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The Real Impact of Bad Contracting on Sales


Kevin Brening

September 21, 2020

A long, hard-fought sales cycle is either won or lost by its competing vendors. Did you know that the average technology evaluation leading to a purchase decision, even in mid-sized organizations, can take between 6 and 9 months?

Sales is a Zero Sum Game

On average most technology evaluations include around 8 vendors. Vendors battle it out through RFPs, meetings, demos, sandboxes, and security reviews, hoping to make the next cut where they have a shot to be ultimately selected. It could be argued that like professional sports, technology sales is one of the last meritocracies. One vendor is selected and thrilled their hard work paid off, but the rest are left disappointed and have to settle for the consolation prize. But wait…there is no consolation prize.

When #1 Becomes #2

Often the difference between being #1 and #2 is minimal and that runner-up vendor is there as the back-up selection in case something goes south in the negotiation and contracting process with #1. You can bet that the #2 vendor is calling constantly, even utilizing its executive team, to reach out to see if anything can be done to change their minds.

Believe it or not, I have seen #1 and #2 swap many times. One of the primary causes for this is the difficulty, delay, and all-around frustration experienced constructing an executable agreement. After “winning” the vendor selection, the sales rep must now perfectly input products, pricing, discounts, and special terms into the system to ultimately produce an executable contract for review. Unfortunately, even after this step, the sales rep’s job has just begun in some cases.

Navigating internal inconsistencies and outdated workflows to generate a contract may be harder than you think. It may include going through an approval process with no clear visibility and no connection to current business objectives. The process can drag on for days and weeks. Buyers often get frustrated with inconsistencies in legal negotiation and redlining, becoming agitated at the delays from yet another newly triggered approval process.

You may ask why doesn’t the sales operations or legal team change the workflows to make it more sensible? The answer is they can’t. They’re stuck too! That old, first-generation CLM everyone has been living with for too long is completely locked down. Making changes to workflows that align to their evolving business is not easily accomplished. Unfortunately, this is by design. They are held hostage, and the ransom is paying the old, outdated vendor for a service engagement on a product they don’t even like.

So many companies will just live with it and what should take hours, ends up taking weeks. Can you feel your “almost” new customer getting frustrated? This is how you, as the #1 vendor, risk becoming #2. As a sales leader for many years, I have seen my past teams be on the wrong side of this reality, experiencing firsthand what can happen at the hands of outdated or poor contracting technology.

There's Good News, Right?

The good news is there’s a better way! A modern CLM not only speeds up the contracting to booked revenue, it also significantly mitigates risk exposure by keeping control of ever-changing workflows as a company grows. Malbek is one such modern CLM. Our customers are always in control of their own destiny with a highly configurable design that does not require a professional services engagement or an advanced degree in computer science. We believe a modern CLM should be highly configurable with a consumer-grade user experience to keep control in the hands of the end users, resulting in low overall total cost of ownership.

To see for yourself and get some ideas on how a modern CLM can positively impact your contracting, lessen risk, and speed the time to revenue, we invite you to click here to Request a Demo.

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