Last updated on 

October 12, 2022

Critical Steps to a Successful CLM Implementation

Critical Steps to a Successful CLM Implementation
Content Writer & Strategist
Critical Steps to a Successful CLM ImplementationCritical Steps to a Successful CLM Implementation

Any business that hopes to be successful in this modern business landscape needs to have a system for managing their contracts. The most common choice is contract lifecycle management (CLM) software. Yet, 50% of CLM implementations fail. Why? Because often, buyers and vendors aren’t on the same page about expectations. 

With some vendors, implementation can be drawn out and tedious. But with vendors like Contractbook, implementation and onboarding are simple and easy – just ask G2.

Because we’re so good at implementation, we know what it takes. Here’s how to give yourself the best chances of success and prepare for CLM implementation. 

1. Determine What Success Looks Like

Too often, companies will implement CLM because they’ve heard the statistics about the percent of successful businesses that use it to manage their contract processes. But the first thing to determine before implementing any software is figuring out what your business needs, how CLM addresses that need, and what implementation success looks like.

How quickly do you expect to be up and running? What KPIs can you use to measure the success of the implementation process? What support do you need from your vendor to have a successful implementation? A good CLM partner should be with you through every step, offering guidance that considers and prioritizes your business needs. 

Contract lifecycle management

2. Get Buy-In from Key Stakeholders

No single employee at the business — whether executive or mid-level management — should single-handedly decide to implement CLM. That approach encourages silos within the business and is a setup for failure. 

While there might be a point of contact (POC) who manages the implementation and facilitates communication between the two parties, CLM implementation is a team sport, and so several stakeholders have to be involved.

These might change depending on your org structure, but there are a few who should be involved:


The company’s leadership needs to be invested in making this happen. They need to understand the benefits of this program and be all in so they can see to it that the implementation team has access to all the necessary resources to make it happen.


Since the sales teams will be using the CLM in some way to get deals over the line, sales leaders often have to sign off on CLM. Aside from the legal team, the sales teams process is the most likely to change with the introduction of CLM, so sales leaders have to be involved in the process. 


As the department that owns contracts and the contract process, the legal team is an important stakeholder in assessing and implementing this tool. Next to the sales team, they are most likely to be power users of the tool, so their input is vital. 


RevOps teams are important stakeholders in the sales contract process, as they run the deal desk and have to vet software that will be used as part of the process. Since their role is optimizing sales deals, contracts are a big part of their role, and so their input into the CLM solution is crucial.

3. Get Clear on What the Implementation Process Will Look Like

One reason implementations tend not to go smoothly is because companies don’t have a clear idea about what to expect from the process. Here are some things to think about before you make the leap.

What does the timeline look like?

How long will this implementation process take? What regular work duties might be disrupted while you onboard a new tool? Is the timeline realistic? Don’t be afraid to ask around or consult reviews.

What happens after you’ve decided to go ahead with the vendor?

Do you just sign the contract and hope for the best? Do your own due diligence. Understand the obligations of both your team and your vendor and work with the vendor as a partner to execute a smooth implementation. 

What support does the CLM vendor provide?

What is their onboarding process? Will they walk you through it or leave you to it? What is their customer support like? Having a CLM vendor who offers white glove support so that you can get the tool up and running quickly is crucial to your success. 

How will your internal contract management process change? 

Prior to implementation, does your team have an existing contract management process? If you do, what will your change management strategy look like? You will need to communicate process changes to your team and understand whether or not the vendor will help you develop this plan.

If not, you will have to create one so that you can tailor the implementation process to it. What contracts will you be working with most frequently? What data is important for you to capture in your new process? 

4. Mitigating CLM Implementation Risks

CLM Implementation can be risky due to some avoidable reasons. In order to ensure these risks are mitigated during the planning phase keep in mind the following three things:

  • User adoption: Many companies assume employees will use new software without ensuring their acceptance. To ensure a good user adoption rate, look for tools with robust integrations available and onboarding/training sessions that can help in avoiding low engagement.
  • Functionality: Some CLMs promise too much and fall short. Research and references are vital to avoid investing in a limited solution. Look into review sites with verified customers like G2 or Capterra while looking into the features.
  • Scalable tool: Business priorities and processes change fast. A CLM that can't adjust quickly becomes a liability. Invest in a flexible CLM that can support your company's needs and is scalable in case you ramp up your efforts.

Are You Ready to Implement CLM?

Here’s a quick readiness checklist to guide you in determining whether or not your company is ready for CLM.

  • Determine what your goals are (cost savings, revenue generation, streamline sales agreements, etc)
  • Get buy-in from stakeholders across the business (leaders, users, customer-facing teams, etc)
  • Determine project admins and define project timeline
  • Understand your contracts: What contracts will you be using most frequently and what is the workflow around them?
  • Confirm which data is important for you to bring over during the implementation process.

Implementing Contractbook CLM

Working with Contractbook is like working with a partner who prioritizes your business needs. We take the time to understand what your goals are, as well as your existing process and your ideal state. 

During implementation, we provide a dedicated onboarding specialist and a workflow assessment to ensure that we understand exactly what you need and work with you to create a process that works for your whole team.

Implementation can be a daunting aspect of getting contract management software, but Contractbook makes the process seamless. In fact, Contractbook was awarded Users Most Likely to Recommend in Spring 2022. There reviews speak for themselves:

Oliver R, Head of Partnerships and Growth, said "Contractbook is super easy to get started. They offer great customer onboarding."

An industry analyst/tech writer in computer software said Contractbook is a “Great contract management tool with amazing customer support! The customer support is great. If you have questions, they spend a lot of time explaining the functionalities and try to solve your problems asap. You never have to wait for a long time to get help."

Trine Zafina S said, "Contractbook has the best and most friendly customer service. If you are in need of help, there is always someone who can quickly assist you."


CLM implementations can be risky and tedious, but with the right partner, it doesn’t have to be. With a clear vision and the right vendor, your software can be up and running and your team enabled in no time.

Ready to move your contract to the cloud?

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