2023 looks likely to be a turbulent year, marked by a combination of issues including recession, an increase in global prices and mass layoffs, particularly in the tech sector.
If you’re weighing up whether to invest in a contract and vendor management solution, it’s understandable that this backdrop might prompt some hesitancy, limit the scope of your budget and require your business to have a laser-focus on features that will bring real value.
Assessing suitable solutions, speaking to various providers and comparing different demos to one another can be complex and time-consuming. Variation between platforms will prompt different questions from you to them and from them to you, both with the aim of finding the best-fit solution.
We’ve outlined the information you should arm yourself so you can handle unexpected questions and save time that would otherwise be spent checking back in with key stakeholders.
7 Things You Should Know Before You Go-To-Market
1. Price isn't everything
As businesses face more turbulence in the coming year, there will be a requirement to do more with less. Investing in contract and vendor management software will help your business to optimise its processes, streamline its resources and realise maximum value from its agreements while automating manual activities.
While proving value is important and your business will be keen to protect its bottom line, tread carefully around potential providers who only speak to the monetary aspect of ROI."
If a contract and vendor management software provider can’t demonstrate how they can improve your business’s visibility, control and compliance, your investment will end up costing you more in the long-run. The ability to create lean and compliant processes will be a lever that pulls many businesses through what is set to be a difficult period.
2. Know who to get buy-in from
As global economic growth is predicted to slow in 2023 and purse strings are drawn tighter, you will need to double-down on demonstrating the value of any potential software investment. Find out which team this is a priority for and how CLM and VLM software can help them to provide value to the business by addressing their specific challenges.
Getting buy-in for the contract and vendor management software you want to implement is paramount. Before shortlisting providers you’d like to speak to or solutions you’d like to demo, it’s important to get the right people onboard. This is also likely to be the person that will sign off on the overall budget for the project - and the buck usually stops with your company’s Chief Financial Officer.
When creating a business case to get buy-in, you should also be talking to your CFO about:
- Restoring contract and vendor visibility through a centralised repository
- Improving control through automation, dashboards and built-in risk intelligence
- Maintaining compliance via a complete and auditable history of actions.
3. Allocate a budget or have a rough estimate in mind
Different contract and vendor management software providers may offer you different pricing structures - so it’s important to know how much money you can invest. It may be that your chosen provider offers a price-per-user model, which will quickly exceed your budget if you have multiple stakeholders, large teams or complex sign off processes.
There are other costs you may need to consider in addition to the software itself, including implementation, training hours and additional integrations. Knowing your budget and internal expectations around costs can help you to reach a shortlist of providers more efficiently. It can also help you to prioritise which contract and vendor management features matter most to your business in the coming year.
4. Assess how many contracts and vendors you have
Knowing how many contracts you have and how many vendors you work with isn’t just about pricing up software. Your ability to provide this number is also a solid indicator of contract and vendor visibility across your organisation and how much effort will need to go into digitally-transforming your approach.
The amount of contracts and vendors that you work with may determine the respective costs of different platform providers. Look for a solution that offers storage for unlimited contracts and documents so when markets stabilise and your business can continue to grow, it can do so without costly overheads.
5. Explain how your contract and vendor information is stored
Establishing where your agreements are stored offers a solid foundation for conversations about the future of your contract and vendor management approach. If information is stored in a combination ofExcel spreadsheets, email and shared drives then your business is likely working via fragmented processes and a low level of contract and vendor management maturity - a topic that you should also be prepared to discuss.
If you are unable to provide insights into where everything is stored, your business is likely to have bigger problems to address. This lack of visibility feeds into higher contract and vendor risk, poor performance and non-compliance. Any potential provider you speak to should be able to raise these issues and demonstrate the value of a centralised contract repository.
A responsible solution provider will also be able to demonstrate a mature and straightforward process for migrating your legacy contract documents into it to kickstart the value you’ll receive.
6. Provide an overview of your internal processes
Whether you have complex internal processes that need streamlining or your business is struggling to keep track of its contracts and vendors, it’s time to be transparent. If there is tension between Procurement and Legal, or your Finance team is using different systems to the rest of the business, it’s time to bring it to the table.
By being open and honest about your processes, a provider will be able to demonstrate how their contract and vendor management software can help you to overcome any pitfalls. They will be able to discuss native integrations, add-on modules and dedicated features that can address common issues such as:
- Bottlenecks within the organisation
- Poor collaboration between teams
- A lack of accountability from stakeholders
- No accountability or history of actions taken
- Your current systems not talking to one another
- Slow vendor onboarding
- An inability to track vendor performance and risk.
Remember, a contract and vendor management software provider worth its salt will be able to demonstrate how they have helped other customers to overcome challenges similar to yours. They’ve seen it and heard it all before - so approach the market by being realistic about your current approach to your contracts and vendors."
7. Identify any contract and vendor data points that are important to your business
What’s important to your business will shape your expectations of contract and vendor management software and its role throughout your business. Perhaps you need to speed up time-to-contract, reduce the amount of redlining, mitigate a greater amount of vendor risk or increase collaboration with third-parties.
Without knowing what you track already and where you’re looking to make improvements, it will be difficult to prove ROI and value to the person who is responsible for budget sign-off."
This information gives the provider a better understanding of your business, but will also allow them to create a personalised demo that addresses these key points. Give potential providers as much detail about data points as you can as this will help to set expectations on both sides. A personalised demo that shows how the software can support your business objectives is far more powerful to take back to the board.
By dedicating time to these seven areas, your business will be able to go-to-market for a contract and vendor management system in 2023 with greater confidence. It will save you time throughout your assessment and selection process as you will have already completed the collaborative work with stakeholders across your entire organisation.
By knowing how your business approaches contracts and vendors, and how you’re looking to improve it, you will be able to demonstrate valuable ROI even in tough conditions. If you’re ready for the next step, book a discovery call with one of our experts today.