IACCM Contract Management Forum

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Inaccord AG
2017-03-19 16:18:34

Under-resourced Contracts Team - What are your main challenges?

For many years I have worked with small enterprises that have a lean contracts and legal team, mostly driven by financial constraints. The workload peaks after a major industry trade fair, when the sales team pursues a fresh crop of opportunities and the team receives everything from NDAs to supply and reseller agreements to review and negotiate. It can be difficult to get a true view of priorities, as every requestor wants his/her request to be completed as soon as possible in order to meet scheduled meetings, offer submissions, etc. Every time this happens, discussion in the team turns to how we can deal with peakiness better next time, but we never seem to find a satisfactory solution. This seems to be our number one challenge, as in most other situations our small footprint and lightweight processes allow us to be very responsive to the needs of our internal customers.

I'm wondering what others working in small teams find to be your main challenges, and how do you deal with them?
 •  IACCM  •   2017-03-19 20:23:07
Hi Ingrid! This is certainly an interesting topic we could be handling and covering in our Community of Interest (Small businesses and start ups) where situations and scenarios like the one you described take place very often. In our IACCM library we have been reading articles about challenges of small / under-resourced contracting organisations or teams, such as this: www.iaccm.com/resources/;
Apart from listening to other views in this forum, I´d definitely recommend to include this subject in our future CoI call with you and Robert Bradshaw. Thank you!
Pablo Cilotta
 •  IACCM  •   2017-03-21 09:17:33
Ingrid, the problem you mention isn't limited to small business. Many large corporations suffer from a similar quarter-end 'banana curve'.

One approach is of course to review the demands from the perspective of groups or patterns. For example, how much is unique and how much is repetitive? Look at each of the repetitive issues and consider whether you could handle it differently - perhaps preparing materials in advance or empowering Sales with some standard materials they can use, or educating them (in one of the quiet periods).

Picking up on Pablo's point, I know some members who have tackled this problem and perhaps we can get them to do a webinar that discusses their solutions.
 •  Inaccord AG  •   2017-03-21 21:06:50
Sorry, Pablo, I tried twice to post in the SMB group, but can't explain why my post ended up here.

Tim, I agree with your suggestion to identify patterns in the work and come up with approaches that use templates and adapting processes to offload the contracts team. While a large organisation may share some of the challenges of an SMB, it will have advantages, such as the ability to enforce its standard terms, established processes which can be built upon, and possibly funding to bring in short-term resources to handle peaks. I would like to start a discussion about these challenges and how different companies deal with them. A webinar sounds like a great place to start. Thank you.
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