What to do when the terms in the contracts you make leave you wishing – despite your good negotiation skills? How about trying an online negotiation solution?
There are two distinct arts in play when two parties sit down to negotiate a deal – now increasingly online. First, there is the art of negotiating. And then, there is the art of running the negotiations, from the initial invites to the last signature.
Both arts can have a significant impact on the resulting contract. Certainly, there is no denying how much negotiation skills affect the terms. But especially when there is a lot to negotiate, a sloppily run process easily results in delays, errors, suspicion and distrust that show in the result.
Meanwhile, a smoothly run process can do a lot in developing mutual understanding, even that magical rapport – or at least just produce a clear contract that poses less risk. Either way, the impact can be huge.
Help from online negotiation solutions
But if the management of the negotiation process matters so much, what to do if it needs to be improved? For one thing, one can hire a skilled coordinator to do the job – and this is what companies do increasingly. But what if money is scarce or your coordinator is already too busy?
You can try a new breed of cloud services that is hitting the market: online negotiation solutions. These allow you to define first the steps of the negotiation from start to finish. Then you set tasks for all participants, which today can be many: from sales and delivery managers to legal experts and C-level representatives. Finally, you upload a contract draft and are good to go.
What to look for in your solution?
More precisely, a good online negotiation solution has the following building blocks:
- Pre-definable workflows. A workflow is the ‘engine’ that runs the negotiation. Setting it is surprisingly easily If your online service has a good, intuitive interface.
- Automated reminders for tasks. Once the workflow is in, it keeps running the negotiations step by step with reminders sent to participants for each task when it is due.
- Real-time commenting and redlining. We are busy people. These capabilities allow any number of people to work on the contract simultaneously right when they have time.
- Selective commenting. You want to make some comments to the other party, but keep others just to your team? The service’s commenting features make this possible.
- Multi-party approvals. Some redlines may be so important that you want to ensure certain individuals take notice. Individually assignable approvals for redlines enable this.
- E-signing. When the contract gets completed, ensure quick and effortless signing right away.
Where to find your solution?
Naturally, online negotiation solutions come completely on their own when used in remote negotiations. But they can also help a lot in keeping everything organized even in face-to-face negotiations.
Which products are there available now? ParleyPro provides a sound stand-alone platform, especially for legal experts. Another one is Docusign’s SpringCM, which focuses on online contract management after they have been e-signed. For salespeople using Salesforce, Documill Leap makes a highly specialized, sophisticated solution.