If you are a salesperson in a services organization, your life revolves around the customers.
They dictate everything. And that includes the SOWs, the contract templates, and the terms of negotiation. At the same time, your legal team manages to ensure compliance to safeguard business risks of all kinds.
And, what happens when contracts get delayed in never-ending rounds of negotiations and stakeholder coordination? They affect your customer experience and your revenue. You would like to reclaim those precious hours so you can focus on the next set of deals in your pipeline. But it is easier said than done. Services contracting is like that. It has to please everybody (customers, in-house counsels on both sides, business heads). And that’s a tricky thing, if not impossible.
Ideally, you would like the process to be smooth, friction-free, and collaborative by design. You would like to provide your customers a great experience throughout the contract authoring and negotiation stages. Not keep them going in loops of emails, negotiations, and contract versions for weeks.
So, how do you transform sales contract management in your services organization? Here are three things you can do:
1. Solve for self-reliance
The trend in services contracting is that it is often the customer who sends the first contract draft. And that adds to a whole lot of complexity. The template is alien to you – and we don’t mean the formatting or the headers and footers – the very structure and contents seem different. It is where generally sales operations teams ring up the legal folks for help. But that’s not the best workflow for efficiency.
What you need is a way to ‘decode’ the third-party paper or customer contract template without having to follow up with legal teams. AI-powered solutions are the answer. They understand natural language, deconstruct external contract templates, compare clauses with internal standards, and highlight sections where potential risks exist.
In this case, legal teams act as guides and controllers who allocate risk scores to different versions of a given clause and define the thresholds for acceptance or rejection. This approach saves human hours otherwise wasted in cross-functional follow-ups, manual draft review, and analysis.
2. Make it amendment-friendly
Contracts in the services sector are not set in stone. The intangible nature of services coupled with changing business dynamics makes it difficult to predict all the eventualities at the time of the initial contract. The customer may realize they want to add specific services earlier left out; they may want to overhaul the SOW. There may even be the entry of another partner in the equation. Hence amendments, revisions, and renegotiations are all too familiar in the world of services sales contracts.
When such an amendment occurs, you don’t want to be caught off guard. You got to have all the initial documents, versions, negotiation history, and collaboration threads handy so you have answers for all the questions that will come your way. That highlights the importance of maintaining all your contract authoring data in a single and secure location. Emails just don’t cut it.
3. Build it into your CRM
Contract management processes that stay siloed from your CRM will eventually fail to make sales operations teams effective.
Imagine if you could convert your deals into new contract drafts without opening a new word document or sign into another application to initiate new contracts. Shorten your deal-to-signature cycle time by integrating contract management solutions with your CRM.
If you resonate with these and would like to know more about how to transform your sales contract management, drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would be happy to walk you through SimpliContract’s SaaS-based Contract Lifecycle Management platform.