The Best Way to Perform Digital Contract Management in 2022

Written by Timothy Ware

 

Have you ever purchased a Have you ever purchased a car from a dealership? If you have, then you’ve experienced all the headaches involved in orchestrating a contract firsthand. Once you and the salesperson negotiate the price of the car, they need to get management approval for the purchase. Then, you need to go through a similar process with the loan officer. Digital contract management can simplify all of this. 

Digital contract management software decreases the time and money required to negotiate, draft, sign, store, and consult documents. These savings occur throughout the entire lifecycle of the contract. 

In this article, I’ll go through exactly why you need digital contract management and how it will benefit your business. But first, let me introduce you to SignTime as one of the premiere digital contract management solutions available today. 

 

What is SignTime? 

It can be difficult to coordinate schedules when trying to get a contract signed. This can hurt your bottom line because sales are more likely to go through when you remove the hurdles of doing business. 

That’s why you should use SignTime to collect signatures for your contracts. SignTime is the best digital contract management system available today. With convenient e-signature capabilities, you’ll get signed contracts back in record time. 

Sign up for our free trial now, and never chase down signatures again. 

 

 

Benefits of a digital contract management system 

There are many benefits to implementing a digital contract management system. Here are just some of the most important ones. 

Automated workflows 

One of the perks of moving your contracting processes online is the amount of time you will save. Digital contract management systems help to automate many of the more tedious parts of the contract lifecycle. 

Instead of drafting five unique contracts, you can use digital contract templates. Then, instead of sending those five contracts to five individuals, one at a time, you can send them to everyone at once. Finally, you no longer need to keep track of who has signed the document as the software will notify you. You can even send specific reminders to only the parties who have not yet signed. 

Secure contract storage and retrieval 

Digital contract storage means that you can access your documents from the cloud, anywhere. Your digital contract repository is encrypted for security, which makes it a lot safer than any filing cabinet. Digital contracts can be retrieved anywhere, which means that you can always get your hands on the document you need in minutes. This leads to the next point. 

Easy contract auditing 

Contract auditing—checking the details of a contract to confirm all parties are in compliance—is the most overlooked part of contract management. Since contracts stored in filing cabinets are hard to find, most companies don’t bother reviewing contracts on a regular basis to make sure everything is going smoothly. 

Digital contracts can be tagged with multiple different keywords, for example, the company name, contract type, and year of the contract, so that they can be found in seconds. This allows companies to review documents regularly. 

Never miss a renewal date 

Another great benefit of being able to add multiple tags is that you can set up a fool-proof system to never miss another renewal date. Simply add tags for the month and year of renewal and then search for them with adequate lead time. 

For example, if your sales cycle takes three months to complete renegotiations, then on February 1st you can find all documents with the tags “sales contracts” and “May 2022.” 

Better completion rates 

After your sales team has spent months negotiating a new deal, the last thing you want is for it to fall through between the verbal “yes” and the signed document being returned. Sales are hard enough to come by without missing out on deals with interested prospects because of time-related issues. 

Sales agreements are more likely to go through if you remove all of the hurdles to getting the document signed. Asking someone to print off a contract, sign it, scan it, and mail it back is a hurdle. Printing the document off yourself, then waiting days for the mail to deliver the document, and then having the client mail it back is also a hurdle. 

Digital contract management eliminates these hurdles. Once the final negotiations are completed, you can send the documents by email or SMS to any relevant parties and have them sign them on their smartphone while you are still sitting in the Zoom call! 

 

Use SignTime as your digital contract management system 

With all of the paperwork required, from NDAs and NCAs to sales agreements, it can be difficult to coordinate signatures. It can also be difficult to find and pull a specific agreement to confirm your rights and responsibilities under the agreement. 

Thankfully, SignTime is here to help. With convenient e-signature capabilities, you’ll get signed contracts back from your clients in record time. 

You can even set up your own digital contract template repository. That way you’ll never have to write another non-disclosure agreement again. 

Sign up for our free trial now, and make every department more efficient. 

 

What are common features of digital contract management software? 

The following are some of the common features found in digital contract management software. If you are looking for more information on this topic, please take a look at another recent article on the SignTime blog. 

 

  • Contract repository: Having a safe and easy way to find and consult documents is probably the most important tool offered by digital contract management software. A contract repository should be highly encrypted and protected with advanced features, such as two-factor authentication (2FA), to protect these important assets. This is one of the many ways in which digital contracts are safer than traditional ones.
  • Workflow management: This is a collection of tools that makes negotiating, drafting, signing, and auditing digital contracts a breeze. Some common features are being able to send contracts for e-signature, reminders for specific parties, and seeing who has signed a document.
  • Automated alerts: Your software should notify you when you’ve received a contract to e-sign, when other parties have e-signed a contract, or when a contract has not been signed after a certain period of time so that you can send reminders. You should also be able to set up notifications for when contracts come up for renegotiation. 
  • Contract templates: Uploading, editing, and finalizing digital contract templates is a huge timesaver. This functionality is a must for digital contract management software.
  • e-signature: Users should be able to create e-signatures in many different ways. For example, uploading a handwritten signature, using a mouse, and an automated system are all common options. The software should also store e-signatures so they can be used again and again. e-signatures should also track metadata so that they can be authenticated. This is another of the many ways in which digital contracts are safer than traditional ones.
  • Bulk sending: Bulk sending is a way to get many documents signed at once. This is especially useful for common HR functions. If you have an updated employment contract or freelancer contract, you can simply send it to all parties at the same time.
  • Smartphone and SMS: A lot of the value in digital contracts is removing the barriers to getting a contract signed. Not everyone checks their work email or opens their laptop when at home or on the road. Sending requests for e-signature over SMS and using a smartphone to e-sign a document are great ways to get contracts signed faster. 

 

What are the benefits of digital contract management software? 

Digital contract management software has loads of benefits. Here are just a few of them: 

  • Secure: You have zero reason to worry about the security of digital contracts and e-signatures. Contract repositories are highly encrypted and protected by two-factor authentication (2FA), and e-signatures are saved with metadata that can prove whether they are legitimate or fraudulent.
  • Legal: Over 180 countries, including America, Canada, and the members of the EU, have ratified laws stating that e-signatures are treated the same as signatures.
  • Fast: Drafting digital contracts from templates is fast. Sending digital contracts for e-signatures is fast. Everything about digital contracts is faster than pen-and-paper ones.
  • Shareable: It is easy to share contracts via email or SMS to get them signed.
  • Searchable: Digital repositories with advanced filing systems make it easier to find the document you need. With SignTime, you can add multiple tags to documents so you can find them in seconds.
  • Backed up: Paper contracts are often stored offsite or in basements where they are vulnerable to theft, fire, flood, or any other force majeure. (I’ve personally been part of a team that has had to rescue documents for a law firm after a sewage backup—not fun!) Having your contracts in the cloud, with signed documents shared via email with every signatory, means you will never lose a document again. SignTime even offers the ability to digitize your current pen-and-paper documents so you can store and access them in the cloud too.
  • Scalable: With the ability to bulk send documents, reuse templates, and change plans in seconds, digital contract management software scales with your business. Getting 500 non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signed can take the same amount of time as 5! 

 

Who uses digital contract management software? 

I’ve touched on a few of the teams that use digital contract management software above. HR often has a lot of boilerplate contracts to get signed, so it is a huge timesaver for that department. 

The sales team will love how more negotiations lead to wins. Removing the barriers to sales and getting customers to sign during a sales call are great ways to improve your leads-to-win ratio. 

Another obvious department that benefits from digital contracts is the legal team. Being able to find and review documents with ease is one major benefit. Another is the templating system. Legal teams will be able to draft and revise templates, store them in the cloud, and access them whenever they are needed. 

After these three teams, the benefits become a bit less obvious. However, they are still real and worth considering. Opposite the sales team is the procurement team. Being able to negotiate, get approval, and e-sign a contract in a day instead of over weeks or months means new efficiencies to bringing in new equipment, tools, and resources. 

While digital contract management software can help every team, let me end with one last one, the finance team. Finance teams need to be able to review contracts for invoicing and billing. In fact, they can even use the same software to get invoices signed. For the finance team, the transparency gained is one of the biggest draws. 

 

The top trends in digital contract management  

Digital contract management has been experiencing rapid uptake over the last few years. This has only been accelerated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some of the main trends in digital contract management. 

The digital transformation 

Since the Dot-Com Bubble of the 1990s, the promise of a “digital transformation” has been alive in popular culture. Unfortunately, it has always seemed “3–5 years away.” Many innovations, from email to video conferencing, have promised a paperless office—and yet the amount of paperwork has only increased! 

However, underlying the trend, there have been real changes to the way people work. Business travel has become less necessary. Face-to-face meetings have moved from restaurants and cafes to Skype and Zoom. The trend is clear: digital transformation is happening, and it is accelerating. 

Newer digital solutions save time and money. They are safe and secure, and, possibly more importantly, companies now accept that they are safe and secure. Digital contract management finds itself square in the middle of the newest round of digital transformations. It offers better, faster, cheaper, and more secure processes than traditional contracting. 

Flexible work arrangements 

Flexible work arrangements, including hybrid and remote working options, have been on the rise. Early adopter companies started with remote and hybrid systems long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend. HR and sales teams have been looking for new ways to do their work online. Presently, digital contract management is one of the best tools around to help move processes online and reduce the need for face-to-face meetings. 

The COVID-19 response 

The digital transformation has been going on for almost 30 years. The telework trend has been around for at least a decade. However, both were put into high gear in March 2020. No single event has done more to push work online than COVID-19. 

The typical conservative approach to business is to keep the status quo and wait until tools and processes are proven to be faster, safer, and/or cheaper. COVID-19 forced companies to reverse this mode of technological uptake. Now companies need to try something first and then assess whether it succeeded after the fact. 

Digital transformation advocates around the world are rejoicing as this living experiment has proven that remote work works. In the third year of the pandemic, many companies have gone from “remote work until it is safe to return to the office” to “you may be required to return to the office at some point for at least of the time” and, finally, “remote first” or “remote by design.” 

Climate change 

Climate change, climate change activism, and climate change mitigation and reduction strategies are all having an effect on how companies do business. 

These days, a good environmental, social, and governance (ESG) image is important to shareholders, employees, and customers, and that means that reducing carbon emissions is good for business. 

In many countries, carbon emissions are taxed, so reducing them is good for the bottom line as well. If a company can do business online easier and at a lower price point while also differentiating themselves from the competition through a positive ESG image, that’s what we would call a win–win–win. 

Reducing paper, ink, and postage are only some of the ways in which digital contract management can reduce carbon emissions. A digital contract repository also means reduced carbon emissions from storing filing cabinets filled with documents at on- or off-site facilities. 

Focus on customer experience 

Companies are increasingly looking at their customer experience with the goal of making the entire buyer journey a pleasant one. Customer retention is now one of the biggest drivers in revenue growth. Of course, this has always been the case, but it is finally getting the recognition it deserves. 

Companies are looking to do whatever they can to improve their own buyer journey, from removing hurdles from the sale to connecting at a cultural level with their customers. One way to do this is to adopt scalable digital solutions. 

Offering digital contracts to customers means fewer meetings, less time wasted printing and mailing documents, and an overall better experience. 

Increasing legality 

Almost every country legally recognizes the equivalence of e-signatures and handwritten ones. Digital contracts can be used in more places and in more situations than ever before. This is leading to more companies using e-signatures, as well as expanding their use cases to more departments. 

The rise of artificial intelligence 

Artificial intelligence (AI) seems to finally be at a point where it is worth discussing. Perhaps only next to the overall trend of digital transformation, AI has always been “3–5 years away.” 

This is no longer the case. AI capabilities are helping to draft digital contracts and smooth out the contract lifecycle. 

To get your digital contracts signed today, you should use SignTime. With convenient e-signature capabilities, you can get any contract sign on the spot without delays. 

The online contract repository is organized using the modern tagging system, which means you’ll never have to search for important paperwork again. 

Sign up for our free trial now, and never wait on a signature again. 

 

FAQs 

I get loads of questions about digital contracts, e-signatures, and digital contract management. Here are just a few of them. 

What is a digital contract? 

A digital contract is just the natural evolution of the pen-and-paper documents that humans have been using for thousands of years (more on this here). 

 

What is digital contract management? 

Contracts are legally binding agreements between two or more parties. They need to be treated with the respect that such documents deserve. Digital contract management is the process of shepherding the contract through the entire contract lifecycle (see here). 

 

What is the digital contract lifecycle? 

The contract lifecycle starts with recognition of the need for an agreement, works through the preparation and signing of the agreement, and ends with the termination of the agreement (more here). 

 

Why is digital contract management important? 

Digital contract management helps companies to ensure that all parties are following the agreement. This means that everyone is fulfilling their duties and responsibilities, but also that they are getting all the value out of the agreement (read more here). 

 

What is contract management software? 

Digital contract software, sometimes called contract management software, helps you to draft, e-sign, store, and consult contracts in the cloud (read about this here). 

 

What are common features of contract management software? 

Most contract management software solutions have some common features. They also have several unique features. The ones you need depend on your business, but the following are some options that all digital contract software should have (see here for more): 

· Modern contract storage

· Workflow management

· Template capabilities

· Bulk sending

· Smartphone functionality

· Third-party integrations

· Free trial 

 

What does digital contract management software cost? 

The cost of digital contract management software will vary depending on your requirements. Small companies should be able to find an option for around $10/month. Larger companies might need to spend $1000 a year or even more if they have custom requirements. One important factor to consider should be a full-function free trial. That way you can test out the system and confirm that it meets your needs (more information on this here). 

 

Do I need a digital contract management system? 

Do you sign contracts? Do you need contracts signed by people who work in different buildings? Do you need to review your contracts? A yes to any of these questions is a good indication that digital contracts and e-signatures will help your business (read more here). 

 

Is digital contract management part of CRM? 

Customer relationship management (CRM) has become an important part of sales, marketing, customer service, and customer success. While digital contract management is not the same as CRM, a good digital contract management solution should be able to integrate with your CRM, e.g., Salesforce (more on this here). 

 

Does digital contract management software help with searching and reporting? 

Auditing is an important part of the contract lifecycle. Unfortunately, it is often ignored in practice because finding and reviewing contracts can be difficult and tedious. Once a company has multiple filing cabinets, locating and reviewing a specific document becomes an all-day affair. 

Digital contract management software solves the problem by making it easy to find and review documents in minutes. SignTime uses the same tagging system you see on Twitter or LinkedIn so you can narrow down your search to seconds (read more about this here). 

 

Are digital contracts safe? 

Digital contracts are completely safe. Your e-signature has metadata attached to the image. This is basically invisible information that says when the image was made, where (your IP address), and by which account. By tracking this information, illegally copied signatures can be shown as fraudulent. 

Also, your digital contract repository is highly encrypted. This makes it virtually impossible to break in and steal important information. Criminals would find it easier to break into an office and open a filing cabinet than illegally download documents from the cloud. 

Indeed, e-signatures are actually safer than normal signatures (more information found here). 

 

Are digital contracts legal? 

Yes, digital contracts are legal. In fact, over 180 countries across the world have enacted laws supporting the legal equivalence of e-signatures and digital contracts. Here are three examples: 

1. In America, ESIGN (Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act) and UETA (Uniform Electronic Transactions Act) regulate the use of e-signatures, stating that they are the legal equivalent of handwritten ones.

2. In Canada, PIPEDA (Personal Information and Electronic Documents Act) federally regulates e-signatures. All provinces (except Quebec) have laws based on UECA (Uniform Electronic Commerce Act). Quebec signed its own law (CQLR c C-1.1) which codifies e-signatures and handwritten signatures as legally equal (read more here).

3. The EU has also established e-signatures as being equal to handwritten ones under the law eIDAS (Electronic Identification and Trust Services Regulation). 

 

How do you sign a digital contract? 

The short answer is: any way you want! Do you want to type in your name and let the platform create a signature? Do you want to use your mouse or touchpad? Do you want to upload your own image? Do you want to sign on your laptop or smartphone? All of these options are available in SignTime (read more here). 

 

How do you create an e-signature? 

You can create an e-signature in many different ways. You can upload an image of your handwritten signature, have SignTime create one for you, or use your mouse to create a signature (more on this here). 

 

How do you create digital contract templates? 

Digital contract templates can be made in two simple steps. First, you upload a file of a contract. Many file formats can be used for this, but the common ones are pdf and docx. Then, you drag and drop different fields, such as name, signature, date, and initials, wherever the parties should fill in information (more here). 

 

Should you use digital contract templates? 

You should definitely use digital contract templates! They will save you time and money when performing many business processes. However, digital contract management software is still valuable, even if you don’t use the digital contract template functions. 

First, e-signatures simplify the signing process. If you deal with sales, then removing the hurdles to contract signing will mean closing more deals. If you use digital contracts as part of the recruiting and onboarding process, then it will cut costs. 

Second, digital contract repositories save you time and money. You can quickly find documents on the cloud from anywhere. You also no longer need to take up expensive real estate with filing cabinets (read more on this here). 

 

What is a digital contract repository? 

A contract repository is basically your filing cabinet in the cloud. Instead of taking up valuable real estate in your office with an old fashioned coding system that makes it impossible to find a document when you need it, digital contracts can be accessed anywhere. 

You can also tag a contract with many different keywords, for example, the date, company name, contract type, and signatories, so they are easy to find (read more here). 

 

How is digital contract management software different from e-signature solutions? 

Most people are familiar with e-signatures, but not with all of the other benefits of a complete digital contract management solution. In addition to e-signatures, you get the digital contract repository, the ability to send contracts around the world, an easy-to-use digital contract template drafting platform, and more (read more about this here). 

 

What are the benefits of digital contracts? 

Digital contracts save you time and money. They also remove hurdles, which makes it easier to get your contracts signed. 

Another major benefit of digital contracts is their accessibility. By having all of your contracts available in the cloud, in your personal digital contract repository, you can access them anywhere. They are also easy to find using SignTime’s simple tagging system (read more here). 

 

 

Digital contract management simplifies every business process 

A digital contract management system will show its value in every department of your company. 

· The digital contract template service will save you time and money.

· Sending contracts by email or SMS removes hurdles in concluding deals.

· A digital contract repository means less office clutter and easier access to the documents you need. 

Whether you are trying to simplify HR functions or get your next sales quote signed today, SignTime is there to help. We offer a full-service digital contract management solution with options geared towards any business size. 

The easy-to-access and organized online contract repository means never searching for important paperwork again. 

Sign up for our free trial now and start collecting e-signatures today. 

 

All Posts
×

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OK