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Contract automation: A complete guide

Get familiar with contract automation – Oneflow


Contract automation is becoming a business staple, particularly as we head into a recession. But what is it? How does it work? And how can it help you? These are just some of the most common questions about contract automation. 

So, we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll cover:

What is contract automation?

Need a quick run down? Here are the basics of contract automation?

How does contract automation work?

What are the benefits of contract automation?

How can it help your business?

Can it help both B2B and B2C companies?

Oneflow: Contract automation made simple – for all industries

How to choose the right contract management software for you?

What is contract automation?

Contract automation means that software is used to automatically oversee the entire lifecycle of a contract – from creation right the way through to renewal. But contract automation isn’t just for Sales. Legal, HR, even Marketing, can all benefit from it. 

After all, in the US alone, a whopping $120 billion a year is spent on paper contracts and forms, most of which are out-of-date within a few months anyway. That’s bad for a company’s books, and for the planet. 

But, don’t worry, contract automation doesn’t have to be done through a complex series of integrations that take a huge amount of time and resources to set up and test. It can all be done through great contract management software. 

Read also: All you need to know about Oneflow electronic signatures and the eIDAS regulation

Need a quick run down? Here are the basics of contract automation

There are no two ways about it. The basics of contract automation is great contract management software. But what should you look for in contract management software?

  1. Create – Great contract management software allows you to generate contracts in a few clicks. If you already have templates made and ready-to-go, then you can send a contract in seconds.
  2. Collaborate – If you can edit live, or have the contract looked at by multiple people at once, then it’s collaborative contract management software.
  3. Sign – If it comes with multiple signing options, then there will likely be a way to sign that suits your prospect. Whether that’s a verification code, BankID or a handwritten signature feature. Better yet, if it comes with a chronological signing order, you can ensure that stakeholders sign any given contract in a specific order.
  4. Manage – If a contract management platform comes with extra secure features, like approved access, then it’ll make a safe replacement to PDFs and paper. Better still, great contract management software automatically lets you know when a contract is up for renewal, so you can really hit the ground running.
  5. Analyze – Take away the guesswork with contract management software that gives you real time insights into who’s opening and interacting with your contracts. After all, contract automation should put you in charge.
  6. Integrate – We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: native integrations are a vital part of any contract management software that’s going to help your business unleash its full potential. 

If you’re new to contract automation, or you’re thinking of making greater use of it, then these 7 tips make for a solid starting point.

contract automation - oneflow
Flow trough contracts processes with these steps.

How does contract automation work?

Automated contract management systems offer several key features that can help organizations streamline processes and mitigate risks. Let’s explore some of these features in more detail:

Centralized repository

One of the key benefits of automated contract management is the ability to store all contracts in a centralized repository, ensuring that they are easily accessible, organized, and searchable.

Smart contract templates

Automated contract management systems offer smart contract templates that help businesses create contracts quickly and efficiently. Smart templates can also reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies in contract language.

Automated workflows and approvals

Automated contract management systems can streamline the workflows associated with contract management, from requesting approvals to notifying relevant parties of contract changes. This can help organizations manage contracts more efficiently and reduce manual errors.

Advanced search and reporting

Automated contract management systems offer advanced search and reporting features that allow businesses to quickly and easily locate specific contracts, terms, and clauses. This can help organizations stay on top of contractual obligations and reduce the risk of legal disputes.

Integration with other business tools

Automated contract management systems can integrate with other business tools, such as CRM systems, project management tools, and e-signature applications. This can help businesses streamline processes and reduce the risk of errors.

Read also: Top 7 risks of not using electronic signatures

What are the benefits of contract automation? 

There are lots of benefits to contract automation for both yourself and your company. Perhaps among the biggest is that it can shorten your signing time. Thanks to native integrations, and to having all of your contracts in one place, you no longer have to spend time on endless paper quests. 

We’ve all lost a fairly vital document at some point in our lives. But great contract management software can ensure that that moment of sheer panic doesn’t happen again. 

Contract automation puts you in control. You can store all of your documents in one secure place. Thanks to integrations, they can also automatically save to other places. If you use a major CRM like Salesforce or HubSpot, great contract management software should come with a native integration as standard. 

But contract automation also has benefits beyond Sales. If, for example, you’re working in HR, you can create and send an employment contract in seconds. So if you find yourself locked in a race to secure that perfect candidate, contract automation can give you the edge. 

If you’re working in Procurement, then being able to quickly lock in a great price can help keep costs down, and get what you need to you more quickly. Whichever department you work in, contract automation helps you work more quickly and efficiently.

benefits of contract automation - oneflow
Save time and money, be in control and integrate with your CRMs.

How can it help your business?

But contract automation doesn’t just help you, it can also help your business grow, especially important for SMEs and scaleups. By cutting down on lengthy contract processes and eliminating the need for reams of paper and PDF edits.

It can also cut down on the work burden for your legal team. If your resident legal experts are able to simply create templates, then the rest of the company can work from those. It’ll save Legal hours of having to pour over contract after contract, checking every clause. This also means that it’ll reduce the chances of human error affecting your contracts. 

Contract automation can also help improve your workflows by removing a lot of the paper/PDF-related bottlenecks. Equally, if your salespeople can see who’s been opening and looking at a contract, you can even cut down on the time taken to contact prospects when they reach the end of the sales funnel. 

In short, contract automation can help you right across your business, saving time and money and improving efficiency. 

It provides value from day one throuigh:

  • Seamless contract formatting: Make your contracts your own with a range of features, like fonts, video insertion and logo personalisation.
  • Centralised reviews and and approvals: Make changes and get them approved in seconds with comments and our in-contract chat function.
  • Change detection: Up until the moment the contract is signed, notify all involved that a change has been made effortlessly, adding to the ease of accountability.

Read also: All you need to know about electronic contracts

contract automation saves time - oneflow
Be more efficient with digital contracts.

Can it help both B2B and B2C companies?

In short, yes. Automation can help both B2B and B2C companies. We’ve already looked at some of the B2B benefits. But what about the B2C benefits? 

Whether it’s a gym membership, a phone contract or a mortgage, contract automation allows your contracts to be more adaptable to your customers’ needs. You can meet their needs in the moment, without having to make them wait for you to edit or modify contracts.

By automating your contracts, you can ensure that they’re simple to edit, and create a more customer-focused experience. Let’s take phone contracts as an example here.

Getting a new phone is a big purchase, so people often look online to mull over their options before making a purchase. Despite the slow return to in-person shopping that we’re starting to see post-pandemic, there can still be a lengthy consideration stage for these sorts of purchases. By having a contract ready to go, you could help guide a potential customer down the funnel more quickly. 

Great contract management software lets you have editable fields whereby customers can choose the price plan that suits them best. All that done digitally, just through contract management software.

This is just one example of how contract automation helps create more customer-focused experiences, all with reduced costs and less consideration time.

Oneflow: Contract automation made simple – for all industries

1. Create a seamless contract in seconds

We’ve all been there: scouring a Google Doc to check everything is where it needs to be before you convert it into a PDF for sending. With the right contract management software, that is now a thing of the past. 

Great contract management software comes with templates as standard. If your legal team has helped draft these templates, you can get going with them right away. You can send out more contracts more quickly than ever before. 

Equally, contract management software now comes with AI. If you need to add a few lines of text to a contract, then that’s no problem either. AI is all part of the contract management process, and can help you draft a contract in seconds.

contract automation for all industries - oneflow
Create contracts in an instant with the help of templates.

2. Sign in moments

B2B sales can take a long time. In fact, it takes an average of 8 touch points over the course of 84 days to close a B2B sale. And a hefty chunk of that time can come right at the end when the contract is being signed. Now, great contract management software can’t help your prospect perform an internal audit of your product any more quickly, but it can help them to sign more quickly.

The best part is, you can even make use of various signing methods. Whether your prospect wants to sign with verification codes (emailed or texted), their typed name, or by simply clicking a signing button, contract management software gives you the option to do that. You can even set up a signing order, so that, if there are multiple stakeholders involved, the signees need to sign in a specific order. 

Read also: Don’t edit PDFs, edit your expectations

3. Store and manage all of your contracts in one place

PDF contracts often have to be printed, signed with ink, scanned, sent back, then either printed out and filed, or stored in a digital archive. That’s a lengthy process, and it’s extremely easy to lose important paperwork in the process, no matter how organised you are. 

That’s where contract management software comes to the rescue. You can automatically store all of your contracts in one place. Contract management software, like Oneflow, comes with a digital archive, so your salespeople can find any contract they might need in just a few clicks. 

What’s more is that Oneflow lets you automatically remove any personal data you don’t need, as well as set up workflows that delete old and rejected contracts. With this, you can be even more GDPR compliant with the right contract management software. 

You’ll also get reminders when a contract is up for renewal, or has already expired. Additionally, the archive comes with privacy in mind. You can set up access controls, so that only those who really need to see a contract can have access to it. 

contract automation in one place - oneflow
Store and secure your contracts in the archive.

4. Enjoy powerful integrations

Integrations make life so much easier. A great example of this comes from your CRM. Whether you use HubSpot, Salesforce, Pipedrive or another, you can integrate it with your contract management software. This means that you need only work in one solution for your work to be saved elsewhere, all without having to manually download then upload drafts and signed contracts!

Great contract management software, like Oneflow, comes with a heap of integrations, from TeamTailor, to Google Workspace, to Salesforce. 

The best part is, they’re super easy to set up. So you can get working with integrations in no time at all. Integrations can help you take your working, and selling, to the next level.

How to choose the right contract management software for you?

The right contract management software depends on any number of factors, and can vary from business to business. But here are some important things to consider when finding the right contract management software for you:

  1. Is it simple and user-friendly?
  2. How many of its features are you likely to realistically need in your business?
  3. Does it come with integrations that match your other workflows?
  4. Do the platform’s security features match your own data needs?
  5. Does the contract management platform come with AI capabilities?

Even if you’re not too familiar with AI, an intuitively-built capability can help your contract management workflows run far more quickly and smoothly. 

In addition to these questions, it’s also good to keep an eye out for these features:

Standardized contract templates

One of the key components of contract automation is the ability to pull information from a data source to automatically assemble the contract document. To make this process possible, it’s important to standardize your contract templates. This ensures consistency across all contracts and makes it possible to automate the drafting process.

Identify key data points for extraction

When preparing your contracts for automation, it’s important to identify the key data points that will be used to populate the contract document. This includes things like entity names, signatures, and contract terms. Identifying these data points in advance will help ensure that your automation process runs smoothly.

Set up approval workflows

Once your contracts are standardized and your data points are identified, it’s time to set up approval workflows. Be sure to set up workflows that match your organization’s specific structure and needs. Additionally, be sure to test the workflows to ensure that they work as intended.

So why not automate your contract management processes today?


If you’re curious to see what contract management software could do for you, and how it could benefit your business, then why not book a demo today? You can find out more about Oneflow, how it all works, and ask any and all questions you might have.

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