Sales & Legal: Best Frenemies

Topics: Legal, Sales Enablement

Do you have someone (or some people) in your life whom you interact with every day on a friendly basis, yet you consider them the bane of your existence?

FRENEMIES.jpgWhether it’s friends, family or coworkers, we all have frenemies.

Family issues aside, frenemies are common in the business world. The stakes are also higher, with revenue and reputations on the line.

This couldn’t be more true in the contract process, with salespeople leading the charge to close the deal, and legal teams identifying risks within that contract. This “sales friction” can slow down contracts and limit your revenue stream.

In order to get on the same page, it’s important to understand each side’s different needs and concerns:

What Sales Will Tell You

Salespeople are not hyper-focused on the terms, conditions and legalities of a contract they are closing. That doesn’t mean they don’t care, though.

The main prerogative of salespeople is to deliver to the customer. That means getting the contract in front of the customer in a timely manner. With that comes concerns over the salesperson’s reputation, commission and job security.

So when a contract is sitting in Legal for a long period of time, it’s no surprise that the salesperson is constantly contacting the legal team, asking for the status of the contract. This “reach out” can be time-consuming for salespeople, who are often juggling many deals at a time.

What Legal Will Tell You

Can you blame the legal team though? They’re responsible for finding risks within a contract that could lead to revenue loss and also tarnish the company’s reputation. With those risks on the line, Legal shouldn’t feel like they have to rush contract reviews just to please a customer.

When salespeople are constantly inquiring about the contract status, it also wastes the lawyer’s time, extending the review process and slowing down the contract. Not to mention, it can be a nuisance and raise tensions further. When Sales does reach out, it’s a good idea for Legal to communicate when they believe the review will be complete. However, that’s only a temporary fix to buy you some time, and a systematic process of communication between Sales and Legal should be put in place.  

The Solution: ‘A Source of Truth’ for Contracts

The key to bridging the gap between sales and legal teams is to store contracts in a central repository that’s accessible to both sides. With a central repository, you’re able to eliminate the constant emails and phone calls between Sales and Legal over the status of the contract.

In order to streamline the communication between these two departments, a central repository needs these features:

Visible with or without a customer relationship management tool (CRM): Most salespeople use a CRM like Salesforce, and have full visibility into the contract. Legal, however, typically does not have the same access to the contract. Using a contract solution that works on and off a CRM will expand contract visibility across all departments.

Accessible on all devices: Contracts need to be accessible anytime, anywhere, from any device. Use a cloud-based central repository that can be accessed on mobile devices. If you’re on the go, the contract can still be accessed, reviewed, edited and approved.

Only one contract: It’s important that when storing contracts in a cloud-based repository there is only one version of that contract. Storing the contract here should eliminate the need to download and email contracts, mitigating the risk of using the wrong version.

Lets face it; you may not always agree with your frenemy, but you actually might need each other. Sales and Legal may have different personal goals in the contract process but the overall goal is the same; closing the deal and reaping the revenue from an accurate, timely contract.

There’s more to learn about accelerating the contract process by expanding your CRM to other departments. For quick tips, download our fact sheet, “CRM + Sales Contracting: Eliminating The Department of Sales Prevention.”

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