How To Ensure Your CLM Rollout Is Smooth

For a successful Contract Lifecycle Management rollout, someone on your team needs to be in charge of the process. In other words, a project owner is a must for a smoother rollout process that has the proper KPIs linked to its adoption. 

Besides appointing someone at the helm, it’s worth equipping them with the right tools that make the process efficient and reliable. This way, you don’t miss key data and you stay on track with milestones and deadlines. 

In this guide, you’ll learn: 

Let’s dive in.

Considerations for a successful CLM implementation

There are a few things to think about when you’re trying to execute the adoption of a CLM tool that’ll help you take care of contracts with minimal hassle. Let’s look at a few of the most important ones. 

1. Ease of use

The first and probably more obvious question worth asking is: How easy is it to use your CLM? The easier to adopt it is, the less of a learning curve your team will have to get through.

In turn, this can only mean a smoother integration process that doesn’t interfere with project deadlines or slows down your team. Time is valuable when you’re trying to implement a new tool within your existing workflow. 

The easier your CLM tool is to learn, the less time you’ll have to spend answering questions, troubleshooting features, or having to revise error-prone contracts.

2. Onboarding requirements

Does your business infrastructure have everything it needs to implement a CLM system without any extra hurdles? How will you measure success? Are there KPIs that you need to pay special attention to in order to deem your CLM implementation a success.

It is essential to capture your detailed onboarding requirements to avoid the risk of failure. 

  • Oftentimes, onboarding a CLM has a dependency on the internal legal team. Collecting existing contracts and standardizing the contracts that need to be templatized. 
  • Ideally, you should collect these onboarding requirements from the product team you are onboarding upfront. 
  • Once these requirements are collected, dedicate the necessary bandwidth and ensure that the rollout of the CLM is a part of the internal team’s KPIs. 

3. CLM system complexity

Ease of use can be great to prioritize, but at what cost? Maybe your CLM system might be a bit complex, but that means it comes with additional features that better mold to the needs of your team. In the end, you might need to make some tradeoffs and compromise to get the best possible outcome. 

CLM rollout challenges

One of the biggest reasons CLM rollouts fail is the lack of planning in the initial stages. Unfortunately, a CLM process isn’t something you can just add to your team’s workload and assume they’ll automatically integrate it.

And lack of preparation will only lead to teams failing to make a CLM a key part of how they work. Some CLM implementation challenges can do more damage than others. It all depends on factors like the needs and size of your team. Here are a few worth highlighting: 

1. Key stakeholders aren’t always included 

Does your sales team know you’re implementing a CLM tool but not your customer success team? That’s a problem—especially because the likelihood that both teams will have overlapping CLM needs is high.

As you implement the CLM of your choice, be intentional about including key stakeholders—whether this means team leads or the C suite. The more key stakeholders you include as part of your implementation process, the less space you leave for miscommunication. 

2. Usage questions don’t have clear answers

How can you support teams in the adoption of your CLM tool? Can you create a centralized team wiki that answers the most frequently asked questions? Does your CLM provider equip you with accessible webinars or how-to guides? 

Unanswered questions won’t move your implementation process forward. And unanswered questions lead to frustrated teams. As you get started implementing your CLM tool, don’t underestimate the power of creating a centralized document team can have access to in case they need to learn about updates or answers to key questions. 

3. Some tools don’t integrate into your existing SaaS stack 

While at face value some CLM tools will look amazing, they might lack the ability to integrate with your existing SaaS stack—which puts a huge burden on your IT team to figure out a way to make the software work as part of your company processes. 

Before making a final decision on a CLM tool, doing your due diligence in checking for features, negotiating rates, and gauging how much support it offers can mark the difference between a CLM implementation process that falls flat or a CLM implementation that’s integrated in record time. 

4. Overlapping contract management features can lead to confusion

Before implementing a CLM tool of your choice, check in with your technical team to avoid overlapping tools, or compatibility and integration issues. 

On many occasions, teams onboard SaaS tools without communicating with all stakeholders, which can create problematic bottlenecks. Hence, cross-functional communication is an integral part of ensuring a smooth contract workflow process. It’s best to be proactive and avoid such issues before they become costly and time consuming. 

How to implement a successful CLM plan

How can successful CLM adoption happen across the business? We’ve highlighted some of the biggest mistakes businesses make when trying to implement a CLM tool. But now it’s time for a solution. A high-level approach with a three-step process can help you move forward. 

1. Plan ahead

Rapid onboarding requires a clear step-by-step approach. Remember that you’re not only onboarding one employee. In some instances, you’re tasked with the ability to get sizeable groups to start using CLM software. So planning is key.

This can be as simple as creating a centralized document where you outline things like:

  • Who is overseeing the CLM implementation process?
  • What teams are expected to be onboarded and in what order?
  • What’s the expected timeframe for the CLM rollout to the first team?
  • What’s the contingency plan if adoption is unsuccessful? 
  • How do I get all my historical contracts on the CLM?

The more detailed you can be about responsibilities, expectations, and timelines the fewer hurdles you’ll encounter throughout the process. 

2. Invest in training 

A rule of thumb is, the more complex your CLM system, the more you’ll need to invest in proper training. If you skip training and go straight to rollout, you’ll risk contract mismanagement and you’ll add to your team’s already full workload. 

Don’t be afraid to invest in CLM training. Whether it’s something that’s offered by the providers or it’s an in-house effort. Taking the time to properly train your employees to use a new tool counterintuitively helps you save time in the long run—because your team will make fewer mistakes. 

3. Choose all-in-one tools

One of the best ways to failsafe your CLM implementation process is to go for the all-in-one tools. For instance, SpotDraft is designed to cover more than just e-signature and workflow needs.

Some features worth looking out for when it comes to contract lifecycle management software are things like:

  • Real-time collaboration tools
  • Revision history features
  • E-signature capabilities
  • Automations for contract renewals
  • Contract templates
  • Comment and tagging features
  • Contract security tools
  • Onboarding features
  • Self-serve account management capabilities

The more features your software offers, the less you’ll have to integrate additional tools to your SaaS stack to manage the ins and outs of contracts. As you can probably guess, this can get messy quickly—which will only slow your team down. 

4. Make space for errors and ask for feedback 

Inevitably, there are going to be some wins and losses along your CLM implementation journey. Yet it’s paramount to frame this as an opportunity to learn from errors and be receptive to feedback.

What about your contract management tool that isn’t working quite right for your team? What does everyone constantly complain about? 

As you receive feedback, you’ll be better able to configure processes and reflect on your CLM software of choice. In some cases, it could be that the tool you’ve chosen to implement falls short of all the features your team needs to ship work, manage clients, and cover their legal bases. 

If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to reroute back to square one and find a tool that’s a better fit. In the long run, it’ll cost less to retrace your steps and try again than to force a tool that doesn’t bring as much value as you originally thought. 

Ideally, you should be picking a tool that actively listens to customer feedback to improve the product - thereby ensuring that the CLM solution you picked improves with time.

Onboarding and CLM implementation with SpotDraft

While CLM adoption isn’t the easiest task to tackle, it’s worth integrating into your existing workflows and covering your legal bases as you revise, update, store, finalize, and sign contracts. 

Thankfully, tools like SpotDraft are designed to streamline the process of managing legally binding documents with ease.

Take charge of your contracts and request a SpotDraft demo here.