Negotiating Customer Contracts for Small Businesses

The need to simplify the contract management process is more dire than ever before. According to Docusign’s State of Contract Management survey, 44 percent of respondents said they were using a contract management solution in 2018, up from 32 percent in 2017. However, deals continue to stall. Why? Simply put, there are a number of steps that must be completed before the contract can be finalized. In fact, 83 percent of respondents to that same survey said their contract lifecycle lasts between 2 weeks and 6 weeks, on average. That’s because the majority of contracts go through three or more versions before reaching the signature process.

Here at Docusign, we know how frustrating it can be to rely on outdated, disconnected systems that delay the contract management process. Today’s businesses need a solution that’s built to handle agreement-negotiation tasks like managing reviews, redlines, versions, and approvals. That’s why we’ve launched Docusign Negotiate, a family of Docusign products for small and medium businesses that can be used to seamlessly and automatically generate, negotiate, and approve sales agreements.

Reducing contract management pain points  

Tools like eSignature have already modernized the contract signing process. But when it comes to document preparation and negotiation, many organizations face approval delays simply because they rely on manual processes and disconnected systems. Contract negotiations are taking longer than they should, and reps are wasting time manually creating agreements, sending them around for internal review, and going back and forth with customers and internal stakeholders, all across multiple emails and Word documents. The result? Potential customers are left feeling impatient—and deals aren’t closing. If you’re feeling that pain, Docusign Negotiate can help.

Approval routing

Docusign Negotiate lets you designate approvers who can reject, edit, or approve an agreement within the existing workflow. When it’s time to do their part, approvers get task notifications. As the document owner, you can always check the status of who needs to do what in the workflow. In addition, the document’s activity history is automatically tracked. These capabilities ensure compliance and auditability of your approval process.  Instead of having to switch between disparate platforms, everything happens in one place. This process eliminates unnecessary steps and increases visibility into each action that’s required.

Track all changes

Instead of relying on counterparties to use change tracking in Google Docs or Microsoft Word, document owners can automatically detect changes among versions as redlines. This saves time and reduces the risk of missing significant changes. 

“I can tell you firsthand that change detection is an important differentiator, because larger businesses often turn track-changes off, as a bully move, when negotiating with SMBs,” says Docusign V.P. of Commercial Sales Dave Simon. “That causes hours/days of reconciliation work if the rep can’t convince the customer to re-do their changes in track-changes.”

Ease of setup, use, and management

A primary reason that most SMBs have not automated contract negotiation is the complexity of traditional contract-management tools. These tools assume dedicated resources for custom implementations, user support, and ongoing management. “SMBs told us manual document generation and negotiation was wasting time and introducing risk,” says Mary McGuire, senior product marketing manager at Docusign. “But automation wasn’t an option it required big projects and IT teams.” 

To fit SMBs’ needs, Docusign Negotiate delivers automated document generation, negotiation-specific workflow, change tracking, and version control—all in a package that’s easy to set up and run. Included are pre-integrations with Salesforce Sales Cloud and Docusign eSignature (sold separately), so you don’t need to spend time making the parts work together. Instead, you can use them to automate how you generate, negotiate, and sign agreements.

With Docusign Negotiate, you will save time, reduce risk, and allow your team to focus on growing the business. No more looking for version 3 (or was it 4?) that Tony emailed to the client but should have first gotten approved by Rachel, who may or may not have caught Tony’s mistake when he manually rekeyed customer data from Salesforce into the contract—need we go on?

There is a better way. Learn how Docusign Negotiate can help your business automatically generate, negotiate, and approve agreements.