Adopting eSignature is a good first step, but it's not enough. How do you create a truly digital contracting process from end-to-end, and what are the benefits?
What is digital contracting?
Digital contracting is a process that turns the entire contracting lifecycle - not just signature, or storage, but every stage of the journey - into a data-first, collaborative, browser-based workflow. This enables everyone in the business to work with contracts seamlessly - whatever their role.
Why we need digital contracting
To date, contract lifecycle management software for the most part fails to deliver true digital contracting. Instead, it interacts with collaborative processes at certain points, but mostly maintains the status quo by pushing Word documents and PDFs between systems. This means data is lost, or never captured at all, and systems don’t integrate seamlessly, causing friction between teams:
Most of the process illustrated above relies on static files and unstructured data, which leads to the familiar problems that commercial teams encounter with contracts:
- Unsearchable: where are they and what do they say?
- Untrackable: what’s the negotiation history of this PDF?
- Version control: which version of this Word file is the right one?
- Slow: what’s holding up this contract?
These problems only get worse with scale, which is why high-growth businesses often invest early in a contract automation platform.
Implementing digital contracting
At its core, there are three differentiators that mark out digital contracting:
1. No-code workflow automation
Users can set up workflows for contract creation, approval, signature and post-signature management (like renewal reminders) without needing any technical or development input.
2. Contract data pipelines
Contracts are created as structured data, meaning data is captured from inception and at every stage - negotiation data is part of a full digital audit trail that can be easily accessed.
3. API-first contracts
Contracts’ existence as structured data means that documents, and the data that accompanies them, can flow seamlessly between systems. That might mean into CRM like Salesforce, or into an ATS like Workday, or into collaboration tools like Slack.
Setting up a true digital contracting workflow, in line with these principles, would make the process look more like this:
In this process, data is captured and retained at every stage, able to drive actionable insights; and the whole process takes place without ever needing to leave the browser.
Adoption of a digital contracting platform enables teams to collaborate more effectively on contracts, with benefits for each business function affected by contracts. Let’s take a look at the benefits to the affected teams below.
Digital contracting for legal teams
In-house legal teams are usually the ‘owners’ of contracts in the business. They create and manage the templates that business teams use to generate the documents they need. A digital contracting platform like Juro gives them the following key features:
- Contracts as structured data in-browser, so everything’s searchable
- One source of truth with a contract repository that can handle legacy PDFs too
- Automated approval workflows
- An audit trail to switch between versions with one click
- A contract data pipeline linking into key systems
- Analytics on every stage of the lifecycle
These features enable legal to get results without sinking all their time into low-value work.
The results for legal teams
- Legal is an enabler of new business, not a blocker
- Lawyers can spend more time on high-value work while commercial colleagues get on with the day-to-day of closing contracts
- Internal clients can brief work through a legal front door, enabled by the contract data pipeline
- Automated tracking and reminders of key dates in contracts help to reduce risk
- Legal can deliver a frictionless, self-serve workflow - but stay in ultimate control
We’ve heard legal teams report back that they saved up to 80 per cent of their previous time spent on low-value contracts through implementing digital contracting with Juro.
Digital contracting for sales teams
Perhaps no business team is more concerned with speed and efficiency in the contract workflow than sales. With true digital contracting, sales teams can stop contracts being a necessary evil, and instead make them a quick and painless touchpoint on the road to hitting revenue targets. A digital contracting platform like Juro gives them the following key features:
- Branded, mobile-responsive contract templates that look inviting to prospects
- The ability to self-serve new contracts quickly using a Q&A
- Live, two-way data sync between contracts and CRM
- Contract locking - legal teams can limit the ability of sales to edit certain contract text, to avoid mistakes
- Lightning-fast deployments, with intuitive software rolling out in days, not months
The results for sales teams:
- Get to yes faster: sales teams using digital contracting report a 30 per cent faster time-to-close
- Seamless transition between CRM and contracts, so salespeople can work in the systems they know and love
- Frictionless approvals mean legal review can be done in moments
- Contract analytics mean sales teams can easily spot the bottlenecks in their process
- Contract data pipelines mean that data is accurate across every system - making forecasting finally reliable
With digital contracting, sales teams can stop worrying about paperwork and focus on what really matters to them - closing deals.
Digital contracting for HR teams
HR and people teams are key stakeholders in the contract process, but often HR contracts - particularly when it comes to hiring new employees - are a painful, bureaucratic process that takes far too long. HR teams are increasingly moving to software solutions to avoid this. A digital contracting platform like Juro gives them the following key features:
- Branded, responsive templates that can be signed on any device
- Rich media-enabled contracts that can include animation and attachments
- In-browser commenting and negotiation
- Integrations with core HR systems through contract data pipelines
- Automated approval workflows
- Mass actions, for activities like mass contract variations, or equity awards
The results for HR teams
- Shorter time-to-hire
- Appealing, accessible contracts that candidates actually want to sign
- Faster signing
- Contract data moving seamlessly into ATS or other relevant systems
- No more version control problems with contracts
- Faster internal approvals
HR teams moving to digital contracting with Juro report saving up to 75 per cent of time on paperwork, letting them focus on finding and securing the right candidates.
How to find a digital contracting platform
To achieve its goals and deliver on its promise, a crucial factor when it comes to vendor selection is adoption. There’s no point in trying to implement software that’s too difficult for business teams to use.
Juro regularly leads the market on ease of use - check out Juro’s reviews on G2 to find out more about the difference that an intuitive UI and fast implementation can make to your objectives with contracts. Juro accounts start from free - sign up and try it.
Other platforms are available too: check out this curated list of tools for legal teams to read more about collaborative technology. You can also check out these resources to find out more about digital contracting:
The International Association for Contract & Commercial Management (IACCM)| Artificial Lawyer | International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) | Corporate Legal Operations Consortium (CLOC) | Capterra | Radiant Law | Juro's contract automation explainer page | Juro's specialist contracts blog
Ready to explore digital contracting solutions?
If you’re working at a high-growth business and feel you’d benefit from adopting digital contracting, hit the big button below to get in touch and find out more.