Research-Backed Tips for Aligning Legal and Sales in 2018

Dec 12, 2017 11:53:26 AM

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Streamlining workflows to close deals faster is a perennial business endeavor. Fortunately, the methods to accomplish this goal are continuously improving. More and more technology tools are being developed to meet the need of the consumer—for both B2C and B2B companies. Because a successful sales cycle has evolved around customer behavior, businesses now need to adapt their internal processes to a) meet customer demand, b) scale, and c) hit growth targets. Slowing down a sales process and deal closings because of a bogged-down internal process is completely avoidable going into 2018.

How can internal departments streamline contract communication and processes, thereby eliminating roadblocks to closing deals faster?

Let’s first take a look at the overall value and goals of both sales and legal departments:

Legal:

  • Mitigate risk of the business and all business relationships
  • Providing enforceable contracts for closing business
  • Secure, accurate, and accessible record-keeping

Sales:

  • Hit sales quota
  • Increase speed of signatures—closing deals faster and more efficiently

These goals run parallel to each another, and leveraging technology can eliminate the need to completely reinvent the current processes of how legal and sales work together. Technology is built to automate timely tasks and organize scaling methods as your business grows.

New research: How legal departments leveraging technology enhances efficiency and processes with internal teams (sales)

BarclaySimpson looked at recent research of how technology is impacting both law firms and legal departments within companies, and found that "a 2016 Law Society report, titled ‘The Future of Legal Services’, noted that technology is one of the biggest drivers of change across the industry.” The report found that technology helped enhance work for legal teams in five key areas (via BarclaySimpson):

  1. "Idea creation for new models of organization and process innovation;
  2. Support changes to consumer decision-making and purchasing behaviors;
  3. Generate work around new technology laws, such as cyber security and data protection;
  4. Reduce costs via artificial intelligence systems;
  5. Enable suppliers to streamline commodity and procedural work."

When it comes to contracts, these five areas serve as crucial enhancements to how legal and sales work together to drive continuous, scalable growth and hitting the above stated goals and values both legal and sales departments strive to achieve.

Let’s break down how these enhancements from technology help synchronize the goals and processes of sales and legal departments:

"Creating new models for organization/process innovation": Show you are truly an innovative company with a first impression—through your contract.

As a business grows, so do its processes and methods of working with internal departments. When it comes to contracts, the discombobulated back-and-forth of revisions, signing, and storing starts off your business relationship in a messy state. Brand your business as an innovative company by displaying that it has adapted faster, better ways to do business.

If you are an ecommerce business, for example, you’ve most likely adapted to making your website mobile-friendly. March 2017 data from Mobiforge reports that "80% of top Alexa websites are mobile adaptive” (IMPACT), and Smart Insights states that “80% of internet users own a smartphone”. In addition, recent data from Salesforce reports that "68% of companies have integrated mobile marketing into their overall marketing strategy”, and McKinsey & Company reports that "Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% visit a competitor’s site instead.”

With all of this data, the intelligent, adaptive shift for an ecommerce business is to:

  • Make its website mobile responsive (i.e., investing in mobile development);
  • Invest in easy purchasing methods for mobile (i.e., one-click);
  • Invest in identifying ways to make it easier to do business with against competitors (i.e., competitive analysis, technology enhancements).

Why shouldn’t these types of investments be the same across your entire business—like with your legal department?

BarclaySimpson’s 2016 report is one of many that highlight how technology is crucial in legal departments to meet internal company needs and consumer demand. With this data in mind, here are several ways to use technology to synchronize legal and sales and close deals faster:

Faster signing methods: Back-and-forth with PDF documents are a thing of the past. If consumers can purchase products through one-click methods, contracts should also be signed with a single click. Click-to-accept signing methods are providing a modern way to sign, saving time from using tools like DocuSign. With a streamlined way to sign, sales teams don’t have to worry about providing the right version to legal departments. A technology tool that has automatic recordkeeping stores the the contract immediately once it’s signed.

Going mobile: Text-to-sign is a revolutionary way to get contracts signed literally on the go. Yes, this is enforceable, and yes—businesses are seeing immediate boosts in contracts signed. This modern signing method is an example of fulfilling “support[ing] changes to consumer decision-making and purchasing behaviors” from BarclaySimpson’s report.

Being flexible: Like with mobile signing, contracts should not be confined to being signed with a PDF over email. NDAs, trial agreements, MSAs, order forms, should and can be signed through click-to-sign and text-to-sign methods, communication tools like Slack, and more. Identify where your customer lives and works best, and adapt your signing methods to their needs. This leads to faster signatures and a better business relationship. Pro tip: Use a technology tool with a flexible API, so you can open up the opportunity for even more signing methods based on what your customer(s) prefer.

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Kyle Robbins

Written by Kyle Robbins