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It is the legal department’s job to protect the company from risk. They do this in many ways, but one of the most common ways is through use of legal agreements. These contracts govern the transaction between a business and its partners, customers, and vendors, and are therefore crucial in limiting a company’s risk profile.
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But these days, more than protecting the business from legal risk, the legal team is expected to be a strategic business unit that impacts revenue and helps with innovation. When moving to an online experience, most businesses expect and increase in pace, volume, and customer retention, leading directly to an increase in revenue.
However, legal’s traditional snail’s pace is a hindrance to this, as they rely on outdated, slow, manual processes to create, review, and approve deals - 70% of the time, according to Kingsley Martin, CEO of ContractStandards.
Chart showing average cost of enterprise contract / Graph showing time allotted to each part of the contract execution process.
Part of being a department that now also drives innovation means coming up with creative solutions for what used to be a legal-shaped bottleneck in processes. That is, helping sales reduce the amount of time it takes to close a deal by simplifying the contract creation process, standardizing agreements to decrease the necessity for repetitive and manual redlines on low value deals, and maintaining control over the terms without needing to micromanage every department.
Clickwrap can help legal be strategic with contracts while being a cross-functional team player alongside other departments in the business.
As stated above, to truly protect the business, legal needs to have control over the terms across the business in order to ensure successful outcomes should litigation arise. But many legal teams depend on others (specifically technical or marketing teams) to publish and update their terms, which actually increases the business’ risk profile.
Of course, legal having total control over the terms doesn’t (shouldn’t) mean that they micromanage every department that has to send out agreements. Rather, it means they have control over the language, say over what terms in an otherwise standard agreement can be changed and which cannot, and a powerful process that allows them to manage online agreements, their publishing and updates, in a systematic, automated, repeatable way.
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Using clickwrap agreements with robust back-end record capabilities can help legal achieve their goal of protecting the business and ensuring successful legal outcomes in court. Even more, using a legal center in tandem with clickwrap agreements can ensure that legal has all the desired control over the terms - including version control updates and robust back-end recordkeeping.
Redlining - the process of one or both parties making edits and changes to a contract before it is finalized and ready to be executed - is a common and necessary practice in legal. While contracts that are prone to heavy negotiation will require redlining, not every contract needs to be.
For example, excessive redlining on standardized, low value contracts wastes more resources than it earns. Most contracts in any business is a standardized contract - that is, the terms need very little (if any) negotiation and can be executed as is to a high volume or broad swath of signers. Nondisclosure agreements, for example, are standardized agreements that probably do not need to be redlined before signed.
This is not to say that no contracts will ever be redlined. Instead, the detailed attention that in-house counsel gives to redlining agreements will be saved for the more personalized, high-value agreements. That will provide a greater ROI than if you spend time redlining everything.
For example, if you eliminate 20% of the contracts in your current backlog from day-to-day reviews simply by providing a pre-approved template for relatively standard, repeatable negotiations, think about how many hours, dollars, and increased throughput you can regain in your day or week.
Standardized agreements that don’t need to be redlined can be executed using clickwrap and accepted with a single click. Completely standardized agreements, or agreements that are not negotiated under any circumstance, can be executed in one click, clickwrap.
Think of the terms you accept when you upgrade to the latest iOS: Apple is not going to negotiate the terms with you; it is take it or leave it barrier to using their product. So, presenting and facilitating the acceptance of those types of agreements becomes a much simpler, quicker process than agreement types that are highly variable or negotiated based on the parties involved.
This also reduces legal’s tendency to slow down deals, allowing the rest of the business to meet the demands of the customer and giving legal time in their day to focus on what really matters.
Spending too much time and money on the contract creation process can lower your Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC). Going through an intensive contract creation process is expensive and costs you more money to get lower value deals. Even more, this lowers the Lifetime Value (LTV) of any customer you bring on.
Moving faster on the contract creation process is important to every business, but especially so to verticals are entirely based on high volumes of low value deals. Companies like Netflix or PactSafe client TiVo, for example, rely on booking millions of customers at $15 a month. This means they need to sign on customers quickly and frequently. This requires a contract creation process that governs these transactions that are flexible and integrate well with the ideal state of the digital experience.
Using clickwrap can help you not only standardize your agreements, but improve the contract creation process for lower value deals by making acceptance quick and seamless, allowing you to focus your time and energy on higher value deals. By taking advantage of clickwrap, the legal department can become more efficient, cross-collaborative, and innovative in a time when businesses are changing so profoundly.
See how other departments in your company can take advantage of clickwrap. Download our eBook, 101 Ways to Use Clickwrap.