This post was originally published by Onit.
Legal operations already has a strong foothold as Sales’ hidden advantage. But there is even more the department can do to shorten sales cycles, close deals faster, and positively influence revenue generation and material growth. Here’s how.
Collaboration — the collision of diverse talents and instilled trust that inspires shared-goal achievement as a team — can elevate innovation and lead to immense success. When the legal department and sales teams are on the same, the outcome is more deals secured and quickly won.
Chapter two of the Enterprise Legal Reputation (ELR) Report, a multinational study spotlighting how legal professionals perceive their interactions with internal clients, reveals Legal has a remarkable foundation for supporting the sales team and the overall revenue acquisition process. Nearly three in four (74%) legal respondents believe they share positive collaborations with their sales team, and seven in 10 (68%) are confident they help effectively close deals; in Germany, those jump to an impressive 82% and 84%, respectively.
These are substantive figures when validating Legal as a meaningful contributor to leading topline revenue and business growth. But is being effective the same as being efficient?
WHY THE NEED FOR SPEED
Accelerating deal cycles carries a multitude of wins: uncovering best-in-class sales processes, enabling faster evaluation of new sales candidates’ performances, and hastening roadmap feedback for ongoing product improvement.
Sales velocity speaks most to establishing momentum for financial forecasting, better bookings, and a greater impact on materiality and revenue expansion across the enterprise. And to excel in today’s ever-evolving, increasingly competitive landscape, it is essential that a business moves quickly.
A look back at ELR chapter one shows that almost half (48%) of enterprise employees acknowledge Legal plays a part in accelerating deal cycles. To further drive that urgency, here are three ways Legal can work with and support Sales to speed up sales cycles:
1. Revving up the time to sign “on the dotted line”
Contracts are at the nucleus of any business. In fact, according to the ELR report, reviewing and signing contracts is the number-one interaction internal clients have with Legal. But the process of contracting can frequently create a division between legal and sales teams: 44% of global respondents – and 75% in Germany — say deal closures and revenue generation is the top area impacted by inefficient contract lifecycle management.
Sales wants to close deals ASAP to meet targets and generate revenue, while it is Legal’s inherent responsibility to carefully ensure every line in a contact is accurate. Determining exactly when and how Legal will join the “mission” and optimizing consistent workflows for both standardized and personalized contracts can cut back on bottlenecks while also improving Legal control, visibility, and markedly shortening the time necessary for contract drafting and delivery.
2. Encouraging clear, lightning-fast communication
Although enterprise employees fully believe that Legal is a rockstar when it comes to the power of negotiation, that skill can lengthen sales cycles. Still, more than half of legal professionals feel they positively impact sales negotiations (58%), a sentiment that is similarly echoed by enterprise employees (56%).
Legal can up those numbers and closing times by conducting pipeline reviews with the sales team at regular intervals. Introducing a contract playbook with straightforward language outlining contracting terms, non-negotiable matters, and potential workarounds can also take the guesswork out of the process and lessen the need for Legal to get deeply detailed with every deal, significantly decreasing the length of the overall sales cycle.
3. Making tracks to drive CLM integration
By now it’s been thoroughly established: There can be no revenue recognition until contracts are signed. And the more time it takes for contracts to be reviewed and approved, the more time it takes to close a deal.
Two in five legal respondents (40%) say they spend four to five hours reviewing and managing contracts. And one in 10 (10%) in France spends more than eight hours daily reviewing and managing contracts!
However, automated contract lifecycle management (CLM) software has the ability to speed up every contracting phase end-to-end, from capture to document creation through redlining, e-signature, and execution. This can not only reduce Legal’s workload, giving the department back more time to focus on other matters, but pilot faster decision-making through review cycles, renewals, and negotiation; cut back on manual errors and overall risk; and shorten the average sales cycle by as much as 24%.
A SUREFIRE ACCELERANT
What it ultimately comes down to is one simple truth: The fastest key to unlocking the “secret” of shorter sales cycles is collaboration.
When legal and sales teams view each other as partners and utilize effective and efficient contract management processes and tools, the time between initial lead and closing handshake will drop and sales velocity — and both your business’ top and bottom-lines — will have the opportunity to grow.
Read the ELR Report to learn more about how legal professionals view their relationships with internal clients in comparison to the image enterprise employees have of their legal departments.
*The ELR Report is a third-party, multinational study of 4,000 enterprise employees and 500 corporate legal professionals across the United States, United Kingdom, France, and Germany intended to showcase relationship dynamics and perceived image between corporate legal teams and enterprise organizations.