One of the biggest threats to crossing the closing finish line can be exhaustive, confusing contractual paperwork. An extended (or extensive) signing period can introduce closing resistance, cold feet, reopening negotiations, and paper chasing. Who needs all that? Here are five ways an all-inclusive e-document process can streamline the close.
Empower Salespeople to Create Their Own Contracts and Proposals
According to John Medina’s book Brain Rules, when people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retain up to 65 percent of the information three days later. So visually-appealing documents can give salespeople an edge, making proposals visually attractive and memorable. Using visually-rich content including tables, graphs, infographics and data, salespeople increase the likelihood of prospects remembering important information. However, most salespeople are not graphic designers. Companies can equip their salespeople with tools to access templates and manipulate text and images, enabling even the most technology naïve salespeople to create elegant documents.
Mobile-Enable the Traveling Salesforce
According to one recent survey, 80 percent of enterprises say their employees can’t do their jobs well without a mobile phone, and 75 percent say mobile devices are essential to their business workflows. Mobile apps and tools that empower traveling salespeople can pay huge dividends by enabling them to remotely share information, process sales and engage in real-time with individuals at the office. For example, apps that include mobile-device document creation tools and electronic signatures make it easy for salespeople to create proposals and contracts and sign paperwork right from their device.
Create More Efficient Document Workflows
Salesforce research notes that 73 percent of sales teams say collaborating across departments is absolutely critical or very important to the sales process. Additionally, 60 percent of sales professionals say that collaborative selling has increased productivity and driven a more robust pipeline. Digital workflows are a key enabler of such collaboration, allowing salespeople to move contracts and other paperwork from a mobile device into pre-built digital business processes. For example, a salesperson may be able to submit a contract directly to an online file or destination. Then, the next employee in the process is alerted and able to access the documents.
Replacing paper-based processes with digital workflows reduces the time it takes to complete paperwork – in some cases from days to minutes. Beyond sales, digital workflows can have a huge benefit in almost all areas of the enterprise. According to a recent IDG survey, 32 percent of IT decision-makers say that using digital workflows has helped their organizations grow revenue through improved employee productivity and customer satisfaction.
Real-Time, Collaborative Document Editing and eSignature Functionality
Email was never designed to be a collaboration tool, yet many workers use it that way. The time spent in “email ping-pong” creates unnecessary delays as contracts and proposals are edited and amended by multiple parties. Document creation tools used by sales teams should support multiuser collaboration, enabling numerous employees to securely open and work on documents in real-time while maintaining version control.
Additionally, when documents are ready for signing, electronic signature capabilities eliminate the need to print a document, sign it, and scan the signed version back into digital format in order to email it back to the recipient.
Close More Sales, Convert More Leads, and Beat the Competition
Today’s hypercompetitive sales environment demands greater efficiency. Sales teams must capitalize on leads and close sales as quickly as possible. Mobile compatible document creation tools, combined with seamless connectivity and collaboration with other departments – particularly through digital channels – are just a few ways to achieve this. There is no longer a justifiable reason to lose a sale because a contract wasn’t signed in a timely fashion. Avoid unnecessary roadblocks and maximize sales power through the right tools and techniques that optimize, streamline and expedite the closing process.
Some Signing Platforms to Consider
Each has its own pluses and minuses, features, and cost. Do your research and choose the best one for your company’s needs.
Chris Strammiello is the Senior Vice President of Sales at Nuance.