CLM implementation: what to expect and how to prepare

Buyer’s Guides
June 17, 2024
Even the best CLM solution in the world will be worthless without adoption.

Failed software adoptions can be a costly mistake for your business' bottom line, and your internal reputation.

But that doesn't mean you should shy away from tools that will improve your processes day-to-day. It just means you need to nail your CLM implementation first time.

In this guide, we'll explore why effective CLM implementations matter, and what you can do to make sure your incoming CLM solution gets adopted.

What does CLM implementation involve?

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) implementation describes the process used to onboard new users to a CLM tool and make sure they’re set up to use it effectively. 

The CLM implementation process typically looks like this: 

  1. Auditing your process: Your vendor will discuss your current contract management processes and evaluate how effective it is, and where bottlenecks exist. 
  2. Defining objectives: Once the CLM vendor has a better understanding of your needs and ways of working, they’ll work with you to define clear goals and objectives for the new system.
  3. Configuring the system: Next, the implementation team will configure the CLM software to fit your specific requirements. This includes setting up templates, workflows, user roles, and permissions. 
  4. Migrating existing contracts: CLM vendors will usually support you to migrate your existing contracts and data into the new system, making sure you don’t lose any value in the process. 
  5. Delivering training: Training and support are also essential to ensure all users are comfortable with the new platform, so this will be an ongoing focus, especially when new features are released.
  6. Monitoring and optimizing the process: CLM vendors will check in with you regularly and help you to refine processes and maximize the value of the CLM software.

Why is effective CLM implementation important?

Sales teams quite rightly don’t want to have to risk even one month-end or quarter-end being distracted by a new software implementation.

Lean legal teams also don’t have the headspace (or time) to manually upload, set up, tag and organize templates or workspaces, especially with their calendars jam-packed full of competing priorities. 

Technology vendors know this, and they owe it to their customers to get them to value as quickly as possible, so teams can start to realise ROI and collaborate better with their colleagues in days - not months.

And yet, despite this, the market standards for CLM implementation are way too slow, as we’ll discuss now. 

How long does CLM software take to implement?

According to our recent survey, the most common timeframe for CLM implementations is between two and four months. But that isn’t true for all in-house legal teams:

  • 20 per cent took more than six months
  • 22 per cent took between four and six months
  • 29 per cent took between two and four months
  • 18 per cent took between one and two months
  • 8 per cent took less than a month

Juro’s contract management software falls into the final category since Juro’s average implementation time in 2024 is 29 days, with many of our customers getting value from the tool in just weeks. 


This also means that Juro’s implementation is faster than 92 per cent of CLM implementations (and perhaps why we have the highest adoption in CLM, according to G2).

If you're looking for a CLM solution that's implemented quickly and renowned for strong adoption, hit the button below to find out more. Otherwise, read on.

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7 tips for successful CLM implementations

1. Choose a CLM that’s low-maintenance

Heavyweight CLM solutions often receive the same feedback from customers: “Everytime I want to change a workflow, add a template, or set up an integration, I have to wait days, or weeks, for the CLM vendor to set this up”.

This adds blockers to time-sensitive contract processes, rather than removing them. 

Low-maintenance CLM systems don’t present this problem. They’re straightforward and user-friendly, meaning your team can make changes instantly, with no vendor support or long waiting time required. 

When comparing contract management systems, get ahead by asking which changes require external support and which ones you can implement yourself in just a few clicks. This will give you a clear idea of how easy the platform is to maintain. 


2. Align with the vendor on your expectations

Another common CLM implementation problem is that vendors fail to manage their partner’s expectations. In most cases, they overpromise and underdeliver, and this has even resulted in failed implementations by some vendors. 

According to independent reviews, the most common misalignment stems from around how long the implementation will take, and how much internal resource is required. 

These reviews left by DocuSign CLM users are an example of that: 

It took a year longer than promised to "launch" and then when it was done it still didn't work” - DocuSign CLM user, G2

“Make sure your IT team learn this system because additional configuration/advanced support is expensive and slow” - DocuSign CLM user, G2 

To avoid disappointment, get clarity on what will be delivered (and when) before you sign with a CLM vendor. Get it in writing, too. 

That way, you can choose a vendor that’s better suited to your needs, or prepare your internal resources to meet the demand.

3. Confirm a kick-off session with the CLM vendor 

A kick-off session with your CLM vendor sets the tone for a successful implementation. This meeting should involve all key stakeholders from your organization and the vendor’s team. During the session, you'll review the project plan, timelines, roles, and responsibilities.

This is also the time to address any initial concerns or questions and ensure everyone is on the same page. A well-structured kick-off session can prevent misunderstandings and keep the project on track from the very beginning.

4. Have a plan for your legacy contracts 

Legacy contracts can pose a significant challenge during CLM implementation. These are the contracts that are currently active and must be transferred to the new system without disrupting ongoing operations.

Start by auditing your existing contracts to understand their status, renewal dates, and any critical terms that need attention. Decide which contracts need to be migrated immediately and which can wait. This plan will help you avoid a chaotic transition and ensure that all important agreements are accounted for.

Need some support here? Check out these guides to legacy contracts and contract migration

5. Know how you'll measure success 

Setting clear, measurable goals is crucial for evaluating the success of your CLM implementation. Define what success looks like for your organization. Is it faster contract turnaround times, improved compliance, or increased user adoption?

Once you have established your goals, decide on the key performance indicators (KPIs) that will help you track progress. Regularly reviewing these metrics will allow you to make data-driven decisions and adjust your strategies as needed to achieve the desired outcomes.

6. Tie things up with your previous vendor (if you have one)

If you’re switching from one CLM vendor to another, it’s essential to properly close out your relationship with the previous provider.

To do this, you need to review your contract with the old vendor to understand the termination process and any costs associated with an early exit. 

You should also make sure all necessary data is exported from the old system and transferred securely to the new one. 

The clearer your communication with the previous vendor, the less likely you are to be presented with last-minute surprises or hefty fees. 

We cover this, and more, in our guide to switching to Juro.

7. Monitor usage and adoption 

Post-implementation, it’s important that you monitor how your team is using the CLM software. This usually means tracking user adoption rates and gathering feedback to identify any challenges or areas for improvement. 

After all, a tool is worthless without adoption. 

Try to understand the experience your team is having with the platform, where they need to brush up on their knowledge, and what might be blocking their success. 

Vendors with top-rated customer success teams, like Juro, will work closely with your team to make sure you get the full value from the platform - and fast. 

Why 6000+ customers choose Juro

With something as important as contracts, don’t compromise on quality. Give your colleagues and counterparties the CLM they deserve.

According to independent G2 reviews in 2024, Juro is a global Leader for CLM, with the highest user adoption and best support of any platform.

To find out more about Juro and how it can accelerate your contract processes, fill in the form below.

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