In order to effectively complete a sales cycle, many business documents are used by the negotiating parties like proposals, quotes, etc. However, a formal agreement can only be reached once the seller identifies the needs of the buyer, agrees on the solution, establishes the necessary terms, and addresses any outstanding issues. The legal document that makes it possible for sales personnel to cement their hard work of persuading their clients into closing the deal, is none other than – a sales contract.
A commercial contract generally consists of the details of the parties, the deliverables that are promised by the seller, payment terms for the buyer, the timeline concerning the deal plus any additional terms and conditions discussed by the parties. Although creating a contract might sound easy from what is described above, in reality only experienced sales and legal experts are truly comfortable with creating contracts that sufficiently cover the terms and conditions of the deal. For newcomers, the contract creation process can appear overwhelming and too confusing to start with.
At Documill, we have been helping companies close deals since 2012 and to make this task easier for you we have 5 tips to help you streamline your contract creation process:
1. Pay attention to the different elements you include in your contract:
For closing deals, the contracts need to be clear and easy to understand for the people reading them. To draft competent sales contracts, for all the parties involved to be on the same page, the following key elements should be included:
- Preamble section that states all the key terms, negotiation details and information of the parties involved as a summary right at the beginning of the contract.
- Description of goods and services including all the necessary information like the product type, weight, size, model number, term length, number of seats, etc. In general, this is one of the most important elements in a sales agreement, thus, there should be no room for error here.
- Delivery Instructions notify both the parties about the time, date and location of the scheduled delivery of goods.
- Inspection Period enables the buyer to inspect the goods after they have been successfully delivered while rejecting any non-conforming items. So having the details about the inspection period in a sales contract is a good way of establishing concrete business relationships and ensuring customer loyalty for any future deals.
- Warranties and guarantees about the goods and services, that were agreed at the time of negotiations between the buyer and the seller must be included in the purchase agreement.
- Payment details like the date of payment, annual versus quarterly billing, any discounts that were granted during the negotiation phase, and the method of payment.
2. Utilize standardize contract templates:
As contracts are complex legal documents, most sales and legal teams find it difficult to draft them from scratch each time and that is where templates come in handy. Using pre-built templates can not only help in making the drafting process dramatically easier and less time-consuming but also eliminate any possible errors.
As a bonus, most templates allow your contracts to be branded completely in line with your visual guidelines, thus providing evidence of trustworthiness and making the document look good in general for the readers.
Also, with the help of templates, the sales team can sell lightning fast by saving time and reusing lengthy reusable content with the ability to drag and drop relevant sections like T&Cs (Terms & Conditions), warranties, contract terms, etc. directly from the content library. This way they do not have to wait on long approval times taken by the legal team to review the drafted copy of the contracts.
Documill helps you to implement and execute even the most demanding process designs.
3. Employ e-signatures when you can:
When it comes to the contract agreement and approval, one of the biggest obstacles that businesses face is manually printing multiple copies that are signed and scanned multiple times due to the involvement of too many approvers in the contract workflow.
Therefore, having the option to electronically sign contracts using e-signatures significantly streamlines the contract approvals. Despite the switch from a pen to a personal computing device, the purpose of signatures has not changed i.e., to ratify an agreement and conclude a process. There are three main types of electronic signatures to choose from for your agreement:
- Basic electronic signature: These are easy to implement and use and can be usually completed by a single button click. Once the signature takes place, it is loosely linkable to an individual. Some good examples of such eSignatures are cookie acceptance on websites and agreeing to terms & conditions.
- Advanced electronic signature: These are also easy to implement but their use depends on the vendor and if they are eIDAS compliant. Most online signatures and signatures that are done through Adobe Acrobat are a few such examples.
- Qualified electronic signature: To implement these, dedicated equipment is required and the process is often quite lengthy. However, these eSignatures are therefore legally equivalent to a handwritten signature.
Documill allows you to finalize business-critical deals with industry-standard electronic signatures.
4. Implement contract creation software:
Instead of wasting your resources on the manual contract creation process, start using contract creation software that automates your contracts from start to finish.
There is no denying the fact that manual processes are subject to human error. There is always a risk when it comes to drafting complex commercial contracts manually that mistakes like typos, usage of old data or calculation errors can prove to be very costly for a business.
Hence, contract automating software can significantly help you in reducing these human errors and create high-quality contracts that are consistent throughout. Also, paperless contracts that do not require printing, scanning and hand signatures are ultimately much more sustainable than their conventional counterparts. Not to forget the flexible workflow accommodation, conditional logic, customizable pre-built templates, content libraries, drag and drop signature and other features that come with automating software like Documill, eventually making your job much more accessible and easier for the sales and legal team.
5. Sync your contract creation software with your CRM to leave no room for error in your contracts:
As a sales representative responsible for drafting high-value complex contracts, you do not want to have pricing mistakes in the final draft that goes to the recipient as it can easily result in lengthy delays, look unprofessional and, in the worst case ruin the entire deal!
Therefore, a healthy practice that helps avoid this error is synchronizing your contract creation software with the CRM (like Salesforce) you use for managing your clients. A good, relevant example such software is Documill. It enables you to create your contracts using accurate product information and pricing data all stored within Salesforce, and without even navigating out of the CRM ecosystem altogether.
A business deal is ultimately governed by a sales contract, as it is only after signing this legal document that the parties start their business relationship. And of course, it is always advisable to adhere to your industry requirements and guidelines since every contract is different.
So as long as you get all the essential contract elements right, brand your contract with proper templates, choose the proper electronic signatures, minimize the margin of error by syncing your data directly with your CRM – or implement a contract creation software help you do all of that in one go, nothing can stop you from closing your deals lightning fast!