Being a contract manager in today’s diverse business landscape can be an interesting and difficult challenge. Not only is there a lot of hard work involved, you also need:
- The correct attitude.
- To understand the ins and outs of your industry.
- Having a thorough understanding of your company’s contracting process.
- To be fleet of foot when it comes to new technology and innovation.
In this article, we are going to delve a little deeper into the four traits a modern contract manager needs to succeed.
Cultivate the right skills
You can take courses to become a contract manager. But what your average course can’t give you is practical experience. They won’t—necessarily—show you how to cultivate the skill of becoming successful. For this you need certain strengths and personality traits. Some of these include:
Good time management
This is an important trait irrespective of your job. But for a contract manager, it is a vital skill. Managing contracts often means managing work at a variable and unpredictable rate. The ability to think ahead, and plan ahead to fulfil your contractual obligations is a must.
Strong organization skills
Just as good time management is important, so too is being well-organized. A contract requires that you implement and monitor an agreement. They may also be times where you will need to renew or adjust a contract so as to achieve the necessary business results. With strong organization skills you will be able to manage all the responsibilities that go with being a contract manager.
Attention to detail
The modern-day business contract can stretch to hundreds of pages, making attention to detail a necessity for anyone considering being a contract manager. Attention to detail is how you catch that incorrect number, that contradiction in the contract, that typo that ruins months of hard work.
Take advantage of technology
Technology provides many opportunities to help improve streamlining, managing and delegating the tasks necessary to fulfill a contract. And that’s just one contract. In this day and age the idea of trying to manage your contract portfolio without some kind of dedicated contract management software (CMS) makes no sense.
The great thing about worthwhile contract management software is that you don’t have to be an IT specialist to work with them. Most contract management platforms are designed for a simple, streamlined functionality that allows you to manage, delegate and keep on top of your contract portfolio.
Finding the right contract management platform for your day-to-day contract management needs will mean you spend less time on the small fiddly tasks, and more time on the work that provides the most value.
Know your industry and your company inside and out
It’s important as a contract manager that you know both your organization and your industry inside and out. Some of the things you’ll need to know to be a successful contract manager include:
This may seem straightforward, but you need to know your organization’s competitors, lines of business, as well as the current business landscape, and its key markets. As well as knowing what the regulatory environment is.
Customers and vendors
You need to have a clear idea of who the organization’s vendors and customers are. Who are the most valuable contract partners?
You need to know the KPIs and other effective metrics in order to measure success of the contract management workflow.
Collaborate and communicate
Your job, as contract manager, is to take the formal, complex language of a business contract and make it understandable for everyone else involved on the project.
What this means is you’ll need to understand—and be familiar with—all the standard contract language and legal-speak that makes up the language of a standard business contract.
To have the best chance of success you must be able to clearly and succinctly explain and argue key points to managers. You will only really need to argue a point during negotiations to ensure realistic expectations are kept on both sides.
You are not alone. So, there is no need to act like it. Behind every good manager is a skilled, dedicated and responsive team committed to producing the best results every time. This means you will need to have good leadership skills as well as good communication skills.
More specifically, you will require traits such as good problem-solving skills. Also, you will need to be able to adapt to new and unexpected situations if you want to excel as a contract manager. Thoughts?
Being the modern contract manager your business needs
If you can cultivate these traits: learn, develop and grow them, it can help you become an excellent contract manager. And you don’t have to do it alone. With the right contract management software, you can let it take care of the tedious tasks, freeing your time to do more of the important, and necessary work.
Frequently asked questions
What makes a good contract manager?
A good contract manager has clear communication and time-management skills. They are someone who works well under pressure to ensure deadlines—and expectations on both sides—are met.
What are the duties of a contract manager?
A contract manager, among other things, oversees projects that are performed between two organizations. They coordinate all facets of the project including reviewing and approving the contract’s terms as well as ensuring deliverables are completed to deadlines, and that they meet the budget.
How do you become a contract manager?
There are two ways of becoming a contract manager. The first way is by completing a diploma. This can up to two years, and the entry requirements differ from institution to institution.
The second way is gaining credits on-the-job by doing a contract management professional certification.