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If you’re running a business that handles lots of contracts, chances are, you could benefit from hiring a contract manager. This is a relatively new role for many businesses to consider, but it is one that can help your business to operate in a much more streamlined and productive manner. At the end of the day, contracts are essential for any expanding business. Even if you largely deal with the general consumer market, chances are, you have contracts with suppliers, manufacturers, couriers, freelancers and others to keep everything up and running. Here’s more information on the subject to help you determine whether this is a useful recruit for you!

What is a contract manager?

Let’s start out by defining what a contract manager is and what they do. Put simply, a contract manager is an individual in a company who is responsible for the management and administration of contracts. They will also likely take responsibility for the processes in which contracts are agreed, created and signed. They will use tools specific to the industry you’re working with to complete their work. For example, a hospital contracts manager may use hospital contract management software to complete their role to a high level.

What does a contract manager do?

A contract is a piece of legal documentation between you or your business and another party you are deciding to work with. A good contract manager will make sure that these documents move smoothly, accurately and quickly from the point of agreeing to use or provide someone else with services to the work being carried out, completed and paid for. Your contract manager will create contracts, collaborate and negotiate with third parties until everyone’s in agreement and ensure that they are signed. Your contract manager will then make sure that all contracts are saved and stored securely in an organised manner that allows contracts to be pulled out as and when required.

Skills to Look For

If you feel that your business requires a contract manager, it’s time to get the recruitment process started. But what should you be looking for in potential candidates? Here are some key skills that can come in useful.

  • Analytical skills: your contract manager should be able to analyse the different contracts they’re working on and provide key data or metrics that let you see how you are doing with contracts and what can be done to improve the workflow.
  • Negotiation: chances are the third parties will do all they can to swing contracts in their favour. Your contracts manager will need to be a good negotiator to leave everyone happy with the transaction at hand.
  • Attention to detail: as you can imagine, contract managers have to pay a lot of attention to detail to ensure that there aren’t any loopholes in the contracts they’re working on.
  • Use of integrations: the majority of businesses will use different software integrations to compare contract data to other relevant aspects of the business’ operations. See what systems applicants are used to using.

Creating KPIs

As with any other position, your contract manager should have KPIs to prove their value to your business. There are a number of ways you can set fair and achievable KPIs, but they key element here is making sure that the KPIs reflect your contract manager completing their responsibilities. They should:

  • Prepare, submit and review tenders
  • Manage or assist with creating positive subcontractor and vendor relationships
  • Provide the key benefits and risks of any commercial contractual relationships
  • Negotiate preferable changes to contracts that benefit your company
  • Ensure new and existing contracts are legally sound
  • Review customer contract terms and conditions 

Does Your Contract Manager Require Legal Experience?

Sure, a knowledge of the law can come in useful when managing contracts. But your contract manager doesn’t necessarily have to have an extensive legal background. As long as they know the laws, rules and regulations of the industry you’re working in, they should be fine to carry out the role.

Of course, not every business will require a contract manager. But if you do deal with a lot of contracts, it will quickly become a pretty integral role within your company, contributing significantly to your success. Hopefully, some of the insight provided above will help you to determine whether you could benefit from a contract manager and what you should look for when hiring one. The recruitment process can be drawn out, but it’s definitely worth waiting until you find the right candidate who you feel you can trust and who has the necessary personality, skills and experience for the role.