Every business, regardless of its size, industry, or strategy, shares similar sales objectives: increase revenue, boost profit margins, improve sales productivity, and reduce sales cycle times. Faster sales cycles leave sales teams with more time to focus on bigger deals and more potentials, enabling businesses to achieve all of their revenue goals. In most cases, a successful deal closure is marked by the signing of a sales agreement. Hence, the efficiency of the sales contract management process will directly impact sales cycle times.
In most organizations, the sales teams manage the sales contract lifecycle while also focusing on sales-related tasks. This current approach forces sales teams to work across multiple systems and collaborate with different stakeholders. In the absence of a carefully designed process that establishes transparency and enables easy collaboration with legal, sales contract management is often a bottleneck for sales teams. Thus, modern businesses are adopting a contract management strategy to overcome several challenges in the sales contract process and reduce sales cycle times.
Before diving deep into the modern sales strategy, let's quickly look at the common factors in sales contract management that cause a delay in deal closure.
Reasons for longer sales contract cycles
The salesperson sharing the potential's details with the legal team through an email or a form while they are already present in the CRM
The contract owner or legal professional taking a long time to author the contract due to the absence of predefined contract templates or a standard clause library
The salesperson not being able to access contracts readily due to disorganized contract archives and library
A manual and disconnected review process involving numerous emails back and forth with multiple stakeholders
The sales team facing long waits for wet signatures and response emails
The absence of a collaboration platform that establishes easy communication and transparency between the sales and legal teams
The salesperson not being able to track the current contract status and progress due to poor visibility
The salesperson switching between multiple applications for collecting information, collaborating and executing the contract process
The delayed sales contract cycles cause bottlenecks and missed opportunities that hamper revenue growth. While resulting in slower revenue recognition, delays also translate into increased efforts and operational costs.
Modern sales strategy: CRM-CLM integration
Most sales teams already employ CRM to track opportunities, contacts, and progress along the sales pipeline. Legal teams are increasingly adopting contract lifecycle management (CLM) software to streamline the entire contract management process, reduce cycle times, and improve contract governance.
As sales models are growing more diverse and the global business landscape is becoming more regulatory, CRM and CLM integration in sales team's tech stack is the next natural progression. A powerful sales contract management software integration will enable the sales team to seamlessly manage contracts without ever leaving the CRM. It will address all the factors discussed above and make contracting easier, faster, and more impactful.
Sales contract lifecycle with a CRM-CLM integration
CLM integration in sales permits the salesperson to initiate a contract request from CRM to the legal team directly. The potential details in CRM get automatically mapped into the CLM and auto-populated in the contract.
The contract owner in CLM will have access to a predefined set of contract templates and a clause library, with standard and alternate languages for each clause, ensuring faster contract authoring. They can also create custom templates and clauses.
CRM-CLM integration empowers sales and legal teams to collaborate effectively at all levels of the sales contract management process ensuring improved communication and transparency.
Salespeople can track the status of contracts directly from within CRM.
Admins can automate their contract reviews by creating custom approval workflows, both sequential and parallel.
The stakeholders can effortlessly engage in multiple rounds of negotiation entirely online. The negotiation within the CLM platform, eliminates email back and forths and enables enhanced version control.
Any comprehensive CLM comes with a pre-integrated eSignature functionality that empowers you to sign and secure signatures in minutes, eliminating the email, print, sign, and fax cycles.
Renewal reminders will ensure that you never miss revenue opportunities. Salespeople can also initiate post-execution management requests (renewals, extensions, amendments, and termination) to CLM directly from CRM.
Benefits of contract management software in sales
One of the most significant pain points for contract managers is the inability to access critical contract information when needed. A contract management software with a single central repository stores all the contracts of an organization in one place. The advanced search and filter options built-in with a CLM empowers contract managers with better accessibility to contract information.
The analytical capabilities of contract management software help you derive valuable business insights from your contract data. In addition, comprehensive contract management software has multiple benefits at each stage of the contract lifecycle.
Accelerate contract creation
Self-service contract requests and the built-in contract editor enables quick contract generation.
Admins can ensure language consistency across all contracts with easy incorporation of org-wide policy updates using the standard clause library.
An intuitive contract drafting system reduces legal dependencies and costs.
Standardization of workflow enables sales and legal teams to communicate and work together coherently throughout the sale contract cycle.
Complete visibility into sales contracts' statuses and transparency in processes allow stakeholders to perform timely actions with no confusion.
Simplified negotiation and signing methods empower the stakeholders with a secure and robust way to execute contracts digitally.
Automated onboarding reduces last-minute chaos among the involved stakeholders while supporting faster contract execution.
Advanced audit trails
A CLM platform maps all actions with a timestamp that enables the admins to stay on top of the contract process, empowering them with improved visibility and control.
Audit trails also help businesses improve their compliance with industry standards and government regulations, thus mitigating business risks.
Integrating a feature-rich CLM with all these abilities in the sales tech stack promotes a holistic sales contract lifecycle experience for all stakeholders.
With businesses moving faster than ever and sales teams trying to keep up with the pace, they can make the best use of a CLM-CRM integration to save a lot of time spent in administrative tasks during client onboarding.
Converting this time-consuming process into a frictionless experience can help sales teams focus more on the selling process and revenue targets, thus positively impacting the business bottom line.
Hence, organizations investing in agile sales contract management software can make a reliable transition to reduced sales cycle times, accelerated revenue recognition, and improved ROI.
Learn how Zoho CRM with Zoho Contracts works for your sales team!