As a developer of enterprise contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, a large number of users within our customer base are responsible for drafting, negotiating, executing and managing contracts in support of their sales teams. At the same time, many of these sales teams use Microsoft Dynamics as their CRM, or Customer Relationship Management application. It’s reasonable to think that in many cases the CLM and CRM applications are purchased by separate stakeholders to solve different problems which might explain why integrating these systems is sometimes an afterthought.
This post will discuss 6 ways sales and legal often benefit by integrating a contract management software application with Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement. While the CRM application in focus in this blog post is Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement, the examples can easily apply to nearly any CRM capable of supporting enterprise-level integration scenarios.
6 Benefits of Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contract Management Integration
Improved Visibility and Communication
As deals advance through the sales cycle, it is important for relevant information to be accessible to sales leaders and other internal stakeholders. The current state of a contract in an approval workflow or in process of being negotiated is often considered high value information in the later stages of closing a deal. By integrating these applications, stakeholders can be proactively alerted by the system as milestones are achieved or things go off track.
A recent survey conducted by BusinessWire reports that the average number of apps used by the modern worker is 9.39. Also reported in the findings is that 67 percent of respondents believe it would be easier to focus on work if important information from all of their apps appeared in a single window. There are quite a few more findings in this survey that suggest that employee efficiency, agility, accuracy and performance suffer when more applications are required to perform normal business functions.
A CLM/CRM integration exposes contract data, contract documents and self-service request functionality within the Microsoft Dynamics 365 user interface, allowing sales reps to operate within their primary application of choice for all contract related tasks, updates and contract requests.
Shorter Sales Cycles
Building on the topic mentioned in the previous section, self-service contract requests and automated contract drafting have the potential to drastically reduce the time it takes to request and draft a contract and ultimately get it into the hands of the prospect or customer. Minutes, hours or days saved on the front end of this process can mean the difference between meeting sales quota, or not.
By integrating CLM and CRM applications, a contract request can be initiated by the sales rep at the press of a button within Dynamics 365. This action can send a request to the legal team to begin drafting the contract or the document can be automatically assembled and made available for the sales rep in a matter of seconds.
Improved Contract Compliance
Most business contracts have obligations that need to be met in order to maintain compliance. These obligations are often contained deep in the legal language of a contract and nowhere else. For companies executing hundreds of contracts per year, exposing the contract terms to appropriate businesspeople to ensure contractual compliance presents a significant challenge. Common examples of post-sale obligations are new customer onboarding activities or monthly tracking to ensuring service level commitments.
An integration between your contract management software and Dynamics 365 can address this challenge by automatically extracting important business terms contained in the contract and creating compliance obligation tasks for their appropriate owners across the business. Task owners have the opportunity to capture and store proof of compliance that can be produced if the company is ever audited.
Increased Data Accuracy
Traditionally, when a salesperson gets close to closing a deal, they reach out to their legal contracts resource and begin sharing details about the deal that need to be accounted for in the contract. Sharing this information over email, Teams or some other similar means increases the chance that mistakes will happen during the exchange.
An integration between your contract management system and Dynamics 365 can remedy this potential problem. During the contract request process, sales data from Dynamics 365 can be automatically pulled into the contract request with no manual effort or potential for error.
Enforce Contract Standardization, Eliminate Rogue Contracting
In larger companies, it's often difficult to ensure the latest approved contract language is used consistently across the organization. Contract templates often live on a network folder or on someone’s desktop which makes tracking and standardization difficult or impossible. It also makes it relatively easy for rogue contracting behavior to take place.
A CLM/CRM integration that enables the sales rep to request a contract from within Dynamics 365 can enforce which contract template is used for any circumstance. The contract management system will ensure the most recent approved language is always in use for every contract template.
Final Comments about Microsoft Dynamics 365 Contract Management
Although I’ve only scratched the surface of this topic, an enterprise contract management integration that connects your best of breed sales and legal systems may be worth considering for its potential to provide a scalable foundation for improved operational efficiency, contractual compliance and revenue growth.