The only 4 questions needed when choosing a CLM

Choosing a CLM can be difficult with so many different vendors to choose from. It's actually very simple if you ask yourself these four questions.

Have you ever dealt with the problem of too many choices? Sounds like a good thing to have? Not necessarily.

It can be overwhelming and create a sense of not wanting to decide at all. That is exactly what it has come to with the Contract Lifecycle Management market. G2, the popular software review site, lists 95 listings for Contract Lifecycle Management software providers. And that’s not a complete listing. It’s no surprise given that the CLM market is supposed to reach almost three and a half-billion-dollar level by 2030 that there are more than a few players.   

In our recent poll, 39% of our respondents said that they will not, or are not sure about, implementing a CLM solution simply because there were too many vendor choices. That is a sad state of affairs. Can you imagine not ordering ice cream because there are too many flavors? Baskin-Robbins banks on a plethora of choices promoting 31 flavors but now that only represents a different flavor for each day of the month. They have over 1,400!   

While enjoying ice cream is one thing, putting your company at risk is quite another. Without the assistance of technology for contract review, tracking contracts, identifying risks and, even analyzing best contract practices, you can be slowing down business which costs money, or worse, putting your business at risk which can cost untold fortunes.  

Consider just the tracking of contracts. In our survey, tracking contracts was the top use of CLMs of those planning to implement (85%) as well as those who currently have CLM(81%). According to a CLOC survey, you can spend between one and six hours of time tracking obligations within the lifetime of a single contract. Think of the time you’ll save in just tracking contracts.   

So CLM can help with your contracting challenges, but that still leaves us with the problem of too many vendors. This is actually easy to solve. All you need to do is ask yourself these four questions:  

1. What are you trying to accomplish with a CLM solution?  

You need to have a clear vision of the end goal. What is the problem that you’re trying to fix? Is it not being able to find contracts? Is it missing contractual obligations? Is it to understand and reuse the best contract language for your company? You need to understand that what you are solving for today may not be what you need to solve for tomorrow. While many vendors can fix simple contract management needs, how flexible are they as your needs change? Can they handle the growth or change that your company expects, or better yet, doesn’t expect?   

You need to have a clear goal and buy-in for what it is you want to accomplish with a CLM. You also need to be aware of possible future needs that the same system will need to deliver.  

2. Can you find a company dedicated to meeting your needs rather than simply selling a software package?   

With so many vendors come an even larger number of salespeople. These are all good people trying to make a living, but you need to make sure they are working for you and not just for themselves. Are they asking the right questions to understand your needs or are they simply listing features that may or may not be important to you? Do they explain how the company will work with you to solve your problems or are they more interested in showing you a demo? You need to be listened to and know that what you said was understood and can be delivered, or not, from the software your company is looking to invest in.   

3. Can you validate each vendor’s customer satisfaction and analyst profile within the industry?   

Just like in our consumer world, business reviews are important. What do others say about the company that you’re looking to purchase a CLM from? Do they have good user reviews? Excellent customer satisfaction rate? What do the analysts say about them? Do they have recognition or standing in any of the CLM analyst measurements like the Forrester Wave or Gartner Magic Quadrant? Ask for references!  

4. What is each vendor’s commitment to innovation and to running a stable business that will continue to support their customers?   

Does the CLM vendor borrow money or rely on venture capital to keep the lights on? Are they a self-sustaining business that has a solid plan and vision for the future? How long have they been in business? With lower barriers to entry within the CLM SaaS space, many new entrants may be here today but gone tomorrow. Make sure you know the history of the company that you’re entrusting your contracting success with. And if you look at the mantra “made for lawyers by lawyers” then that is too narrow a scope for contracts but that is a conversation for another day.   

To maybe make your search a bit easier, consider Agiloft with 97% customer satisfaction scores, 100% customer service response rates, and 99.6% success rate for CLM implementations. Not to mention its highly rated CLM platform, without it we would not have received outstanding customer recognition. Having been in business for over 30 years, Agiloft has earned its reputation and has re-dedicated itself to “reintroducing the handshake” to keep humanity in any deal and not just “sell you software”. We want to ensure that you are thrilled with choosing a proven industry leader.  

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