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Randy Bishop

What is the Role of a Contract Manager?

Imagine juggling a hundred or even a thousand balls at once. Sounds impossible, right? Now imagine each ball is a contract your business depends on.

Effectively managing such an enormous volume of legal documents can be a challenge, and doing a poor job of it can be a costly mistake.

In fact, a study by the World Commerce and Contracting suggests that inefficiencies in contract management can erode contract value by 9.2%.

That's where a contract manager steps in.

They’re the maestro of this juggling act. From creating to negotiating, executing, and renewing contracts, these folks keep businesses afloat. And when they’re armed with good contract management software, they’re a force to be reckoned with! 

In this piece, we're breaking down the role of a contract manager — your company's contract juggling pro. 

TL;DR 

  • A contract manager is equipped with a diverse set of skills ranging from technical know-how to conflict resolution.
  • Contract managers are organized, efficient, and experts in interpersonal communication.
  • Contract management software is the secret weapon that amplifies a contract manager's productivity. 

What Is a Contract Manager?

No surprise here — they’re the folks who manage contracts. Jokes aside, contract managers are the backbone of any business, particularly those dealing with a boatload of contracts simultaneously. 

They help businesses: 

  • Remain compliant: They ensure every “i” is dotted and every “t” is crossed in your contracts.

  • Preserve Value: Their expert touch helps maintain the true value of your contracts.

  • Manage stakeholders: They coordinate and deal with stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page.

  • Organize documents: They keep all your contract-related matters meticulously organized.

  • Mitigate risks: No ticking time bomb contracts on their watch — they're all about mitigating potential risks.

  • Build relationships: They're the unsung heroes who help forge and fortify business relationships.

contract-managers

In essence, they’re more than just contract managers. They’re the superheroes who keep everything in check while your business grows and thrives.

A Day in the Life of a Contract Manager 

Ever wondered what a day looks like in the life of a contract manager? Let's break it down:

Morning review: They kick-start the day with a deep dive into current contracts. They're checking for upcoming renewals and imminent deadlines, and lining up their priorities.

Team huddles: They're off to meetings with internal stakeholders to talk about contract requirements. They might also be found negotiating contract terms with external partners.

Detective detail: Their afternoon might be spent poring over contractual documents for accuracy and compliance. Sometimes, this task is a tag-team effort with the legal department.

Industry-specific roles: And for contract managers in specialty fields like construction or IT, they may have to allocate some extra time to grapple with additional industry-specific contractual provisions and regulations.

All in all, it's a dynamic role, filled with a variety of tasks that make each day different from the next.

Contract Manager Roles and Responsibilities

In the grand tapestry of contract execution, contract managers are the golden thread running through it all. 

They're the main touchpoint for all parties involved, weaving their way through companies, departments, and employees. 

Their end goal? Ensuring timely execution, perfect compliance, and safe storage of all contracts across the enterprise.

The actual day-to-day grind of a contract manager can change depending on the industry and business size, but their roles and responsibilities remain the same: 

Role/Responsibility Explanation
Gather business requirements for new contracts Conduct interviews and meetings to understand the needs and objectives of new contracts.
Review and share redlines between parties Thoroughly review contract drafts, propose changes, and facilitate discussions for mutual agreement.
Facilitate legal discussions on contract issues Escalate and resolve contract issues, coordinating discussions among involved parties.
Negotiate pricing or insurance requirements Engage in direct negotiations with clients, vendors, or partners to establish favorable terms.
Define and document the approval chain Establish the contract approval hierarchy and document approvals from internal stakeholders.
Collect signatures Coordinate signature collection from all relevant parties involved in the contract.
Manage the contract library Securely store, organize, and retrieve contracts in a centralized contract library.
Track auto-renewal and expiration dates Monitor contract dates and set up reminders to ensure timely action on renewals or terminations.
Ensure contract compliance Review contracts for legal and policy compliance, monitoring and enforcing contractual obligations.
Minimize risk factors in the contract Optimize contract language in their employer’s best interest.

What Qualifications Should a Contract Manager Have?

Wondering what it takes to be a contract manager? 

Let's peek into the typical qualifications someone in this role should have.

In terms of education, a bachelor's degree in business or law is the standard ticket to the world of contract management. Going a step further with an advanced degree, like an MBA, can add that extra spark.

And for those really aiming to stand out, professional certifications are the cherry on top:

  • Certified Professional Contract Manager (CPCM): To earn this badge of honor, contract managers need to demonstrate their understanding of contract principles and methodologies at a comprehensive level. Besides showcasing their expertise, this certification opens up broader job prospects and can pave the way for higher salaries.

  • Certified Federal Contract Manager (CFCM): This certification requires a specialized understanding of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). It's proof positive of a contract manager's ability to manage contracts within the federal arena. It can also help boost a contract manager’s credibility and competency when working on federal contracts.

  • Certified Commercial Contract Manager (CCCM): To attain this certification, contract managers need to master the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). It signifies their expertise in managing commercial contracts and could lead to improved career opportunities within the commercial sector.

These are more than just fancy titles. They're a testament to the contract manager's expertise and commitment to their craft. 

Success stories

What Skills Should a Contract Manager Have?

The role of a contract manager is like being a Swiss Army knife in a world of departmental cutlery. 

They need a mix of business, finance, legal, sales, sourcing, and procurement skills. 

But there's more to this role than industry knowledge. 

Let's spotlight some specific traits that make a contract manager truly shine:

Industry Expertise A deep understanding of the business landscape combined with an ability to adapt rapidly to new sectors and evolving company demands.
Effective Communication

They are maestros in the symphony of interpersonal communication, negotiation, and leadership.

Attention to detail Complex legal documents? No problem. Their sharp eye easily spots errors and unfavorable terms.
Exceptional Organizing Abilities With a flurry of contracts to manage, their top-tier organizational skills ensure efficient retrieval and deadline diligence.
Conflict resolution A dash of emotional intelligence goes a long way. They're experts in smoothing over conflicts and negotiating effectively during contract negotiations.
Risk management They keep a keen eye on the company's risk appetite, ensuring it's accurately reflected in legal documents and taking proactive steps to keep risks at bay.
Technological Proficiency Their command of contract management software, AI tools, database management, and spreadsheets keeps them abreast of the ever-changing tech landscape.

How Can Contract Management Software Help?

No matter how skilled a contract manager is, they can do only so much without effective contract management software (CMS)

A good CMS can help companies automate many manual processes — from version control to search, storage, and reporting to e-signing. 

By using a good CMS, contract managers can increase the speed at which contracts are created, negotiated, and executed, which can result in greater operational efficiency, reduced expenses, and increased revenue. 

Here’s how a contract manager can use ContractSafe to boost productivity:  

Fast-track contract creation Use intake forms and templates to streamline contract writing, saving heaps of time.
Smooth negotiations Redline edits, store version logs, and compare contract language changes without breaking a sweat.
Streamline approvals Assign roles and responsibilities to help approvals progress quickly through the pipeline while ensuring they’re only seen by those with permission. 
Execute contracts effortlessly Execute contracts with a single click using DocuSign and Dropbox Sign e-signature integrations.
Stay on top of important dates Set alerts and reminders for key dates to ensure contracts glide smoothly along their lifecycle.
Find contracts in a flash Find the needle in the contract haystack with a few keywords — no matter if the files are saved as PDFs, images, or Word documents. 
Organize contracts in seconds  Keep your contracts and related documents neat and tidy in a secure digital contract repository. Advanced search features mean you'll never lose a contract again.
Boost productivity and save money Automate contract tracking and reporting to boost productivity to new heights. 
Extract important data in the blink of an eye Use artificial intelligence to pull out key information from contracts to simplify contract creation and automatically add alerts and reminders for important dates. 

Contract management software is a powerful tool for boosting productivity, but perhaps its biggest value add is that it allows contract managers to focus on more “big picture” tasks.

A CMS, like ContractSafe, effectively becomes a contract manager's most trusted aide, taking care of the little things and leaving them free to concentrate on the tasks that truly need their expertise and attention, like strategy and negotiations. 

ContractSafe: A Contract Manager’s Best Friend

If you’re looking for a new, robust contract management platform to supplement your team of contract managers, check out ContractSafe. 

Our robust contract platform can save your company money and make your contract manager's life a lot easier. 

See how ContractSafe can save your business time and money

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