Is Now the Right Time to Implement Sales Contracting Software?
If your organization has established the need for a sales contracting solution to simplify document-related processes and determined where to deploy the solution, you need to consider the timing.
On one hand, it’s important to jump in when conditions are right at your company. On the other, the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin accruing benefits. While there might be a lot of energy to move quickly, it’s important to consider organizational headwinds, other big projects taking up energy or a companywide focus on other priorities. It may be better to wait until conditions are more favorable.
Another option is to start small. Deploy part of the contracting solution initially—something that won’t take a lot of time and energy to implement. It might not be transformative, but deploying in small doses can set you up for instant wins as well as longer-term impact. However you choose to deploy, determining the right time to implement contracting technology is essential to ensuring success.
When is the right time to address contracting technology?
Here are some factors to consider when determining the right time to deploy contracting technology:
- Company need—Is the need for such a solution pressing? Are there pressures to execute contracts/agreements digitally? Is the business struggling because of a contract-related hurdle?
- Company situation—Do you have the internal bandwidth to take on this type of deployment? Do you have the budget? Is this something that needs support from executives or other team leaders?
- Expected impact—Would modernizing contracting move the needle to help achieve your departmental or company goals? Impact is generally larger if you’re executing a lot of contracts every month, there is regulation involved, your contracts are high value or there is significant complexity in the contract itself or how it’s executed, among other criteria.
After answering the questions above, you should have a clearer understanding of where your organization is now and the impact modern contracting technology will have. If the current need is great or could impact a broad range of departments, the time to act is now. If there’s not enough internal bandwidth to commit to a transformation of that scale, it might be best to wait until you can commit more completely. Consider all of the factors before determining the timeline and scope of your next contracting initiative.
Two approaches to deployment timing
The San Diego Zoo started small before jumping in.
One of the zoo’s strategic initiatives was to become an entirely paperless operation. But this initiative was one of many, so the zoo didn’t have the bandwidth for a wide implementation. While the impact would be significant, it didn’t impact revenue and consumer experience, which made this project a lower priority than others.
Still, zoo leaders wanted to begin the paperless transition, and decided the HR department was a good place to start. The HR team had 87 boxes of paper files already on hand, so it was one of the biggest paper offenders.
The decision was made to deploy e-signature software for their hiring and onboarding process and this helped to digitize their existing paper, store documents and digitize the signing process for future agreements. With a success under their belt, the team is now looking to digitize other processes and can use the foundation in HR to make a strong case to do so.
GoCardless, on the other hand, went big right away with its new contracting solution. The UK-based IT and services company fit the criteria for large-scale deployment:
- There was a compelling need: Salespeople were using Word to create contracts leading to errors
- The situation was ideal: There were few other technical projects at the time and contracting improvements were a priority
- Impact would be large: As a startup, it was focused on growing revenue, and streamlining sales contracts would immediately impact its bottom line
The company deployed a contract lifecycle management (CLM) solution to streamline sales and increase productivity. Sales reps can now click a button to create a custom sales contract using information from their CRM and specific clauses from a library approved by legal. The company also built a workflow that automates contract approval through various departments and levels.
The new contract solution wasn’t only for sales—it’s used across the business as a standard in recruitment, procurement, sales, legal and management.
As a result, GoCardless saved countless legal hours closing sales and vendor contracts while gaining more insight into its centralized contract database. Its customers found that the new contracting process made their lives easier because they receive a personalized contract quickly, complete negotiations with transparency and can close transactions electronically.
For sales contracting, make sure the time is right for deployment
It’s always good to get high ROI projects started, but you need to balance need with the specific situation at your company. Take your time to think through timing and only start the project when you’re building on a strong foundation (company need) and can devote resources (company situation) to a project that the company values (expected impact). If you do that, you’ll be set up for success.
Step through the most important questions to help evaluate contracting technology for your company with a detailed checklist.
This is part four in a five-part series to help you determine if you should deploy an agreement/contracting solution. It covers questions you should consider before contacting a vendor to explore your software options to ensure your company gets maximum value from the implementation.