A whole lot needs to happen in order to finalize a deal these days.
Paperwork must be filled out. Signatures must be acquired. All the principles must review the appropriate documents. If someone delays, they must be tracked down so that the deal doesn’t stall. T’s must be crossed and I’s must be dotted. And a hiccup at any of these stages can cause significant delays in finalizing the deal.
But if you’re like many businesses, you’re still trying to do all this manually. Printing, scanning, faxing – the whole deal.
Now imagine how it could transform your business if you didn’t have to worry about constantly staying on top of documents. What if, to use a sports phrase, you could simply “trust the process"?
Luckily, in this day and age, there's plenty of opportunity to transform old, inefficient flows into new and improved systems. How? By thinking smarter about your signing workflows.
Using Sales Workflows to Close More Deals, Faster
Though every deal is unique, they all have one thing in common: legally-binding paperwork to officially seal the deal.
If you want to significantly speed up the deal-sealing process, automated workflows for these critical documents is the way to go. This can be accomplished through an eSignature solution or integration.
There are tons of benefits to making the switch to online signing, including:
Operating Errors Are Drastically Reduced
The more people involved in filling out a set of documents, the higher the odds that something will go wrong. A field will be missed or a signature will be omitted or someone will forget to initial a critical page.
eSignature solutions allow you to automatically populate fields based on data that was previously entered, minimizing the chances that it will be entered incorrectly. You also can validate every field to ensure that it was filled correctly and prohibit documents from moving further until the appropriate signatures have been gathered.
With this type of process in place, deals are no longer delayed because someone forgot to initial a document or entered the wrong data in the wrong field.
Key Insights Are Provided
eSignature solutions like HelloSign come with activity tracking for every document so you can gain critical insights into the performance of your sales team. You can identify where bottlenecks are occurring, the cause of inefficiencies, as well as ways that the overall process can be significantly improved.
Contrast this with a paper trail, which makes it very difficult to evaluate the effectiveness of a workflow. At best, you can only make educated guesses on whether processes are working or not.
With manual workflows, deadlines are often little more than suggestions. They aren't always met, and deals stagnate.
With automated workflows, however, everyone can see exactly where things stand. If someone is a bottleneck, it stands out and can be effectively addressed.
This level of accountability helps deals move along according to a predetermined timeline instead of in fits and starts as is often the case.
No More Unsecured Paper Piles
Manual contract signing inevitably leaves a paper trail three miles long, snaking between numerous people. This paper trail often has gaps in it where important documents have either been lost or are simply sitting on someone’s desk. If you want to find out where a document currently is, you usually have to call around.
Automated workflows eliminate paper trails while at the same time creating much easier to follow audit trails. With time-stamped audit trails, you can see who has received what documents, what actions have been taken, and where bottlenecks are occurring.
And because it’s all digital, you can see it in a matter of moments.
Key Areas To Deploy Automated Workflows
Now that you know the why of automated workflows, let’s talk about the where. In other words, where are some of the most effective areas to deploy automated workflows? Where will you get the most bang for your buck? Here are several.
1. Preparing a Contract Online
Manually creating contracts using Word or Excel templates is both time consuming and a serious pain. Getting all the info properly entered and getting it to look professional can require some serious finangling, wasting valuable time. Even if you’re using a Microsoft template, you still have to manually enter a significant amount of data.
Instead, use a solution like HelloSign to create a contract workflow that automatically pulls in all the relevant data, sends the contract to the relevant parties, ensures they sign in all the proper places, and then delivers the finalized contract back to you. And yes, it really can be that simple.
Streamlining the process in such a way can massively cut down on the amount of time it takes to create and finalize a contract.
2. Streamlining the Approvals and Signing Process
We touched on this above, but the ability to create a workflow in which a contract is automatically sent to the proper parties for signatures can be a huge time saver. Instead of having to manually check to see who has actually signed and who you’re waiting on, you can rely on the workflow to do all the heavy lifting.
If someone hasn’t signed, automatic reminders can be sent. When they finally do sign, you can be notified. You can also keep key stakeholders in the loop by using the “cc” feature.
Automated workflows like this allow you to identify any areas where a contract might be “stuck” and then to provide friendly reminders to keep it moving along.
3. Providing a Super Smooth Signing Experience to Your Customer
When it’s time actually get signatures to seal the deal, you definitely want a strong eSignature workflow in place. To state the obvious, you don’t want a prospect to have to print and manually sign a document, then scan it and send it back to you. That’s both a waste of time and requires a significant amount of effort.
You want a simple, legally binding eSignature process which requires almost no effort. Think about it this way. Given the huge significance of the signatures, shouldn’t it be as easy as possible to get people to sign? An automated eSignature workflow is exactly what you need.
4. Storing the Finalized Contract
Once you’ve finally closed a contract, you obviously want to store it in an easily accessible, well-organized location. You want to be able to easily find and reference the contract.
Your automated workflow should automatically store finalized contracts in a central location, such as a predetermined Dropbox folder. If you’re using an eSignature integration (HelloSign for Salesforce, for example), you can access your files in the CRM or cloud storage associated with the integration.
Get Your Sales Team Set Up for Signing Success
The reality is that handshakes, even digital ones, don’t ultimately seal deals. Rather, a handshake is the trigger for a workflow and a legally-binding document is the last step.
Don’t be like most companies and rely upon old, inefficient manual workflows to finalize deals. You end up wasting a significant amount of time and money, and deals which could be finalized rather quickly end up taking an extended period of time.
If you're curious about how to get your team rolling with eSignatures, we've got you covered. Download our Sales eBook: "Everything You Need to Know About Getting Your Sales Team Set Up with eSignatures" below. It covers options for deployment (including CRM integrations), competitor analysis, and key features to look for when evaluating an eSignature vendor.