How to quell the redlining rage and bring peace to negotiations

Do you suffer from redlining rage during contract negotiations? Let's explore how you can bring peace to the process.  

Do you suffer from redlining rage during contract negotiations? Let’s explore the 5 steps of contract negotiation, and how you can bring peace to each one.  

Is there any task more frustrating and time-consuming, yet as important as the negotiation processs? When you look at the full contract lifecycle, there are few steps that hold as much weight as the negotiation process, it sets the tone and becomes the foundation for your working relationship with all clients, partners, and vendors. How can you ensure a peaceful negotiation process that will set both you and your counterparts up for success? Today, we’ve broken down the contract review process into five simple steps with tips to bring peace from initial review, to the new, thriving business relationship you’re working to complete.

1. Initial contract review

The rage: TIME. Your time invaluable – every second. However, no contract is the same. What could be quick for a simple agreement, could easily compound into line after line, page after page, and hour after hour of review to ensure you’re not missing a single piece of valuable information for your business. It’s an absolute necessity, but it’s so painstakingly manual that we’ve all paused during a review, head in hands, asking ourselves, “Isn’t there a better way?”

The peace: How often do you use your dishwasher? Do you have a Roomba gliding across your floor by chance? There’s technology all around us automating what used to be tasks we hate doing. Why should contracting be any different? Today, market leaders like Agiloft have AI technology that will perform an initial contract review, regardless of document size, that automatically identifies anything in the incoming contract that differs from standard language or past contracts that you’ve approved, instantly telling you where to focus efforts for step two of the review process: contract analysis.

2. Contract analysis

The rage: Time is a huge factor here as well, now that we’ve gone line by line throughout the contract to decide what needs a second look, we have to go BACK through and detail exactly how these items differ from our standard language or agreement practices. Even if we’ve taken the more peaceful route by leveraging technology to perform step one, the analysis of each highlighted point can be both time consuming and tedious, forcing you to scour past contracts for reference or flipping through a document library to ensure you’re negotiating according to best practices.

The peace: Now I know what you’re thinking, what could possibly bring peace to this part of the process? It’s a requirement, not something you can skip or automate, we just need to buckle down and get it done, right? Not anymore! Redlining assistance is now a capability of leading AI powered CLM systems. For example, Agiloft’s GenAI Redlining functionality not only performs the initial contract review, but provides a synopsis of exactly how each highlighted point differs from your parameters, allowing you to focus on the actual work. So how do we negotiate a clause that doesn’t work for our company? See step three.  

3. Two become one: marrying the contracts

The rage: Now THIS is where things get interesting. Here, the rage doesn’t always come from our side. Now that we’re on this negotiation journey armed with technology, what’s next? Traditionally, most redlining tools on the market would take the highlighted clause or portion of the contract that differs from your standard language and simply replace it with standard language laid out in your system. Time saving, yes. True negotiation? Not quite. To quote Agiloft’s Chief Product Officer Andy Wishart, “…simply swapping out their clause with yours is a bold move. It’s not negotiation, it’s just trying to force a particular position.”

The peace: Whether a first-time agreement or a renegotiation with a longtime partner, taking time to make strategic and thoughtful deletions and insertions, that ultimately benefit both parties, is a simple way to not only expedite and streamline the negotiation process, but set yourself up to be a preferred partner moving forward. When you’re easier to do business with you become the one people want to do business with. Now, I know your burning question – can tech help with that? It can! Agiloft’s new GenAI redlining tool takes contract assistance further by leveraging AI to marry clauses from an incoming contract to your library of standard and approved clauses. Instead of a simple find and replace, you can create a brand-new clause that takes into account both your and your counterpart’s requirements to create a mutually beneficial redline. What’s more peaceful than that?

4. Creating new clauses – no library, no problem!

The rage: The language is new. It’s a clause that was flagged but we don’t necessarily have a replacement ready. Or perhaps you want to take advantage of technology throughout the negotiation process but don’t have the bandwidth to create a clause library at this time. Can you still use the tech? Is it even worth it? Cue the rage.

The peace: Luckily, this is what GenAI was designed for! Thoughtfully designed GenAI models, like those included in Agiloft’s AI Platform, allow you to prompt well-trained GPTs to generate brand new language based on requirements you’ve laid out. Create brand new clauses, that protect bot your interests and your future partner’s, in seconds.” 

5. Agree & thrive  

The rage: The back and forth. It takes valuable work hours, and ultimately it takes you further and further away from where you want to be – at an agreement. Clunky clause replacements, elimination of required language, missed information, and more can cause this process to drag out BUT if you’ve followed the advice laid out in steps 1-4, where are you now?  

The peace: That’s right, we’re at peace! Leveraging technology throughout the contract negotiation process can not only significantly expedite you to signature but it sets you up with a mutual beneficial contract and a partner that is now a champion of yours, ensuring all involved are invested in building a longstanding, thriving working relationship for years to come.

Want to see Agiloft’s GenAI Redlining capabilities in action? Watch our Tech Tuesday webinar with CCBJ!

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