Sometimes, the sales process just isn’t as smooth as we’d like for it to be. As your customers progress through the pipeline, any number of potential risks can present themselves. It’s even been suggested that the average lead conversion rate across industries is only 4%–5.8%.
The truth is that the journey from lead to sale can be a difficult one. You and your clients put a lot of effort into reaching the end; the last thing you want is for the entire thing to fall apart at the last minute.
Unfortunately, before your lead can become a customer, you need to get through the contract phase. Contracts serve a necessary function. They act as physical representations of your business agreements, and are legally binding. Without contracts, it would be impossible to finalize your business dealings in a way that protects everyone involved. But while contracts are an essential part of the quote-to-cash process, they can introduce a number roadblocks to your sales pipeline. To help ensure that legitimate leads don’t fall away at the finish line, successful businesses turn toward contract management software.
Contract management software is a digital tool (or set of tools) designed to help you create, store, and retrieve legal agreements and associated data. Contract management streamlines the entire contract process. The end result is quicker, more accurate contract-turnaround times and happier clients. Superior contract management solutions take advantage of customer relationship management (CRM) technology to deliver a client-focused service for your business.
CRM is designed to holistically manage the entire customer relationship process. CRM pulls together vital data related to contact information, purchase history, preferences, etc. It stores that information in a single location, allowing authorized users to access relevant customer data whenever they might need it. Additionally, CRM may employ various forms of automation, sending out important reminders and drawing from reliable sources to auto populate forms. These capabilities, when combined with contract management software, create a reliable tool for managing the final stages of the quote-to-cash process.
From first negotiations to final signing, contract management software ensures that the contract process is as painless as possible — for you and your leads. To accomplish this, a contract management solution needs to be capable of a variety of functions. Here are five ways that an effective contract management solution can benefit your business:
- Reduce timeframes
According to Forrester Research, it takes 3.4 weeks to create and approve the average contract. Your leads are busy people. Asking them to wait almost a month while you get the contract figured out on your side might be asking too much. Contract management software speeds things up. Now, contracts can be created, updated, sent, and signed in a matter of minutes (rather than weeks). This means that you won’t have to worry about trying the patience of the people who keep you in business.
- Ensure accuracy
According to a study by Rare, 83% of customers identify trust as being the the driving factor in customer loyalty. Trust, however, can be difficult to earn, and very easy to lose. Clients trust you not only to be authentic with them and to have their best interests at heart, but also to be precise when it comes to contracts. Errors in contract details have a negative impact on your company’s credibility, and can end up creating serious problems down the line. Effective contract management can use previously validated data to auto populate important fields, reducing the potential for contract errors in the process.
- Automate key processes
Although the contract process can be complex, it doesn’t need to be. Contract management tools can automate contract creation, reminders, renewal quotes, alerts, and certain key processes. Contract automation simplifies an otherwise difficult process, freeing up your people to focus on the tasks that need their attention.
- Store contract data
What do you do with a contract once it has been signed? Hopefully the answer doesn’t involve a disorganized filing cabinet and a mass of paper. Accurate records of all current and former contracts are essential, which is why digital contract storage is so important. Contract management stores all contract data in a central repository. Users can easily retrieve any contracts using basic search functions, ensuring that no valuable data ever gets misplaced.
- Enable digital signatures
A contract is only as valid as the signatures that accompany it. If you’re stuck waiting for leads or team members to print out, sign, and fax their contracts to the next person in the process, your sale isn’t progressing. Digital signatures make it possible for the people who need to sign the contract to do so with the click of a mouse. By keeping the entire signature process digital, you and your leads can save time and effort, and you can keep your contracts moving.
Salesforce is the company that defined the role of CRM for businesses. Now, it’s using its in-depth understanding of customer relationship management to redefine contract management and the quote-to-cash process, with Salesforce Quote-to-Cash.
Salesforce contract management software is built upon the world’s number-one CRM solution, and operates entirely out of the cloud. This means that any authorized user on any operating system can directly access and update contract data in real time. Salesforce also recognizes that modern business isn’t restricted to the office, which is why Salesforce Quote-to-Cash is 100% mobile compatible. Get alerts, send renewals, create contracts, eliminate errors, and keep the quote-to-cash process moving fluidly, whether you’re in the office, or anywhere else. Salesforce Quote-to-Cash gives you the power to simplify contract management.