Studies estimate that the vast majority – 70% – of friction points occur before your contract is signed (Deloitte article)… assuming it is ever signed!

Why does this matter? It means a company is losing money, losing customers, and burdened with unnecessary admin during the contracting process. Streamlining contracting can also help a company to scale faster and be more agile.

What do we need for frictionless contracting?

The basic tools for frictionless contracting are:

  • electronic (or digital) contracts: coherent simplified suites of contracts – what Deloitte calls contract optimisation
  • clear digital processes such as automated contract creation to reduce cycle times and improve deal velocity
  • contract management covering automated worksflows, both before and after e-signature.

Simplified content

There is little point digitising our existing standard contracts. They are too complex, one-sided and not focused on serving the business needs of the parties. Before we create coherent suites or clause libraries, we need to simplify those contracts and clauses. We need to re-balance their content towards fairness and collaboration.

One tool for re-balancing contracts is World Commerce and Contracting’s Contracting Principles intended to help create frictionless contracting.

Clear processes and contract management

Frictionless contracting will get us over the hurdles experienced during the Covid years… paper-based contracts requiring wet-signatures being couriered to the home addresses of officers, who needed to find an independent adult witness when they were in lockdown.<sighs>

Lawyers in many countries were in disarray! Not so in Estonia. Estonia has a digital society with seamless digital processes including authorised digital signatures.

The benefits of simple processes, and contract lifecycle management are well-understood for any size of business. Just be careful to get platform-neutral advice so you can understand the process before your processes are over-engineered by an over-enthusiastic sales person.

Once you have decided to create simple digital contract processes, you also need to seamlessly blend them with your sales process (or customer acquisition). At the least, you need to consider how to provide early notice of your simple & clear terms; an easy method to get the contract reviewed, adapted and signed; and accessible storage of signed contracts for you and your clients & suppliers.

What should you do?

Consider how you can simplify, optimise and digitise your contracting to move towards a more seamless and smooth approach to doing business.

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