What is the difference between Contract Management and Customer Relationship Management?

What is the difference between Contract management and Customer Relationship management?

Contract management systems (CMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) are both systems to help businesses with their management and streamline their respective processes. Although they seem similar, they are each entities in their own right and although they can often be used in conjunction with one another, it is important to establish the correct system for your business and what would have the biggest and most beneficial impact.

So what are they?

Contract management is defined as the management and continuous monitoring of all contracts held by businesses during the course of each contract lifecycle. Contract management ensures compliance with all the obligations and clauses within each contract. This can include all deliverables, services, goods, deadlines, and timelines. The management of a contract also ensures that all the elements of a contract and it’s clauses, adheres to all jurisdictional and legislative regulations and requirements.

Depending on the size of the business or organization and the number of contracts it holds and must manage on a regular basis, contract management can either be carried out by a contract manager, or by a contract management team. Due to the nature of certain industries, contract management teams may often be a mix of professionals from various different departments, such as legal or financial.

Customer relationship management can be defined as the management of customers and the data surrounding sales and marketing. This includes the management of all information held by the company. This can include a complete sales history; records of phone calls, contact details and quotes provided. The information collected and stored by customer relationship management can be used to improve customer relationships and the management of customer accounts.

Depending on the size of the business or organization, there may be a large amount of customer data collected over time, and this information and the customer relationship needs to be managed and communicated to the correct employees in order to act on and improve leads and successfully convert the opportunities into sales.

A customer relationship manager must ensure that all data held by a company is compliant with all the relevant data laws.

Essentially, customer relationship management deals with customer and client relationships and sales whereas contract management deals with the relationships of all parties involved in a contract.

Due to the amount of information CM and CRM deals with day-to-day, both systems benefit from a technological solution. Implementing cloud-based software has seen an increase in sales revenues for companies adopting a CRM solution, whilst businesses using CM software such as the one available from Symfact, have seen an increase in revenue that was being previously lost due to poor contract management.

Which is the right system for my business?

Contract management software can benefit those businesses that deal with a multitude of contracts on a daily basis. Thanks to a browser based central repository, all contracts can be stored safely and securely, with easy accessibility and search functions, allowing employees to quickly identify any information they need. It has tools and features such as trigger notifications which allows a contract management team to stay alert to deadlines and milestones and contract renewals, and the reporting and auditing features of contract management software means businesses stay continually compliant regarding contract terms and provisions, avoiding any extra fees and expenses.

Contract management can streamline key management stages and processes, allowing for an improvement in productivity, and a better assessment of risk, which in turn will improve business growth and performance

This system is right for businesses that deal with a greater number of contracts rather than customers.

Customer relationship management software provides most value to companies that deal with a multitude of customers on a daily basis and the information and leads they provide. CRM software allows businesses to track leads throughout a sales cycle and organizes all the workflows, allowing for better productivity and allowing resources to be used for higher value tasks. The software also ensures accurate communication between all the teams involved, from marketing to sales, meaning no leads are missed.

Like contract management, CRM software also offers a central browser-based repository, which is vital when considering the amount of customer data collected and amassed by larger enterprises. This means employees have instant access to all the information recorded, so client relationships can be personalized and tailored and can be shared easily amongst co-workers.

Analytics and interactive dashboards allow improvements in efficiency and no sales opportunity is missed, whilst still ensuring customer relationships are driving the business forward.

This system is right for businesses who rely on customer interactions to drive sales.

There are many businesses and organisations that fit both the above briefs, and therefore would ideally want to have the best of both systems. With the contract management software offered by Symfact for example, you can configure the software to utilize the functionality and features you would most want to integrate and would prove most beneficial to your business. Thanks to cross-platform XML architecture, the software from Symfact can also integrate with a range of different management systems and software including most CRM’s.

If your business or organization is looking at implementing a contract management software or integrating contract management within your already existing CRM system, then do not hesitate to contact us here at Symfact. We can configure our software with your requirements to create an ideal solution.