How to get the most out of your CLM? Level up your maturity across the enterprise

Learn how you can build a growth strategy, optimize your contract process, and benefit from increased revenue and savings.  

Do you already have a powerful CLM solution, yet still experience unresolved contract issues in specific departments such as Legal, Sales, Finance, Procurement, or even IT? 

If the answer is yes, it may be time to level up your CLM maturity across the enterprise.

Increasing CLM maturity was the focus of our webinar, How to Get More Out of Your CLM, led by CLM expert Jim Leason, Managing Director of EMEA Fulfilling at Agiloft, and Eliel Malgo, Senior Business Development Manager at Arcplace, a Zurich-based digital automation and archiving firm as well as Agiloft partner.  

Created for customers and anyone interested in reaching their desired maturity level, the event challenged attendees to define their business’s existing level of CLM maturity.  

Malgo began by asking the audience: “What process best describes your business’s present-day contract workflow?” and supplied the following options: 

  • 100% paper-based 
  • A mix of digital and paper 
  • Primarily digital, but lacking structure 
  • A mix of emailing contracts back and forth paired with a digital archive 
  • A unified all-digital system from beginning to end
  • An integration of multiple digital systems 

The results: 75% reported that their contract processes include a blended approach of digital and paper, while only 1% reported using a unified digital system.  

But when does a business need to take the next step in its maturity journey?

Read on to learn the symptoms—specific to each corporate department—along with ways you can start building a growth strategy, optimizing your contract process, and benefiting from increased revenue and savings.  

Defining your CLM maturity level

Recognizing and defining your current CLM maturity level is helpful for setting goals, benchmarks, and KPIs. It also helps provide a framework for communicating with leadership about expectations related to risk, slower cycle times, and other areas needing improvement. 

The three levels of CLM maturity—Early-Stage, Intermediate, and Advanced—allow you to pinpoint your company’s current level and draft an effective upward growth plan. 

  • Early-Stage Capabilities: Your business lacks standardization and centralization. Your approach is mostly improvisational and closer to the way legal teams operated prior to the present-day era of automated CLM.
  • Intermediate Capabilities: Your business has systems and standardization in place, but still lacks complete compliance, utilization, and integration.
  • Advanced Capabilities: Your business has sustainable automation, and self-service capabilities, focusing on continuous operational improvements, strategic impact, and high-risk complexity work.

Pinpointing CLM challenges by department

Below are the symptoms of an under-utilized CLM, broken down by department. If any of this sounds familiar, it may be time to optimize your use of your CLM.

Legal: Has your legal team lost control of its workload, wasting time on low-value, low-risk issues, and neglecting more strategic, high-value agreements? Are the contract review backlogs piling up? This pattern results in managing more risk, which, over time, creates greater complexity and room for inconsistencies.  

Sales: Is your sales team constantly chasing colleagues in pursuit of closing a contract? Do they often have to track down contracts and the managers needed to review them? This means that your contract process is too lengthy and disruptive.  

Finance: A common challenge for the finance department is transparency. If your team has a poor understanding of company compliance and other legal obligations, then areas of the contract need to be amended. Go over a similar company’s contractual obligations, focusing most on spending commitments. Are you surprised? Do customers commonly miscalculate financial reporting or are unaware that they can legally terminate or renegotiate a contract? Symptoms can also show up as revenue and cost leakage as well as unnecessary risks. 

Procurement: Procurement’s challenges are similar, but—in addition—this department struggles with supplier management and the inability to exercise contractual remedies. When a global organization lacks a centralized CLM or its CLM maturity level is low, missed contract renewal deadlines become missed opportunities for discounts – a mistake that can’t be afforded.

IT:  While your IT team might not struggle with department-specific contractual issues, they most likely struggle with limited resources and enterprise-wide technology integrations. Bringing on a new CLM solution is challenging and concerning to them as they consider matters such as cybersecurity, data protection and confidentiality.

Signs of increased CLM maturity by department

As you have seen, there are many pitfalls to an under-utilized system. Luckily, the benefits of increasing your organization’s maturity level are equally numerous. Below are some of the outcomes of an optimized CLM program.  

Legal: A higher CLM maturity gives the Legal department transparency and workload visibility across the enterprise. Managers gain dashboards and analytics that relay the status of negotiations, providing insight into the team’s workload right down to specific lawyers and their responsibilities. As Legal’s insight grows, each lawyer’s full contract negotiation workload becomes known, ensuring a balanced allocation, which improves performance.  

CLMs also offer self-service tools, enabling Legal to pinpoint and resolve low-value, high-volume contracts. No longer a manual or tedious process, these types of agreements can be self-generated and executed. Improved management of approved templates and clause libraries allowing for a library of provisions that are alternative negotiation tools.  

Sales: Upon adoption of a successful CLM, Sales’ contractual management and insight increases and customers adhere to their committed contracts. No longer missing opportunities to drive price increases and negotiate changes, the team is aware of contract scopes and details. Data, obligations, and clauses can be extracted from past and existing contracts to ensure improved tracking and negotiations in the future. The result is better contracts, faster review cycles, and improved sales. 

Finance: The Finance team can now track obligations, manage alerts, and decrease missed opportunities for savings or increased revenue. Additionally, you can confidently introduce more commercial governance into the business, which your CLM system manages through automated workflows and approvals.  

Procurement: The Procurement team begins managing its own obligations. Improved contracting and faster review cycles lead to more balanced workloads department-wide. Enterprise-wide supplier information enables enhanced supply chain compliance management.

IT: A high-performing, flexible, no-code CLM system like Agiloft’s decreases IT’s resource challenges. Our Agiloft Admin training as well as Agiloft University enables the team to take ownership of system configuration and customization. Investing in your team’s knowledge base provides employees with reassurance and priceless expertise that ensures the transformation of unstructured data into business-critical intelligence.  

Once you start measuring the number of people involved in contracting, your legal team’s operational cost, and the time needed to manage approvals, you’ll realize the ROI gained from a quality CLM solution is well worth it. 

The final takeaway

The right CLM solution delivers value across multiple departments including legal, sales, finance, procurement, and IT. But as with any tool, success boils down to how you utilize it. If you’d like to increase your CLM maturity level, but you’re uncertain of where to start, Agiloft is happy to help.  

Book a call with Agiloft today for an assessment of your CLM maturity and to learn how our solution can help you take your contracting to the next level. 

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