A sales contract process that takes too long creates additional risks and costs for your business. Slow sales contract processing times give customers opportunities to shop around or get frustrated. Also, it takes much longer for your company to reap the benefits afforded to them by a contract. Many different things can cause slowdowns, bottlenecks, or, even worse, dropped contracts. You might know you have an issue and want to take action, but you don’t know where to start. Create a stronger process by reading our ultimate guide to reducing sales contract processing time from sale to signature. Below, we provide a broad overview of some of the most common things which might be slowing down your contract process. We also discuss potential solutions. Try to cut down on these four time-costly problems:
1. Manual Contract Creation and Data Entry
Technology has made contract management easier, faster, and more efficient. But not utilizing the latest technologies to automate workflows in your contract process can significantly slow down the whole contract management system.
For example, keeping track of contracts, compiling related information on spreadsheets, and printing out hard copies to put in file cabinets can be done more efficiently. Organize your finished contracts and make them a resource for creating new ones. When you use legal contract management software, you can create templates of the most common contracts you use. This way, you don’t need to start from scratch with each new deal.
Even better, you can train your software to auto-populate customer information. Smart software allows you to customize fields based on your needs and integrate them with your CRM. You can also create standard pre-approved contract templates for your sales team. This can save time by allowing the team to “skip” the approval process.
Using contract templates also helps standardize your contract process, likely speeding it up because of increased consistency.
2. Unorganized or Difficult to Find Contracts
When you’re drafting and negotiating a new contract, you or your legal department might recall a similar deal with a different client. Duplicating provision language is a great way to save time. But that’s only true if you can easily find the document.
Without contract management software, this might mean rifling through file cabinets, file boxes, piles of papers, or unorganized computer files. But contract negotiations typically means information is being transferred back and forth regularly. There’s no time for a long search. The more time you spend looking for the tools you need to make changes to a draft, the higher the risk you might lose the deal or have to settle with substandard terms.
Contract management software allows you to speed up your contract lifecycle by storing all of your previous contracts in an online repository. Then you can recall what you need in seconds with only a few keystrokes. You can typically search by metadata: contributor names, titles, company name, keywords, and more. Whether you remember the customer or only a snippet of the language, smart software can quickly find what you’re looking for.
3. Unneeded Meeting Time
You likely spend several hours in meetings throughout the workweek. You also use some of that time to get updates from your team, like:
- Where they are on a particular contract
- What hold-ups have occurred
- When you can expect negotiations to end
This meeting time slows down the contract process by taking your team away from the task at hand. While your small team meetings are just a fraction of your week, companies lose $37 billion every year on unnecessary meetings. This can be especially cumbersome if you need to track down each of your team members for individual updates on their work.
Instead, you can manage contract tracking through enterprise contract management software. The software creates a log that shows every action taken, giving you the opportunity to review progress whenever you want. Not only can you see every action taken during every stage of the contract lifecycle, but you also don’t even have to check their progress manually. Set up alerts for when a contract task is assigned, completed, or paused for too long. You can speed the process up even more by creating workflows and setting due dates. You can also send automated reminders when your team misses a deadline.
4. Chasing Approval Signatures
Throughout the entire contract lifecycle, you might need various signatures or approvals from people in different departments. Waiting for someone to sign off on a contract or sign the final draft jeopardizes the sales pipeline. It forms a bottleneck, which results in your contract process slowing to a turtle-like pace. All it takes is one person leaving their emails sitting in their inbox or ignoring that pile on their desk. Then, everyone who comes behind him or her must wait days or even weeks before they can do their job. While courts have ruled that unsigned contracts may be binding, they represent a large risk to your business.
With enterprise contract management software, you speed up the signature process through the use of e-signatures and by providing mobile access. E-signatures are quick and secure, and they are as legally enforceable as a handwritten signature. The right contract management software allows access from tablets, smartphones, laptops, and other devices. Not only are the documents always available to the right people, but you can also set up automatic notices. Then, you don’t have to chase down a signature. Instead, the party who needs to sign can do so in seconds from almost any location when they’re reminded.
Any of these challenges can slow down your contract process. But contract management software can help you hone in on and solve the problem. Contracts and associated metadata remain stored in the system, which allows you to:
- Generate reports
- Find your problem areas
- Focus on areas where bottlenecks or slowed processes are occurring regularly
Put a Stop to Slow Signatures and Approvals with a Better CMS
ContraxAware is built for busy professionals who need a strong contract management system to help their business grow. Cutting down your contract processing time makes your business stronger. Our software features customizable workflow options, automatic triggers and alerts, and seamless DocuSign integration. Set up your demo today to start whittling down your departmental to-do list.