Don’t you just hate it when you go shopping for a new TV, and you get the model that the salesperson insists is the best out there, but when you get home, you realize the picture quality is far less than advertised? To add insult to injury, when you finally research the brand (which you should have done ahead of time), you realize that other buyers have been talking about this problem online for a long time. Makes you want to kick yourself, doesn’t it?
This can happen with contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, too. When you’re about to make the purchase, are you going off the suave salesperson’s word? Or have you researched which CLM vendor is best for your company’s needs?
No shame if you don’t know where to start. Your investment in CLM software is not a small one and not a decision to be taken lightly. Choosing a vendor is choosing a business partner, which means you should go through a thorough vetting process and ultimately be able to trust that it has your back.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a CLM Vendor
First, your CLM vendor of choice should be based on your company's needs and business goals. What are you trying to accomplish, and how do you foresee a CLM solution helping you along your journey? There is no one-size-fits-all here, and anyone who implies otherwise is trying to sell a snowman in Florida.
Here are some other things to consider.
Will the CLM Vendor Scale with Your Business?
If your business is poised to scale over the next few years, you need to work with a vendor that will grow with you, not one that will hold you back. If you anticipate doing a high volume of transactions, it probably isn’t in your best interest to choose a vendor that is fresh on the market and hasn’t proven they can handle the volume you’re expecting.
Checking the growth trajectory of a CLM vendor can help you determine whether or not they’ll be in it with you for the long haul. Look at things like their recent funding rounds and their investors, and ask about their roadmap to get a good idea of if they’ll be a good match for your needs not just now but in the future.
What Kind of Customer Support Do They Offer?
Even if the software is ready to use out of the box, there’ll no doubt come a time when you need support from the vendor. Knowing the kind of support they offer — and whether or not it’s free or comes at an additional cost — can help you make the ultimate decision.
Does the CLM vendor offer you white glove support, or do they send you a blog and leave you to figure it out on your own? Knowing how they talk to their customers, how seriously they take your issues, and how timely they are in responding to you will let you know how much of a partner they are in helping your business grow.
How Well Do They Retain Customers?
When you ask around — because legal circles are not that big and you definitely should be asking around — what do their customers have to say about them? What is their churn rate, and why is it what it is? Do they treat their customers like people or wallets?
What a customer has to say about a vendor and how valued the vendor makes them feel is a great indication of how good of a partner they will be to you. Pro tip: Check out reviews on G2 to get a sense of the support that they provide from existing customers.
How Easy Is It to Set Up?
Contract management can be a tedious process when done manually. There are so many contracts to track, execute, report on, and store in a way that makes you constantly aware of your obligations to fulfillment and when it’s time for renewal.
The beauty of contract management software is that it takes care of all this for you. But if the CLM vendor’s software is hard to set up and use and takes weeks of training to get off the ground, then the juice might not be worth the squeeze.
What kind of training do they provide to your team, and how long does it take? A great vendor will provide software that has a low time-to-value (TTV) and that you know your internal users will adopt.
Is the Cost Within Your Budget?
In an economic downturn, everyone has operational expenses top of mind. For the work you’re trying to do, does the CLM vendor fit within your budget? How quickly can you prove ROI? This is not to say that you should be cheap, but you should kick the tires to see whether or not the CLM vendor will deliver on the promised value.
You should treat your search for a CLM vendor like you would treat your next car purchase. Contrary to conventional wisdom, feature sets and price tags aren’t the first or even the only things to consider when making this investment. Think about how well the vendor will scale with your business — both the company and the software — as well as how they treat customers, provide support, and fit within your budget. Go into the sales meeting armed with these questions and your own research to ensure you come out on the other end smelling like roses.
See how LinkSquares CLM meets your business needs. Schedule a demo today.
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