High-growth fintech businesses have a lot of plates to spin in the early stages – from building and improving the product or service, to establishing company values, to hiring A-players into the team. And sales is at the forefront of all these priorities; if reps can’t close deals, then the company won’t grow, and nothing else really matters.
Enabling sales is key for the business’ success. And with that in mind, it’s essential that fintechs make sure their sales process is future-proofed and ready to scale.
How can legal support the sales team?
Legal’s responsibility is to minimize and mitigate risk. Sales is laser-focused on closing deals to grow revenue as quickly as possible. Though legal and sales’ objectives might seem to conflict, legal can enable sales to succeed in their roles by optimising the contract process reps go through in order to secure new customers.
In fact, the obvious place for legal to add value is with contracts. All businesses rely on contracts – from order forms and MSAs through to employment contracts, partnership agreements and non-disclosure agreements – they keep pretty much every area of the business running.
Future-proofing the contract process can have a positive impact on your business as it continues to scale, by:
- Helping get to ‘yes’ faster: This is the ultimate goal for sales teams, and the faster reps can get through the sales cycle and get signatures on dotted lines, the faster the business can grow
- Offloading low-value work from legal: Lawyers represent an expensive resource that doesn’t scale proportionately with commercial headcount. By making sure that the contract process is scalable and self-serve, legal can empower the sales team to help themselves, letting lawyers focus on the high-value work they were hired to do, rather than boilerplate paperwork
- Reducing risk: A robust contract process can reduce risk and protect the business from painful mistakes. For example, contract templates mean that sales reps don’t (and indeed can’t) freestyle terms in the document. A single source of truth for storing and managing contracts means that due diligence is less of a time-drain, and teams can locate and access key information in just a few clicks.
We’ve covered the ‘why – now it’s time to focus on the ‘how’. Below are a few steps fintechs can take to make the sales contract process scalable and effective.
- Digitize it.
Far too many workflows still involve printers and scanners, wet signatures, back-and-forth email chains, and a lack of version control, which doesn’t really fly in an innovative company in 2021. As the business scales, manual processes involving multiple tools will fall apart – I’ve seen it too many times. Legal needs to get ahead of the problem by looking at ways to digitize contracts end-to-end. It’s an effective way to make sure sales teams can meet their targets at the end of the quarter – a manual process just won’t cut it.
- Enable self-serve.
The friction between legal and sales teams persists and grows when lawyers are required for each stage of the contract lifecycle – legal would rather focus on high-value legal work. And sales would prefer to handle the contract work themselves, without needing legal input. The best way for legal to enable sales is by empowering sales reps to self-serve from contract templates. Creating a database of templates, and allowing sales to use a template and fill in key information themselves, saves legal time having to manually input information, and allows sales to work faster.
- Simplify negotiations.
Contract negotiations are inevitable – and involve legal and sales teams at the negotiation stage to get a deal over the line. The typical manual process for doing this involves sending Word documents back and forth, hoping the other party has tracked changes as they send their edits back, and unintentionally creating information silos. With a contract automation platform, the business can negotiate externally with the client, and internally between teams, without losing precious time. Teams can even use contract playbooks to create automatic variations on common templates, depending on pushback in the deal – making negotiation self-serve too.
- Gather and learn from data.
Legal and sales need to be aligned on contract data – so make sure that your contracts platform offers analytics and valuable insights on the data in each document. This will enable legal and sales to answer questions like: which contracts take the longest to sign? Which stage is acting as a bottleneck, and slowing the cycle down? Which clauses are negotiated the most often, and can be simplified to avoid this interaction? Being able to answer these questions means that legal and sales can work on streamlining the workflow.
Contracts are important in every business, representing a key touchpoint between the company and a new customer. By simplifying and streamlining the lifecycle, legal can make sure sales close deals faster and are able to work collaboratively together as the business continues to scale.
Richard Mabey is the CEO and co-founder of Juro, the all-in-one contract automation platform.