You can certainly use a Swiss Army knife to cut your Iberico or Kobe fillet. But no doubt a filleting knife does the work so much better – and more easily, too. Not to think about a surgeon ditching a scalpel blade in favor of a Swiss Army knife…
What applies to cutting meat (or vegetables or human tissue for that matter), applies also to cutting deals. At the pre-contract and award stages, a specialized solution can serve you much better than an all-around solution. Even more so, as the all-around contract management solutions tend to concentrate much on managing the document after signing – which is equally important but entails activity completely different.
At Documill, we like to speak a lot about document automation in the context of Salesforce. And why not? An app/solution like Documill Dynamo out of the Salesforce AppExchange can fully automate contract creation. Well, it can automate the creation of almost any document or email to do with sales and customer support.
But what if the contract is a non-standardized one, like the biggest contracts that capture the most revenue tend to be? Certainly, there are all-around contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions as Salesforce apps (or with integrations) that say they do every step of the job. But…
A specialized or a “complete” solution?
Open your browser and search for contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions. You will soon find that the providers of these solutions are primarily concerned about managing the document after it has been signed. This post-contract/post-award stage entails completely different activities than the negotiation phase: storing, renewals, content analysis and so forth.
Although the negotiation and award stages and tools to help them pop up here and there in their content, these are a secondary focus.
You probably won’t use a Swiss Army knife to cut your Iberico or Kobe fillet. The same applies also to cutting deals: specialized tools help you better succeed there
This is why we have created Documill Leap, a specialized contract collaboration, negotiation management and e-signature app for Salesforce (a standalone solution is available, too). We seriously aim to be – and are to our knowledge, indeed – the best partner to help you run contract negotiations successfully.
There are specialized tools to cover also the post-contract phase. You can complement Documill Leap with these for full, seamless contract lifecycle management – right within your Salesforce.
But what are the key challenges Documill Leap helps you overcome?
When do you need specialized contract negotiation and e-signature solution?
When it comes to contract negotiations, the top three stakeholders in an organization are the legal, procurement, and sales teams.
The legal team at your company may include a wide range of roles, such as attorneys, paralegals, legal operators and contract managers (or contract directors or supervisors). Whether your company has a small or large legal team, they’re involved in creating, reviewing and managing every contract detail.
However, other teams are often also involved in negotiations, sales in particular. The contract manager role may well sit in the sales team. Either way, there are many people contributing to the negotiation of big deals: close to 8 people at a seller’s side and close to 6 at a buyer’s side on average, said a G2 study a few years back. Usually, approval on either side is needed from more than one contributor.
Such complexity sets naturally specific challenges. It is these that we help overcome with Documill Leap. Let us look at them from the perspectives of the sale-side key contributors:
- Contract manager and legal team
- Sales team
- Financial team.
Negotiation of a big deal involves many more people than just the ones who sit at the table.
Negotiation manager’s and legal team’s challenges
Whether the contract manager sits in the sales or legal team, they are likely to experience similar challenges, since the requirements for the outcome of their work are the same
1. Lack of leadership and role designation
Contract management roles – contract manager, contract director or contract advisor – aren’t clearly defined or understood in every company at all. This leads to confusion, miscommunication and delays that ultimately slow down the contracting process – or may even kill a deal.
Add to this the difficulty often encountered when trying to find out, who are involved in the negotiation on the buy side.
It pays to clarify the internal roles – and agree upon the negotiation process with the counterparty before the actual negotiation. This includes naming all people to be kept in the loop.
Do these preparations carefully, and Documill Leap will come to your aid. You can define the steps of the negotiation in a workflow and automate them up to the degree you need beforehand. The contract will find the right contributor at each step. Automated actionable alerts will keep each contributor up to their tasks. And this workflow is surprisingly easy to set.
2. Difficulty in managing redlining
Knowing who will do what and when is important. And then, keeping track of what has been done and when is equally important. Enter redlining.
If you are sending a separate Word file over Slack or email to the contributors for revisioning, confusion is likely to follow. There is a big risk of several versions circulating and a contributor working on the wrong version. If you are using an online version of Word or another text editor, you already have much more control. It is easier to ensure that everybody works on the same file.
But you are still working outside the system where your data sits – Salesforce in our case. There will still be a lot of copy-pasting.
With Documill Leap, you can avoid so much manual work and mistakes that follow. Your buyer’s contributors can access the contract file right in Documill Leap’s online editor, whereas for many on your side, it sits right on their Salesforce screens. You have each moment immediate access to your deal data.
3. Struggling to provide quick answers to contract-related questions
Speaking about the context, working right in your data source also makes it easy to provide deal-related information to anybody who asks, especially your potential buyer. The faster you respond, the happier they are.
And the faster your team gets the data they need, the better decisions they make.
4. Trouble tracking approvals and collaborating effectively
Getting a quick approval from one busy director can be difficult. And what if there are several approvers? Be prepared for longer delays.
However, Documill Leap’s workflow includes its own automated e-signing. It comes compliant with the eIDAS standard and makes collecting legally binding e-signatures convenient and fast. Even a complicated approval process can be set up easily, complete with automated task reminders.
Application hopping can be a major pain.
Sales team’s challenges:
Painstaking work on a contract may be seen as a major burden by the salespeople. They would already rather be hunting for the next deal, while formalities like legal details in the ongoing negotiation are still being agreed upon and recorded.
What are the things that bug the salespeople most – and how can Documill Leap help
1. Application hopping
We come back to the question of context. Just like everybody, sales like to work where the data sits, too. This ensures eliminating errors and communicating more precisely and promptly – and crucially, it allows working faster. It also eliminates the need to jump between applications, which reduces time spent on tasks and improves productivity.
With Documill Leap, the salespeople, too, can stay productively where the deal data is. Then they can move more quickly on to the next case and fatten your bottom line.
2. Insecurity about where the deal sits
Whether or not the contract negotiation phase is the favorite part of the dealmaking for the sales, getting it finalized is of paramount importance to them, no doubt.
However, salespeople often find the contract getting stuck especially in the legal team, who need to subject it to scrutiny. Worse still, if the sales team loses sight of the contract when somebody else is working on it. As we saw before, the same may happen in getting the signatures, too.
Such a lack of transparency will certainly cause anxiety. Worse still, it can put completing the deal at risk.
With contract collaboration software like Documill Leap, the sales team can always track the progress of the contract. If hiccups occur, sales know, when to take action to overcome them.
3. Administrative burden
Negotiating a big deal involves a great deal of administrative work and cross-departmental communication. If it all gets too much, the morale of the salespeople is undermined. Also, additional costs are incurred.
With Documill Leap, such administrative work can be radically reduced and collaboration and communication made more efficient. The benefit? More sales by a better-motivated sales force.
4. Losing customer renewals
Every contract has its endpoint. But many of them can be renewed to keep the revenue coming in. That is, if the salesperson is alert to the termination date.
While Documill Leap concentrates on the pre-contract phase, it has some crucial features that come into play after signing the contract. One of these is the capability to have reminders set up for contract renewals, so those all-important expiry dates will not go unnoticed.
Financial team’s challenges:
1. Missing renegotiation opportunities
You have nice deals with your customers but their terms no longer reflect the value your customer gets – and the money you can collect. Time to renegotiate.
But what if you miss the deadline for an automated contract renewal? You probably end up charging less than you could and should for an entire year, which often is the subscription period.
2. Ensuring payments are received on time
As we may all have experienced, unfortunately, it is one thing to strike a deal and another to get a timely full payment for it.
Identifying slow or missed payments is an important part of the financial team’s work. Documill Leap allows setting alerts to track these, saving time for the financial team and even more important, ensuring they can take immediate action when a payment is late.
What about you?
Do any of these challenges and solutions ring a bell for you? Why not drop us a line and tell us, how you need to improve your dealmaking capabilities? We will be happy to give you a tailored demo and tell you more.