Contract Management: How to Improve Your Processes – zimo News

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Contract management is a critical part of most businesses, tasked with helping companies draft agreements, form partnerships, and more. But without the right tools and processes in your contract management strategy, you could lose money, or worse, you could face legal issues. So how have you improved your contract management approach?

decide your goals

Before you do anything else, you need to define your goals. When you improve contract management, what do you want to improve? Here are some examples.

Safety

Need to update your contract software security? Likewise, are you sure you can exchange information securely and confidentially on your current platform?Treat your security like the military DEFCON Military Grade. On a scale of 1 to 5, depending on the contract’s importance, complexity, and required security, you can score it, indicating that certain actions are necessary. This can help prioritize important contracts, but also ensure a high level of security for those who need it.

save time

Are you more interested in saving time? If your employees waste time on inefficient contract management processes, they may not be able to focus their full attention on other, more pressing projects. Therefore, simplifying contract management allows your entire team more time to focus on new developments and higher responsibilities.

save costs

Some companies are more interested in cutting costs. More capable contract management can save you money in a number of ways. Likewise, it can reduce long-term legal disputes and increase short-term productivity and efficiency. If so, you need to watch your budget carefully as you execute your new contract management strategy.

Storage and Accessibility

How easy is it for you to store and access previous contracts? Likewise, can you easily search for what you’re looking for?

Customer Experience

From the customer’s perspective, how is the interaction with your contract? Is it relatively easy to review documents, sign contracts, and verify your signature? So, the easier this process is for your customers, the better for your business.

Process consistency

You might also be interested in process consistency. Therefore, you want your customers to have the same experience. Likewise, you want to make sure your business follows the rules and regulations at all times.

Which of the following would you like to improve? Which of these are your top priorities? Once you have a better understanding of your goals, you will have a stronger direction on how to reshape your approach to contract management. So the framework can also help you make better decisions and give you a way to objectively measure your success.

Review your current process

How do you currently handle contracts? After setting your goals, the first and most important step you need to take is to review your current process:

  • What is your current approach to contract management and what do you dislike?
  • What type of software are you currently using?
  • How many people on your team are involved in contract management?
  • How much did you spend?
  • What are the documented workflows for contract creation?
  • How do you share and collaborate on contracts?
  • What are your employees’ biggest pain points?

There’s a lot of information to consider here, so please document your findings carefully.

Start with the right software

Improvement process starts with rights contract creation software. Your contract management platform will be the center of all your contract management activities, so it should serve your business. If your contract management software isn’t up to the task, your only real option is to upgrade to a better product. Please note the following:

contract creation tool

What features and tools are available to help create contracts? Is it easy for newcomers to create and review contracts? Can you create templates for future contracts? Is it easy to find and call these contract templates?

storage and organization

Is it easy for people to store and organize different contracts? Is there a meaningful system of organization and navigation? Can you create an internal organizational system that all employees are responsible for?

global user interface

In general, what does the user interface look like? What kind of experience did users have when trying to use the software? For example, if someone has never seen or used the software before, will they be able to use it effectively after a training session or two? Will they always enjoy their experience, or will they be frustrated by the obstacles they encounter repeatedly?

Safety

What security does this platform offer? Are you worried that your files will be leaked or stolen?

share and collaborate

What tools are available for sharing and collaboration? For example, if you are contracting with another party, is it easy to exchange changes and review each other? When it comes time to collect signatures, is it easy for all parties to get involved?

price

You also need to consider price. A contract management platform can provide all the bells and whistles you need and more, but if you pay too much, the costs may outweigh the benefits. There are many types of contract management software, so be sure to shop around to find the best one for your business.

Depend on the model – but not too much

As you improve your contract management approach, consider increasing your use of templates. Even if you don’t have much experience creating contracts yourself, these templates are relatively easy to create and follow. Once created, they can significantly improve consistency and increase team productivity. Don’t rely on patterns so much that you lock yourself into failing strategies.

Educate and train your staff

Educated and trained employees will always be more efficient and consistent. That’s why it’s so important to educate and train your staff on your new approach to contract management.

1. Provide training in a variety of settings.

Consider trying a different educational setting. For example, work individually with employees, teach in groups, and let them learn independently.

2. Document and provide resources.

Always provide documentation to your employees. That way, if they forget a lesson or need a refresher in the future, they can refer to the handouts you provide.

3. Get feedback.

Ask your employees if they feel they are adequately educated and trained in contract management. If they don’t, you can revise your employee education/training plan.

Automate what you can do

Take advantage of automation. Most modern contract management platforms offer many automation features, from automatic reminders to automatic contract generation. Automation saves time and improves consistency, so use it whenever possible.

Work with a consultant

If you are working to improve your contract management system, you may consider working with an outside professional. A contract management consultant will be able to review your current systems and methodologies and advise on how to improve them further. They can also connect you with the resources you need to succeed.

Use a continuous review system

Finally, use a continuous review system. Contract management improvements don’t have to be one-off; instead, you should continually strive to improve your contract management. Here are some methods:

1. Develop audit and review schedules.

Set a deadline for your company to review its contract management system. For example, would you like to review your management approach on a quarterly basis? What about every year? If you want to be effective, stick to regular intervals.

2. Designate resource personnel.

Select a person to be responsible for the contract management review. This way, you will have someone responsible for organizing revisions and improvements.

3. Gather feedback.

Always get feedback from employees and customers to learn more about current weaknesses in the system.

With better contract management habits, your business will save time, money and increase consistency. Likewise, the sooner you address inefficiencies and issues in your current process, the sooner you’ll see those improvements.

Image Credits: Andrea Piacquadio; Pixels; Thanks!

Deanna Ritchie

ReadWrite Editor-in-Chief

Deanna is the editor of ReadWrite. Previously, she was an editor at Startup Grind and has over 20 years of experience in content management and development.



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