Contract management software automates the creation, tracking, and monitoring of contracts. Professionals, such as salespeople or account representatives, who are involved in the negotiation aspect of contracting are tasked with defining terms and service level agreements, amending agreements, and executing contracts. Legal departments on both sides of a deal participate in the contracting process to ensure compliance with laws and regulations as well as with internal company rules.
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PandaDoc provides an all-in-one document workflow automation platform that helps fast-scaling teams accelerate the ability to create, manage, and sign digital documents including proposals, quotes, contracts, and more.
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Learn More About Contract Management Software
What is Contract Management Software?
Contract management software provides end users with a collaborative view of contract processes. This allows companies to expedite the creation of contracts by automating redundant processes.
Contract management software offers contract databases that store all contracts in a central location. These contract databases have built-in search capabilities, which makes it easy to find certain contracts that you’re looking for.
Contract management software also increases customer engagement by making contracts clearer to read. Contract management highlights the parts that readers need to pay the most attention to in order to guide the reader along the process.
Although almost all businesses must construct contracts, contract management software can especially help businesses such as healthcare companies and law firms that must construct lengthy and complex contracts.
With contract management software, you can:
- Increase efficiency within your organization by automating complex contracting processes
- Simplify management of contracts by authoring and storing them in a centralized location
- Increase communication between internal and external teams
- Improve sales cycle times by streamlining the contracting process
- Strengthen relationships with business partners
- Proactively monitor risk and compliance
Why Use Contract Management Software?
Contract management software offers endless benefits for companies that are looking to streamline the contract process with their customers.
Some of those benefits include:
- Contract databases that store all contracts in a central location for easy searchability
- Contract collaboration that allows users to collaborate through a shared web portal
- Contract templates that allow users to take advantage of prewritten clauses
- Contract attachments such as images, memos, and invoices
- Seamless contract approval processes so that departmental workflows are integrated seamlessly into the system
Who Uses Contract Management Software?
Sales Teams — Contract management software helps with sharing contracts, keeping them secure, and identifying contract problems. This helps sales teams streamline the process of signing contracts and minimizes major delays in a contract settlement. Furthermore, sales teams can integrate contract management software with products such as CRM, CPQ, and e-signature solutions, which helps establish and maintain good relationships with customers during the contract-signing phase.
Finance Teams — Contract management software allows finance teams to identify loopholes in language and spot risky clauses that can lead to future legal problems for the company. This allows finance teams to improve clarity on audit trails by ensuring that the contract cannot be manipulated by clients.
Legal Teams — Contract management software provides legal teams with contract databases to search for everything they need with ease. Since legal teams are constantly renewing contracts, contract management software also automates these processes so they don’t have to remember renewal dates.
Kinds of Contract Management Software
Cloud-Based — Cloud-based contract management software allows companies to access their contracts on a hosted IT server. This enables companies to access contracts from any desktop rather than having them limited to a specific computer. The major benefits of using cloud-based contract management software are remote access, lower pricing, and higher security. If a computer’s hard drive crashes and wipes out all of the stored data, the data will also still be available in the cloud.
Hybrid — A hybrid contract management solution allows for software to be deployed in the cloud or on-premise. Generally hybrid contract management software can run a little bit pricier than cloud-based options, so if budget is a priority for your company, then keep this in mind.
On-Premise — On-premise contract management refers to contract management software that is stored on a local computer. The benefit of having a solution that can be deployed on-premise is that it does not require any internet connection. This helps when you are lacking an internet connection or when you’re experiencing frustrating internet delays.
Contract Management Software Features
Contract Creation — Users can create new contracts within the platform using built-in document creation features. Within the content creation feature, users can use a drag-and-drop function that allows them to identify and insert statements that are relevant to the contract.
Contract Templates — Easily create and access templates that will streamline contract creation, taking advantage of pre-written contract clauses and fields. Companies can use the same type of contract template with multiple clients, saving plenty of time in the future.
Contract Editing — Relevant contract stakeholders can edit, compare, and revise multiple versions of contracts.
Contract Attachments — Additional information, such as images, memos, and invoices, can be attached to contracts as supplemental resources. Visual aids help customers better conceptualize the details of the contract.
Contract Collaboration — Internal and external users are able to collaborate on contracts through a shared web portal that can be equipped with messaging features. This increases communication and the quality of the contract by allowing multiple users to access the document at once.
Approval Process — Streamlines contract approval processes so that departmental workflows are integrated logically into the system.
Notifications and Reminders — Contract management allows users to receive notifications and schedule reminders with alerts according to contract milestones. This helps users meet deadlines and make sure the contract is being completed in a timely manner.
Contract Database — Contracts can be stored in a central online repository with built-in search capabilities. Companies can save plenty of time by searching through contracts digitally rather than manually.
Integrations/APIs — The contract management platform can integrate with CRM software to associate contracts with customer records and with CPQ software to feed calculated quote details into the contract.
Reporting and Dashboard — Enable standard and ad hoc reports of contract statuses and timelines, and generate and access live overviews of contract activities.
Trends Related to Contract Management Software
Artificial Intelligence — Artificial intelligence is making contract management software more efficient and more dynamic. Machine learning can incorporate human feedback into your contract management software, which helps implement improvements over time. This can include reducing repetitive language, fixing grammar mistakes, and making the overall contract more legible.
Automation — Automation trends are speeding up the contract lifecycle phase between companies and clients. Automation functionality can automatically route contracts to the necessary people so that all signatures are collected in a short amount of time. It can also automate notifications so all parties are reminded of deadlines, such as upcoming renewals and expirations.
Potential Issues with Contract Management Software
Legacy Processes vs. New Processes — Contract management software increases the efficiency of internal teams by automating workflows in the contracting process. You may find conflict, however, between existing contracting processes and the way a contract management product is built to handle workflows. While many software options in this category can be customized to meet specific needs, over-customization can bog down the implementation process and actually reduce efficiency. Finding a solution that meets most of your needs with minimal customization will give you a greater ROI.
Legacy Contracts vs. New Contracts — With the implementation of a new contract management system, you will need to decide when new contracts will be processed through the software, as well as what to do with inactive legacy contracts. This may prove to be difficult as, generally, the contracting process is an ongoing one. Additionally, you will have to determine whether or not legacy contracts should or need to be cataloged in the new system. While storing all contracts in the same system is more convenient, cataloging the inactive contracts will increase the amount of time it takes to implement the new software.
Software and Services Related to Contract Management Software
E-Signature — E-signature software gives users the ability to gather signatures on documents shared electronically, eliminating the need to record signatures on physical documents. Contract management and e-signature software go hand in hand in order to expedite the finalizing of a contract. Furthermore, built-in security standards within e-signature software further streamline the legal document exchange process and guarantee the legitimacy and legal ramifications of signatures made through the software. This helps with the compliance aspect of contract management software.
Quote Management — Since quoting is often the first step in the phase of a contract, it’s vital for finance teams to use relevant quote management software to start the process. This allows companies to determine a customer’s needs and provide them with custom quotes that best fit those specific needs.
CRM — Contract management software is often integrated with CRM software to increase visibility across various teams within a company. Since many different teams may need access to existing or upcoming contracts, they can benefit from an integrated solution that ensures that company and client-related information is stored in the same place.