Contract Management

10 Questions to ask during a CLM software demo 

November 2, 2023
Urooj K

Urooj K

5 min read

You are on the hunt for the best contract management software for your business. You know what you want, you have done your research, and now have a slew of demos lined up. Perfect!

What happens next: You take the demos as scheduled, evaluate the offerings against your requirements, and choose the one that best meets your needs and budget.

Well, that’s how these things normally go. 

However, many enterprise software are infamous for hidden charges and performance drawbacks that you realize only after you start using them. 

In this blog post, we’ll cover some questions you need to ask during CLM software demos beyond the standard ones that address your requirements. These additional questions will help you take a more informed decision that will benefit your team and be cost-effective in the short and long run.

Unlimited Documents

Q1: What do you mean by unlimited documents? Will we be charged based on usage at any point?

Most platforms state the cap on document/contract creation and eSignatures for each of their plans. If the pricing states that there are no limits, do dig a bit deeper and clarify if “unlimited” truly means unlimited.

Sometimes, the “unlimited” usage is subject to, what is termed as, the reasonable usage policy and they do charge you if you exceed whatever they deem reasonable. 

DocuSign, for instance, for their e-Sign offering, typically charges for additional usage at a surge pricing that is 2X-5X of the committed price.

An additional caveat has to do with unlimited document execution with and without storage. In this case, while you may be able to execute unlimited contracts, you will be charged extra for storage of the said contracts.

No-code Workflows and Templates

Q2: Is template and workflow creation no-code? Do we need to involve you in their creation? If yes, what are the costs involved?

Creating a template or workflow for approval and eSignatures is not a straightforward process. You will typically need to rope in the vendor to set up a new template or workflow—a process they may charge you for by the hour. This dependency for every small change will not only burn a hole in your pocket but also slow down work for everyone involved.

Platforms that provide no-code template and workflow creation are a better bet.


Q3: What are the implementation costs and how long is the implementation cycle?

Most CLM platforms state that their implementation cycle takes 3 months. However, this can span 4 to 6 months. Additionally, implementation charges can put a big dent in your budget and may cost as much as, or more than, the actual CLM software does.

This question is critical because once the implementation cycle is underway, it is nearly impossible to take a step back and choose to go with another platform. 

Security and Controls

Q4: What are the folder and document level controls available? What measures are taken to ensure document confidentiality? 

Your company’s documents and contracts carry some of your most critical data. Their confidentiality and control with regards to who can view, edit, download, and share them is of utmost importance.

Many CLM platforms have little to no control and documents are accessible to all users. This is a big infosec risk with huge ramifications.

You need to ensure that the CLM software you choose prioritizes security and gives you the controls you need to ensure document confidentiality.

Document Editor

Q5: Do you have an in-built editor to edit contracts? Is it native and full-fledged or basic?

The rich editors most CLMs claim are generally very basic and not cut out for the job. Your contracts and documents deserve better.

Others integrate with MS Word or Google Docs, but this is a super painful process, requiring you to download and upload multiple times for every contract. 


Q6: How does collaboration work, especially when the contract is shared with counterparties who may not be a part of my organization?

Most CLMs offer some amount of collaboration, particularly internally with your team members. Do ask them how collaboration works overall on the platform, especially with external parties.

On some platforms, documents and contracts need to be emailed across to external parties for their approval, edits, and eSignatures. Collaboration becomes a big hassle and you lose all control of your document.  

End-to-end collaboration where everything takes place on the platform, not outside of it, eliminating the need to switch to email or any other tool, is an ideal case scenario.


Q7: Are there additional costs for using the various integrations? 

Your CLM software needs to integrate with the rest of your tech stack for true automation and ease of use. However, do ask upfront if there are any usage fees associated with these integrations. Some platforms do charge per user per integration, so it helps to have clarity right off the bat.


Q8: Where will our documents be stored? Any additional charges for storage?

As stated above, document storage is not a given when you purchase your plan. It may cost extra. Do ask before you finalize.


Q9: If we migrate to a different CLM in the future, what would the process be like, and what are the costs involved?

Your CLM should serve as your single source of truth and a central repository of all your contracts. While migrating to a different CLM platform you will need to move your old documents and metadata from your current CLM to the new one.

While migration is a service most platforms provide, there are two points to note:
1. This can be a super tedious process. Clarify how the migration would work and how much time commitment would be required from your team to make it happen.
2. There can be a significant one-time charge (sometimes, a recurring one as well). Do ask if there is one and what that would cost. 


Q10: Is the e-Sign functionality native or an integration with another service?

For CLMs, having an e-signature functionality is a given. However, most platforms do not have this native or in-built. It may be an integration with another service, which translates to additional costs for you.

Also, ensure that the signature is legally-binding and court-admissible. 


So, there you have it, ten questions to ask during CLM software demos. These questions will clarify the capabilities of the platform beyond your immediate requirements. They will also help understand the true cost of choosing one CLM over another.

DocuX is an end-to-end document and contract lifecycle management platform where everything from drafting to collaboration to eSigning and long-term archiving and retrieval happens in one place. After taking several CLM software demos, businesses of all sizes have found their fit with us due to our competitive and transparent pricing and comprehensive feature set. Book a demo to see how we can help you.

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