Contracts can be a painful experience when sales want to move quickly, whereas legal need to keep control and not be a blocker on the deal.
Sales teams live in CRM - it makes sense for them to stay there to handle paperwork, including the sales contract that governs the deal. Using Salesforce to managing contracts can ease pain points for both legal and sales teams - use this resource to find out how.
What is Salesforce?
Salesforce is a cloud-based customer relationship management tool that allows businesses to better connect with potential and existing customers. Other CRM tools are available but Salesforce dominates the category.
Why is managing contracts painful?
Imagine being a one-person in-house legal team and having to manage 30 active sales contracts each month. The responsibility of creating those contracts falls on you - the lawyer - and often involves churning out routine contracts, copying information from one document into another. This isn’t high-value work; anyone could manually input details into a contract. And if you’re limited to using Microsoft Word (still the system of choice for most legal teams) then it can be a time-consuming, soul-destroying manual task.
Legal teams can respond to this challenge by opening up the creation process to the wider business. Allowing sales teams to create their own contracts might speed up the cycle, but there’s an attendant risk that comes with empowering salespeople to do legal work. Lawyers might want to help sales colleagues move faster but they can't allow reps to freelance the contract language.
Businesses often end up storing contract information in different places - a partially-completed spreadsheet here, a shared drive folder structure there. The legal team can't rely on this to be accurate, assuming the worst when it comes to human error. They’ll open up the initial contract anyway, which defeats the purpose. This problem only gets worse as the volume of contracts increases. At sales-driven high-growth tech companies, contract volumes grow month on month. Legal headcount doesn't.
Businesses can hire one or several FTEs (contract managers) to look after this manual process, or they can automate it.
Salesforce contracts pre- and post-signature
Sales and legal teams tend to be focused on different parts of the contract lifecycle in Salesforce.
The pre-signature stage of a contract lifecycle is usually a sales team’s focus. Before the contract is signed, the priority for sales is to create it quickly, negotiate it without friction and get through legal approval to electronic signature. Legal review is a key moment in the process - legal teams often aim specifically to shorten this period.
The post-signature stage revolves around contract management, including things like renewals, analytics, contract data, and so on, which is usually legal’s focus (as well as other stakeholders like finance). Most legal teams don’t use Salesforce routinely (although that’s changing), but lawyers need to be comfortable implementing Salesforce-enabled contract management so their teams they support can move faster.
It’s also important to have a single source of truth for contracts; otherwise legal and sales can end up having several disconnected systems in place, with no visibility and different contract information in each. Salesforce can add consistency to the process by keeping stored information in one, easily-accessible location.
In the sales team where I work at Juro, we use Salesforce to track all interactions with customers, so information isn’t lost when dealing with multiple people in a commercial relationship. We also track the status of new customers we're onboarding, so the business has clear visibility into our priorities and can forecast accurately.
How do I manage contracts in Salesforce?
By integrating your contract automation platform with Salesforce, it's possible to allow sales reps to self-serve robust, compliant contracts in CRM, but with legal staying in control of risk thanks to a defined approval workflow.
With this integration and workflow in place, sales reps generate contracts in Salesforce from templates that the legal team creates in Juro. The sales team can focus on the sales process, managing leads through the pipeline to customer status; and the legal team can focus on contracts and risk, monitoring legal terms and negotiating in their contracts platform.
It's possible to train legal teams to use another platform outside of CRM, of course - but if a sales team lives in Salesforce all day every day and wants to stay there, why force them into different software? If your contracts platform integrates into Salesforce with a 2-way real-time data sync, you can have confidence in its data integrity and let sales stay in the system they know. As long as data is in sync between the two systems of record, documents can move unimpeded through the lifecycle, with contract elements reflected accurately in both systems.
In the example above, the total annual price of this contract has been updated to £800. This is tagged under 'Total price' in the smartfields to the right. This metadata is pulled into Salesforce in real time, so in Salesforce the the amount now reflects the contract amount from Juro.
The benefits of Salesforce contract management
Integrating Salesforce with your system of record for contracts - can reduce the scope for human error that comes with repeated manual data entry. What does this mean for lawyers? The time they would have spent manually adding information from one source to another can now be used for more high-value work. Salesforce contract management also reduces friction between legal and commercial teams, with legal enabling sales to close faster.
The benefits of creating and managing contracts with Salesforce include:
- Shorter contract review
- Shorter sales cycles
- Better visibility of deal blockers
- No more issues with version control
- Fewer platforms (ie no need for separate eSignature) meaning less friction
- Less context-switching for both sales and legal.
We find these benefits tend to be compelling for legal teams looking to support colleagues using Salesforce, whilst keeping control of legal risk.
Find out more about Juro's Salesforce integration.
By integrating contracts and CRM, sales and legal teams are able to collaborate more easily through an automated contract lifecycle.
Automating the contract lifecycle
Contract automation extends not just from creation but through collaboration, negotiation, eSignature and post-signature contract and obligation management.
An automated contract lifecycle results in the following stages:
CREATE: As soon as the contract is created in Juro, it’s saved in Salesforce and visible to the team. Alternatively you can create contracts in Salesforce and be confident that they're immediately live-synced to Juro.
COLLABORATE: internal stakeholders can collaborate in real time - they can comment on a clause in Juro, instead of emailing the legal team and requesting an edit. The audit trail in Juro captures all the activity from engaging parties, which gives visibility to everyone involved in the process through Juro’s timeline feature. These changes are also automatically reflected in Salesforce.
NEGOTIATE: Juro allows parties to negotiate in-browser. When negotiating terms, the values changed in Juro are reflected immediately in Salesforce, instead of instigating a back-and-forth email chain.
AGREE: parties can securely eSign in Juro on any device; a PDF of the signed contract is automatically stored as a PDF in Salesforce and emailed to all parties.
STORE / MANAGE: legal teams need visibility into contracts post-closing - with a two-way live-synced integration, both legal and sales teams can be confident that their documents are accurate. More speed, less risk
By automating the process, legal can focus on work that adds value to the wider business, while also enabling sales to work more faster. You don't have to choose between speed and risk - for legal teams looking to empower commercial colleagues, an integrated contracts solution like Juro can help achieve both teams' goals.
Making sure legal stays in control of Salesforce contracts
It's worth emphasizing that a workflow which empowers salespeople to self-serve doesn't mean that legal loses control. The legal team can set up an approval workflow that means any document going out to a third party has to pass through legal approval. Finding the right balance between speed and risk might mean adjusting your risk appetite, but it doesn't mean having to agree to unacceptable levels of risk. Integrating contracts with CRM properly will create the right mix of efficiency and control, to help deals keep moving - and closing.
If your sales contract workflow needs accelerating, hit the button below to find out more about contract automation for sales teams.