Workflow of the Week: Applying Automation to the NDA Process
Draft and send pre-approved NDAs in just a few clicks with workflow automation.
Legal managers often find themselves caught in an endless loop of back-and-forth with signatories, painstakingly crafting Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDAs) and following up as questions arise, or redlines appear. Not only is this frustrating, but it can slow down the sales cycle precisely when you want to speed it up – when things are going well, and the prospect is ready for a demo or a sale – or, just as often, upon the entry of a third party onto company property. Making the NDA process smooth is vital to a friendly and streamlined process – a sign of corporate hospitality.
So imagine this: a world in which legal managers are never involved in the NDA process – either as contract creators or as legal reviewers. Sales reps could request and execute standard NDAs on their own without the request ever going to legal, offering legal managers relief from this time-consuming cycle and allowing them to reclaim those hours. Enter workflow automation — a game-changing solution that streamlines NDA processes by enabling managers to effortlessly send templatized NDAs on company paper with just a few clicks.
A self-service NDA workflow can be up to 7 times faster and 15 times more efficient than a manual process, with 100% compliance and up to 400% ROI — but only when implemented correctly. Without further ado, here’s the why and how behind automating NDA workflows.
Why Automate the NDA Process?
Without automation, NDAs create bottlenecks in sales processes, slowing down time to demo and even time to close — and create a frustrating experience not only for your legal team, but also for your prospect. There are two main challenges of a manually-driven NDA process: approved language and legal reviews. But with workflow automation, the two challenges can be streamlined and overcome through streamlined logic and robust template libraries.
When salespeople request NDAs, and there is no automation in place, legal managers have to use a fine-tooth comb to understand the request and then create an NDA that will cover their bases — from scratch. But with a clause library, when the salesperson makes the request, the backend of the workflow process can automatically build an NDA using pre-approved language that is stored in the clause library.
In other words, workflow automation platforms can provide a library that contains only pre-approved clauses, and then automatically generates contracts depending on the particular needs of the request. With that piece of document generation working on the backend, salespeople can receive a pre-approved NDA automatically, and legal managers don’t need to review at all.
Leverage Templates and Clause Libraries
With workflow automation, the painstaking process becomes a thing of the past. By utilizing pre-formatted templates or custom-designed NDAs, legal managers can effortlessly send out agreements that reflect their company’s branding and style, without compromising compliance. Workflow automation systems house a comprehensive collection of NDA templates, and these templates and clauses can be automated – not just by enlisting legal managers to select which are most relevant, but actually by enabling the requester to identify what they need in their request. Most of the time, the NDA can be automatically generated from a list of validated, verified, and kosher-for-work clauses and sent out immediately for signature, without including a legal manager in the creation of the NDA at all. A process that once required endless back and forth becomes a process that requires no back and forth at all – just a simple, automated, immediate form.
The returns on investment are enormous. In a recent webinar on workflow automation, Tarryn Puzasar, Director of Business Process Automation at KP Labs, explained that “self-service NDAs are definitely one of the workflows that can provide the most wins — not only in ROI, but also internally. It’s just such a high-volume workflow — and the metrics you can capture on them are phenomenal.”
Automate Approvals and Streamline Signatures – Even in Unusual Circumstances
In the very rare use case where an NDA cannot be created automatically from the clause library, workflow automation can trigger an automated review process that brings in the correct stakeholders. With self-service NDAs, legal managers anticipate that almost every single NDA can be sent immediately to the counterparty for signature, but occasionally, a real exception will appear – and workflow automation can handle this, too. When certain questions or clauses are checked off in the initial request, back-end logic can determine whether or not a legal review is necessary, and then bring in the right stakeholders.
The right workflow automation platform (and the right automated NDA process) will integrate with your esignature platform, so users will not need to log into their digital signature provider (like DocuSign) to give the NDA their final seal of approval. If your NDAs are currently wet-signed, then workflow automation will revolutionize your department – and if you are already set up with an esignature platform, then workflow automation can ensure that it is easy to send out documents for signature without relying on esignature “admins” to handle everything on a case-by-case basis.
Gone are the days of anxiety over whether the right people have signed off on an NDA. Workflow automation integrates signature authority requirements into the process, allowing legal managers to set up secure e-signature tools for a smooth and legally-compliant signing experience. As the agreements flow seamlessly through the system, signatories can easily review, sign, and return the NDAs — all without the need for cumbersome paper trails or manual signatures.