For small businesses, contract management is often one of the biggest challenges. If you deal with it yourself in-house, it can be a huge drain on time and resources — plus, you could make costly errors. If you choose to hire full-time lawyers, however, costs can start spiraling out of control.
Why do I need a contract management system?
Contract management software for small business can solve the above dilemma of cost vs. compliance. By automating your contract process, you can eliminate unwanted efficiencies and errors while reducing costs at the same time. Real-world data has shown that manually drafting 100 NDAs takes 50 hours at a cost of €1,250. Automating this same scenario slashes the time to 50 minutes for just €20! Now consider these savings across your entire organization over many years — the benefits are undeniable.
Plus, with a streamlined contract workflow in place, your business will be better able to respond to opportunities at speed and mitigate risk. Independent research conducted by Forrester and Aberdeen found that contract approval might take an average of 3.4 weeks, but using contract management software reduces that time by an average of 82%.
How do I choose a contract management system?
First, it’s important that you map out the overall business needs and those of your departments. With this, you’ll have a better understanding of what type of package or plan you need.
Crucially, though, as an SMB you should be looking for a platform that’s end-to-end across the whole contract process, that’s easy-to-use, and that you can implement immediately. Another thing to keep in mind is the future — you’ll want an enterprise-wide solution that can scale with you as you grow.
How much does contract management software cost?
In today’s market, prices for different contract management software vary depending on your requirements, size, and ambitions. Some vendors provide free contract lifecycle management software plans while others charge you per user or per template. This can often make choosing the right platform difficult, which is why we’re running down some of the industry’s top options in this article.
Your guide to the best contract management software for small business
Avokaado is an end-to-end contract lifecycle management software that lets small businesses manage contracts and related workflows in one place to transform business efficiency.
Pre-lawyered template ecosystem, flexible collaboration workflows, customizable pricing including a free trial.
Document generation: Create compliant, error-free drafts in just a few clicks with an open-source library featuring automated templates prepared by partnered law firms.
👉 Find more free customizable contract templates in the Avokaado Templates Library
Document collaboration: Collaborate on each stage of the contract lifecycle using a shared workspace that lets you track workflows on a mobile-responsive dashboard so that you never miss a beat.
Digital contract signing: Seamless integration with international electronic signature providers such as Dokobit and SignNow lets you execute contracts without leaving a browser.
Document management: Manage document-related processes and stakeholders’ access rights digitally in the document database to ensure documents are reviewed on time by the right people.
Integrations: Integrate contracts with your existing technology stack: data registers, CSV tables, CRM, or your own software.
- Customizable pricing allows small businesses without lawyers to establish the same quality in authoring, workflows and collaboration as enterprise businesses with dedicated legal teams. Features include dynamic approval processes, audit trails with notifications and collaborative drafting.
- eSignatures in each document workflow so you don’t have to pay additional fees for external providers.
- Document template management which lets you bring all your templates to Avokaado so they’re accessible for you and your team.
- You’ll need to spend time getting used to the tool to get the most out of it. But Avokaado’s Contract Clinic and team of legal engineers are on hand to support you at every stage.
You can get free contract management software with the $0 Freemium plan, and 7–day free trials are available for the Starter and Standard plans.
Concord is a contract management platform offering a range of applications to automate and connect the entire contract management process, from authoring to the final signature.
Smart document approval workflows, OCR search, familiar Google Doc-like interface.
Document generation: Import any document from any source and create multiple customized versions of an agreement with different variables.
Document collaboration: Edit documents and discuss with collaborators directly on Concord without ever leaving the platform.
Digital contract signing: Legally admissible e-signatures at no extra cost and an unlimited number of internal and external signers.
Document management: Get unlimited document storage and automatically send signed documents to other tools.
Integrations: Salesforce, DocuSign, Google Drive, Dropbox, or your own software.
- Quickly set up your teams and start enjoying the familiar inbox-like interface.
- Collaborate and/or negotiate seamlessly with third-parties through the different integrated tools.
- Users have reported formatting issues after uploading documents, which wasted time.
From $0 for the free pricing plan and ‘try for free’ options on the Standard and Pro plans.
PandaDoc is an all-in-one document automation software to streamline the process to create, approve, and eSign proposals, quotes, and contracts.
Customizable templates, page-by-page insights and analytics, automated eSignature tracking.
Document generation: Contract templates combined with a library of pre-approved clause choices let you build, customize and populate error-free contracts quickly.
Document collaboration: Redline your contracts by leaving comments on specific sections of a document, or use the general chat function to negotiate and collaborate with ease.
Digital contract signing: Legally binding eSignature technology that is ESIGN and UETA compliant. PandaDoc is also HIPAA compliant and SOC 2 Type II certified to help protect sensitive information.
Document management: Benefit from functionality that makes it easy for your team to find the documents they need with an adjustable list view where they can drag and drop new files.
Integrations: Powerful native CRM integrations, simple connectors, and other out-of-the-box solutions help to streamline your document workflow. Work on client-facing documents without leaving the applications you’re already working in.
- The free eSign plan comes with unlimited legally binding signatures and unlimited document uploads.
- Real-time notifications when recipients open, view, comment, or complete actions help your team keep on top of negotiations.
- Prices increase substantially if you want to add more users to your plan.
From $0 for the Free eSign plan and free trial options on the Essentials and Business plans.
ContractSafe is a cloud-based contract management solution for businesses of any size.
Speed Search with automatic OCR, cloud-based repository, Integrate with Zapier (which connects to over 2000+ applications).
Document generation: Contract creation is not possible with ContractSafe — the platform focuses more on contract storage and sharing, search and reporting, security, and alerts.
Document collaboration: Internal and external users are able to collaborate on contracts through a shared web portal with messaging features.
Digital contract signing: Two-way DocuSign integration for electronic signatures allows contracts to be electronically signed within minutes.
Document management: ContractSafe’s [AI]ssistant functionality offers sophisticated search options and lets you set up and organize documents, eliminating manual tasks in the process.
Integrations: Salesforce integration to sync your CRM and CMS.
- Advanced OCR technology makes it easy to search contracts for key criteria.
- Customizable dashboards allow employees to create unique views containing only the information they need.
- No contract authoring or built-in editing functionality means it’s less of an end-to-end contract management solution compared to other vendors.
From $299/month for the Basic plan, up to $899/month for the Enterprise option (paid annually).
Contract Hound is a cloud-based contract lifecycle management software that organizes your contracts so you can find details quickly and keep on top of renewal dates.
Activity Feeds which serve as digital paper trails, mobile-optimized experience, approval workflows.
Document generation: Unlike some of the other vendors mentioned earlier, Contract Hound does not have contract creation capabilities.
Document collaboration: Approval workflows allow you to send contracts to team members for approval, track who has approved, who is left, and if the contract has been rejected.
Digital contract signing: Send contracts to DocuSign for signature(s) and they’ll sync back and be saved in Contract Hound.
Document management: Organize contracts by any function using Folders and organize contracts so that key information can be found quickly.
Integrations: DocuSign integration available.
- Drag and drop approval workflow engine.
- Intuitive and easy-to-use mobile user interface.
- No contract creation ability.
- No native contract viewing or OCR search features.
From $95/month per 50 contracts and with a 14–day free trial available.
Docxpresso is an enterprise-level smart contract and document management solution that simplifies the generation of dynamic documents in a web server.
Integrated data analysis tools and search, manage all documents in the cloud, blockchain certification.
Document generation: Generate customized documents and reports online using data from end-user inputs, databases, excel files, and other third-party services.
Document collaboration: Organize your processes into workflows so you can track who does what and when, and compare each version of your documents and their evolution over time.
Digital contract signing: Docxpresso seamlessly integrates with Docusign and ValidatedID
Document management: Docxpresso transforms common documents into interactive online documents using integrated data, help tips and videos, webcam captures, QRs, and more.
Integrations: Import and export data from cloud spreadsheets stored in Google Drive, Office365, and Sharepoint, plus integrate with WordPress.
- Capacity to convert plain Word documents into fully fledged web apps which users can then work on in the Docxpresso platform.
- Tight security — only authorized Docxpresso users and signers can access the documents and data associated with the lifecycle of a contract.
- A lack of predefined contract options available may cause confusion for those SMBs without an in-house lawyer.
From $25/month/user for the Core plan, up to $75/month/user for the Professional plan.
SpringCM, a DocuSign Company, helps generate, automate, manage, and store your documents and contracts in a secure cloud and includes the DocuSign CLM.
Customizable AI models to extract key terms and clauses, drag and drop template creation, full integration with Salesforce and DocuSign.
Document generation: Create pre-configured templates that auto-populate contracts with data from other systems and approved language.
Document collaboration: Send contracts for review, track changes across multiple versions, and maintain a single source of truth for who did what, when.
Digital contract signing: You can send and sign via DocuSign eSignature directly from DocuSign CLM, but this function is sold separately.
Document management: CLM 360 lets you find the information you need, when you need it with improved knowledge management and deep repository, party and agreement level visibility.
Integrations: Prebuilt connectors and rich APIs let you connect your existing tools.
- Includes DocuSign Insight which lets you enhance your analysis with pre-trained, customizable AI models.
- One of the most secure CLM solutions on the market: SOC 2, HIPPA, TRUSTe, and FedRAMP.
- Need to sign up for DocuSign eSignature separately, which incurs extra costs.
No pricing plans available, so you will need to contact DocuSign Sales for a bespoke quote. It’s important to remember, though, that the additional DocuSign eSignature is $25/month/user for the Standard plan.
Precisely is a digital contracting platform that automates processes and reduces manual tasks, while ensuring contract compliance.
Smart search and filtering, automated approval workflows, integrated eSignature solution.
Document generation: Automated templates allow all colleagues, regardless of legal experience, to create compliant, error-free contracts.
Document collaboration: With automated approval workflows, you keep all communication in one place, and make sure those involved get notified when needed.
Digital contract signing: Precisely’s e-signing solution creates a comprehensive transaction trail between the signing parties. Information, such as IP address, is tracked and timestamped from submission to signature.
Document management: Get an overview of every contract status with a secure, cloud-based, central repository that lets you gather all of your legal documents in one place, including smart search.
Integrations: You can integrate Precisely with a number of tools that you use for everyday contract negotiation including DocuSign, Salesforce, and Zapier.
- Review, approve, negotiate, and e-sign all in one place to avoid confusion or miscommunication.
- Users praised its sophisticated access rights and user role structure, that lets you customize Precisely to the needs of a business.
- Prices increase further if you need higher numbers of automated contracts.
From $62/month/user for the Professional plan, which also features a 14–day free trial.
Data-driven contract management tools that digitize and optimize your contracts and processes throughout all phases of the contract lifecycle.
Clause and template libraries, data-driven CLM repository, configurable workflows based on dynamic business rules.
Document generation: Create and author contract documents faster using approved language from clause and template libraries (available on the Premium CLM plan only).
Document collaboration: Automatically capture internal and third-party edits, redlines, and comments throughout the negotiation with a complete history in one place.
Digital contract signing: Integrated with DocuSign and Sertifi, and features signature status tracking.
Document management: Users can easily track the progress of contracts using progress bars and visual cues or add them to their personal watch list for constant monitoring.
Integrations: Contract Logix easily integrates with existing business applications via an API such as ERP, CRM, and ITSM.
- Send documents for electronic signature and automate the routing and receiving of the final executed agreements.
- Hosted on Microsoft’s Azure Cloud for complete security and accessibility.
- For end-to-end contract lifecycle management, small businesses will need the Premium CLM plan.
Starts at $59.00 per feature/month with two plans: Premium CLM and Express CMS.
Contract Insight® by CobbleStone Software is a fully configurable platform that provides users with better governance over their contracts in a user-friendly, easy-to-navigate contract management system.
Custom search and reporting, unlimited contract storage, automated workflows.
Document generation: With Contract Insight™ you can create/author and draft contracts in any type of document creation program. Existing document templates can be leveraged by Contract Insight™ for contract authoring.
Document collaboration: Securely share documents, negotiate, obtain electronic signatures, and send bulk signature invitations.
Digital contract signing: Seamless integration with leading e-signature solutions including Adobe Sign, DocuSign, and others.
Document management: The AI-powered VISDOM module systematically analyzes contracts by transforming the documents into building blocks for improved contract oversight.
Integrations: Contract Insight offers data integration with API plug-ins and data integration with leading CRM, vendor management, supply chain, ERP, and other standards-based software.
- Real-time contract risk visibility helps SMBs to negotiate better deals and to better identify higher cost saving opportunities.
- Advanced contract reporting gives full visibility into contractual relationships across entities or business units.
- Customization options can be difficult to set up and manage.
Starts at $59.00/user/month and features a 30–day free trial.
Contractbook offers end-to-end business contract software that lets small and medium-sized businesses manage contracts throughout the entire lifecycle in a single streamlined flow.
Automated contract creation process, defined hierarchy collaboration, integration with 3000+ other apps.
Document generation: The Contractbook template library lets you create contracts directly in its machine-friendly format across a range of formats and for different business functions.
Document collaboration: Collaborate in multiple teams with defined hierarchies to get a better understanding of your legal situation. Additionally, invite external guests and negotiate seamlessly with other parties to secure the best possible deals.
Digital contract signing: A legally binding and secure digital signature system where you can choose between national IDs, two-factor verification, or single-click signature.
Document management: Monitor your activities and set reminders in the Activity Dashboard, and use task management to finalize contracts on time.
Integrations: Automate your contracts and integrate with 3000+ apps. (You’ll need to book a demo to check specific integration capabilities).
- Extensive template gallery and easy-to-use editor.
- Store contracts on a cloud database for easy quick data insights.
- Users have reported that the editor is lacking in functionality when it comes to heading stylings and dynamic content tables.
A free version is available for one user, but the features are limited and not suitable for end-to-end contract management. The Core package starts at $97/month for 3 users.
The Juro contract automation platform lets legal and business teams streamline routine contract workflows in one unified workspace.
No-code workflow builder, in-browser template editor, real-time contract analytics.
Document generation: The flexible in-browser editor allows you to generate contracts from within your CRM and collaborate with your prospect in-browser.
Document collaboration: With Juro’s no-code workflow builder, you can create a robust approval process that’s always live-synced with CRM and gives business teams access and editing rights.
Digital contract signing: eSign securely in Juro, on any device without needing to purchase a separate eSigning tool.
Document management: Juro’s smart repository allows teams to get greater oversight of its contracts, thanks to a flexible data layer underpinning pre and post-signature workflow.
Integrations: Juro’s REST API and webhooks let you connect Juro to your core systems.
- Easy-to-use drag-and-drop workflow builder.
- Native eSignature removes the need for a separate signing tool.
- Some users have said that the contract template filing system lacked functionality for adding subfolders to organize documents.
From $0 for the Free plan which includes 50 contracts and 1 user. The next plan up, ‘Lite’, starts at $59/user/month. Demos are available, but no free trials.
airSlate automates your contract management lifecycle by generating quotes, contracts, orders, and invoices while receiving payments and tracking contract execution.
Intuitive drag and drop interface, automated approvals using no-code airSlate bots, integrated payment collection into contract negotiation.
Document generation: Automate the process of creating error-free agreements, contracts, reports, and forms with airSlate’s templates that are split by industry and use case.
Document collaboration: Set up no-code airSlate Bots to send notifications any time a change is made to a contract, issue reminders for deadlines, archive after approval, and much more.
Digital contract signing: Quickly configure and deploy legally binding e-signatures for your documents, contracts, and web forms.
Document management: Configure workflows to transfer documents and data across all your cloud applications using no-code, easy-to-configure airSlate Bots.
Integrations: You can integrate airSlate with your existing CRM or ERP system without APIs.
- Doesn’t require extensive knowledge of coding.
- The native multi-cloud environment ensures that all your workflows function at all times.
- Not as diverse a range of non-API integrations as other contract management vendors.
A free account is available but full access to each Slate is limited to 30 days after account creation. The Basic plan starts at $30 flow creator/month.
Agiloft provides agile software for contract and commerce lifecycle management based on pre-built and custom modules.
Robust compliance analytics, pre-built AI functionality, built-in Adobe sign and DocuSign integration.
Document generation: Create a complete contract with just a few clicks using the clause library, and place dates, fields, and formulas into a document without using ActiveX or client-side software.
Document collaboration: Receive inbound email from internal and external accounts, protected with full SSL security, to generate and update records with text and attachments, and get a full audit trail of all inbound and outbound email communications,
Digital contract signing: Integrate with Adobe Sign or DocuSign to collect signatures digitally.
Document management: AI-enabled risk scoring surfaces the risk in your contracts so you can focus on and minimize high-risk contracts.
Integrations: Agiloft comes with prebuilt integration to a wide range of common applications and a robust set of APIs.
- No-code technology allows deep customization across the entire system using just the admin browser.
- Get customized reports and automatic alerts for budgets, spend and obligations management, expirations by department, status, vendor, and other variables.
- Unlike many other vendors, there isn’t the simple drag and drop type functionality that can be a big benefit for small businesses without legal experience.
Agiloft offers four pricing plans starting at $65 per user/month which include different integrations and custom modules. You can also register for Agiloft’s open-ended free trial, which comes with free licenses for an administrator, 5 power users, and 5 end users.
How to choose the right contract management software for small business
If you’re a small business, then it’s clear that implementing contract management lifecycle software is your path to increased efficiencies across the board. Manual processes will do nothing but kill your profits and rack up errors.
Before deciding on a vendor, though, you need to take stock of your goals and see which areas of your business will benefit from contract automation. It’s only with a clear plan and objectives that you’ll know which is the right solution for you.
What’s clear, though, is that a full but intuitive end-to-end solution (like Avokaado) is the right — and necessary — option for small business. You need a platform that can take care of every stage of the contract process — from authoring through to final signature.
As a small business, prices (including the free options and free trials covered above) are also key in deciding on which vendor to partner with for continued growth. You need to choose a vendor who can tailor the price to your specific needs and offer flexibility throughout.