Contract Management is a key part of a company’s strategic sourcing requirements. As a business discipline in its own right, it can prove to be a bonus or a misery, depending on how it’s managed. It requires not only a high level of understanding of contracting dynamics, but also requires a very good understanding of business itself.
What makes a successful contract manager? It takes a variety of skills, and using those skills properly, to become a successful contract manager.
How can you improve your contract management skills?
- Be an effective communicator: Being an outstanding communicator requires the contract manager to consistently ensure they are clearly understood by all stakeholders; that all stakeholders understand what is expected of them throughout the contract lifecycle; and that all stakeholders communicate effectively with one another as well as with the contract manager.
- Have good project management skills: Project management can be a widely defined skill. A Contract Manager must be detailed oriented and must have exceptional interpretive skills as some contracts can be very complex. In order to manage a group of contracts or a very complex contract, the Manager must have a good understanding of the industry in which the contract is to be executed and will need to put in place the proper process and procedures that will be required to successfully manage a contract.
- Have a Strong Business Understanding:
All successful contract managers must have a solid understanding of the various aspects of business. For a contract manager to make the proper business decisions, their knowledge must extend further than just contract terms and conditions. They must be equipped with an understanding of the marketplace in which their organisation operates and also know how to utilize technology to meet their goals.
- Consolidate: Organisation is a key component of any management plan. Every single detail, no matter how seemingly insignificant, must be taken into consideration and planned for accordingly. There has to be an overarching contract management strategy, and all pertinent documentation must be saved in one central location. By consolidating everything in one place, it will be far easier to organise things into distinct folders, and the more organised the database is, the easier it will be to stay on track.
- Negotiation: A successful contract manager needs to understand the motivations, interests, and goals of all stakeholders during development of the contract as well as throughout the contract lifecycle. Ignorance about negotiating expertise can jeopardize critical relationships and potentially lead to costly litigation.
- Build a Plan to Continuously Review Your Process: Your organisation will move at a fast pace—it needs to in order to stay ahead of competitors and to solidify its place in the market. What works in contract management now might soon be outdated and ineffective in the near future. Assign someone the responsibility to review the process on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Highlight the successes you’ve had, discuss the new challenges or risks that have surfaced, and make changes to your contract management as needed in order to keep achieving your desired results.
Thinking of improving your contract management skills but not sure which contract management training is for you? We offer contract management courses so us to find out more about our contract administration courses.