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6 ways to close deals faster by getting legal on your side

6 ways to close deals faster by getting legal on your side

6 ways to close deals faster by getting legal on your sideJen Patterson
Sr. Content Marketing Manager

The Miranda Priestly to your Andy Sachs. The Toby Flenderson to your Michael Scott. The Legal to your Sales department—oof—we went there!

Whether you work at a high-brow fashion magazine, a paper company in Pennsylvania, or somewhere in the real world, it can feel like there’s always someone making your job harder than it needs to be. And these pains are especially poignant if your role is to close deals and to do it fast.

We’re not here to hate on legal teams—hey, those are our people—and we don’t think corporate attorneys are on an evil mission to antagonize account executives. 

But it’s undeniable that real internal challenges arise when getting a deal across the finish line. And the lack of understanding about what exactly causes the hold-up makes the whole mess even more infuriating. 

6 reasons deals get stuck with legal—and what sales leaders can do about it

Recently, we sat down with sales coach and deal-closing guru, Dale Zwizinski, and Lexion’s own Chief Legal Officer, Jessica Nguyen, to learn what drives them crazy about each other’s orgs—and even more importantly—what’s really going on when a deal stalls.

Watch the webinar now: Close deals 20% faster by getting legal on your side with Jessica Nguyen and Dale Zwizinski

Here’s an insider’s view on why deals get stopped short and how sales teams can better partner with legal to get the deal across the line. 

1. Deals come through with missing information

You know the saying, “The devil is in the details?” When it comes to closing deals, the devil is actually in not providing enough details. So says Lexion’s CLO, Nguyen, “The simplest way to waste time internally is not providing enough information to prioritize or contextualize the deal accurately.”

Expert tip: Account executives can minimize the internal back and forth by providing critical details upfront.  Examples include, when the deal is forecasted to close, the total dollar amount, and pertinent information from commercial terms.

2. Your prospect is an enterprise organization

“In an ideal world, legal doesn’t touch the deal,” explains Nguyen, “but that’s not a reality when you’re prospecting enterprise companies.” 

Why the need for a hands-on approach? Enterprise orgs are more likely to have a large procurement team, a 50+ page contract, and yards of red tape that require legal’s detangling expertise. 

Worth the complexity? Yes. Speedy? No. 

Expert tip: Bring legal into the discussion earlier in the process—as soon as the enterprise shows intent to buy. Partnering with legal before contract negotiations means getting guidance on what information to collect upfront, a forecast for time to close, and what else to expect from the process. (For example, smaller organizations may ask for your SOC certificate, whereas the IBMs of the world will require a full security review.) 

3. Avoidable commercial issues

Sales teams need the freedom to focus on selling. Legal teams need the trust that they’re working in everyone’s best interest. But this shouldn’t mean that these teams are working in silos—because when they do, it causes a slowdown with repeat, avoidable commercial issues.

Expert tip: Sales and legal must partner to educate AEs on common commercial issues and sticking points. Zwizinski says sales should then ‘pre-sell’ the obvious sticking points like SLA, SaaS subscription fees, etc., to save everyone time. 

4. Unnecessary or confusing contract language

If prospects are constantly bumping up against the same section in a contract or regularly object to specific language, it’s a clear signal that something needs to change. On this, Zwizinski says, “Your internal selling process can slow down the deal time. And effective sales teams are tracking where these slowdowns regularly occur.”

Expert tip: Zwizinski and Nguyen agree that an unnecessarily complex contract doesn’t serve anyone. If sales teams know what sections of the agreement cause an issue, it’s time to partner with legal to adjust the language. This is another example of how building a relationship based on trust and an environment of cross-collaboration can help close deals more quickly

5. Deal timing (think: EOQ)

Everyone gets busy at end of quarter. We repeat—everyone gets busy at end of quarter. And legal teams feel the increase in pressure too, yet cannot clone themselves. 

The hard truth is that timing can slow down a deal, and lawyers are people (we’re pretty sure) with more on their plates than whichever deal you’re waiting on. Even if it’s not EOQ, lean legal teams regularly work on urgent company needs that require the team’s attention over whatever deal you’re working on.

Expert tip: Okay, you can guess this one by now. This is another scenario where including legal earlier in the process helps set expectations for both orgs. If something’s too complex to push through before EOQ, wouldn’t it be less frustrating to hear that a week in advance? If you can do something to speed up time to close and hit your goals, don’t you want to know that as soon as possible? Consider inviting your friends in legal to attend pipeline review meetings so they have visibility into which deals are coming down the pike (or at least invite them to lunch to say thanks for all their help).

6. No one knows—but they should

The scariest of all reasons a deal gets stuck is the reason no one knows. Huh? It’s true, many teams suffer again and again just to keep wondering where and why this happens. And—oddly enough—even the most aggressive finger-pointing won’t solve the problem. 

Expert tip: Leveraging contract management software like Lexion solves this “non-problem” by providing data points about where and how long deals are sitting. It might feel like legal is sitting on a deal, when in reality finance is working to get a discount approved or the counterparty is slow to respond. Either way, you can’t fix what you can’t see, which is why deal visibility provided by contract management software is crucial for closing deals faster. 

Close deals 20% faster by getting legal on your side 

Want to learn more in-depth tactical strategies for how to partner with legal and close deals faster? Watch our full conversation with Dale Zwizinski and Jessica Nguyen, where they dive deep into how high-performing teams are closing deals 20% faster by getting legal on their side.


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