What is contract lifecycle management (CLM) software?

August 22, 2022

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software is an established choice for businesses looking gain control of their contracts and speed up the contracting process. It enables legal and business teams to manage contracts efficiently at every stage and reduce the manual work involved in doing so.

Juro is the #1-rated contracting platform for ease of use, and the solution of choice for fast-scaling businesses like Deliveroo, Trustpilot and Cazoo. If this sounds like something you'd be interested in implementing to improve the contract processes in your business, then book a demo to find out more.

If you'd still like to learn more about CLM software and how it can be used to improve your contract processes first, then let's keep reading!

What is contract lifecycle management (CLM software)?

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) software is usually a cloud-based technology solution that helps legal and business teams to create, negotiate, sign, renew and analyse contracts digitally.

It streamlines the contract lifecycle and enables business users to self-serve and manage routine contracts at scale, all in one unified workspace.

Many businesses still rely on legacy enterprise CLM software to manage contracts. But these CLM software platforms barely touch on the problems in-house legal teams are facing in 2022.

CLM systems can push static files into the cloud to be stored, but the ability to locate, understand and query these contracts remains limited. Contracts remain in silos rather than being fully collaborative.

As a result, contracts end up as multi-versioned Docx and PDF files scattered across shared drives with no visibility. Legal teams still rely on multiple tools to get contracts created and signed. Even with a traditional CLM software in place, contract management often remains clunky and time-consuming.

Fortunately, newer software providers like Juro are reimagining contract lifecycle management to provide one unified workspace where legal and business teams can collaborate and manage contracts from end to end.

Today, thanks to platforms like Juro, businesses can reduce the low-value admin work required by legal, remove bottlenecks from the negotiation process and ensure that legal has complete visibility into contracts.

Sound interesting? Let's discuss exactly how contract lifecycle management can streamline your contract workflow and how to choose the right CLM software for your team.

What is a contract lifecycle?

A contract lifecycle is the process through which a contract is created and managed. It describes the various stages a contract must go through, from drafting all the way through to post-signature tracking.

Although certain business contracts will spend longer in certain stages of the contract lifecycle than others, most contracts follow the same vague process. They will be created, reviewed, negotiated, signed, tracked and renewed in that order.

However, since contracts are complex legal documents, it's not uncommon for them to move back and forth across the contract lifecycle.

If a contract is being negotiated, it's likely that it will return to the review stage following any changes by a counterparty. If the changes are accepted, it will then be approved by the relevant contract stakeholders before it can be signed - usually with approval workflows.

CLM workflow: what are the phases of the contract management lifecycle?

Disjointed and risk-prone legacy contract systems can burden lawyers with time-consuming and redundant processes, requiring extensive review (wasting even more time).

Today, next-generation CLM platforms like Juro unify contract processes in one system and use automation to accelerate and streamline every phase of the contract management cycle.

The specific phases of a typical contract lifecycle include:

  • Contract creation
  • Internal review and collaboration
  • Contract negotiation
  • Approval
  • Signature
  • Tracking
  • Renewal

For a more detailed explanation of each of these stages, check out this guide to contract lifecycle stages.

Why do you need contract lifecycle management?

At some point, increasing contract volumes will make it difficult to  to manage contracts using Word, Excel and shared drives. Legal teams start to find contract process unmanageable, facing three basic but essential questions:

  1. Where can I find the most recent versions of contracts? Are contracts signed? Have they been amended? Where are the relevant attachments?
  2. What’s in my contracts? All contracts should include the most up-to-date and risk-adjusted terms.  
  3. Who owns this contract? Who is responsible for completing required actions during each phase of the contract lifecycle?

These are the pain points that usually drive businesses to consider implementing contract lifecycle management. If you're experiencing similar pain points as your business scales, hit the button below to try Juro. Alternatively, keep reading to find out more.

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The risks of using a manual contract lifecycle process

There are also some very specific risks associated with maintaining a manual approach to the contract process, including that:

📚 Lawyers are buried in low-value work

Without a robust structure and management tool in place, business teams will continue to rely on legal teams for guidance - even on routine contracts. With legal's time consumed by these low value routine tasks, in-house legal teams risk missing important deadlines on higher value work.

❌ There's an increased likelihood of human error

Mistakes and errors in legal agreements can be costly. Without a contract lifecycle management solution, business teams that try to self-serve on contracts can neglect standardized language, forget to input important data, or lose vital information. All of which can jeopardize both the contract's fulfillment and your relationship with the counterparty in the long term.

🔎 There's a lack of transparency

Today, many contracts require collaboration to get them across the line. Without contract lifecycle management in place, business contracts are often created and shared manually, resulting in lots of versions and little control.

This also means that comments, amendments and changes can get lost in the manual process, creating extra work for legal teams that need to get contracts across the line.

📊 It's an inefficient way to track data

Without a single, unified workspace and automated data collection functionality, the manual contract lifecycle can result in incomplete or inaccurate data. Given that there are so many valuable contract metrics to track, this is a significant missed opportunity, and one that can cost businesses - particularly if renewal dates and potential risk areas aren't identified and addressed. It can also make contract audits extremely painful in the future.

🆕 Difficult to manage change

Manual contract lifecycles are also not very flexible, which can be a problem for complex contracts that require back and forth and lots of edits.

Rather than quickly amending contracts, or commenting on them,  counterparties and colleagues have to create new versions of a document, send it over and wait for the recommendation to be acknowledged.

This is distinct from where, with advanced contract lifecycle management software, contract stakeholders can redline contracts and edit them in real-time where everyone can see and respond to these changes.

Who uses CLM software?

juro contract lifecycle management workflow

It’s easy to think that only lawyers need contract software, but improving how everyone in your organisation relates to contracts opens opportunities for significant gains.

A recent EY Law survey found that 90 per cent of business development leaders face challenges when managing contracts with their procurement, law, and commercial teams. Some 57 per cent of those leaders said inefficient processes slow revenue recognition, and 50 per cent report that inefficiencies have resulted in lost business.

Today’s CLM software digitally connects business development leaders, legal, procurement, HR, commercial teams and beyond, enabling automated efficiencies and streamlining processes to drive immediate and long-term business value.  

What are the benefits of contract lifecycle management software?

Adopting a CLM platform like Juro benefits your organisation in several ways, including:

1. A self-serve contract creation process

Business users can create new contracts through a self-serve Q&A workflow to accelerate the process without needing to rely on legal. All new contracts are based on templates that use standardised, pre-approved language to reduce risks and optimise performance.

This means that commercial teams like sales teams no longer need to wait around for legal teams when it comes to closing a deal. With contract lifecycle management software and the opportunity to self-serve, legal becomes an enabler, instead of a blocker.

2. More collaborative workflows

Multiple parties can quickly review and negotiate contracts in-browser, using one unified workspace. They can converse in real time in the document sidebar and check prior versions with one click using Juro’s timeline.

This collaborative experience means that there's less back and forth when it comes to reviewing contracts internally. It also means that the otherwise lengthy negotiation period takes less time.

Juro's timeline lets you review previous versions with one click. Click above to try it

3. Automation improves efficiency

By automating a lot of the contract administration, using software to manage your contract lifecycle makes the process more efficient for everyone involved. For instance, contract automation software means that users benefit from:

  • Automated alerts and contract reminders to keep all contract stakeholders in the loop.
  • Customised contract dashboards for full visibility into every contract.
  • Automated tracking monitors milestones and deadlines to avoid costly oversights.

4. Quick and easy access to contract data

With CLM software, contracts tend to live in a data-rich repository where they are easily searched, audited, and analysed at any time.

The software typically collects and collates data throughout the entire lifecycle, with each element of the contract captured as structured data, making it easy to search and query.

Over time and as your contract portfolio increases, you can use data analytics to build more efficient contract processes, inform your strategy and create contracts that drive better business outcomes.

Juro plus Salesforce
Connect CLM with CRM to close deals faster.

5. Integrate with the platforms you love

One of the biggest benefits of CLM software is that you can integrate it with your existing software. This helps to eliminate manual data retrieval and entry tasks. Automating data exchange saves time and effort and ensures contracts are accurate and up-to-date.

For instance, Juro integrates with the likes of Salesforce, Workday, Zapier, Greenhouse and more to ensure that legal teams and those they enable can manage contracts without having to leave the platforms they love.

6. Enables you to align your resources better

With low-level administrative tasks handled through automation, your legal team can focus on its KPIs and spend much more time on more strategic and impactful work.

This is vital since Juro's recent Tech GC report revealed that 69 percent of in-house legal teams were buried in low-value work. By alleviating this pressure on legal teams, they can return to the work they're trained to do and find more fulfilment in.  

How do I implement CLM software?

To implement contract management lifecycle software successfully you need a clear idea of the problem you're trying to solve. You'll also need concrete objectives and buy-in from the wider stakeholders who'll be using the solution once it's rolled out.

There are a couple of ways to help ensure CLM software is adopted and used to its fullest.

Your first project should quickly demonstrate the value CLM software can bring to an individual’s work life. Customers often have great success starting small with a defined project, such as automating the NDA workflow, or partnership agreements, before moving on to a company-wide deployment having proved value.

Secondly, you can ensure adoption by integrating your CLM software with your current software systems. People are more likely to use CLM software when they can access it from an application they’re already using. Standard integrations include Workday, Salesforce, Slack, GDrive and Box.

Contract lifecycle management solutions

Legacy CLM platforms primarily target large enterprises and are priced accordingly. They often require significant upfront investments in costs and training, with most estimating implementation within six months.

At Juro, we think a six-month implementation period is nothing to be proud of! That's why we offer an intuitive browser-based interface that people jump in and use immediately.

Juro has a typical implementation time of 21 days. Users can create, negotiate and sign contracts using a single all-in-one platform, instead of moving into Word, GDrive, or DocuSign, creating friction and losing audit trails and data.

Juro is #1-rated contracting platform for ease of use. We help our customers to:

  • Reduce the amount of low-value admin work owned by legal by enabling their business teams to self-serve
  • Remove friction and bottlenecks from the contract lifecycle with collaborative workflows, approval workflows and advanced redlining functionality
  • Ensure that legal has full ownership of and visibility into contracts, with a data-rich repository that allows users to set up access controls and query contracts in seconds

To find out more about the many advantages of using Juro to streamline your contract lifecycle, check out our independent reviews on G2 and Capterra. Alternatively, book a focused demo to find out exactly how Juro can meet your contracting needs.

CLM use cases and case studies

CLM software offers the quickest ROI when you automate low-negotiation, high-volume contracts such as:

Here’s a look at how contract lifecycle management works in practice, and just a few of the benefits customers have gained.

⚙️ Automate NDAs

RVU, a company behind a series of comparison businesses, uses Juro to automate the self-serve generation of NDAs from templates. Business users approve NDAs in a browser-based workflow and sign NDAs online, ultimately enabling the legal function to save up to 30 per cent of its time.

“With Juro doing the heavy lifting on low-negotiation contracts, I had the breathing space to be more strategic, which included securing an excellent first hire into my team.” — Michael Haynes, Head of Legal, Cazoo

⚙️ Automate MSAs

Automate MSAs using a preset approval workflow with defined roles for legal and CFOs as well as signatories. Sequential workflows automatically notify multiple approvers in a specific order. Payments company Shieldpay uses Juro to reduce the time it takes to generate contracts from several days to several minutes.  

“We’re saving so much time. Our clients see us as understanding, with quicker turnaround times and faster execution - thanks to Juro” — Willem Wellinghoff, Chief Legal and Compliance Officer at Shieldpay

⚙️ Automate Offer Letters  

You can expect to generate, issue and secure signatures on an offer letter in less than one hour. Automated workflows allowed online food delivery company Deliveroo to issue 1400 employee letters across 13 markets in 2 weeks while reliably tracking acceptances from each recipient.

“Juro was fit for purpose across all markets – we were even able to input foreign language versions, including Italian, Spanish and French. That was a great outcome - we could communicate with local markets and meet local legal obligations” — Cameron Russell, Senior Award Analyst at Deliveroo

For more information on CLM software, additional benefits and use cases, check our contract management software explainer. Need to convince stakeholders to invest in better contract processes? Find out more about making the business case for contract lifecycle management, or just use this free business case template.

mass create
Great for People teams: what if you could mass-create contracts at scale in a few clicks?

What are contract lifecycle management best practices?

Great, so say you have a contract lifecycle management software in place already. How can you make the most out of the solution and create a truly frictionless contract process? Here are a few contract lifecycle management best practices that may come in handy.

🗄️ Set up a template repository

If your CLM software allows, set up a single, central location for all of your contract templates to be stored, ready for use.

As your use cases expand and the volume of contracts being processed increases, you'll be able to accumulate efficient contract templates over time, enabling you to quickly and efficiently generate a contract as soon as a request is made.

👩‍🏫 Enable business teams to self-serve on routine contracts

Create a contract playbook that outlines when a contract will be delegated to a commercial team, instead of being actioned by the legal department.

You should establish which standardized contracts can be self-served on and whether contracts that meet a certain value threshold should be passed over to legal. By setting this up, you can quickly decide who is responsible for a contract and set up any safeguards to accommodate this.

📝 Facilitate standardization

Set up standardized templates that eliminate the need for excessive data entry, inconsistent formatting, and repetitive drafting. If your contract lifecycle management software has features like conditional logic and access controls, legal teams can rest assured that contracts handled by business teams carry less risk and require less time for reviews.

👥 Set up a collaborative workflow

According to research by McKinsey, improved communication and collaboration through social technology, like CLM software, can increase the productivity of interaction by between 20 to 25%.

To facilitate this collaboration, it's important to make the most out of the features offered by your contract lifecycle management software.

This can mean encouraging collaboration to happen through internal and external commenting threads, working on contracts together in real-time and setting up notifications to remind users to action certain tasks.

✅ Mitigate risk using approval processes

If your CLM software offers the ability to set up approval processes, use them. Approval workflows ensure that legal teams can maintain control over the contracts managed by business teams and that they get the final say on certain clauses and in high-value negotiations. Utilising this feature allows legal teams to mitigate risk whilst also working on higher-value work.  

📈 Track vital contract data

A wealth of data can be collected from contracts, including post-signature. If you have a CLM that allows you to query, collate and report on contract data, then it's worth tracking certain contract metrics, like renewal dates, turnaround time, and cost per transaction.

Do you need contract lifecycle management software?

You’re in an ideal position to benefit from an all-in-one CLM software solution like Juro if:

  1. Your company enters into ten or more contracts a month, and the volume is increasing
  2. Contract outcomes affect revenue
  3. The majority of the contracts you're looking to manage are low-negotiation, routine contracts

If this criteria applies to your business and you're experiencing friction and bottlenecks in your existing contract process, it's likely time to find a contract tool. But which one is right for you? Let's find out.

How to choose the right contract lifecycle management software

Once you've recognized the value that a contract lifecycle management software could bring to your business, you then have to decide which solution is right for you. Certain solutions are better for storing documents, whilst others are particularly effective for collaboration.

When deciding which contract lifecycle management software is most suitable for your needs and use cases, consider the following things:

  • Workflow stages. Which contract workflow stages does the solution cover, and how effectively? If you need a solution that will streamline the entire process, find one that can add value at every stage of the contract lifecycle. Juro is the only platform that truly enables you to process contracts end-to-end with one solution.
  • Complexity of your contracts. How complex are the contracts you want to manage? Are they standard agreements, or are they more complex? Different solutions will work better for different contract types, so consider what suits yours. A contract tool like Juro is best suited for removing the admin required for routine contracts, for example.
  • Your need for collaboration. Do your legal teams need to collaborate with sales, HR and finance on contracts? If your contract workflow involves a lot of collaboration, look for a contract tool with access controls, approval workflows and advanced redlining features. Juro offers all of this whilst ensuring that legal maintains full ownership and visibility into contracts.
  • Integrations available. Would you benefit from integrating your CLM tool with another platform like Salesforce or Greenhouse? If so, find a contract solution that integrates seamlessly with the CRM and task management tools you use regularly. For instance, Juro’s Salesforce integration enables sales teams to generate watertight contracts from CRM in a couple of clicks.
  • Implementation time. How soon would you like to get value from the software? Whilst some enterprise-minded solutions can take up to a year to implement, alternatives like Juro can take just 21 days. This is enables you to stop blocking contracts sooner.

Having considered all of these things, you should all set in finding the perfect CLM software for your business.

If you're seeking a contract tool that adds value at every stage of the contract lifecycle, reduces low-value admin work for your legal teams and can be implemented within 21 days - try Juro. Juro's all-in-one contract automation platform makes contracts frictionless and accessible for everyone.

To find out more about how Juro can help your business save time on routine contracts, hit the button below to get in touch.

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