This is the fifth feature in our 6-part series from our COO, "Thinking Like a Tech Company in 2018". This series highlights the shifts in consumer behavior and its impact on how we do business today. Here are parts 1-6 in this series:
Here is the full series:
- Part 1: Thinking Like a Tech Company in 2018: Take the Amazon Approach
- Part 2: How to Identify Areas of Opportunity in B2B Sales to Appease the Consumer
- Part 3: B2B Sales: How to Deliver a Purchasing Experience for the Consumer of Today
- Part 4: How a Streamlined Customer Onboarding Process is Crucial to B2B Success in 2018
- Part 5: Why It’s Crucial to Have a Contract Hub to Manage Your Customer Relationships
- Part 6: Why the World’s Most Successful B2Bs Prioritize Flexible APIs
There is nothing more frustrating to a customer and/or business partner than:
- Not having a secure, known place where contracts and agreements are stored;
- Uncertainty of what roles the business/customer holds in the relationship;
- Relying on the back-and-forth of emails to manage the relationship.
Continuing our theme in this thought leadership series of better managing contracts to scale and grow business and innovate more, think about how relationships are held with customers: A business relationship is defined through terms of an agreement, and a hub to access, manage, and store all contracts takes the uncertainty and confusion out of where the terms of a business relationship are held and managed.
Let us elaborate: Currently, across all industries, contracts and terms of agreement are all managed through email. Even large contract companies like DocuSign lack true insight at the customer level into all the contracts a customer has signed. Should this data live in your CRM? Should it live in your app or customer portal? Only ever so often is there a place—like a contract hub—where contracts securely live and are easily accessible to both you and your customer.
So why spend budget, time, and resources building a hub for contracts and agreements? Because business relationships are defined through terms of an agreement. Show your customers you care by formalizing where they can track and manage the journey of your partnership.
Transparency and insight into business relationships helps you provide better customer service, leading to increased upsell opportunities, referrals and overall stickiness. Other perks of developing a contract hub are eliminating the unnecessary back-and-forth of negotiations. If we can order services with the click of a button, then it’s time for a better way to edit and revise terms of services and agreements. A central hub for contracts to edit, sign, and store takes away the uncertainty of desktop and email folders, not to mention several versions.
“If we can order services with the click of a button, then it’s time for a better way to edit and revise terms of services and agreements.”—Tweet this
In Part 3 of our Thinking Like a Tech Company series, I outline an example with Fortune 500 company CDW, where building an account portal for customers to login and see agreements accepted simplified and accelerated the company’s sales process.
Recognizing that their consumer prefers a one-step, easy purchasing process (AKA, instant gratification), CDW has structured its sales cycle to meet these expectations. CDW’s checkout system is easy to navigate—i.e. mobile friendly—making it simple for customers to buy its products and services and, more importantly, understand what they are buying and agreeing to.
What Does Instant Customer Gratification Have to Do With a Contract Hub?
This idea of “instant customer gratification” is a methodology that should trickle through your entire customer journey. The first engagement between a business and its customer is through a contract—so why is this crucial part of the relationship stored in an unsecure and inconsistent location, like email or a folder on your computer? The terms of your customer relationships and the lifecycle of how that relationship evolves should be valued and managed in a dedicated location. This practice helps to:
- Evolve the relationship further: Identify the key points in your customer relationship where you expanded services and offerings.
- Build a level of transparency: Don’t leave your customers in the dark. Providing them a dedicated area to track and manage your relationship helps retain and build trust.
At PactSafe, we value our customer relationships, and we work to help our customers do the same with theirs. Reach out to us today to see how we can help your business.