9 Tips for Buying a CLM Software for Now and the Future

With contracts forming the backbone of business operations, organizations need robust tools to manage every aspect of the contract lifecycle effectively. However, choosing the right CLM software is not a decision to be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of both current needs and future scalability.

In this guide, we’ll discuss essential tips for purchasing CLM software that will serve your organization well now and into the future.

1. Know Your Current Pain Points

Evaluating and understanding your current contract pain points is crucial for selecting the right CLM solution. By identifying where your contract processes are falling short, whether it’s inefficient contract processes, lack of visibility, or compliance issues, you can pinpoint specific functionalities and features that would be essential in your CLM system.

For instance, if your organization struggles with contract version control and collaboration, you’ll want a CLM solution with robust document management and real-time collaboration features. Similarly, if compliance and risk management are major concerns, you’ll prioritize a solution with built-in compliance tracking and automated alerts for critical dates and obligations.

Furthermore, understanding your current pain points allows you to anticipate future needs and scalability requirements. As your organization grows and evolves, your contract management challenges will likely change as well. By addressing current pain points and selecting a flexible and scalable CLM solution, you can future-proof your contract management processes and ensure that your software investment continues to add value in the long term.

2. Keep an Eye on the Future

Anticipating future changes in your business, such as expansion into new markets, changes in regulatory requirements, or shifts in contract volume and complexity, can help you choose a CLM solution that offers the flexibility and functionality to support these changes.

If you anticipate entering international markets, you’ll need a CLM solution that supports multi-language contracts, localized compliance requirements, and global contract management capabilities. Or, if you expect a significant increase in contract volume as your business grows, you’ll prioritize a scalable CLM solution that can handle a higher volume of contracts without sacrificing performance.

Additionally, predicting how your business will change allows you to select a CLM solution that aligns with your long-term strategic objectives. When you choose a CLM that supports these objectives, you make it possible to maximize the return on your software investment.

3. Research a Variety of Vendors

Every day, more and more CLM solutions debut on the market. With the wide range of features, functionalities, and pricing models currently available, thorough research has become a necessary part of the CLM selection process.

Researching multiple vendors allows you to assess the breadth and depth of each solution’s capabilities. Different vendors may specialize in specific industries or offer unique features tailored to different business needs. By evaluating a variety of options, you can identify the vendor whose product best aligns with your organization’s requirements, both now and in the future.

Knowledge of multiple vendors also enables you to consider factors such as scalability, flexibility, and innovation. A vendor with a proven track record of innovation and ongoing product development is more likely to offer a CLM solution that can adapt to emerging technologies and evolving business trends. Plus, comparing pricing models and contract terms across multiple vendors helps ensure that you select a solution that offers the best value for your organization’s budget and long-term objectives.

4. Get a Product Demo

Product demos are another invaluable step in the selection process. A product demo allows you to experience firsthand how the CLM software functions and how it can address your organization’s specific requirements.

During a product demo, you have the opportunity to see key features in action. This hands-on experience lets you assess the software’s usability, interface intuitiveness, and overall user experience, helping you determine whether it aligns with your organization’s workflow and processes.

A product demo also provides insight into the vendor’s level of customer support and responsiveness. Pay attention to how knowledgeable and responsive the demo team is to your inquiries and concerns. A vendor that is attentive and supportive during the sales process is more likely to provide excellent ongoing support after implementation.

5. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions

Asking questions is key to understanding the functionalities and capabilities of a CLM software. Inquire about customization options, integration capabilities, data security measures, and support offerings to ensure that the CLM solution can meet your current and future needs. You may also learn more about potential support services from the vendor by asking questions. This may include implementation assistance, training programs, or ongoing technical support. You won’t know unless you ask!

6. Consider Your Priorities and Deal Breakers

Your deal breakers are non-negotiable requirements or limitations that, if not met, would render a CLM solution unsuitable for your organization. Identifying your deal breakers helps you prioritize your organization’s most important needs and requirements.

For example, if data security is a top priority and non-negotiable for your organization, a CLM solution that lacks robust security features or compliance certifications may be a dealbreaker. Or, if the software does not offer integration capabilities with your existing systems or lacks essential functionalities such as electronic signature integration, it may not meet your organization’s requirements.

Considering your deal breakers also lets you avoid investing time and resources in evaluating CLM solutions that ultimately won’t meet your needs. By clearly defining your deal breakers upfront, you can quickly eliminate options that don’t align with your organization’s priorities, allowing you to focus on evaluating solutions that have the potential to meet your requirements.

Ultimately, by avoiding solutions that fail to meet your non-negotiable requirements, you can mitigate the risk of investing in software that will become obsolete or inadequate as your organization expands and your contract management needs evolve.

7. Plan for Change Management

Change management involves preparing your organization for the transition to new software. It includes all the steps you take to ensure that users are adequately trained and supported throughout the process.

When choosing a CLM solution, it’s important to consider how it will impact your organization’s workflows, processes, and culture. By anticipating the changes that will accompany the implementation of new software, you can proactively address potential challenges and facilitate a smooth transition.

One way to plan for change management is to involve key stakeholders from across the organization in the decision-making process. Soliciting input from users who will be directly impacted by the new CLM solution allows you to gain valuable insights into their needs, preferences, and concerns. This way, you can make sure that the chosen software meets all their requirements and expectations.

You also have to be prepared to invest in comprehensive training and support programs. These processes help end users learn to successfully use the new solution. And, by providing users with the necessary training and resources to effectively utilize the software, you can minimize resistance to change and maximize the benefits of the CLM solution for your organization.

8. Check for Integration Capabilities

Integration capabilities enable seamless communication and data exchange between your CLM software and other important systems within your organization’s IT infrastructure, such as CRM, ERP, and document management platforms.

Check to make sure your chosen solution offers the integration capabilities your organization needs. Better integrations help you streamline workflows, improve data accuracy, and enhance overall efficiency. For example, integrating a CLM software with your CRM system allows sales teams to self-service some aspects of their contracts, reducing the load on the legal team and accelerating the contract lifecycle. Integrating with your ERP system can also enable synchronization of contract data with financial records, leading to more accurate invoicing and revenue recognition.

Checking for integration capabilities helps future-proof your contract management processes as well by ensuring that your CLM solution can adapt and scale alongside your organization’s evolving needs. As your business grows, you may need to integrate your CLM software with new systems or technologies. Choosing a CLM solution with flexible integration capabilities ensures that you can easily connect with future applications and platforms.

9. Work with a CLM Consultant

Consultants bring tons of helpful information to the CLM selection process, including specialized knowledge of vendors, industry best practices, implementation tips, and current trends. They live CLM every day and can guide you through the often confusing and complex landscape of available options.

A consultant can help you assess your organization’s specific requirements and objectives, ensuring that the chosen CLM solution aligns with your unique needs and priorities. After conducting a thorough analysis of your contract management processes, pain points, and desired outcomes, consultants can recommend CLM solutions that offer the most suitable features and functionalities to address your needs.

Working with a consultant also streamlines the selection process by narrowing down the field of potential vendors and solutions based on your organization’s criteria and preferences. Consultants can leverage their industry expertise and vendor relationships to identify top contenders and initiate product demos, allowing you to compare options more efficiently and make informed decisions.

Consultants inform practically every part of the CLM implementation process from start to finish. From implementation strategies and change management best practices to post-implementation support services, they’ve got you covered and can really help you maximize your investment.

To learn more about how consultants like Koho Software can make CLM adoption easy for you and your organization, reach out to our team of experts today.