Summize Talks: Advice for Successfully Implementing a CLM

Watch this video to uncover insights on the importance of CLM investment and gain tips and advice for implementing a CLM solution.
January 3, 2024


Olly Atkin                    

CLM software historically has been seen as a legal tool or a piece of legal tech that sits with the legal budget. We're seeing over the past six, 12 months especially that this is now getting winded business engagement due to the efficiencies, I think that it has around the team.

It's not just focusing on contract reviews or contract management. We're now looking into the ways it can add value from a revenue perspective.

So, rather than a salesperson waiting four or five working days for an NDA, a simple NDA to be created, it can now be done within a minute, all without leaving Teams or Slack.

I think the reason why CLMs are going to be massively impactful to 2023 because it's a time of cost saving and efficiencies and somehow this addresses both of those areas.

Jonny Jessop

Why is it now important? Well, I think if you look at other areas of a business, any corporate, look at sales, look at marketing, you wouldn't be able to imagine a sales team operating without a functioning CRM or sales enablement software nowadays.

Like marketing for example, you wouldn't expect them to be working without a lead gen tool. Legal's really been left behind, even behind the likes of purchasing, procurement.

All they've really had is Microsoft Office or the Google Suite to use for their legal matters.

I think a lot of businesses are starting to see the huge return on investment benefits in CLM software.

As the whole global economic situation gets worse, things get tighter, budgets get more constrained, deals need to close and they need to close faster. Everybody's working to work on a quarterly, annual forecast that needs to happen.

There's a few things you can do there, whether it's a case of speeding up that deal cycle and what you can do throughout the contracting process to speed up, or whether it's just a case of your commercial team being more enabled in their conversations with legal, to work together as better business partners.

But the solution isn't getting more lawyers because nobody has enough budget to be able to afford that amount more staff. So, we're looking towards software in order to make those kind of changes with automation and build efficiencies and thus drive revenue.

Tom Dunlop                

I think there's probably two reasons why it's really important to invest in CLM at the minute.

The first is more just generally for efficiency in the pre-signature process, so procurement. So in the sort of environment we're in, a recession, everyone cares about cash. I think the quicker people can get to cash by negotiating contracts faster, cutting all of the manual process out is absolutely key.

I also think in terms of the post-signature side of it, extracting key information. So understanding, what are the payment terms? Understanding ways that you can terminate contracts, that might also save money in this environment, are massively important.

Considering contracts are pretty much the center of every business, speeding up how they get created and the pre-cinch process and then ultimately understanding what's in those signed contracts is just of paramount importance.

Richard Somerfield      

There's obviously a lot of CLMs in the market. All do very similar things, to be totally frank. Few bits here and a few bits there, but very much very similar.

I think where Summize takes it is we've got all those capabilities from a CLM perspective, but we've taken a much wider view on how that CLM works with the rest of the business, rather than purely the legal team.

I think those are the bits that really resonates when we're talking to people, both customers that we're looking to get and we've already got, is around those pieces where the wider business needs, how legal can help those.

I think that that really helps the legal team with their own functions. It helps optimize those from a pure CLM perspective. But then the wider business also gets the integration into that. I think that's really where Summize stands out in this market.

Jonny Jessop                

We, quite a few years ago didn't... well, quite a few years ago, shortly after the pandemic focus very much on the virtual office because we found that customers were saying great contract for review.

AI being involved to look through a document is really key, but where we're losing a lot of time is being able to talk to sales and the rest of the business adopting a tool.

So, we looked at how the world had changed over Covid and that everybody was now living their lives in a Microsoft Teams or a Slack environment. So, how could that be utilized really?

We've found huge success with customers by going to the place that they already are, which even pre-Covid was one of the codes that we live by with our Microsoft Word integration.

We've found that we can really generate not only incredible return on investment efficiency-wise, but also adoption towards a new tool within commercial, just by going to a place where a user already is, in Microsoft Teams.

Tom Dunlop                

They need to set out their use cases. It's the usual existing processes. What is the benefits that they see? But also, really think about the wider business.

For me, contracts touch pretty much every department in a business. So, don't just think of it from a legal perspective, about what might make legal more efficient or what's important to the legal team.

Get those other stakeholders involved. Understand, how would a sales team want to interact with the contracts? How could they perhaps be more self-sufficient?

Once you get the buy-in from the rest of the business and also understand your existing processes and which areas of that you can automate, actually the CLM almost picks itself.

Jonny Jessop                

Before it, it's very much about collaboration rather than about the contract. The contract is important of course, but understanding why and what needs to be done around that matter or that task is equally important if not more so. That's where we specialize.

Richard Somerfield

I mean, the key bit obviously is the CLM capabilities themselves, but also consider why you're bringing CLM into the business. What are you looking to achieve?

More than likely it's actually business transformation rather than purely legal transformation. So, make sure you've got the legal bits there, but then also, how does this impact the rest of the business? How can you provide that legal service to the rest of the business and how you're actually going to optimize those.

Because I'd expect that in most cases, it's interacting with the rest of the business that the is the most time-consuming. So, pure CLM is probably not going to have as much of an impact on those as, like I say, the integrations into the rest of the business.

Jonny Jessop                

Enterprises are very big. They're very big. They deal with a lot of contracts. It's all about volume, really.

I mean, we look at enterprise businesses every day. They deal with so many contracts in so many different areas of business. They're normally multinationals.

So, they'll be contracting in different ways, with maybe even different legal teams in different regions.

So if you let everybody work with autonomy, with their own processes, you lose efficiencies, especially when you're doing global business. Maybe three regions within the company need to collaborate on the same transaction.

What a CLM tool will normally do is pull all of these regions together and give a unified process, normally based around an element of standardization. So, you're contracting in the same way no matter which region you are in. And that's vitally important in an enterprise, to be efficient.

Richard Somerfield      

We continue to evolve the Summize story and obviously our customers that we've got on that journey as well and listen and learn. We're always looking to listen and learn from our customers and bring that into the products. So continued evolution, always exciting.

I think from a wider tech perspective, with a tech hat on, obviously towards the end of 2022, we saw fairly widespread media coverage around advances in AI, particularly to do with image generation and some of the interesting things going in that area and also ChatGPT. So, looking from a chat perspective.

I think we've got some interesting projects that we're running at the moment with inside Summize. We're looking to hopefully bring some of those to the product, to continue to evolve our offering.

Tom Dunlop                

I think a lot of GECs are very busy being busy. They don't feel like they have the time to be more efficient. So, I think take the time to write down the existing process and understand what roles people have in their team. Then from there, start to understand where automation can ultimately play a part. Fill in the requirements. Then go to market and buy Summize.


About the author

Jonny Jessop

At Summize, Jonny works to develop a detailed understanding of our clients' contracting processes to recommend solutions and increase efficiencies across your legal team.
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