10 Tips for Managing Sales Contracts in Salesforce

The B2B sales process is more complex than ever. According to Gartner, B2B deals now involve, on average, 10 people and take about 17 weeks to complete. And customers have more power in the sales process; they have access to information, can easily find high-quality alternatives, and have higher expectations based on interactions with organizations like Uber and Amazon. According to recent research, 82% of B2B customers expect a personalized buying experience and about 80% prefer digital or self-service experiences

But many organizations don’t deliver the best experience when working through a contract with a customer. While they may have transformed many parts of the sales process by deploying Salesforce and other tools, the contract process has yet to be digitized. This critical area remains manual and error-prone—and doesn’t deliver the experience B2B customers demand. Docusign for Salesforce can help overcome these complexities and unite the fragmented quote-to-contract process to create greater efficiencies, collaboration and visibility.

Challenges in the B2B sales cycle

When the contract process includes manual, complex workflows, friction can easily develop at any point, from gathering details to populate the right template, to getting approvals for pricing and contract terms, to storing the contract and analyzing its data. This friction creates broken contract cycles, which can delay the time required to get a completed agreement by up to seven days. About 80% of Docusign customers execute more than 500 sales contracts a month. At that scale, manual contract processes can have a significant impact on overall revenue. And for your customers, fragmented workflows create a slow, inconsistent, frustrating experience that may have them seeking out other suppliers. 

How to manage the entire sales contract process within Salesforce

Docusign for Salesforce allows sales teams to manage and automate the agreement process from contract generation and negotiation through signature and storage on a single platform. As a result, you’re maximizing the value of your Salesforce investment while accelerating your B2B business. The ability to keep your agreement processes directly inside Salesforce means that your team is not only more efficient, but you’re delivering a far superior experience to your customers.

How two companies are managing contracts from within Salesforce

A manufacturing company struggled with antiquated processes that involved using discrete tools and emailing documents back and forth. Sales managers suffered through poor version control, no visibility into the status of contracts, increased compliance risk, prolonged time to execution and lack of a single source of truth for contract data. 

To solve this, the manufacturer deployed Docusign for Salesforce. With Docusign CLM+ (+ indicates AI analytics capability), the company was able to automate contract workflows across key stakeholders, reviewers and approvers to ensure contracts are routed correctly each time. The new workflow stores documents within CLM+, which is used as a central repository for all contracts, while updating status in Salesforce and triggering key downstream processes. This way, users who work in Salesforce can stay in that application throughout the entire agreement process. CLM+ also uses AI to analyze contracts, helping the company to streamline review of incoming third-party contracts as well as uncover obligations in previously executed contracts.

The results: The manufacturer estimates it’s saving about $2,000 per contract, equating to around 40% improvement in legal review time. The company has also reduced the number of unique templates by 75%.

A second customer, a multibillion-dollar corporation that sells software, hardware and related technology services, was undergoing a continuous digital transformation that included evolving its contract management capability. The company needed to find a technology to make the contract process easier for its sales team. With a large, disparate, global sales team spread across several countries, sales and contracting information lived in multiple places, with none of it centralized.

The customer deployed Docusign CLM for Salesforce and Salesforce CPQ to create a standardized, centralized quote-to-contract system. The implementation team interviewed more than 50 stakeholders to understand what they needed across legal, sales, procurement and IT. As a first step, they deployed CLM to simplify and automate the master service agreement (MSA) and non-disclosure agreement (NDA) processes. Then the team added the capability for sales to generate order forms in CLM with the click of a button. In both core implementations, the company is seeing high adoption of the newly integrated system as it expands its use of CLM and Salesforce.

The results: The company reduced contract execution time by 86%, increased transparency and visibility, and drastically reduced the error rate as well as the number of missing contracts.

10 tips for integrating contract management processes into Salesforce

  1. Choose a contract management solution that offers pre-built integrations into Salesforce (including CPQ) to automate and streamline the process of selling and contracting from within Salesforce.
  2. Understand your license agreement between Salesforce and contract management tools so you can ensure all your users can take advantage of the integration without overspending. 
  3. Crawl and walk before you run. If possible, prioritize less intricate use cases like NDAs first and then flesh out other implementation elements. Smaller and less complex use cases tend to face less resistance and can prove value and ROI needed to move on to larger use cases. 
  4. The contract process is complex; for successful deployment, approach it with an all-hands-on-deck mentality. Talk to stakeholders early and often to ensure they are part of the process, their voices are being heard and the new system will meet their needs. 
  5. Think end-to-end when you build your platform. Even when starting small, consider where you eventually want to go so you can create a system that will allow you to get there when the time is right. Replacing a system that can’t meet growing needs is expensive and time consuming.
  6. Focus on users first. Think about the user experience, what you want your sales users to achieve and how easy you want the experience to be for them. 
  7. Take the time to enhance processes while upgrading your technology. During implementation, you will unearth areas of your processes that could be improved. Take this opportunity to modernize those processes.
  8. Any digital transformation requires change management to encourage usage and adoption. Luckily, the convenience of new digital contracting processes normally encourages adoption and usage without the need for stricter measures. The standardization and automation built into tools like Docusign for Salesforce also help enforce usage of new tools and processes.
  9. Take advantage of training resources such as Docusign University courses and Salesforce Trailhead tutorials. Spending a couple of hours on these training courses might save you a couple of dozen hours during use.
  10. Remember, you’re not alone. It’s critical to choose a vendor that offers a dedicated account team and ongoing support resources for a true partnership that can be called on when there are questions or challenges. 

Learn more about Docusign for Salesforce.