Creating, negotiating, and managing contracts, is an essential part of every business, regardless of the size. However, each step is time-consuming and prone to standard data entry errors. Contract management software, also known as contract lifecycle management (CLM), makes the process faster while decreasing financial and audit risks.
Companies in all industries see benefits. For instance, FineMark Bank spent four to five hours preparing each document manually. After adopting DocuSign, the company reduced this to 30 minutes.
To find the best contract management solutions, we evaluated more than three dozen providers based on key features, including customization and automation. Plus, we looked at pricing plans, security, and compliance measures, along with popular integrations.
The 7 Best Contract Management Software for 2020
Best Overall: PandaDoc
PandaDoc is an affordable, all-in-one solution with a robust contract and document management platform.
24/7 customer support on paid plans
Unlimited documents, e-signatures, and users
14-day free trial
The content library is only available with Business or Enterprise plans
Bulk send feature costs extra
Limited integrations in the free plan
Founded in 2011, PandaDoc helps you oversee the entire lifecycle of your contracts using its intuitive software. This affordable and feature-rich software stands out from the competition, making it the best overall choice for companies of any size.
- Content and contract library
- Contract duplication
- Real-time notifications
- Payment processing
PandaDoc provides custom templates with an easy-to-use, rich-media, drag-and-drop editor. Plus, you can set up custom workflows, processes, and rules. Customers appreciate integrations with 10-plus customer relationship management (CRM) programs like HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Microsoft Dynamics.
This secure solution gives companies an audit trail for documents while keeping data safe in its secure cloud storage facilities. If you need a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)-compliant program, PandaDoc offers custom solutions.
PandaDoc CLM software features month-to-month or annual plans, and you'll save up to 24% with a yearly payment. The following package prices are based on monthly billing:
- Free eSign: Get unlimited legally binding signature and document uploads, plus accept payment all for free
- Essentials: $25 per month per user for templates, a drag-and-drop editor, pricing tables, and document analysis
- Business: $59 per month per user for CRM integrations, content library, custom branding, approval workflows, and Zapier integrations
- Enterprise: Get a personalized solution with an unlimited number of team workspaces, Salesforce integration, and user performance reporting
Best for Small Businesses: DocuSign
From e-signatures to a full CLM system, DocuSign gives small businesses access to inexpensive contract management solutions.
30-day free trial of e-signature solution, no credit card required
24/7 chat support
Flexible workflow configurations
Full CLM solution requires a custom quote
Initial workflow setup is complex
Occasionally has problems with syncing documents
DocuSign began in 2003 as an e-signature company, but its purchase of SpringCM gave the business CLM capabilities. Companies use DocuSign widely because it's simple to use for all parties. Its e-signature plans are best for small businesses in our review, although end-to-end solutions are available for contract-heavy workflows.
You can use this browser-based software online or take your contracts to go with DocuSign's mobile app for Android and iOS. The e-signature and CLM program has several features available, including:
- Reusable templates
- Recipient reminders
- Payment collection
- Real-time comment notifications
- Content repository
Customize your contract emails with personalized logo and color themes and take advantage of smart forms with custom formulas. DocuSign connects with more than 350 pre-built integrations like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Google.
Small business owners appreciate court-admissible audit trails, secure storage centers, and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance. The company offers unique plans for realtors, government agencies, and healthcare to assist with your regulatory needs.
Many small companies do well with e-signature plans. You can pay annually or monthly, but you'll save $5 to $20 per month with a yearly payment. Packages below are based on month-to-month payments:
- Personal: $15 for a single-user plan and the ability to send five e-signature documents per month and primary contract fields
- Standard: $40 per month per user for up to five users, adds auto email reminders, deadline notifications, unlimited documents, and deadline dates
- Business Pro: $60 per month per user for up to five users to collect payments, use advanced fields and smart forms, and bulk-send contracts
Best for Large Businesses: Concord
With full onboarding support and enterprise-grade features, Concord allows companies to send an unlimited number of documents.
Unlimited contracts, viewers, e-signatures, and storage
Bulk upload features on all plans
Free trial with no credit card required
No refunds on plans
Versioning requirements create long data logs
Difficult to integrate contracts signed outside of the platform
Founded in 2014, Concord's simple design helps enterprises stay on top of compliance and changes throughout the lifecycle. With the unlimited volume and key integrations, Concord is your best choice for large businesses.
At first glance, you'll notice that Concord looks similar to Gmail. You can set it up in minutes and take advantage of full onboarding support with all plans. You can choose to work from the program you're comfortable in, whether you choose the Concord dashboard, Word, or Google Drive. Top CLM features include:
- Live editing
- Redline, comment, and chat
- Template storage
- Autofill smart fields
- Full-text optical character recognition (OCR) search
- Automated email reminders
- Built-in e-signature function
Concord delivers tons of flexibility with a custom approval process, reports, insights, and user groups. It connects with Dropbox, DocuSign, and Salesforce. The company uses bank industry-standard encryption and secure data centers. Plus, you benefit from strict versioning requirements, which generates a new log every time a field is entered or edited and provides you with a consistent audit trail.
The CLM packages deliver clear and transparent pricing based on your number of users and a yearly contract. Select plans from five to 200-plus users. The following packages are based on five users, billed annually:
- Starter: $279 per month
- Standard: $339 per month for bulk-send and amendment management
- Pro: $419 per month for all integrations
- Enterprise: Get a custom quote for a 99.9% service level agreement (SLA), pre-approved clause library, and custom branding
Best Free Option: Juro
This end-to-end contract management platform offers a free plan with incredible functionality.
Free plan for up to 50 contracts a year
Intuitive to use
Paid plans are expensive
No mobile app
Can’t send the same contract to several people at once
Founded in 2016, Juro offers a visually appealing dashboard with robust search capabilities and AI-enabled analytics. Although it’s pricey for paid plans, the free program provides the right mix of basic features making it our top choice for the best free option.
As an end-to-end contract management platform, Juro offers templates and a built-in template editor to create contracts and send them out for approval quickly. Its intuitive dashboard features a best-in-class user interface. With the free plan, you get:
- One template
- Template editor
- Internal commenting
- External negotiation
- Native e-signature
- Kanban dashboard
If you opt for a paid plan, you’ll get high-level functionality like AI-powered analytics, redlining, and the ability to mass update your contracts. Paid packages also include integrations with Slack, Google Drive, and Salesforce.
Like other CLM solutions, Juro complies with regulations for e-signatures and stores data on Amazon Web Services (AWS) servers in tightly controlled data centers in the EU region.
Juro only offers annual contracts on paid plans, so you can’t pay monthly. But, non-profits do receive a 15% discount. Packages include:
- Free: For up to 50 contracts, one user, and all free plan features noted above
- Lite: $450 per month for 500 contracts, five users, unlimited templates, audit trails, and integrations
- Team: $990 per month for unlimited contracts, 10 users, AI-enabled analytics, bulk actions, and custom approval workflows
- Business: A custom solution for mass imports and a single sign-on option
Best for Customization: Agiloft
Agiloft provides code-free customizations for contract and commerce lifecycle management.
Free plan for SMBs
99.9% uptime service level agreement (SLA)
No internal chat feature
Unlimited customization provides so many options that it can be confusing
Agiloft is the oldest provider on the list, as it was founded in 1990. However, it stayed current with plenty of updates giving companies of all sizes access to customizable solutions. It's enterprise-grade and custom features make Agiloft a clear winner in our best for customization category.
Use Agiloft on any computer with its cloud-hosted software. All businesses benefit from:
- Free online training
- Contract authoring
- Clause library
- Contract print templates
- E-signature via DocuSign or Adobe Sign
- Content repository
Its code-free configurations allow you to put together custom workflows, routing processes, reports, and even a personalized dashboard to track your key performance indicators (KPIs) and alerts. Agiloft integrates with Google and Microsoft to quickly upload documents using the software you already use in your business.
Agiloft provides an audit trail for every document, keeps your data in secure storage centers, and provides Sarbanes-Oxley, GDPR, and HIPAA compliance.
When it comes to pricing, Agiloft believes in custom solutions. You can choose to pay on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. All plans are based on your number of users and start at $65 per user per month:
- Free: No-cost license for an administrator, five power users, and five end-users with standard integrations
- Professional: Adds phone support and five-minute intervals for timer-based rules
- Professional Extended: Get vendor and customer portals, multi-language support, and pre-built integrations with Salesforce and Jira
- Enterprise: Pre-built artificial intelligence (AI) modes and in-house deployment options
- Enterprise Extended: Offers 24/7 support and a support specialist
Best for Reporting: Outlaw
Track key data points for total visibility using Outlaw CLM software.
Unlimited contracts, storage, and e-signatures
Live chat support
Only specific people can sign the agreements, and not all companies require this level of security
As a newcomer to the group, Outlaw was founded in 2017. With plenty of features in its dashboard and AI-assisted analytics, Outlaw is the perfect option we found for your reporting needs.
Outlaw is well-suited for most businesses, and its unlimited cloud storage, contracts, and e-signatures mean you don't have to worry about volume. The best features consist of:
- Native e-signature capabilities
- Cloud-based redlining
- Stripe payment integration
- Real-time notifications
- Full-text search
- Self-service templates
- Dynamic contract fields
You'll appreciate its AI analytics, which help you run reports on timelines, contract statuses, and ongoing activities. Outlaw connects with Salesforce, HubSpot, Zapier, Slack, and QuickBooks. Moreover, the company keeps your data in SOC 2-compliant data centers.
You'll find flexible pay-per-seat plans and can save 20% with annual billing. Outlaw defines two user roles for payment packages, although you can't add collaborators until you have five core users:
- Core User: $125 per month per user for account owners with full control
- Collaborator: $60 per month per user for active users without full administrative features
Best for Automation: ContractWorks
ContractWorks with AI-enabled technologies provides automated services, saving you time and money.
24/7 support team
Free data migration
Very limited integrations
No mobile app
No document creation although you can create templates
Since 2012 ContractWorks has provided intuitive software that only takes 30-minutes to set up. Its automatic smart document tagging using AI technology makes it best for your automation needs.
Users appreciate its ease of use, including drag-and-drop downloads and an OCR text-based search system that resembles a Google browser. You'll get many popular features such as:
- Automatic smart contract outlines
- Contract repository
- Milestone alerts
- Automatic recordkeeping
- Annotations for quick, easy document review
- OCR and advanced search capabilities
- Automated reminders
- Built-in e-signature
ContractWorks provides several customization options, including branding and reports that allow you to select any data point you choose to analyze. Plus, you can easily save, schedule, share, and export your reports. The software integrates with Salesforce on Professional and Enterprise plans.
This CLM solution provides audit log reporting, 256-bit data encryption, and secure storage centers.
All pricing plans are billed annually and based on volume. You can contact the company for high-volume discounts as well. Plans include:
- Standard: $600 per month for 2,500 documents and five e-signature licenses
- Professional: $800 per month for 10,000 documents and 10 e-signature licenses
- Enterprise: $1,000 per month for unlimited documents and 20 e-signatures licenses
What Is Contract Management Software?
Whether you need a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) or a third-party contract signed, with contract management software, you can handle it all online with full visibility every step of the way. The entire contract lifecycle includes:
- Document preparation
- Sending the agreement to the other party
- Redlining or in-document changes
- Approval process
- Year-to-year amendments or renewals
- Audits for compliance
- Long-term storage for agreements
What Are Common Features of Contract Management Software?
While all CLM software varies in its offerings, nearly all solutions support business owners throughout the document lifecycle. The most desired contract management software features consist of:
- Custom or smart fields: Choose from standard fields for your contracts or add custom fields to gather specific details about your client.
- Automated approval process: Enterprise-level software allows you to set up workflows, so your document passes through the right people for approval without wasting time.
- Automated alerts: From email notifications of contract changes to alerts for milestones, automated reminders keep everyone in the know throughout the process.
- Redlining: This is where all parties edit contracts while tracking any changes. This is also part of negotiations in the digital world as documents flow to and from parties with changes accepted or denied.
- e-signature: Many CLMs offer native e-signature tools, meaning it's built into the software. Other companies incorporate a third-party e-signature tool into their software.
- OCR capabilities: This is a text- or voice-based search function, allowing you to quickly find contracts, clauses, or client data in your storage.
- Audit trails: Some CLM software tracks all versions, conversations, and edits to show a clear audit trail if your contract is litigated.
- Content repository: Forget printing and filing hundreds of contracts. Instead, a content library houses all your contracts, templates, and in some cases, your standard clauses.
What Does Contract Management Software Cost?
Most contract management software offers month-to-month or annual subscriptions, with discounts given for yearly payments, high contract volume, or a large number of users. The free and low-cost plans work very well for small businesses with standard contracts, as you can upload your own agreement or use a common template, then send it for an e-signature.
Paid plans start at $25 per user per month for basic contract management features. However, lower-priced plans often don't include advanced customization, reporting, or branding options. At the other end, you'll pay up to $125 per user per month for AI technologies, automation, and total customization.
How We Chose the Best Contract Management Software
While reviewing more than 36 contract lifecycle management companies, we looked closely at top features, integrations, and ease of use. Furthermore, we judged providers on their customization and automation tools, along with audit support and volume capabilities.
We found that the best solutions offer intuitive mobile apps, automated workflows, and advanced search features. Plus, affordability was a must for small businesses, along with real-time notifications and reminders.
DocuSign. "Case study: FineMark Bank." Accessed October 31, 2020.