Recent studies show that contract negotiations are getting more and more complex. Crucially, the number of experts needed on either side is increasing. One driver is increasing regulation. Another is the rising portion of businesses’ service deals, as opposed to the simpler, often standardized product contracts.
When armies of specialists negotiate
In a recent study by G2 and PandaDoc, the teams participating in negotiations turned out quite big in the companies interviewed: on average, close to 8 people at a seller’s and close to 6 at a buyer’s side. The study covered 880 sales professionals across many industries in companies of 11-2000 workers, primarily in North America.
Bigger teams are more difficult to manage and get to collaborate, especially as they tend to be geographically dispersed. Even more so as contributors often change during the negotiation process. Indeed, the study says that 91% of buyers and 98% of sellers have seen the decisionmaker change throughout their sales processes. 97% of sellers and 93% of buyers have experienced a stakeholder being added post-proposal.
So how to keep the process running and in control in the face of the growing complexity?
Cloud solutions for better negotiations between teams
Similar problems in other business processes have inspired companies to adopt collaborative cloud services. Google Docs, Slack, DropBox and CRM platforms like Salesforce are now everyday tools for many companies.
Specific cloud negotiation applications are also entering the field. They help teams negotiate in collaboration in two ways. First, they offer an online negotiation space where all participants in either team can comment on and redline a contract simultaneously, in real time.
Second, they automate a great deal of the contract management process with quick-to-configure automated workflows. These come complete with scheduled task alerts and dashboards for progress monitoring. In essence, they keep each participant informed about when she should be acting what is happening in general.
Pioneering solutions available now
A couple of such services already exist. ParleyPro offers a stand-alone solution for legal professionals. Documill Leap is available for sales teams using Salesforce, to allow smooth collaboration between sales, legal technical and customer service and success professionals – anybody working with or in customer, partner and/or subcontractor organizations.
“Substance is the terms that make up the final agreement.
Process is how you will get from where you are today to that agreement.
My advice to deal makers: Negotiate process before substance.”
– Deepak Malthora, Professor, Harvard Business School
“Contract technologies have so far been mostly about housekeeping signed documents.
Now, finally, is the time to put things right and radically help the creation of these valuable documents.
For dealmakers, closers and contract negotiators we offer Documill Leap, an online document collaboration solution embedded into Salesforce.”
– Mika Könnölä, CEO, Documill Ltd