances are more favorable. If the need for a new solution and drive to get it done are there, it’s best to get started with a complete solution and begin accruing benefits over time. Another option is to start small at first—deploy just a part of the contracting solution initially, often something that’s fast and lightweight with a clear payback.
  • Which parts of the contracting process should be addressed? Contracting solutions can automate the entire contract lifecycle—they can enable instant remote signing, streamline document creation, eliminate the need for physical storage of documents and analyze copy with artificial intelligence. By identifying specific contracting pain points, you can decide where to  invest.

Each of these questions are covered in greater depth using data and examples in each part of this series.

Plan your tactical details to ensure a successful rollout

If your response to the first set of  questions indicates contracting technology should be a priority and you’ve identified where to start and which stages of the contracting process need to be addressed, then it’s time to dig deeper. Here are a few more tactical considerations to ensure smooth execution: 

  • Integration—If you have an established technology stack, integrations are an important element in any new technology rollout. You want one seamless system that allows you to work in a single interface rather than pivoting between systems. The depth of an integration will make all the difference, so do your research here.
  • Scale, innovation, interconnectivity—When implementing contracting technology, it’s good to consider what you might need down the road. Consider the scale that each solution supports and where you’ll be in three to five years, what the roadmap looks like and how well a solution could work across different departments and use cases. This will ensure you don’t make a change too quickly and need to go through implementation all over again.
  • Implementation—Make sure you’ll have the internal or external resources to get implementation done right. You may need help from systems integrators or professional services to get the most out of your new deployment. Get comfortable with this aspect of any solution you’re considering.

Start at the beginning, not the middle

Selecting the right solution is difficult—but that’s not the first decision you must make. First, consider whether you should deploy any new technology, whether that solution will help to achieve corporate or departmental goals. By laying the groundwork with some key considerations early in the process—even before reaching out to any vendor—you can feel confident that deploying new contracting technology will benefit your organization and provide the ROI you should expect. 

Want some help in determining if you’re a fit for modern contracting technology? Work through a detailed checklist to help you determine if new software is appropriate for your sales, HR, procurement and legal departments.

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