Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) — Low-Hanging Fruit

contract Bruce Shippee/Adobe Stock

I’ll never forget the reaction of my sales manager when I brought him news of my first significant piece of business. “Congratulations, Tom, but you need to know that the real sales process begins after you get the P.O.!”

The review and preparation of contracts central to any business relationship involves a myriad of complexities that rely on legal expertise and oversight. All of those meetings, followed by the work to author “the agreement,” require detailed and sophisticated legal understanding of the applicable laws.

Is this still the case?

For one-off, special arrangements, there’s no question about it. But for the vast majority of supplier contracts, the effort has been reduced to an increasingly obvious and unnecessary waste of time. It’s an unforced inefficiency characteristic of a process that typically subtracts from goodwill, preventing both sides of the transaction from swift realization of negotiated benefits.

That said, while it’s one thing to distill best contracting practices into an automated process, it’s quite another to fully leverage and appreciate how quickly trusted suppliers will accede to the terms and conditions typical of highly sophisticated negotiations.

Doesn’t that strike you as fair exchange for a highly efficient process?

Moving at the speed of business requires accelerating the benefits of good agreements. Across the vast majority of supply agreements, and for buyers and sellers alike, the essential components of sound, legal arrangements are hardly a mystery, so why treat them as such? The efficiencies gained on both sides of the transaction far outweigh the value of posturing.

Yes, these solutions all store, track, search and report, so they’re similar on paper. But they’re quickly distinguished by the size and diversity of the community of users they’re designed to support, as well as their ease of customization and integration.

The leading solutions are no longer document-centric; rather, they treat terms, conditions and contract clauses as attributes, supporting an intuitive user experience. They all tout the benefits of managing a contract through its entire lifecycle, and after sitting through several system demos over the last few months, I have to say that those benefits strike this old salesman as more than legit.

If CLM isn’t already a well-embedded and democratized capability of your organization, then it’s time to turn up the volume. It’s low-hanging fruit.

First Voice

  1. CleanMark Labels:

    Couldn’t agree more! This is exactly the efficiency driving initiative that can really impress a supplier!

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