Commercial/legal paperwork

Deals fail and die in “the last mile” from yes to revenue.
A sale isn’t complete until the customer is onboarded and generating revenue.

Organizations as they develop buildout supporting structures to help onboard more customers, ensure adoption, customer success et cetera to protect the long-term revenue stream from the customer.

Of more immediate interest, is getting the customer through that last hurdle surrounding whatever paperwork they need to sign up to your side and whatever they need to provide internally to ensure the commercial side of the deal works.

Ideally, you want this phase to have minimum impact and as fast as possible so that you can move on and focus your attention on securing the next Prospect rather than spending long periods of time nursing a piece of business you have won through to revenue generation.

Standardization of commercial arrangements is key to making sure that this phase is quick but comprehensible enough to be safe. That said, you need to make sure that it’s comprehensive enough so that should an issue arise down the road well enough protected, and able to do good quality business.

Amplifying Factors: Mutual Close Plan 

RED – Still taking time to get done.

Usually, there’s a blockage on their side that’s preventing them from progressing at speed. Try to find out what the source of that blockage is and adjust if necessary, or jump a call to unblock deeper problems.

AMBER – lowly getting there.

This assumes that it’s moving slow-moving in the right direction. Sometimes these things just take time and you need to be careful not to cause upset at this stage that might ruin an otherwise good relationship.

Green – Done

Congratulations!  Now your focus attention turns to onboarding, customer satisfaction, adoption of your solution, and moving to closing the next deal.

Mitigations – What to Do?

Understand what paperwork you need to close the business. An order form and a master subscription agreement are the most common.
 
Share both the order form and the MSA as early as you can in the process, even if it’s only a blank order form so the customer knows what would expect.
 
Be aware of some companies may require other elements such as data-processing agreements, et cetera so have these ready in advance.
 
Highly customized solutions tend to require more paperwork than standard solutions so try to make sure that your product is as standard as possible and separate heavy customization into a separate specific agreement. Ideally, you want them to take your standard product offering and signup for customizations later to drive the business across the line fast. This of course assumes that customers can get value doing it this way.
 
Avoid if possible the word Contract. Many involved in sass referred to the agreement as a contract. This automatically brings lawyers into play. Master subscription agreement, probably deliberately named to avoid that term for exactly that reason. Once you get lawyers involved, you will inevitably elongate the sale. I refer to the order form and MSA as paperwork. 

The best solution of course is to have all this online. Some companies have you sign up to an MSA when you sign up for the trial and you can achieve the order processing online very fast. Try as much as possible to make it simple in this way.
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