The contracts are legal documents that govern almost every penny that either comes in or leaves a business. If the businesses are equipped with the right contract management software for managing them then they can transform contracts from static documents into strategic assets. In a business landscape that changes so quickly with the evolution of technology, regulatory measures are coming up often.
Moreover, the global supply chains are only becoming complex and the marketing and sales models are becoming increasingly diverse. This is a state that has led to a need for digital contracts that can be easily accessed and amended. There is an increasing demand for a powerful CLM platform that allows you to manage and get the most out of your contracts.
A powerful contract lifecycle management software lets you automate and streamline contract processes and unlock the real potential within them. With a CLM such as Zoho Contracts, legal teams can save considerable time which can be invested in high-value tasks.
In this blog, we will have a detailed look at Zoho Contracts and the functions that this software offers.
What are Zoho Contracts?
Zoho Contracts is a simple solution for all the contract challenges. It helps in efficiently streamlining the Contract Lifecycle Management process with a feature-rich platform while achieving compliance at scale with reduced costs.
The implementation of CLM platforms like Zoho Contracts enables you to reduce contract cycle times, mitigate business risks, and improve contract governance. It is a complete contract solution that eliminates the need for multiple applications.
All business owners can stay on top of their business contracts no matter where they go. Zoho Contracts applications create a personalized mobile dashboard that offers insights into key contract metrics. The application also comes with features that are needed when you are away from your desk.
Other than offering efficiency in legal operations, the Zoho Contracts software facilitates better business outcomes. It addresses the below-mentioned aspects of legal operations.
Streamlining Contract Lifecycle
There are five stages included in the contract lifecycle that Zoho Contracts takes care of and they are mentioned below:
- Authoring: Zoho Contracts comes with an extensive library of predefined contract templates and an ability to create custom templates in Zoho Contracts which makes contract authoring a breeze. The contract type templates along with the clause library in Zoho Contracts bring a systematic approach to contract authoring. It helps in saving a lot of time at the authoring stage while ensuring that there is language consistency across all contracts. The document editor comes with advanced document assembly capabilities, collaborative editing features, fillable field features, contextual commenting, etc.
- Approvals: All contracts are legally binding documents so the content included in them must be clear, concise, and accurate. The approval process of contracts can improve compliance and reduce risks by making sure that stakeholders are aware of the scope of a contract before it is executed. Zoho Contracts can be used by admins to set up approval workflows both sequential and parallel and associate them with contract types. The approvers can add contextual comments in the documents and approve or reject them as well.
- Negotiations: As opposed to the traditional approach in which you send contracts back and forth as email attachments, Zoho Contracts helps you with controlled access to counterparty contacts with password-protected links. The counterparty contacts can collaborate with each other in real-time, suggest relevant changes that should be made to the document, make contextual comments, and set the visibility. This negotiation history tracking and comparing changes feature comes in as highly useful when there are various negotiation rounds.
- Execution: Zoho Contracts is a CLM system that comes pre-integrated with an e-signature software called Zoho Sign which makes this important step in the contract lifecycle extremely quick and effortless. The turnaround time for emailing, printing, signing, and faxing cycles can be eliminated or reduced considerably. You can sign and secure the legally binding electronic signatures within a few minutes. A signing order can also be specified that pans all across the signer group, organization signers, counterparty signers, other representatives, etc.
- Post-execution Management: The use of Zoho Contracts also supports the post-execution stages along with amendments, extensions, terminations, and renewals. The software comes embedded with a predefined letter template that is customizable for each of these stages. The conventional templates only offer a skeletal structure of the document in which all members can contextually edit the content and make it complete. On the other hand, Zoho Contracts enables a user to amend a contract by making changes in the contract as the amendment letter that gets generated automatically captures the current changes along with the entire contract history. This extreme reduction of any manual intervention in document generation makes the lifecycle management of post-execution contracts extremely simple and straightforward.
Creating Risk Proof Contracts
Zoho Contracts is excellent contract management software that can help in gaining access to predefined templates for commonly used contracts such as NDAs and MSAs. Templates can act as a guide rail for the contract authors. You can change the details as much as you need while authoring a contract. You can also create your own template.
Instant contract creation is also enabled with the use of Zoho Contracts as you can simply add the contract and counterparty information in a form for generating contracts with all the right details in place. The contracts can be created based on the templates which empower all members to create contracts while also ensuring that there is language consistency across all contracts.
Zoho Contract comes with a built-in document editor with all features in a powerful word processor called Zoho Writer. The cloud offering allows you to author contracts from wherever you may be. Lastly, the advanced clause picker enables contract authors to search for and insert a clause in a contract easily. All the clauses in predefined templates including the ones you add are available in the clause library.
Contract Data Can Be Turned Into Business Insights
The feature of Dashboard lets you gain a high-level overview of your business at a glance while quickly making informed decisions. You can see the KPIs regarding your business health and growth at your fingertips.
Other than the Dashboard feature, the Reports feature also helps in gaining actionable insights across all aspects of the contract management system. You can check on things such as milestones, clauses, obligation, counterparty, performance, and other general contract attributes.
Zoho Contracts is advanced contract management software that enables admins to make well-informed decisions by arriving at actionable business insights gleaned from a wide range of contract data. It comes with more than 30 standard reports across different aspects of contract management. And the personalized dashboard offers a high-level overview of business contracts at a glance.
Moreover, Zoho Contracts also allows activity tracking on three different levels including the contract level, user level, and stage level (approval, negotiation, signature). All kinds of activities performed by users on these levels are tracked chronologically. The stage level tracking presents the contract owner with information on whether the people involved in this stage have received the email notification, viewed the document, and performed the intended action along with time stamps.
The admins can structure the entire contract lifecycle process by configuring the clause library, contract letter templates, contract type templates, and approval workflows for contract types. The activity, access, and audit logs offer better visibility over organization-wide activities.
Reducing Business Risks
Adding suitable clauses such as limitations of liability and indemnity can eliminate all risks at an individual contract level and only a holistic contract management process designed with risk mitigation in mind can make a business truly risk ready. The use of Zoho Contracts comes with a peer review and approval workflow capability that offers better transparency over contract items to almost all the stakeholders involved. You can set up a clause library with legally approved languages and contract-type templates that act as a guide rail for contract authors. The governance settings give better control to the admins for the contract process while also improving compliance.
A critical risk factor for a business is to not fulfill contractual obligations. Any failure to comply with obligations can result in adverse regulatory and financial consequences and also leave the organization with damaged business relationships. A CLM system such as Zoho Contracts ensures that all obligations related to a contract can be tracked and managed from the contract obligations section. The contract owner can assign obligations to respective business owners and set reminders for them. Admins can also stay on top of these obligations with the help of obligation-based reports.
Promoting Cross-Functional Integrations
Contracts are considered dynamic documents that touch all parts of a business. The ever-increasing importance of the role of contracts necessitates cross-functional visibility and collaboration over them. The Zoho CRM integration allows sales professionals to initiate contracts from related sections of a deal record in CRM and track the contract’s status from CRM.
Most business development professionals report that any inefficiencies in the contracting process lead to slow revenue recognition. The main cause of this is sales and legal teams working in silos rather than together. The deals that were won and have been closed are often marked as complete after the sales agreement is signed which means that any inefficiency in the contract lifecycle management process of an organization impacts the revenue growth.
Any lack of transparency or difficulty in communication between the sales and legal teams result in long contract cycle times and it can even result in lost deals sometimes. With the Zoho CRM integration, you can establish a sort of transparency between the sales and contract processes while considerably improving the cycle times.
The integration can make the critical functional aspects of Zoho Contracts that are relevant for salespeople within the Zoho CRM. The sales cycle management offered by Zoho CRM and the contract lifecycle management offered by Zoho Contracts works together as the best contracting process for the sales team.
Much Better Control and Compliance
Zoho Contracts is highly functional contract lifecycle management software that keeps all stakeholders aware of potential risks and opportunities in a contract before it becomes active by adding them as approvers. You can design your own approval workflows both sequential and parallel. The approvers can also collaborate through the comment section.
There is a central repository where all the contracts can be stored. There are search and filter options as well that enable much better visibility and accessibility. One can stay on top of all user activities in the CRM platform of Zoho Contracts. It is easy to view the history of all progress, changes, and suggestions made in one place.
With version control, all versions of a contract can be seen in chronological order. It is also possible to compare versions and restore any of the older versions simultaneously. There is another feature of Calendar View that offers a month view calendar display of all the contract schedules and reminders.
You can never miss any obligation or an opportunity for a renewal with the help of reminder alerts. Lastly, with User Roles and Permissions, you can assign roles for users in the organization. There are different access permissions for each role which enable better control over the contract lifecycle management software.
Zoho Contracts can empower organizations and individuals with better control over the contracts because of its impressive automated workflows. It has a wide portfolio of products and seamless integrations that make the workflow very easy to manage.
You can quickly set up Zoho Contracts with only a little support from a certified and experienced Zoho consultant. A professional will be able to introduce you to all features while also importing your key contracts.
Stay Tuned for more!
(Seasoned Zoho Authorized and Certified Partner)
Feel free to contact me if you have any queries