For a business to properly grow, contracts need to move beyond the review phase in a timely manner. However, there are often plenty of roadblocks that get in the way of contracts progressing naturally. The content of the contract, the terms, and the lack of communication between parties can slow processes to a crawl. Poor contract management leads to undesirable outcomes and slow business growth, or even decline.
Fortunately, there are several ways to combat contract roadblocks and get sales agreements signed faster.
Keep It Simple
It’s not uncommon for legal teams to feel that they’re obligated to create long, jargon-filled, complicated contracts. It’s the norm, so they’re often unwilling to simplify terms to make the contract easier to understand.
Simplifying contracts, however, can speed up the signing process. Other businesses prefer simple contracts that don’t require complete dissection to understand. The complicated nature of typical contracts makes businesses on the receiving end wary because they’re under the impression that messy contracts contain hidden agendas.
Making a contract simple and to the point can allow people who do not have a legal background to understand what’s being proposed in the text. The easier it is to understand, the faster businesses can negotiate and sign the document.
Consider the Layout
On top of using simple sentences to write a contract, it’s also a great idea to ensure that the information therein is well-organized. Contract management teams need to outline each piece of information under the correct subheading, properly format pages, and ensure that paragraphs do not look like a massive block of text.
Short, straight-forward passages on a neatly-formatted page can make the contract easier to read and digest. Making the process of reading and understanding the contract less daunting will certainly speed up the signing process.
Be Honest and Upfront
It’s bad business to try tricking clients into agreeing to a contract that was intentionally misleading. Under no circumstance should contract management teams sneak clauses or additional pieces of information into the contract. Hoping that the hidden clause will fly under the radar until after the client signs is dishonest and will not help the business grow once the terms of the contract have closed.
To keep clients interested in working with a given company, and to foster trust within the industry, legal teams should take special care when it comes to being transparent. Hiding information is not going to help matters in the long run.
Have A Backup Plan
Negotiating is a normal phase in a contract’s lifecycle. Even if a company feels that the contract they’ve created is easy to agree upon, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan ready. If the business on the other end of the contract wants to negotiate certain terms, it’s wise to be prepared.
Legal teams should discuss possible changes and concessions they’re willing to make before the proposal comes up. This way, they will not require a lot of time to regroup and discuss the changes they’re willing to make.
Having a backup plan ready shows other businesses that the legal team is efficient and well-prepared. Being able to present a counter-offer right away will speed up the signing process.
Remain in Charge
Having open access contracts may be beneficial when it comes to saving time and allowing sales teams to take care of simple legal agreements. However, allowing contract and template changes to be made can cause conflicts. Before proposing a contract, it’s important to have a legal representative review the information therein. This is to ensure that no undesirable changes were made to the agreement before the contract is signed.
A possible remedy for this risk involves keeping certain parts of the contract information locked so that only verified legal individuals can make alterations. This step ensures that the contract is original and does not contain added clauses or unapproved terms.
Maintain ALL Negotiation Data
The negotiation process is sometimes unavoidable. If negotiation becomes necessary for a given contract, keep careful, accurate records. Preferably, conduct negotiations in-browser. This way, there is a ‘paper trail’ when it comes to the proposals and changes that were agreed upon.
This way, businesses won’t forget information or become overwhelmed when trying to remember the exact terms that were agreed upon during a given negotiation.
For a business to succeed and grow, contract life cycles have to move along at a consistent pace. To keep the ball rolling, it’s in a company’s best interest to avoid delays by taking advantage of these useful contract management steps. Avoid encountering problems before they ever have the chance to begin by creating clean, simple, well-organized contracts. Be vigilant, yet flexible about the terms of your contracts, and ensure that each step of the process is maintained with care.