How to simplify a software licence agreement

How can simplifying software licence agreements reduce time to sign and strengthen complex commercial relationships?

This deep dive looks at who software licence agreements affect, why simplifying the contract process and content can help, and how to do it. Use the navigation below to find out more, or explore our deep dives on other contracts, like MSAs and SaaS agreements.

What’s a software licence agreement? | Who do they affect? | Why simplify software licence agreements? | How to simplify the software licence agreement process | How to simplify your software licence agreement content | Useful features | Learn more

What’s a software licence agreement?

Software licence agreements offer an individual or business the right to use software that legally belongs to someone else. Businesses distribute software licence agreements to control use of the software, protect legal ownership and strengthen commercial relationships. 

Who do software licence agreements affect?

Stakeholders affected by software licence agreements vary depending on your business. Usually, they include: 

  • Salespeople. The sales team is driven by deadlines, and wants to get deals over the line as quickly as possible. This can sometimes lead to deviation from standard contract terms, especially if the software licence agreement isn’t created and managed from a single template.

  • Legal. The in-house legal team is typically responsible for the commercial terms, defining and approving changes to standard positions.

  • Approvers. These vary depending on the business. Approvers range from members of the sales team, to the leadership team, and sometimes even C-suite, depending on the value of the contract.

  • Authorized signatories. These people also vary from business to business.

  • Customers. Customers in negotiations to use the software you’re providing are key stakeholders in this process.

A complex, jargon-heavy contract that overloads the user with information won’t be easy to understand, negotiate or sign. This means deals take longer to close

Why simplify software licence agreements?

In a B2B environment, software licence agreements are a key touchpoint during the sales process. The commercial relationships parties agree to could last years – especially if the user experience is positive and your software continues to address the user’s needs. 

A complex, jargon-heavy contract that overloads the user with information won’t be easy to understand, negotiate or sign. Deals will take longer to close, with increased friction for the business. And the counterparty won’t be too thrilled with the experience either. If the process is particularly laborious, there’s always a danger that the counterparty doesn’t sign at all, affecting commercial growth. On the other hand, a contract that is simple, accessible and clear will reduce time-to-sign, ultimately leading to a faster recognition of revenue.

Multiple systems means multiple files – which means plenty of room for error, a significant loss of data and a poor experience for your counterparty

How to simplify the software licence agreement process

Before diving into the content of your software licence agreement, you need to make sure your contract process is as simple as possible for both parties. From our experience of talking to in-house legal teams at high-growth businesses, two things make the software licence agreement process complicated: file-based workflows and multiple systems. 

Find a platform that does it all

The software licence agreement process usually involves finding the right version of a template in Word, negotiating over email, phone calls and meetings, converting to a PDF, sending to the counterparty in a tool for electronic signatures like DocuSign, and then saving in a shared drive or as a hard copy somewhere. 

But who has the time for multiple systems? Find a single platform that can handle templating, creation, negotiation, signature and management. 

Create digital, dynamic contracts

Multiple systems means multiple files. And this means plenty of room for error, a significant loss of data and a poor experience for your counterparty – the business or individual you should be trying to impress. Instead, make sure you choose a contract collaboration platform that works with contracts as dynamic, digital data models. With structured data that’s searchable from day one, version control won’t be a problem again.

How to simplify your software licence agreement content

The specifics of which terms you can include, edit or remote in a software licence agreement are decisions for your legal team, but there are a few simple ways to make your software licence agreement content friendlier and easier to sign.

Brand it 

Include the logos of both companies at the top of your contract. It’s a really simple way to add visual interest, make the document more engaging and strengthen your new commercial relationship. It also personalizes this agreement to the customer, which benefits both parties; nothing says “we care” like a little individuality.

Foreground key terms

Look at your negotiation data and identify the information that needs to be front and centre to push the deal forward. Don’t hide contentious terms in jargon-heavy subclauses – you’ll only slow down time-to-sign. Make sure the most important information is in plain sight, so you can streamline negotiations and reach an agreement faster.

Use layering and linking

Including every relevant policy and document in your software licence agreement will overwhelm your counterparty. Instead, find a contract collaboration platform that lets you bundle documents, attach them to your main contract and link text. This way, you can include all the necessary information without overloading your customer.

Useful features

Simplify your software licence agreements with these useful contract collaboration features:

  • Mass actions. Authorized signatories can get incredibly busy, with hundreds of documents waiting in line for their signature. If you’ve managed to navigate through the collaboration and negotiation process, the last thing you want is for your software licence agreement to gather dust in someone’s inbox, waiting for approval. Find a platform that lets you carry out mass actions to keep things moving.

  • Internal and external commenting. Offer additional information, communicate internally with colleagues, and discuss terms externally with the counterparty – without ever having to leave your browser.

  • eSigning. Speed up signing with a secure, mobile-optimized eSignature solution that allows users to sign anywhere, at any time.

  • Dynamic editor. Add logos, images, GIFs, tables and more with a rich text editor that can handle visual content in your contracts.

Simplify your contracts with Juro

Is the back-and-forth over contracts a pain point for your business? If so, try Juro and discover a contract collaboration platform that empowers commercial teams to self-serve, helping them agree and manage contracts in a unified workspace.


Topics: Software licence agreement

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