Updated on 11/09/2019
In this article, you will learn about:
The importance of having carefully reviewed Terms & Conditions
How to publish your Terms & Conditions
This article covers the first 2 steps of the design of your legally binding sales process, with a focus on Terms & Conditions. In Part II, we will cover the preparation of your Purchase Orders.
Businesses often struggle to get it right when it comes to signing binding contracts with their customers. What should be an easy feat can quickly escalate into a tedious process of circulating multiple draft versions and trying to corner busy executives into obtaining handwritten signatures on lengthy jargon-filled documents. This makes the work of salespeople more arduous and the whole experiment frustrating (to say the least).
Having lawyers come in does not always simplify matters. Lawyers are a risk-averse profession. Spotting legal problems is in their DNA so they will tell you if something is wrong in your process and documents. However, few of them will actually solve the problem for you. Sure enough, they will tell you what the law says, but it will fall on you to design your sales process to make it legal yet workable in practice.
At Companyon, we are on a mission to make legal hassle-free for entrepreneurs, so they can focus on growing their business. Based on our experience in the field, we have come up with a simple plan for companies to design a legally binding sales process. We will discuss those steps in the sections below. Please note that this plan:
The Terms and Conditions (T&Cs) - also known as Terms of Sale (ToS) in the United States - are the legal provisions applicable to the sale of your products or services.
T&Cs serve two purposes:
Draft your T&Cs must in a way that makes your company comply with applicable laws and protect your business from major legal risks.
If you are happy with the content of your T&Cs, the next step is to deploy them. A good practice is to publish your Terms & Conditions online, on a dedicated page of your website. This is so you can:
There are practically no counterarguments to publishing your T&Cs online. Even in a B2B context, your T&Cs should not contain any confidential information or terms. If you must disclose confidential information to your customers (such as certain functionalities of your SaaS or the pricing of your services), do so in a Purchase Order that you send out privately (see the section below to see how to structure your purchase order).
Many companies view the publication of their T&Cs as the end of the legal road but that is a mistake. Laws change quickly (especially in regulation-heavy sectors) and the nature and scope of business activities even more so. T&Cs should be deployed in a format that can easily reflect those changes when they come along. On top of that, you should keep track of all the versions of your T&Cs (as different versions will apply to different customers or to different business transactions). Finally, if you happen to do business in different European countries, you may need to have your T&Cs translated into local languages and have each of them incorporating country-specific legal requirements.
Managing T&Cs can quickly become a nightmare. Fortunately, you may subscribe to legal-as-as-service solutions (like Companyon’s Legal Portal) that will do the heavy work for you.
Check out Part II of this series of articles, where we cover the preparation of your Purchase Orders.
“With their pragmatic approach to handling legal hassle, Companyon helped us setup a robust sales process from day one.”