From negotiation to close: Optimizing sales contract management
The ultimate goal of every sales process is to close — to make the deal and sign the contract. Sales contract management ensures that businesses close all deals efficiently, that both sides are happy with the negotiation outcome, and the contract satisfies both parties.
Contract management involves a range of tasks, from drafting the first offer, reviewing and negotiating contract terms, to ensuring that the agreement is finally signed and safely stored.
Optimizing sales contract management contributes to overall sales success — it improves the sales process and ultimately increases revenue. By streamlining the contract management process, businesses can reduce the time and resources spent on contract management, minimize the risk of errors and omissions, and improve overall customer satisfaction.
Here are some key tips for optimizing sales contract management and creating an optimal client experience for better results.
#1 Standardize the contract management process
To optimize sales contract management, it is essential to have solid standards and procedures in place. Before creating a set of rules and pointers for your sales team, review what the sales process and contract management look like in your company at the moment.
Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the current state:
- Which structures should you keep?
- Which structures are not working well and should be removed?
- Where is the connection between sales phases working at its best?
- How are different departments communicating with the sales teams?
- What is your sales success rate and what is the stumbling block?
- What stage of sales should you optimize promptly, and what are the priorities?
After a thorough review, create a standard for the whole sales team. This process involves defining clear roles and responsibilities for each stage of the sales process, creating templates for contracts, and establishing a clear timeline for each stage of the process.
The process of inbound sales from call centers to contract management represents one of the pillars of your business. This is why improving it to achieve better results from your leads should not be taken for granted.
Depending on the scale of your company, you can also consider investing in contract management software. This method ensures your internal processes are well-organized, consistent, and efficient across all sales teams.
Automate the contract management process
Technology can automate many aspects of the contract management process, from drafting and reviewing contracts to tracking changes and storing documents.
Sales contract management software can streamline the contract management process by automating workflows, providing real-time visibility into the status of contracts, and enabling collaboration between sales teams, legal teams, and other stakeholders.
Apart from helping your team be more efficient and precise, automation is also time-saving. With a clear overview of the whole process and upcoming tasks, teams will save the time they would otherwise spend on communicating details back and forth.
Ultimately, good software is an investment that increases revenue. By optimizing the workflow with automation, the sales team has more time to do outreach and close more contracts.
Improve communication and collaboration
Effective communication — both internal and external — and collaboration are essential for optimizing sales contract management. From outreach through the negotiation process, your team needs to master the sales negotiation phrases to understand customer needs and bring them closer to signing the contract.
In addition, sales teams should work closely with legal teams to ensure they draft and review contracts in a timely manner. Optimal internal communication means reducing the time of contract review to prevent your clients from waiting for the final version to sign.
In addition, sales teams should communicate regularly with customers throughout the contract negotiation process to ensure that their needs are met and that the final agreement reflects their expectations.
Additionally, you can track sales and customer interaction with a customer relationship management (CRM) tool. This tool will help you understand your clients better, find out what phase of the sales communication needs improvement, and help you use that data to further step up the sales game.
Implement a contract repository
A contract repository is a centralized database that stores all of your company’s contracts in a secure, searchable format. By implementing a contract repository, businesses can improve the visibility of contracts across departments, reduce the risk of losing important documents, and ensure that contracts are stored securely and compliantly.
From the outreach phase through negotiation, you should store your client’s information in a way that allows you to easily access and filter it with different criteria, such as the negotiation stage, type of contract signed, dates of the contract, and the expiration date of the contract.
An efficient database is meaningful to your marketing department as well. For example, when you have new offers and you wish to distribute them across all clients, you can export the contacts and send newsletters over a mail merge very quickly and effectively.
Monitor and analyze contract performance
Finally, the key to any process optimization is consistent monitoring and thorough performance analysis. This process involves setting up and tracking key metrics.
Key metrics that are crucial to review in contract performance analysis include:
- Contract cycle time
- Win rates
- Revenue per contract
Collecting and using this data to identify areas for improvement in the contract management process is the task that involves the chiefs of every department, including sales, legal, marketing, and project management.
This step is another example of how intelligent customer engagement platforms help sales and customer success. If the software you use already has an integrated way to collect and represent gathered data across multiple channels of input, your board meetings are halfway ready. All there is left to do is to focus on proactive decision-making and keep testing new solutions.
By continuously monitoring and analyzing contract performance, businesses can identify opportunities for optimization and drive continuous improvement in the sales process.
Over to you
Optimizing sales contract management is essential for any business that wants to improve its sales process and maximize revenue.
By standardizing the process, using technology to automate workflows, improving communication and collaboration, implementing a contract repository, and monitoring and analyzing contract performance, businesses can streamline the contract management process, improve customer satisfaction, and strengthen brand reputation.
Author: Nina Petrov is a content marketing specialist, passionate about graphic design, content marketing, and the new generation of green and social businesses. She starts the day scrolling her digest on new digital trends while sipping a cup of coffee with milk and sugar. Her white little bunny tends to reply to your emails when she is on vacation.