On the day of the big game, you don’t send a quarterback into the field unless they know the team playbook backwards and forwards. Otherwise, they won’t know which plays to call, and you end up with a team running aimlessly around the gridiron and hoping for the best.
Similarly, your sales team needs a contract playbook to know what plays to call during the sales cycle. For example, do your reps know what to do when the signer proposes new terms for your standard MSA? Do they punt it back to legal, or is there legal-approved replacement language they can use?
As you establish your contract process, it’s crucial that you document your strategy, standard terms, and fallbacks in your playbook. This blog outlines how to plan for your sales contract process, what stages to consider, and how to reflect these key needs in your playbook.
3 Stages to Plan for in Your Sales Contract Process
To effectively plan your sales contract process, map out your activity in three essential stages: Preparation, signature, and execution.
This stage of the contract lifecycle includes creation, negotiation, review, and approval and can take the longest out of all the steps without an established process. To streamline this stage, establish templates for common contracts and set up systems that automatically alert necessary stakeholders when it’s time to complete another step in the process.
To execute the contract in a timely manner, all parties need to sign the contract as quickly and seamlessly as possible. As a result, paper and pen signing is not ideal. Use eSignature to collect signatures faster, and when it's built into your CLM, you can easily check when the agreements have been fully signed and are ready for the next stage.
After you’ve collected the necessary signatures, it’s time to collect payment and make good on your promises. The execution process ensures a smooth handoff to other teams, proper storage, and obligation fulfillment. This is also the stage in which you prepare for upsell and cross-sell opportunities and get a head start on renewals.
Creating a Playbook for Your Sales Contract Process
A playbook essentially provides your team with a rundown of how to manage your contracts during the sales process. As a result, it mostly concerns the preparation phase. Your playbook should be a living document that gets updated as your internal processes and business needs change.
Here are some tips for creating your sales contract playbook:
- Outline what contract terms are non-negotiable
- Provide fallback language for terms that your signers may want to change
- Determine what autonomy your reps have to alter terms
- Indicate standard protocol for negotiating a contract — i.e., what the process looks like and who is involved
- Specify reviewers and approvers for contract types (e.g., M&A contracts vs NDAs).
A playbook ensures consistency in your sales contract process. Legal and sales can collaborate to ensure that the playbook reflects the established process so that everyone is on the same page.
See how LinkSquares can help you streamline all of these and build your playbook into your tool. Request a demo today.
Subscribe to the LinkSquares Blog
Stay up to date on best practices for GCs and legal teams, current events, legal tech, and more.