contract

Strike while the iron is… cold: Why now is the time for contract transformation

by Alexandra Stehman

The economic climate is quite chilly at the moment, to say the least. The national GDP had its worst rate in modern times, dropping at a rate of 32.9 percent in the second quarter. This means sales in many verticals are flagging, and sales teams are scrambling to keep their leads warm or drum up new ways to keep the business humming.  

So who’s not super busy? Your contract teams. It may not seem like the ideal time to strike out on a digital transformation project for your contracts process when there isn’t a lot of contracting going on, but the truth is there’s never been a better time. Let’s examine why now is the ideal time for transforming contracts and changing your plans for the better.

 

Why now?

While the economy is struggling to reignite, now is the perfect opportunity to invest in transformational technology changes with your contracting process. Your legal counsel, paralegals, contract managers—all of those usually overly-tasked resources who never have that “extra time” to spend on a digital transformation project—are actually perfectly positioned to spend this downtime with tech consultants like us.

If you take the time now to put in place the ideal contract lifecycle management (CLM) system, when the economy picks up—voila—those resources will be able to keep pace instead of being the bottleneck to revenue recognition. Sales will no longer be hung up on the hallmark contract management problems: generating Word documents, looking for the latest approved legal language, tracking contract statuses in Excel sheets, stumbling through cumbersome redlining, or managing disjointed signature processes. 

 

Change your plans

Agile adaptation is even more important if, as many have been forced to do, your contracting staff headcount has been reduced due to shrinking budgets. Instead of waiting to re-staff when sales re-surge and then struggling to recognize revenue due to contracting bottlenecks… change your plans.

By working with Simplus to implement a contracts process, we can cut the time your sales team currently spends on contracts in half. This means doubling your contract staff’s throughput and halving the time (and budget) spent on contracting overhead. But how, you ask? We’ll cover that in an upcoming article, “Getting ready for digital CLM.” Until then, take a look at five contract areas you can improve efficiency in by investing in transformation now.

 

Now is the perfect time for…

 

1. Revamping your contracts. Almost every one of our CLM customers overhauls their contracts as part of a CLM transformation. Typically legal counsel, contract managers, and paralegals are too busy supporting the sales cycle that they can’t take the time for general housekeeping. These kinds of activities should be completed before engaging in a CLM implementation, but we can help guide you in how to prepare, which we’ll feature in the next article. 

2. Organizing your existing contracts. Most CLM transformation projects focus on implementing a new way of handling contracts, but the legacy contracts need attention, too. Identifying and staging all of those existing contract documents and deciding which ones will be migrated to the new system is a critical and time-consuming task. This, too, is something that can (and should) be done before the CLM implementation. We’ll include more on this later as well.

3. Identifying your ideal contracts process. Contract requests and approvals, contract drafting and draft approvals, negotiation processes and redlining approvals, digital and ink signature processes, automated contract activation and de-activation, renewals, and amendments—how do you do all of these things now? Documenting the current processes gives you a baseline from which to start assessing your ideal, to-be contracts process. Simplus can help guide you through this process and evaluate the best CLM platform for your requirements.

4. Doing your due diligence. There are several CLM platform vendors ready to sign you up for as many licenses as you’ll buy, but let us help guide you through that process. Simplus has experience across four of the major CLM platforms, including Conga Contracts for Salesforce, Conga Contracts (off-platform), Apttus, and DocuSign CLM. We are well equipped to match you with the best platform to suit your unique business needs.

5. Roadmapping it. It is tempting to try to get the most bang for your buck out of a project and cram as much functionality into one project as possible. However, we’ve seen much better success by following the crawl-walk-run-fly approach. After a thorough analysis of your entire desired contracts process (remember point #3?), Simplus will propose a roadmap where we focus on the most critical areas first in an MVP, designing the architecture to support the follow-on phases without requiring a bunch of re-work between each phase. This approach helps you realize a significant return on your investment sooner while still setting the stage for incremental improvements over time.

Read more details about preparing for your digital CLM transformation in the next article, “Getting ready for digital CLM.” Until then, check out our FastTrack offerings for both Conga and DocuSign CLM. 

 

Alexandra is a CLM Solutions Architect here at Simplus. She has over five years’ experience implementing Salesforce solutions for clients across multiple different verticals. Her recent work includes growing Simplus’ CLM practice, including implementing SpringCM and Conga solutions, providing process and project leadership, overseeing implementations, leading and growing the Conga and SpringCM teams, managing the partner relationship with SpringCM and Conga, and assisting in pre-sales activities for SpringCM and Conga engagements.

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