Ways to automate sales contracts
Time is the most valuable resource, but unfortunately a limited one. Therefore, the question for every company in a growth phase is how to get the daily tasks done more efficiently. The new trend we frequently hear about is ‘automation’. However, the word ‘automation’ can be intimidating and give the impression that it's something very technical and complex. In reality, even small steps can lead to faster and automated workflows. The key is to start by automating repetitive manual processes. For example, if you manage the entire contract process in a single document management and signing environment or platform, you can save a lot of time on administrative tasks. In this article, we'll introduce you to different ways how to automate contracts and the benefits of doing it.
Effective use of contract templates
Every company has developed internal best practices, how the contract preparation process should look like. Ideally, there is a ready-to-use blank contract template that is easy to find in a designated shared folder. In worst case scenario, the process begins by deleting the previous customer data from the contract and at the same time making sure that nothing confidential is accidentally left into the text. For each new deal, a suitable contract template needs to be located, copied, filled in with new client information and saved into the right folder and then sent to the client by e-mail for signing. Such process is time-consuming and tedious already for each individual contract and if the need to draft contracts is high, then it’s also inefficient.
Start with unified contract templates
The easiest step to get a contract signed faster is to ensure that all contract templates are up to date and accessible to team members from a designated location. The corporate legal department or lawyers can be of help by updating the contract text in a way that the sales team can prepare and enter into contracts without their further help. Shared folders on the company intranet, Google Drive or Dropbox are suitable for storing contract templates, but document management and signing solutions, such as Agrello, also offer convenient storage options.
Make your contract templates smarter
After agreeing on an up-to-date contract template and the use of it, the next step towards contract automation is making this template conveniently reusable. In an ideal world, creating a contract would be as simple as filling in a form. With Agrello it is possible to transform a regular Microsoft Word document into a reusable and fillable contract template. You need to prepare the MS Word document by using a special mark-up language with curly brackets and mark the fields into places where you want the data to appear. After uploading the template to Agrello, it is ready to be used and filled in. Now that the whole contract preparation process takes place in a single environment, you can save time from extra administrative steps. There is also no need to worry about how to get the document signed - in a few clicks you can send an invitation to sign to your counter-party and everyone can sign the document conveniently.
Make the most of your CRM tool
The key to automation is avoiding manual routine tasks and using the data that’s already been gathered. In the course of sales process the sales team usually fills in the client information onto a CRM platform of choice. Meaning that most data required to sign a sales contract is already entered and available, but when it is time to prepare the contract, it usually starts with manually copy-paste’ing the data from a CRM onto a contract template. To fasten up the sales cycle and close deals faster, it’s important to be efficient and one way is to integrate a CRM tool with a contract management tool, to make the contract preparation process faster. With Agrello it’s possible to integrate most common CRM platforms through Zapier and create contracts automatically after a deal reaches a certain stage. By setting up your automated workflow, you can save every minute that you used to spend on contract preparation.
Even if the company uses a CRM software that doesn’t allow integrations, then it is usually still possible to extract a Microsoft Excel file with client data. Excel files can also be used to bulk create many documents for signing at once. Read more about bulk creation from this article.
Using forms to create contracts
Sometimes clients fill in a form with their data in order to formalise new client relationships. If this kind of process is already in place, then there is an opportunity for a company to almost remove themselves from the contract preparation process. One example is signing a standard NDA before starting a client relationship. The text of the NDA doesn’t usually change, it only needs to be filled in with client data and signed. By integrating your forms with Agrello, it’s possible to automatically create contracts based on a contract template and send the client data into correct fields. After the contract is created, it can go directly for signing or to the sales team for review.
A practical example of integrating forms is integrating a booking system and collecting the consent of customers before they start using your service. You can read more about it from our SaareWake case-study article.
Contract automation is not something to be afraid of. A critical look at your contract preparation process and making small enhancements is good enough for a start. Every minute saved from manual repetitive tasks grants you valuable time to focus on more important things. If this article sparked your interest, but you don’t know where to start, then Agrello team is ready to help your company take the first steps.