The first step to finding the best contract management solution for your team is to evaluate your current processes and identify strengths and weaknesses. What already works well? Where are the areas your existing systems and processes are falling short and preventing operational efficiency?
Once you have a firm grasp on your specific contract management problems, you can then determine the type of software that makes the most sense for your team, and the particular vendors you’re interested in talking to.
Below is a three-step process to help you find the best contract management solution for your unique contract management needs.
Implementing the right contract management system can make a significant impact for your legal team and your business, so it’s important you do your homework before deciding on a solution.
If you are fairly new to contract management software, ask your peers for recommendations and see what others have to say about their experiences with various solutions.
Software review sites like Capterra, G2, and Software Advice are another great place to turn for guidance, and can help you quickly compare vendors and products. These sites can save you valuable time by compiling information about various solutions in one place, and can help answer questions like:
Which providers offer our must-have features?
How much does each solution cost?
Can we eliminate any vendors immediately because their pricing or offering doesn’t align with our needs?
What are customers saying about each solution and what it’s like working with those providers?
2. Talk to Vendors
After you’ve done your research and have a better idea of the solutions you’re interested in, it’s time to start scheduling calls with vendors. Seeing a live product demo will of course give you a better idea of how the product works, but it’s also a perfect opportunity to ask questions you and your team have about how the solution could be used to solve your specific challenges.
In addition to any questions you might have relevant to your business and its unique contract management pain points, consider asking some of the following questions to determine if the offerings meet your expectations:
How is implementation handled and what resources are available to us during that process?
Implementation and onboarding are critical parts of the software buying process, so you’ll want to be sure that the vendor has a comprehensive plan in place that will adequately support your team and get users comfortable with the software as quickly as possible.
Are there additional charges for ongoing training and support?
Training and support can potentially come with hidden fees, so be sure you know exactly what you’re paying for when comparing vendors.
How can I be sure the product is actually a good fit to solve for our biggest challenges?
Pay close attention during the demo so you know that the solution actually works the way you expect and that the presenter is speaking to your stated problems and goals.
How are you working to improve the product? What’s coming down the road that might be of interest to our team?
It can be helpful to understand the features and services a company will be introducing in the future and how those offerings might impact you if you were to buy their software.
3. Determine Finalists and Set Up Free Trials
Now that you’ve seen product demonstrations and talked to vendors, you can further narrow down your list of candidates to two to three finalists. The finalists you choose should all offer the functionality you need to be successful at a price that is realistic based on your available budget.
Set up free trials with each of your finalists so you can test-drive the product and get a sense of how easy (or not) it is to get in and use the software. Make sure you have a clear idea of how you plan to use the system and establish a way for other users to test and provide feedback based on their needs and responsibilities.
Treat the trial period like it’s the beginning of your actual account so you can get a thorough understanding of what it’s like to use the system on a regular basis. Make a note of how intuitive each solution is and how quickly you’re able accomplish your contract management tasks.
To get a better idea of the various types of contract management solutions available, download The 2020 Buyer's Guide to Contract Management Software.