8 Tips for Finding the Best Contract Management Software Vendor

How to create a list of the best contract management software vendors for your business. 

Table Of Contents
1. Define your vertical/industry needs
2. Ensure technical compatibility and integration with business applications 
3. Identify the contract management problem you are trying to solve
4. Take into account your company size
5. Investigate contract management industry expertise
6. Work with a CLM consultant
7. Attend contract management events
8. Request a demo and get to know the team

Finding the best contract management software is really about finding the best vendor that fits the needs of your business. Here are a few tips to help you narrow your business needs and find the best contract management software vendors to address them. 

1. Define your vertical or industry needs

When trying to find the best contract management software for your business, the first consideration is understanding the contract management needs specific to your vertical.  Different industries have different requirements, regulations, and standards, and software vendors can specialize in different areas. Choosing a vendor with experience in your industry and an understanding of your business needs is important.  For example, one vendor may have software that supports and integrates with your real estate back end.  Another may have experience dealing with complex healthcare requirements.   A good way to find out about their experience in your industry is to look at white papers that may demonstrate their knowledge and ask for any customer references. 

2. Ensure technical compatibility and integration with business applications

Another important consideration is choosing a vendor that integrates with your existing back-end systems. Most businesses use a combination of productivity, project management, collaboration, and CRM software to manage their operations (e.g., Microsoft 365).  Choosing a contract management software that integrates with your existing systems is critical to avoid manual data entry and reduce errors.  This integration will also streamline your workflow and ensure all data is synced across different systems. 

3. Identify the problem you are trying to solve 

James Kearney, director of Qualitas Consulting Group, who partners with legal departments on their CLM strategy, succinctly summarizes his advice when organizations begin their contracting journey. “The vast majority of our clients understand that having a CLM solution is a key piece of infrastructure that enables commercial processes. However, getting the project started, identifying priorities, strategizing around deployment, designing the end-to-end workflow, and understanding the effort needed to complete and maintain a CLM program often paralyzes our clients from the beginning. Taking the initial steps to organize and plan for the change the enterprise is about to experience is critical to the success of any CLM implementation.”

Once the foundation is set, clients can evaluate their needs confidently and accurately.  For example, if flexibility in accessing your contracts from anywhere at any time is important, then cloud-based contract management software would be a must-have feature offering flexibility, scalability, and affordability.  Additional contract management features that solve many of the pain points above include AI, workflow automation, ease of use, reporting dashboards, alerts, obligation tracking, electronic signature integration, a secure repository, and more. Prioritizing your top pain points will help you narrow down the features and your vendor list.

4. Take into account your company size

The size of your company and that of the software vendor is a key factor when choosing a contract management software vendor. Some vendors specialize in serving small to mid-size businesses, while others cater to larger enterprises. Additional considerations may also be private vs. public companies and outside investment. Choosing a vendor that can scale with your business and offers features that meet your current and future needs is crucial.  

5. Investigate contract management industry expertise and reviews

Before choosing a vendor, it is important to research their industry expertise. Check a vendor's blog, webinar offerings, and social media profiles to see what content they publish and whether it aligns with your business needs.  In addition, you can look for customer reviews and testimonials to see how other businesses have benefited from their software.  There are many online resources, such as the Gartner magic quadrant, Capterra, and many others.  These can be a good place to start to understand the landscape.  However, remember that many of these sites are "pay to play" to be featured and do not always offer a complete inventory of potential vendors.  

6. Work with a CLM consultant

Some specialized consultants advise companies on the contract lifecycle management (CLM) strategic landscape, act as an extension to your legal team, and recommend the best contract management software vendors to support your business.  For example, Qualitas Consulting Group,  is a contract lifecycle management consulting group that provides various services such as Vendor selection advice, implementation management, data migration management, training materials, and workshops.  In addition, there are consultants, specifically for the legal industry, such as Epiq, and European-based consultants, such as Arc Contract Management. These consultants can be a great resource for corporations that are limited on in-house resources. 

7. Attend contract management events and hear what vendors have to say

Attending contract management events, virtual webinar events, and in-person conferences, is another way to learn about software vendors and their products. These events offer an opportunity to hear directly from the vendors and ask questions about their software.  Some events include WorldCC events and webinars, ContractsCon, and Cloc.

8. Request a demo and get to know their team

Once you have shortlisted a few vendors, it is a good idea to request a demo of their software. A high-level demo lets you see how their software works and whether it meets your requirements. You can also use this opportunity to build a personal relationship with the vendor and ensure they understand your business needs.

Contracts 365 –the Leading Contract Management Software for Microsoft Customers

Finding the best contract management software that fits the needs of your business can be daunting.  We hope that these steps help simplify and guide the process.  We also hope that you consider Contracts 365.   Contracts 365 is the leading contract management software for businesses that use Microsoft 365 with usability, functionality, and security at the forefront of development. Contracts 365 addresses all aspects of the contract lifecycle through a modern, intuitive interface specific to your users.  Please don’t hesitate to contact us or request a demo.