The 11 Best Contract Management Software Tools for Small Businesses

By Chelsea Williams
Senior Copywriter
Feb 16 2024 read

The right software handles time-consuming tasks in a way you can trust. But some tasks are more daunting than others, making it feel challenging to turn them over to a platform.

For a function as crucial as contract management, you need a software tool that transcends mere data storage and gives you confidence that you’re sending clients airtight legal documents and making it easy for them to sign on for recurring work.

From document creation to renewals and data collection, the ideal contract management system is a resource you’ll quickly wonder how you ever lived without.

But with all the “must-have” trending applications that hit the scene and disappear, how do you know which ones are worth the investment?

In this blog, we’ll demystify your options with a breakdown of:

11 Best Contract Management Systems for Small Businesses

In this list, you’ll find a mix of platforms only made for contract or proposal management, plus a few offering more comprehensive work management functionality.

We’re sharing key features, pros and cons based on genuine user reviews and what you want to know about pricing.

  1. Accelo
  2. Agiloft
  3. CobbleStone
  4. ContractWorks
  5. DocuSign CLM
  6. Juro
  7. PandaDoc
  8. Qwilr
  9. Scoro
  10. Teamwork
  11. Zoho Contracts

1. Accelo

accelo logo

Accelo is a cloud-based client work management platform. Unlike limited contract management tools, it offers full functionality to support the entire contract and client work lifecycles. 

Known for its unique and automated retainer management, Accelo drives recurring revenue and improved efficiency for thousands of SMBs.


  • Branded client portal for easy document sharing
  • Prepaid and postpaid retainers and custom work periods
  • Ability to set up recurring tasks and link work from tickets and projects to retainers
  • Automatic retainer invoice generation


  • Flexible for many professional service industries
  • Customizable reports to track profitability and expected revenue from retainers


  • May be too robust for small businesses seeking only retainer management
  • Not the best fit for professional services teams of fewer than five people


See details about Accelo’s flexible pricing plans here.

➡️ Read how one HR consultancy used Accelo for automated retainer management to save its consultants time and start sending out more accurate invoices.

2. Agiloft

Agiloft is contract lifecycle management software that supports digital contract drafting and storage, contract review and reporting on in-progress and expiring contracts. It uses data to help users quickly reach agreement with clients and transparently manage relationships.


  • Contract templates
  • Contract editing
  • E-signature
  • Various search options and filters


  • Good for industries with a heavy emphasis on compliance and clause requirements
  • Streamlines contract management with highly configurable workflows



Agiloft has three pricing tiers for which you must request a custom quote.

3. CobbleStone

CobbleStone offers three editions of contract management software: Contract Insight Express, Contract Insight WorkGroup and Contract Insight Enterprise.

The platform serves a variety of industries that require contracts, including government, legal and construction. CobbleStone is ideal for organizations that serve many clients who need complex clauses.


  • Dashboards and calendars for progress tracking and detailed analytics
  • Collaboration tools for editing and redlining
  • Version tracking
  • AI-based data extraction and field mapping


  • Best for enterprise organizations
  • Unlimited contract storage



CobbleStone requires that you submit a quote request for pricing.

4. ContractWorks

ContractWorks gives teams complete visibility over the contract drafting, approval and renewal processes. Its automation and AI features can drastically cut the time it takes to prepare, edit, send and renew client agreements.


  • Smart contract generation
  • Custom tags
  • Scheduled reports
  • Automated approval workflows


  • Positive reviews regarding the implementation process
  • Clause library and AI-powered clause generator


  • High price for SMBs — better for an enterprise
  • Lacks an API for custom integrations


ContractWorks offers three pricing tiers, all with unlimited users.

5. DocuSign CLM

DocuSign CLM is a contract lifecycle management platform that expands upon DocuSign’s e-signature software capabilities. It has time-saving features and integrates with hundreds of popular tools to simplify every stage of agreement creation, negotiation and renewal.


  • Automated contract routing
  • Forms for proposal generation
  • Commenting
  • No-code workflows and workflow templates


  • AI risk analysis
  • Integrates with CRMs for easy auto-population


  • Some users are unhappy with the limited reminders for contract signing
  • Outdated user interface


DocuSign provides custom quotes for its CLM software.

6. Juro

Juro is an AI-powered contract platform that promises to help businesses and legal teams execute contracts faster and scale. Its AI assistant makes it easy to write, review and summarize documents. Its workflows also help multiple departments get visibility of client agreements.


  • Contract drafting templates
  • Signing reminders and date smart fields
  • Communication and activity tracking
  • Auto-resend for contract edits


  • Modern UI
  • Lawyer-grade security


  • Users say the editing and signing process can be confusing
  • Customer support hours are limited for US time zones


Juro has three pricing plans, all of which require a custom quote.

7. PandaDoc

PandaDoc is a document management platform that enables busy teams to save time on paperwork. Known for its extensive editing capabilities and templates, it is helpful for many different industries and use cases.


  • Custom fields
  • E-signing
  • Recipient commenting
  • PDF editing


  • Easy signing from any type of device
  • Not limited to contracts — can be used for proposals, quotes, forms and waivers


  • Users who need to collect payment details may find it restrictive
  • Collaborator limit can slow down negotiation and approvals


PandaDoc has three options for pricing tiers.

8. Qwilr

Qwilr is a sales-focused platform with tools for perfecting quotes, pitches, proposals and client onboarding. It generates interactive and personalized collateral with non-standard features such as embedded content and an ROI calculator for landing pages.


  • Custom branding
  • Document analytics
  • Interactive documents
  • Payment collection


  • Document personalization using CRM data
  • Ability to build a library of approved assets


  • Template builders can be finicky
  • Quotes don’t reflect hours and can be hard to reference for project timelines


Qwilr prices its plans in two tiers.

9. Scoro

scoro logo

Scoro is a work management platform with the capability to create and manage ongoing retainer contracts. Client-based teams use Scoro to develop and automate business processes from sales to projects to billing.


  • Retainer agreement quotes
  • Unused time and budget rollover
  • Profitability reporting
  • Additional client work features, such as project management and invoicing


  • Extensive integrations
  • Dashboard for viewing activity and financials regarding retainer period


  • Some users unhappy with how contract details appear and filtering limitations
  • Retainers are a relatively new feature and aren’t as developed as other parts of the platform


Scoro’s pricing tiers are for multiple products. Note that retainers are only available at the Pro level or above.

➡️ Why choose Accelo over Scoro? Read our comparison.

10. Teamwork

teamwork logo

Teamwork’s work management platform includes retainer management features, which are built mainly to support agencies with recurring clients. Most organizations use Teamwork for project management and other end-to-end features rather than just retainers.


  • Billable rates for each retainer
  • Budget usage notifications
  • Time tracking
  • Custom labels and tags


  • Budget reallocation to upcoming retainer period
  • Integrated project and resource management


  • Best for agencies — somewhat limited for other industries
  • Customizations can be frustrating, especially regarding task setup


Two retainers per month are available on the Grow plan, but most teams that frequently use retainers will need a custom quote (the Scale plan).

➡️ Learn why Accelo outperforms Teamwork.

11. Zoho Contracts

zoho logo

Zoho Contracts is part of Zoho’s suite of business software solutions. This contract management platform integrates with Zoho CRM and offers total contract lifecycle management, including contract templates, e-signatures and change management.


  • Password-protected links
  • Version control
  • Renewals and extensions
  • Configurable contract types


  • Simple acceptance process and user-friendly approval workflows
  • Analytics dashboard



Zoho Contracts pricing is broken down into two tiers.

What Is Contract Management Software?

Contract management software is an essential tool for any business team looking to optimize how they handle their contracts.

Far from being just a contract repository, these systems are equipped with features that support the entire contract lifecycle from initial request, drafting, negotiation and approval through to amendment, billing and renewal.

A comprehensive contract management platform not only secures your documents in an organized manner but saves your team time by automating repetitive tasks and sending reminders to ensure you never overlook a renewal date.

Who Uses Contract Management Software?

Any team that uses contracts can transform the process from a potential bottleneck into a strategic asset.

Below are just some ways different departments might use this type of software.

Finance and operations teams

Real-time visibility into contract obligations and financial commitments is essential for those in finance and operations. These teams rely on software to enable better budgeting and accurate financial planning.

Automated alerts from a contract management system can give a finance manager a heads-up about upcoming renewals so they can prepare for the next billing cycle.

Someone in operations would be concerned with monitoring and reducing the amount of non-billable time their team spends managing contracts.

HR teams

An HR team may use contract management software to keep track of internal and external agreements.

Some contract management systems can create and store employee onboarding documents like confidentiality agreements. HR could also utilize this software to monitor vendor agreements or consultant contracts.

Legal teams

Here, contract management software is essential. It makes drafting, reviewing and amending contracts much faster than doing so manually.

Lawyers often need to track multiple versions of a contract and make quick edits. They’ll also likely require access permissions so that only authorized people can review contracts.

Sales teams

Dedicated contract management software can accelerate the sales cycle, so it’s a must for many sales teams. It makes it simple and quick to create, send and track proposals and agreements.

Some platforms also offer the ability to communicate with prospects and customers via a client portal. This minimizes email follow-up and notifies sales reps when a client has viewed or commented on a document.

All types of service professionals

Managing contracts in a centralized space benefits consultants, IT service providers, agencies and others in professional services — especially if they rely on a retainer payment structure.

When clients pay in advance for a predetermined amount of work, you must meticulously track delivery to ensure it aligns with your promised scope. A contract management software that includes retainer management is essential for adhering to ongoing agreements while expending as little administrative time as possible.

Even in firms that don’t utilize retainers, a secure and efficient way to share, edit and store contracts is essential. Contract renewals can be particularly tough to stay on top of in a busy firm, and the right software can support strong revenue streams.

What Are the Benefits of Contract Management Software?

Contract management software systems are an investment that, used to their full advantage, will more than pay for themselves. Fully leveraging these tools can significantly enhance operational efficiency and profitability.

Easy contract approval and client onboarding

This type of software simplifies creating new contracts and streamlines the approval process. Automated workflows can ensure that relevant stakeholders are reviewing and approving in a timely manner.

Along with the positive impact on revenue, contract software supports a smooth customer experience from the start.

Fast and accurate customer support

When you have immediate access to current contract data, you can provide fast and accurate responses to client requests and ensure you’re within the scope of what the client is paying for. 

Ideally, contracts should be housed in the same platform where your team manages ad-hoc requests and views recent account activity.

Full contract lifecycle management

True comprehensive contract lifecycle management (CLM) means the work doesn’t end when a contract is signed and saved.

Whereas it would be easy to lose track of a contract or forget about a renewal if you save a Microsoft Word document or a spreadsheet to a desktop folder, you can proceed through all the stages (even termination) with a CLM solution.

Straightforward contract renewal and billing

Contract renewals should be a priority, but they can easily slip down your list when managing daily client work. If you receive notifications about an upcoming renewal, there’s a far slimmer chance that it’ll get lost in the fray. 

Some platforms can even attach billable work to retainers and bill clients automatically!


Use cases: Contract management software in action

What does it look like to use software for contract management day to day?

Here are three examples of how service firms take advantage of this type of technology:

Streamlined contract creation

A marketing agency’s sales team used to be bogged down in contract creation for new campaigns.

Now, they use contract templates for their most common types of projects and clients. Customizing each contract to specific client needs now takes minutes instead of hours.

Simpler contract negotiation

A civil engineering firm previously faced enormous challenges with managing multiple iterations of contracts when negotiating with clients and subcontractors.

With seamless version control and a client portal for centralizing document sharing and communication, they no longer experience internal confusion. Clients get smooth project kickoffs without delay.

Higher rate of contract renewal

A management consulting firm has an 80% contract renewal rate after adopting a contract management solution. This was achievable thanks to alerts that gave them ample notice of contract expiration dates.

They continue to proactively discuss new terms and give clients plenty of time to review results before signing on for another period.


Key Features of a Solid Contract Management Solution

To achieve results like the businesses above, you must carefully consider what you’d like to get from your contract management software.

These are five of the most helpful features you might want to look for:

Contract templates

Templates are time savers but are also good tools for developing consistency when communicating with clients.

While you can still tailor them to the terms of the agreement, templates ensure that every proposal or contract correctly reflects your terms and conditions and any legal notices you’re required to include.

They should also be branded and well-designed to make them clear and easy to read.

Renewal reminders

Reminders of an upcoming expiration aren’t just for your clients; they’re for deciding if and how you’d like to continue the relationship. They empower your team to:

  • Negotiate early.
  • Raise rates if necessary.
  • Avoid service interruptions.

Workflow automation

A cornerstone feature of today’s business software, automated workflows are quite impactful for changing up your contract lifecycle.

Depending on how customizable they are, you could use them to route documents or tasks to the right people at any stage. Approval workflows can be especially important if you sometimes experience delays due to missed communication.


A software’s complexity can be a barrier to its usability. No matter which platform you select, you should ensure it’s user-friendly. 

However, remember there is still likely to be a learning curve. The best software providers offer plenty of resources for team training, no matter how intuitive their platform’s user interface is.

Version control

Effective document management must include a form of version control when dealing with contracts.

Using one platform for all contract-related tasks gives you an audit trail of edits, comments, approvals and renewals to refer to.

This not only simplifies your team’s work but protects your business with proof in the event a client questions a change or term.

How To Choose the Right Contract Management Software

Selecting the right contract management software is pivotal for operational efficiency and visibility. Follow these steps to move through the vetting process effectively:

1. Shortlist based on your needs

After having read the above benefits and ideal features, you should know which are relevant to your business. Make a list of must-haves based on your contract volume, the complexity of your workflows, your need for specific integrations and more. Then cut the above list down to three to five platforms you’ll investigate further.

2. Evaluate feature fit

Prioritize platforms that offer the most features you need, but stay open to the idea that they could enable your team to do much more than you initially expected. Some tools with built-in contract management can also transform how you manage other parts of your client work.

3. Book demos and start trials

Go into a sales conversation or platform trial with some background knowledge and questions prepared. This hands-on experience should help you clarify any remaining questions and further narrow down your list.

4. Consider scalability and support

As with any software decision, it’s best to think about your overall tech stack and business goals. Do you need to consolidate platforms to grow more efficiently? How quickly can new hires onboard with a given tool?

These are questions only you can answer, but it helps to read user stories and reviews to get a sense of how the platform functions in real-world scenarios you can relate to.

Switch to Efficient Contract and Retainer Processes

Software is most effective when it covers multiple stages of work. The risk with many contract management platforms is that their functionality is only helpful in your sales or renewal stages.

Accelo takes an end-to-end approach.

Its unmatched retainer management features are built into the complete client journey, so your ongoing contracts are connected to your projects, tasks, time tracking and billing. Not only is this seamless integration cost-effective, but it’s also a major efficiency booster for your team.

Susie Schade, Founder of Vector Business Solutions, chose Accelo because no other solution could help her and her team manage one-time and recurring work in a centralized place.

See what Susie and tens of thousands of other users love about the platform — for ongoing contract management and then some. Book a demo to explore Accelo.


About the Author


Chelsea Williams is Senior Copywriter at Accelo, where she shares unique insights with service professionals and tells user stories via blogs, eBooks, industry reports and more. She has over 15 years of B2B and B2C writing experience — primarily in tech, sales, education and healthcare. Chelsea is an AWAI-certified Master Copywriter trained in brand storytelling and microcopy.

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