Dec 17, 2020

Contract Management Workflow: 3 Key Areas for Automation

Let’s say you’re working on a contract — what does your contract management workflow look like? Do you pull up an old contract to use as a template, switch out some relevant information and email it to a colleague for input? Do you go through multiple email/Slack exchanges and document versions before your contract is finalized? And once that’s done, does someone realize an erroneous section and sends the contract back to be fixed and reviewed all over again

It’s no secret that the old Microsoft Word-email-DocuSign contract workflow that people are used to is antiquated. Today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment has demanded for digital contract management workflows that can match the speed of business

In order to stay ahead of the curve, companies are adopting tools to automate their contract workflows. Our partner Oncue, an online booking software, has accelerated their sales contract process by 75% with contract workflow automation. Here’s how they found success and the 3 key areas in your contract management workflow you should automate. 

Key areas for automation in your contract management workflow

1. Contract Generation

Teams without an automated solution for contract generation often spend a significant portion of time drawing up contract requests and waiting on Legal to revert back. This part of the contract workflow is often a major point of frustration, especially when Sales is on a time crunch to close deals. 

With contract generation tools, legal teams can empower business users to launch their own contracts from a repository of pre-approved contract templates. Contract generation is as simple as a click of a button and the completion of an intake form. Powerful conditionality also makes it easy for business users to add conditional contract clauses into their agreements. 

Related: Learn how Beyond Pricing empowered their sales team to customize complex contracts in seconds with conditional logic

contract generation

And the best part? Contract generation automation doesn’t just end here. For example, Outlaw’s contract management platform brings it one step further by enabling users to batch generate thousands of customized contracts in minutes. 

Related: Learn how Intrado closed millions in revenue in 2 months by automating batch contract generation.

Additionally, seamless API integrations allow users to launch their contracts directly from your CRM without ever leaving the platform. Pertinent information gets auto-populated from your CRM, reducing any human error. Depending on your needs, these different ways of automating contract generation can accelerate contracting tremendously. 

2. Internal Approvals

Without an automated contract approval system in place, getting a contract approved can sometimes feel like herding sheep. Approval requests can sit in email inboxes for weeks and lie at the mercy of out-of-office notices or vacation times. According to Forrester and Aberdeen, a contract typically takes an average of 3.4 weeks to get approved. However, the same research has also shown that automating the process can reduce contract review and approval time by 82%. 

Fortunately, with today’s automated contract approval tools, users can orchestrate approval workflows to automatically route contracts to the relevant stakeholders at the right time. Everyone on the deal gets visibility over who needs to do what, when, and email notifications help keep review tasks in front of approvers to minimize delays.

internal approvals

3. Version Tracking

Lastly, teams that lack a central system for contract negotiation and version tracking often spend a huge chunk of their time piecing together contract edits from different stakeholders and tracking down the most recent versions of contracts. Questions like: “who made these changes?”, “where is the latest contract?”are commonplace, turning your process into literal contract chaos. 

Automated version tracking tools help teams increase collaborative efficacy in the negotiation phase by automatically storing all contract versions, redlines, and activity records in a single source-of-truth. This reduces the burden of users having to manually keep track of each contract-related task and milestone since the remembering is taken care of in an organized, time-stamped fashion for you. 

version tracking

Oncue’s story: How automating contract workflows accelerated their sales cycles by 75%

Of course, don’t just take it from us. Oncue, an online booking software for moving companies, achieved a 75% faster sales contract process by automating contract generation, approvals and version tracking using Flow, Outlaw’s end-to-end deal flow tool.      

“Previously, we would copy and paste an existing contract to a blank new Word document, modify the variables, send to our VP and CEO for approval, then upload it on HelloSign to send out. The process was a mess and would take forever. There was too much waiting, back-and-forths, and far too many steps,” said Justin Burnett, Senior Inside Sales Team Lead at Oncue. 

With Flow, the Oncue team is now able to quickly generate new contracts from pre-built templates; fill in the variables; gather internal approvals; send drafts to counterparties; and collect signatures all from a single digital environment, eliminating the need to move between several different applications. 

In addition, instead of manually sending versions of a document around to be marked up and agreed upon, the Oncue team can all work on the same document simultaneously using Flow. After the contract template is filled out, the sales team can quickly collect internal approvals by adding team members and running checkpoints

“Outlaw simplified our agreement process by cutting it down from 5-6 steps to 2 really easy steps,” Justin said. “Now, a 20-minute (or more) process has turned into a quick 5-minute process. That’s a lot of time saved!” 

For Oncue, saving time on the contract process lets them spend time elsewhere, like booking more moves. Being able to readily generate new contracts and present them to customers in an easy-to-use, easy-to-understand manner has also resulted in a 15% increase in contract signed turnaround time.  

Read Oncue’s full success story -> 

Conclusion

Today’s fast-paced, ever-changing business environment means contracting processes need to adapt to drive value — fast. Automating your contract management workflows is thus important to transform unpredictable, time-sucking work into structured, technology-enabled processes that allows you to save time, reduce risk and increase compliance.

Interested to learn more about Outlaw’s contract management workflow automation? Explore Outlaw’s end-to-end deal flow tool, Flow, by watching this 5-min video. For a personalized, live demo, click here

Written by Michele Pearson

More about Outlaw

Voted G2’s #1 Momentum Leader for contract management, Outlaw provides pioneering end-to-end contracting solutions for the fastest growing companies such as Intrado, BeyondPricing, and Democracy International. From dynamic template-based generation through in-app negotiation, lifecycle management and reporting, Outlaw automates and customizes contract workflows helping companies reach agreement faster. Outlaw has been recognized as a legal technology leader in 2020 by the National Law Journal.

In 2021, Outlaw joined Filevine’s legal tech platform to radically improve the future of legal work. Together, Filevine and Outlaw become the first and only end-to-end solution to dynamically link documents, contracts, and databases with their surrounding business processes, resulting in easier workflow customizations, instant automations, and better collaboration.

More information can be found at getoutlaw.com and filevine.com.

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