This Missing Piece in Your Sales Tech Stack Can Cut Your Deal Cycle by 24%


As salespeople, we’re all probably aware of tools like Salesforce, Hubspot, Outreach, and Zoominfo. But what most sales teams don’t know is that their sales tech stack is still missing a critical piece — a tool that can accelerate the last leg of their deal cycles and cut it down by 24%.

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) software.

What? I hear you asking yourself. That sounds more in legal’s wheelhouse. Right…?


Aside from legal, Sales is one of the primary departments involved in contracts. And CLM software helps sales teams streamline their contracting process, improve sales-legal collaboration, and free up time for sales reps to focus on revenue-generating activities.

In this article, we’ll dive into five ways CLM software accelerates deal cycles and why it should form a critical piece in your sales tech stack. Plus, we’ll hear from 3 sales leaders who introduced this tool into their sales contracting process and drastically reduced their deal cycles.

What CLM software Is and Why It’s Critical

Studies have shown that the contract process (where a deal goes from initial handshake to signature on the dotted line) is the longest part of the sales cycle. And for teams that rely on manual tools, this process can take weeks or even months.

Time kills deals. Every extra moment spent searching for the latest contract version, waiting on legal approval, or going back and forth between multiple departments increases the risk of a deal falling through.

CLM software automates the contracting process end-to-end in a collaborative, digital environment. From contract generation to negotiation, execution, and beyond, it takes the heavy lifting of manual contracting out of the rep’s hands.

According to Aberdeen, sales organizations with a streamlined contract process boast 24% faster deal cycles. Plus, a streamlined contract process frees up time for sales reps to do more prospecting and selling, instead of wasting valuable time being bogged down by administrative contract tasks. This way, sales teams have a greater chance of hitting quarterly and annual revenue goals.

How CLM Software Accelerates Deal Cycles

There are five major ways CLM software accelerates your deal cycles. We touched on them a little above, but let’s dig into each a little more to see how it works in your day-to-day workflow.

Accelerate contract generation for new opportunities

When a deal moves into the contract stage, sales reps typically ask legal to draft a contract. However, delays can occur at this point for a variety of reasons — maybe legal doesn’t get the complete information they need, or maybe there are competing priorities. This slows the sales process down and increases the risk of reps bypassing legal to get their deals done faster.

CLM software provides contract templates and clause repositories to empower sales teams to generate self-serve, legal-approved contracts in seconds.

This eliminates legal bottlenecks, places control back in the hands of Sales, and reduces contract creation time from weeks to minutes.

Additionally, the best CLM software enables users to auto-generate hundreds of contracts in one-go. This is a huge time-saver for sales teams that need to send out customized contracts in high volume without manually editing and sending them out one by one.

Sergey Mann, Sales Strategy Manager at Beyond Pricing, had this to say:

“Our sales reps love the solution because they can easily create accurate contracts without taking a ton of time. Now, our contract creation and internal approval times have accelerated ten-fold. Our ops and exec teams have complete visibility over contract terms, and our reporting abilities are enhanced.”

Related: How global communications provider Intrado grew millions in annual revenue by automating contract generation

Expedite internal approvals and optimize organizational collaboration

Gathering internal approval is always a headache for sales reps, especially when multiple approvals (from legal counsel, VP of Sales, Finance Head, CEO, etc.) are needed before a contract can be sent out.

According to Forrester and Aberdeen, it takes an average of 3.4 weeks to get a contract approved, but using CLM software reduces that time by an average of 82%.

CLM software enables sales reps to set granular permissions and run automated approval workflows directly in-app. Notifications and email reminders keep the review task in front of approvers, and it keeps deals moving forward.

By having all departments collaborate in one digital environment, conversations are centralized, teams stay aligned, and deals get closed faster while maintaining proper oversight.

Streamline contract negotiation and issue resolution

The negotiation stage is typically where deals get messy. You’re likely no stranger to the vicious back-and-forths between customers and Legal.

According to the 2019 State of Contract Management report by DocuSign, 33% of respondents said a typical contract takes 30+ hours to negotiate, and 52% said it goes through three to four versions, on average, before being finalized. This forces sales reps to dedicate significant time to stay on top of the negotiation process, which further drags out the deal cycle.

CLM software alleviates this by implementing online redlining, threaded commenting, real-time status tracking, and cloud-based version histories in a single environment.

Email notifications alert relevant stakeholders, prompting quicker issue resolution. This minimizes the back and forth of emails, comparing between multiple document versions and hunting down who made what changes, reducing deal cycle times.

Edmond Cassidy, Global Solution Sales Manager at Intrado, had this to say:

“By shifting our sales contracting to a CLM software, we’re able to negotiate and change contracts on the spot while talking with a customer. They’re able to see the changes in real-time and execute without even needing to go back through our legacy workflows that used to add days, weeks, or months to our sales cycle. We now bypass multiple internal approval flows that used to take days. This has allowed us to win more deals and reduce our sales cycle dramatically.”

Automatically track deal progress with real-time audit trails and alerts

It can be a huge headache for sales reps to track and follow up on each deal’s progress throughout its lifecycle. This not only slows down sales cycles, but it takes away valuable time sales reps can use to work on new deals.

CLM software automatically tracks all deal interactions and changes in a cloud-based audit trail. All contract updates send email alerts to relevant stakeholders, and everyone can see exactly where any deal stands and what steps are still required.

Automate contract workflows even further with CRM integration

Sales teams can set up automated workflows to further accelerate their contracting process and shorten their deal cycle.

For example, rather than waste time creating a contract from scratch with info that’s already present in your CRM, integrate the two tools together to automate contract creation when an opportunity moves into the contract stage.

In addition, most CLM platforms allow bi-directional sync with your CRM, keeping data hygiene and consistency within the organization to an all-time high (music to sales ops’ ears).

CLM software is imperative for modern sales teams

Sales contracting contributes to a significant 18% of the enterprise sales cycle, and poor management of this process can make or break whether a company hits their quarterly and annual goals.

Because of this, the ability to increase revenue by minimizing delays in contract settlement is imperative for any modern sales team.

According to Sean Green, SVP and Head of Direct Sales at Intrado:

“After implementing CLM software, we’ve saved everybody so much time from the back and forth and the waiting. End-to-end — from generating the contracts to having clients sign — it has been 80% faster to close deals.”

As companies focus on their digital transformation efforts in our new remote reality, it’s the perfect time to re-evaluate sales-contracting processes and technology. Sales teams that settle for the contractual status quo (e.g. Microsoft Word and HelloSign) are quickly going to become more and more outdated.

Stay ahead of the curve and introduce this valuable tool to your sales tech stack today.

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