The endless war between legal and sales departments is a frequent problem that arises in every company. Just because these two departments have different functions, it doesn’t mean that they cannot work in tandem. In fact, when sales and legal departments work together, the company see an instant improvement in their performance.
Aligning the internal departments in the organization is a crucial step in achieving harmony in processes. Especially, the sales and the legal teams must be coordinated to avoid frictions that can potentially harm the reputation of the organization. The major objectives of a legal department in a company are to maintain legal soundness in every activity and manage risks. While the sales departments focus on accruing viable leads and making sales that generate income, the legal department focuses on protecting the interests of the organization.
The friction between the two often comes from these factors:
- Economic – decisions on pricing, budget and product
- Cultural – while the legal department is highly analytical and aims to protect the company, sales teams are focused on closing more sales and retaining good customer relationships.
Having these problems in mind, the next step is to outline the best practices that would enhance the collaboration between sales and legal departments. So, how can legal department become best friends with sales?
1. Education – legal should do a better job at educating sales reps and leadership about the nature of risk and potential liability the company faces everyday. Once both departments clearly understand each other’s functions in contract management pipeline, the whole process becomes more structured and easier to handle.
2. Risk tier based document classification. Establish a clear classification separating the documents that have higher value impact from the documents that are less important. For example, a contract of a high value should be pre-approved by the legal department before signing it off.
3. Rule-based document generation – in order to ensure the smooth collaboration on a document, a company must implement the rules for document creation and edits. Specifying document context, setting up regulations and requirements for a document will facilitate the communication between legal and sales departments.
4. Implement a clause library. Contract clauses are provisions provided in a written contract. They address specific topics such as payment, warranties, merger, etc. A central, pre-defined and approved contract clause library makes contract creation and management much easier. Legal clauses and conditions can be easily inserted into contracts which is especially helpful for non-contract specialists (e.g. salespeople) to draft a version of a contract using pre-defined clauses.
5. Separate the sell-side and buy-side contracting duties. When it comes to contract management software for sales, sales are typically viewed as “Sell-side” while operations are called “Buy-side” of the contract management. It is a challenge for a company to manage these two disciplines and separate the duties between the two. Docucollab helps to manage both sales-side and buy-side on a single platform, accelerates contracting velocity and ensures effective management of risk and compliance across the processes.
6. Create standardized review process. An effective reporting system, tied to each document type and templates, makes it easier to review documents and accelerate decision-making process. In addition, it ensures that right legal resources are allocated to tasks based on their criticality.
7. Lock critical sections of documents. With the help of document management software, you can lock certain sections of the legal documents and leave business-related terms editable. The capability of locking certain discrete sections of a document allows collaboration and editing a contract for multiple authors. This means that sales and legal departments can work simultaneously on different sections of a document without any conflict.
8. Don’t use email for exchanging documents. Tracking and managing all the information departments are exchanging every day is almost impossible. With DocuCollab, the information is centrally located and is easily accessible – both sales and legal will be able to quickly communicate and work on a single project or view the full contract lifecycle.
9. Real-time collaboration. Last but not least, automate document storage, management, version control and exchange by switching to a smarter real-time collaboration that saves you tons of time. For example, DocuCollab has an integrated live chat function that allows you to comment and instantly receive feedback (as showed in the video below).
Setting guidelines outlining the objectives of a legal department in a company is the first step to improving the relationship with the sales department. When one department knows clearly what the other is responsible for, it suddenly eliminates friction and drives the energy towards better work performance which is crucial when working and collaborating on a common project. DocuCollab could be a good solution for your company to tackle collaboration problems between sales and legal departments. Get in touch with our sales team and we’ll be happy to help you get the most out of our document management system for your company.