How to Choose the Best CLM Software for Your Team

Team discussing what they need in a CLM tool
by Jerry Levine

Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) software is a central hub of programs and tools where teams manage documents with vendors, customers, employees, investors, and other stakeholders. It’s where teams can begin to convert chaos to clarity. Negotiating and executing agreements is a complicated and often tedious process, but with contract management software, it can feel surmountable.

In the past, your method for managing agreements might have involved crisp stacks of paper organized in filing cabinets, clicking shut (or banging back open) after you dug through them to find what you needed. You may recall a time when all anyone required for contract management was an order form.

Manual contract management, while familiar and routine, has some limitations. You know this if you’ve ever lost or accidentally deleted files, missed compliance requirements due to delays, taken significant financial losses due to an inability to keep up with contract demands, or had a team scattered across time zones.

You may have added several software programs to your workflow to keep up with an increased workload and complex information. Now, you’re switching between multiple windows, searching through spreadsheets, and editing documents in dozens of applications.

You may be on a hybrid schedule and need to make changes to your agreements from anywhere. By using a cloud-based solution, you can think ahead, less. You won’t need to rely on that old filing cabinet to access contracts; you can access information from anywhere, at any time.

A recent survey revealed 69% of corporate lawyers expect to work remotely or from home, and 31% plan to work in the office full-time.

Suffice it to say the contract management landscape is shifting as quickly as the ever-evolving way we work. For example, the legal industry has what might be considered the highest demand for contract management. A recent survey revealed 69% of corporate lawyers expect to work remotely or from home, and 31% plan to work in the office full-time. For teams like these, a CLM that offers flexibility is crucial.

The demand for a new way to manage agreements has produced thousands of CLM software to choose from. All-in-one CLMs, like ContractPodAi, have refined and converted the contract management process into a virtual environment – where everything’s in one place and secure for teams of all sizes.

Below, we take you through everything you need to know when choosing a CLM software and how it can transform you and your team’s ability to make, manage, and maintain agreements.

What Exactly is CLM Software?

Put simply, CLM software is used for the same purposes as the manual contract management process. But a digital CLM comes with some distinctive advantages. CLMs ensure a place and process for everything during each step of the contract lifecycle and conquer unique challenges many companies currently face during the contract management process.

Most CLM software falls into one of these three categories:

  • Cloud-Based: Cloud-based contract management software is hosted in a secure and reliable datacenter, allowing all users to access it from any remote location, and ensuring data is always saved and secured.
  • On-Premise: On-premise contract management software is stored in a local or private datacenter, or within your company offices and managed by the IT department, and does not require an internet connection.
  • Hybrid: Hybrid contract management software is hosted in both on-premise datacenters and in the cloud, allowing data to be shared between the two.

When considering a CLM, you want to make sure you choose the category that fits your current needs as well as future potential.

Automations allow legal and business teams to manage increasing amounts of risk in agreements at a reasonable cost.

One of the primary features a CLM should offer is the capacity to automate repetitive tasks. Automations allow legal and business teams to manage increasing amounts of risk in agreements at a reasonable cost.

A good CLM should have built-in AI technology to help teams get more done with less effort.

The storage in CLMs can be essentially limitless. You can sign on from anywhere to make changes in real-time. You can see any changes your team has made as well. Hundreds of documents are easily searchable to access specific information instantly.

CLM software also maximizes negotiation and collaboration, which is critical for alignment across teams. For example, with ContractPodAi’s playbook feature, you create a universal language for any agreement type. ContractPodAi compares all new agreements to your playbook. Any differences are spelled out – regardless of how the language is phrased (or what language it’s written in), allowing you to manage risk at scale.

Adopting an all-in-one CLM means you don’t have to context switch between software to complete contracts. ContractPodAi’s comprehensive system allows you to do everything from inside the platform to stay focused.

How Do Different Teams use CLM Software?

The use of CLM software has skyrocketed. General counsel, paralegals, project managers, procurement officers, bid managers, and many others use CLM software to transform the contract management process.

Here are a few examples of how different disciplines are using CLM software:

Finance Teams

Finance teams use ContratPodAi to auto-receive data on contract value and payment terms. Executive teams and CEOs can get insight into your performance improvement and the impact of your turnaround to see how much better your legal team is doing.

Legal Teams

With the growing complexity of contract compliance and increased workload, it’s no surprise legal teams choose to use CLM software to generate, negotiate, review, redline, and analyze agreements.

Procurement Teams

Procurement uses ContractPod’s AI-powered third-party contract review to automatically assess supplier terms in alignment with the legal team’s playbooks. They can locate any term written in contracts within seconds. Our cognitive search feature can scan a client’s repository to retrieve contract obligations and financials, empowering procurement teams in negotiations. Not to mention, procurement teams can receive alerts for upcoming contract renewals and termination dates, significantly increasing their ability to plan and prepare.

Sales Teams

Sales teams use CLMs to leverage valuable data so they know where deals stand. They can then take action and speed up time to revenue.

2 Key Questions to Ask When Choosing a CLM:

1. Why does CLM software matter?

Businesses across all industries are finding new methods to manage agreements. Today’s contracts have become more complex, and the workforce is often globally distributed. These new ways of making agreements and working come with unique challenges. For example, 79% of legal leaders state that coping with the complexity of compliance and new and emerging areas of law presents significant challenges.

The use of new tech to help resolve these pain points is becoming more important to legal staff employees. 87% of corporate lawyers prioritize working for organizations that fully leverage technology. Yet only 5% of leaders believe they’re investing enough to empower their staff to build the skills needed for digital transformation (2022 Deloitte survey).

It’s not only legal that is placing a high priority on adopting more tech. According to data from Info-Tech Research Group, 44% of companies across various industries are planning to invest in AI in 2023. This demand has produced thousands of CLM software options, and since there are so many to choose from, you’ll want to consider the decision carefully.

2. Does it fit your organization’s unique needs and workflow?

CLMs aren’t effective if they don’t cater to the ways modern teams need to manage contracts. Switching between multiple programs throughout the day can make workflows feel fragmented. The right CLM solves these problems with integrations that can help avoid tool fatigue to focus on more important priorities. ContractPodAi, makes working with your everyday productivity apps simple since it integrates with Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics, Word, Gmail, Teams, Slack, and more.

3 Must-Have Features for your CLM Software:

Integrations are just one of the issues to consider when adopting a CLM. You’ll want to be certain the CLM you choose has these three essential features:

End-to-End Automation for Efficiency

3 Must-Have Features for your CLM Software

A global “Anatomy of Work” study found that people are spending 60 percent of their time on non-strategic tasks that don’t require a lot of skill. A CLM should automate mundane, repetitive tasks so you can focus on your highest priorities.

Structured Data for Clarity

Your CLM should provide a method to structure, interpret, and visualize data. With ContractPodAi’s dashboards feature you can visualize data to convince stakeholders to make data-informed decisions.

Customer Support for Peace of Mind

At a minimum, a CLM should have a customer support team to help answer your questions about the software and troubleshoot issues. ContractPodAi not only has a customer support team, we also created a Transformation Team of specialists dedicated to ensuring the adoption and implementation of the software is seamless and tailored to your business needs. Our Transformation Team guarantees you’ll fully leverage the tech to optimize performance.

How ContractPodAi has Taken Charge of Contract Management

ContractPodAi was initially developed by lawyers for lawyers to help them handle increased workloads and regain control of their contracts. Legal teams suffer particular pain around time – the lack of it, the demand for it, and the inability to control it.

That’s why at ContractPodAi, we intentionally built our CLM as a foundational level software with the AI built in at the beginning – rather than including it as an add-on or afterthought. We’ve evolved our system to be the tool where teams from any industry manage all their contracts anywhere, at any time.

How ContractPodAi Works with Your Team

One of the few arguments you may hear against adopting CLM software is that about 70% of technology projects fail. Enter ContractPodAi’s specialized Transformation Team of business, tech, and legal experts.

Separate from our customer service team whose purpose is to provide tech support and answer general questions about the product, the Transformation Team was created with the sole purpose of learning your current technological state and then working with you to co-create a practical plan to get you where you want to be.

Learn how you can decrease operational costs and increase efficiency – and how ContractPodAi can become your partner in the contract management process. Book your personalized demo today.

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