Sales reps and sales teams work on a deal for months. They finally win the deal and then struggle through the contract process. The whole end-to-end process from contract generation through negotiation and redlining, to signing can be a nightmare.
Salesforce facilitates the sales process by enabling companies to have a clear view into the full lifecycle of their customers – from lead generation to deal close and beyond. It helps throughout the sales cycle and provides one central place to view accounts, opportunities and other relevant information about the account via deal notes. Despite this, the contract management process is still a frustrating cycle of emails, faxes, phone calls and sometimes even text messages as both sides of a transaction try to coordinate to get the contract signed. Sales reps and their customers lose patience and deals are often stalled and sometimes lost because of contract management inefficiency.
5 Salesforce contract management risks to avoid
No Single Source of Truth
Each handoff of a contract creates more potential changes and more confusion if not managed properly.
During the contract process, contracts are sent around to get input and approvals. During this stage, the back-and-forth negotiation between the parties usually ends with multiple versions of the contract being created. There is at this point no single source of truth. ESPECIALLY if the parties are using email, faxes or a basic file sharing tool between multiple offices and departments. It’s virtually impossible to ensure that the most current version is being worked on.
Filing cabinets – both physical and digital (Box, Dropbox or Google Docs) – are dead ends. How much time have you spent searching for contract information, only to later discover that you don’t have the most current version? And storing something online doesn’t make it easier to find it or ensure that it’s accurate.
Business is dynamic and so are the contracts that govern business. Company policies, regulations, laws, and contemporary corporate legal language usually change over time. Storing templates and working from old contract versions is something that sales teams often do. Sales operations teams get contracts back with expired data, graphics or trademarks, and they have to make sure that dates, dollars, and information are correct before sending a final version to a client.
While copying an old contract may seem efficient, it often comes with some certain pitfalls. Unchanged names, dates, and addresses are very common mistakes. Missing or incomplete information about a product, service, or a carryover of a special term that was used on an old contract, all slow the process and indicate that the sales rep wasn’t working with a new and fresh contract.
You finally get “yes” from a client after a very long deal cycle, work through internal approvals and send it for signature, only to find out that something has changed – maybe a merger, acquisition, reorg/ layoff or budget freeze. Does any or all of this sound familiar?
Like Apple, Salesforce also has an App store (Salesforce AppExchange) to purchase apps for your Salesforce instance. One category of Apps is contract management applications that integrate seamlessly into your Salesforce account. By augmenting your Salesforce instance with a contract management app, companies are more likely to have a quicker and more hassle-free contract process.
The benefits of Contract Management within Salesforce
By placing contract management within Salesforce, everything is streamlined – contract creation, changes, approvals, signatures, archiving and renewals. Companies can eliminate paper contracts, get rid of file cabinets and increase data accuracy. Sales reps get easy access to every contract for a given customer so they can spend much less time generating, updating and negotiating contracts and close deals faster. This also frees up more time to sell.
Gowon Snyder is the Manager, Digital Marketing for SpringCM. He has extensive experience in Digital Marketing for both B2B and B2C companies and has worked for agencies and more recently client side. Gowon’s experience is heavily focused on pay for performance media (eg. Paid Search, Display and Paid Social). SpringCM helps work flow by delivering an innovative document management and workflow platform, that powers the leading contract lifecycle management (CLM) application.