Real-Time Collaborative Contract Negotiations: Jump Off the Contract Treadmill & Into 3 Hidden Opportunities

It was The Contract Treadmill:

Counsel for a counterparty would call and ask me, “Where do you stand on our proposed contract?” 

[Cue the morning run.] I’d call and email until I found which executive had let the draft contract stagnate in their inbox.  Then, that person would hit me with a deluge of concerns. 

[Set the treadmill on an incline.] Eventually, I’d speak with each internal stakeholder to explain the thinking behind decisions, often rehashing the same territory. Eventually, I’d get the contract back from the other GC to find more revisions and new language littering the document. 

[Dial-up the treadmill’s speed.] We’d go back to the drawing board 5, 8, 10 times. 

It was exhausting. (Too bad it didn’t burn calories the way a real treadmill would’ve!)

Without Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software to eliminate inefficiencies like these, lawyers stay stuck on the contract treadmill. Worse, we miss out on several opportunities that CLM software’s collaborative environment provides, including improving your ability to: 

  • provide more effective and strategic business advice,
  • encourage cooperation during negotiations for more profitable gains, and
  • make a more positive impact on the bottom line faster.

Here’s how it works:

Opportunity #1: Become more attuned to business needs to offer more strategic direction. 

Executive leaders are eager for more strategic direction from in-house lawyers. Some 70% of chief executives say an ideal GC should serve as both a strategic business partner at the company and as an important member of its leadership team, says a recent BarkerGilmore survey. Yet, only 55% of GCs currently fill those roles. 

And the top area in which CEOs wanted their GCs to improve? It is “business strategy.” 

Working in a CLM platform’s collaborative environment helps you tune into the company’s needs as a whole. You actively engage with company leaders, department heads, and other colleagues. Hearing their priorities and concerns helps you more thoroughly understand the organization’s approach to the market. You are in a better position to perceive the company’s overall strengths and weaknesses when you collaborate directly with each of the individuals who play a part in running it.

As a result, you can more easily identify potential risks and find new sources of value from the company’s contractual relationships. And you can ensure the company enters into contracts that align with its broader objectives and avoids riskier ventures that don’t.  

Opportunity #2: Eliminate conflict to encourage cooperation.

A CLM platform’s environment is structured and controlled, which reduces traditional sources of conflict. One easily accessible location contains all the communications and supporting documentation you need to understand the structure and value of contractual relationships. CLM software also eliminates version control issues and other hassles that sow confusion and cause delays. Lawyers know they can rely on the software to locate specific language, spot contradictions, and automatically identify risks, opportunities, and obligations. 

Working with others in a transparent environment encourages cooperation and trust. You don’t need to run “compare changes” and re-review the draft after every revision. You trust the software to identify new edits. You also know that changes aren’t incorporated into the final until your lead negotiator accepts or rejects them.  

Assurances like these bring a huge relief, which means one important thing:

You get to focus on negotiations, not paperwork.

This level of reliability and transparency frees lawyers to focus on serving the business more strategically. You have the tools to bring your company’s leadership team together and guide them to challenge assumptions, share diverse perspectives, and find new ways to solve problems. You can more easily spot areas where you can make a more positive impact. Once you spot those areas, CLM software also helps you bring them to fruition faster.

Opportunity #3: Speed negotiations to make a positive impact on the bottom line faster.

CLM software brings people, contracts, revisions, and comments together to speed negotiations significantly. Your legal team organizes work, delegates and automates tasks, and aggregates everything on one platform that holds everyone accountable. 

Rather than playing phone tag and hot potato with draft contracts, a discussion board keeps parties more informed more quickly. Negotiators stay focused on key issues. They make smarter business decisions more quickly, and negotiations end faster. 

This is the agility and speed you need to capture more of today’s fast-moving opportunities. Ultimately, when you use CLM software to collaborate simultaneously, you also accelerate time-to-market for products and speed revenue gains on deals for a faster positive impact on the bottom line.

Get off the treadmill and become strategic business leaders.

You won’t find these opportunities while you’re on the contract treadmill struggling to keep pace with the speed of business. Collaborating with a CLM platform expands your role to increase your value to the organization. Lawyers who engage in collaborative relationships with company executives transition more easily into leadership roles. 

Gain time and uncover more opportunities. Encourage cooperation. Serve as a true business partner who helps the organization meet its broader goals. Don’t just review contracts. Collaborate, understand, and guide your organization to greater success!

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