Best Contract Management Software 2021
Contract management is a critical component of your business strategy and relationships but maintaining and tracking contracts can be time-consuming and labor-intensive. The right contract management tool can help. This review will explain what contract management software is, how it functions, and the advantages it can offer your business. We will also show you the best contract management solutions available to your business in 2021.
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What is Contract Management Software?
Contracts are critical to every part of a business and involve most teams from human resources to procurement to sales. Traditional methods of managing contracts via paper and filing are often inefficient and error prone. Contract management software, also known as contract lifecycle management (CLM) software, digitizes, automates and streamlines the entire contract management process. It encompasses a wide range of software functions that can create, organize, assess and manage the entire contracting process, including securing electronic signatures.
How Does Contract Management Software Work?
Businesses use contract management systems to build contracts and provide a platform for collaboration and editing to improve accessibility, workflow, and accuracy. To ensure this, contract management software will include automatic notifications and reminders for critical dates and tasks to facilitate approval processes and contract renewals. Document assembly features can help you enforce compliance and reduce errors and risks associated with insecure storage and distribution. To do this, the best contract management software provides centralized control, analytics, and checkpoints for contracts, as well as encryption of documents, safe storage, and robust search capabilities.
What are the Advantages of Using Contract Management Software?
There are many options available to you for managing your contracts. What you need is mainly dependent on your business processes and the types of contracts you create. But there are a few features you will want to focus on. Look for software that offers a secure and centralized contract repository and tracking, including version, compliance and audit trails. Contract management software should simplify the contract process for you. That means facilitating an intelligent contract workflow with the integrations your company needs, as well as automated reminders and an electronic signature process that is easy to use for both you and your vendors and customers. The best contract lifecycle management technology will provide end-to-end lifecycle management, but in an easy-to-use format that makes it simple for your people to adopt and other stakeholders to participate.
To help you choose the right contract management software, we’ve analyzed five popular tools based on ease of use, support provided, process automation, and ability to scale. Here is what we found:
Top 5 Rated Contract Management Products
Best for companies who want to automate their entire contract process
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, Agiloft supplies pre-built and customized modules via its contract lifecycle management program. It can be implemented as a cloud-based Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solution or as an on-premises platform to help your company manage procurement and sales operations and automate legal and compliance processes.
In addition to Agiloft’s wide-ranging applications, users continue to be impressed with its equally wide array of features.
Ease of Use
Agiloft boasts an intuitive interface design with detailed help resources and plenty of wizards to help you with setup. It is both adaptable to specific needs and flexible in terms of implementation.
For those who want something less generic or geared explicitly to their business, Agiloft offers a highly customizable interface. Their no-code approach to customization means you can avoid the extra time and expense of hiring coders to make the changes you need.
Multiple Extra Features
From drag and drop configurations to email incorporation and multilanguage support, Agiloft has an impressive array of features – more than any of its competitors. And they continue to add more, including the recently added Wiki Power search capabilities, expanded AI toolkit, and workflow integrations with Microsoft Office, Adobe Sign, and DocuSign.
Best for companies looking for sales side support
Most people are familiar with DocuSign through their realtors or accountants. However, the company has facilitated contract signatures for over 100 million users in industries across the world and has, within the last two years, doubled its CLM customer count to over 1200. DocuSign excels in sales side support due to its integrations with Salesforce, Microsoft, Oracle, and others.
DocuSign’s other standout features include:
DocuSign is the accepted leader in e-signatures. The software helps individuals and organizations eliminate paper, digitize agreements, manage signatures and reduce costs. Recipients can quickly sign contracts without having to register or download the software.
DocuSign is now leveraging its established position as a leader in e-signatures and recent acquisitions to make a bold move into the CLM market.
A recent player in contract analytics, DocuSign dramatically upped its game with its 2020 purchase of Seal Analytics. DocuSign now offers
an enhanced ability through its Insight software to extract and analyze contract data and provide contract review and visibility. Contract risk assessment controls will ensure your contracts serve you well and allow you to manage risk.
DocuSign’s ease of use extends to the platforms it has adopted. It is available as a cloud, SaaS, or web service and both Mac and PC desktops. It makes contract management easy for its users through its Android and iPhone apps. Sales, legal and other departments can quickly deal with contracts on the fly, ensuring complete contract automation.
Best for companies who need an audit trail for their contracts and those with high growth potential.
Concord contract management software can take your contracts through from negotiation to secure signing. It allows you to track contracts throughout the process and receive reminders and alerts for renewals, signatures, and other important events. Finally, the software offers robust storage and search capabilities and solid support, including weekly live webinars.
In addition to these options, Concord also offers several features frequently touted by its users.
Full Audit Trail
Audit trails are critical for legal teams but also increasingly in sales, procurement, and HR. Concord automatically tracks your versions, comments, edits, and actions to ensure your business and those you contracted with remain compliant.
Whether you need one person to sign or twenty, Concord has you covered. Signatories outside the company are provided with a link for signatures and do not have to download any additional software. And because the software offers mobile capability, they can do it anywhere and at any time.
Concord ensures advanced security for your documents in several critical areas, from their servers to document encryption. Additionally, the company retains the services of a third-party security firm to do regular audits of Concord’s security practices.
Concord’s pricing structure starts at $17 for a basic plan. They also offer a pro version with integrations and enterprise plans that feature custom branding and SSO. There is a free 14-day trial and a basic free version that you can use for an unlimited period.
Best for companies looking for CLM support for sales contracts.
Conga approaches contract management with an eye to both efficiency and risk reduction. With Conga contract management software, you can quickly create long or complex contracts and automate time-consuming tasks, including authoring, negotiation, approvals, and reporting while ensuring compliance.
Sell-side Contract Support
Conga’s Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform applies artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to optimize contract lifecycles and provide easy intelligent transfer of bulk documents and contracts. This provides 360-degree visibility of the entire contract cycle, including negotiations, emails, and documents. The software also integrates easily with Salesforce, another plus for sell-side contracts.
A Suite of Related Products
In addition to contract management, Conga offers related products that expand on its CLM. These include its e-signature and CPQ product and Conga Composer for customer communications and another new product to enhance contract creation. Customer companies can buy these products a la carte, meaning they can start small and add products as they need them, significantly reducing costs for small businesses.
Following its merger with Apttus, Conga implemented a comprehensive customer support model renovation. The cornerstone of the new model is its Customer Success Manager program which, along with top-level executives, actively monitors and reviews customer satisfaction metrics.
Best for contract content creation
Ironclad was initially built by lawyers, for lawyers which is why it is one of the best platforms for building solid contracts. While its strengths are primarily those most critical to legal teams, it has expanded its reach using the tagline “created by lawyers for everyone”. It can help your company with contract management, execution, and optimization.
The stand-out features that Ironclad’s users appreciate the most include:
Contract templates give you a great starting point. However, the ability to make edits in real-time, tag stakeholders for feedback and comments and update information (such as changes in addresses) automatically across the platform and contracts sets Ironclad apart.
Intuitive Contract Management
From integrated notifications and reminders to an interface that makes collaboration a breeze, Ironclad helps you save time, reduce costs and efficiently manage the entire contract process.
Powerful API Integrations
In addition to its built-in features, Ironclad includes some enviable API integrations, including Salesforce, Google Drive, Dropbox, and eSignature providers, including PandaDoc.
Ironclad does not reveal its pricing structure. There is no free version or free trial, although they do offer a free demo.
Our Rating Process
Contract management software is a crowded field. To ensure you get the right contract management platform for your company, you will want to consider the following criteria which we scored on a five-point system:
Software implementation can be a headache for your entire company and can quickly bog down your processes and productivity before it helps speed them up. Does the company offer support? How fast can you get the answers you need? The best way to avoid a slowdown is through dedicated customer support. This should include both an easily accessible knowledge base as well as ongoing webinars and other events. However, live support should also be a factor in your decision, as there may be times when you just can’t wait for an answer, or you need a live human to step in to solve a problem.
Frequently Asked Questions
A Contract Lifecycle Management (CLM) platform is used interchangeably with Contract Management software. It is software, online, in the cloud, on desktops or mobile devices, that manages the entire lifecycle of your contracts from creation to deployment. The best CLM platforms also include tools and templates for contract creation and collaboration alongside automations for advising or reminding partners and stakeholders about when to sign or renew. There are also likely to be secure storage and robust search capabilities built into the software to allow you to find archived contracts or revive contracts undergoing a delay quickly.
While the best contract management software for your business depends on the type of business you do and your specific contract needs, DocuSign offers the most benefit for small businesses. It is cost-effective and easily deployed. You won’t have to provide tech support to your suppliers, clients or customers who can easily access and sign your contracts with a quick click of a button on their desktops or mobile devices.
Contract management software can cost $5 to more than $1500 per month, depending on the provider and the set of features you need. Most, however, will cost less than $100 per month for a robust set of extras, including e-signature capabilities and risk mitigation features. There are also many free versions available that will allow you to try out specific features for as long as you want or enable you to try out the complete set of features for a limited amount of time, generally around thirty days.
E-signatures are a secure way to access and sign contracts. Typically done through an emailed link, they ensure both security and regulatory compliance. E-Signatures allow companies to expedite contract negotiations and completion while reducing paper and other costs.