Developing business proposal templates, if you don’t already have them, should be on the top of your agenda if you want to start improving your contract value lifecycle management processes.
The main benefits of using templates are that they have a positive impact on both the top line and bottom line of your company. This is not only for business proposal templates, but also for contract templates, statement of work templates, and other sales contracts templates.
Templates save time, improve outcomes, lay the basis for further proposal and contract drafting and negotiation, and can be used to impose internal control.
The Benefits of Using Business Proposal and Other Templates
Templates save time
- Working from an initial standard draft based on a template is much faster than working from an old proposal or contract, that may miss certain conditions or contain negotiated terms.
- Using templates also can give you the possibility to be quicker in creating and sending a draft to the other party which improves the chances that your draft will be used
- If you have templates, and you can use your draft based on the template rather than the other side’s (‘the battle of the forms’), it saves you from having to review and adjust third party terms.
- Making use of templates and pre-approved ‘fall-back’ or alternative terms also speeds up internal review and approval processes, drafting contracts and negotiations, and signing the contracts, which again positively affects cash flow.
Templates improve results
- Since you are using your templates with your own terms and conditions the starting position for drafting a contract or negotiation is positive for you.
- Well-drafted templates also ensure that no errors are made, and all the relevant issues are considered.
- The resulting final contract will be more consistent and predictable which again has a positive effect on the ability to manage the contract.
Basis for further contract lifecycle management
- Templates form the basis for several stages in improving your contract lifecycle management processes.
- Furthermore, templates play an essential role in document automation, and clause libraries in legal tech and clm tools.
- It is even so, that introducing and improving your templates has a bigger impact on your contract lifecycle management processes than what most CLM tools or legal tech can offer you.
Templates reduce claims and disputes
- Well-written, customer-focused templates actually reduce conflicts and disagreements
- Research shows that using templates can lead up to 18% of disagreements being reduced!
Internal and regulatory control
- It is a way to impose internal controls by securing your company’s compliance, industry practices, regulations.
- As long as internal control is not the only reason for having templates, it can improve compliance and reduce the risk exposure of your company during the contract lifecycle.
- They eliminate the need for customizing contracts for each individual tender or request for proposal/contract.
- Templates use the same terms every time a proposal or contract is formed which ensures consistency between contracts.
- It makes it also much easier for (new people) to learn what the standard terms of your contracts are.
- It is easier for you to delegate proposal submittal or (simple) contract signing lower into the organization.
- Consistency in contracts means less room for deviation from the terms set out in the contract. It prevents drafters from making any changes to the contract which may reduce the contract value.
What you need for business proposal templates
The focus should be on creating a business proposal template with terms and conditions that are appropriate to your customer and adapted to the specific market and product or service you are offering.
So you need to create different templates, with similar terms but addressing the specific needs of particular deals or jurisdictions.
The templates show how you and your business operate. Your first business proposal or contract determines the rest of your relationship.
If the terms and conditions in your template are unbalanced, unfair or unreasonable, this is the first impression your customer will get from you. Especially you can see this in procurement or government contracts.
Moreover, such ‘antagonistic’ drafts and templates will not speed up negotiations. On the contrary, it will immediately set the wrong tone and may cause further delays and conflicts, disputes and damage further on in the lifecycle.
I would also be very careful with downloading templates and contract forms or sets of terms and conditions from Internet.
You could easily be selecting the wrong form, oversee rights you should have, miss clauses that could have helped you (arbitration), not getting a model that is adapted to your market, customer, product, or service, and many more reasons. This can lead to disastrous results.
You can also create statements of work templates and use them in your project and contract management. The template should typically include:
- Scope of work
- Project objectives
- Payment of the project
- Expected outcomes
- Other terms, conditions and requirements
Some more very usable contract management templates can be found on the site of WorldCC.com.
How to create templates
If there are industry-standard terms you can use those, but they mainly exist in regulated industries like aerospace and aviation or finance
Creating templates yourself
If there are no industry-standard terms there are several ways to start creating templates of which the main three are:
- Find a contract you’ve used several times as a sample in the past and that actually worked and use it as a basis for redrafting your template.
- Outsource creating templates to a contract drafting expert.
- Start drafting from scratch based on several examples and copying and pasting ‘best practice’ clauses
I prefer very much the last option: starting from scratch.
Start business proposal and contract template drafting from scratch
- First, gather the best samples of proposals and contracts you created in the past
- Try to get your competitors’ terms and conditions for sales contracts. Often a search on the Internet helps.
- Also, there are many books about contract drafting for sale, a very popular one being A Manual of Style for Contract Drafting by Ken Adams
- Identify the key topics in the proposal and contracts (see my article on contract drafting).
- Create an outline and format that you can also use for other templates.
- Draft the main terms and conditions based on the examples you have collected and reuse terms from other templates you may already have.
- Delete unnecessary text, shorten where possible, avoid lengthy sentences and simplify language.
- Let others review it and ask for feedback.
ContractExec can help you with reviewing or setting up your business proposal/contract templates.