Among the many benefits that digital signatures offer, saving time and money, and improving efficiency rank amongst the very top.
Contracts and other such essential documents that require signature are still predominantly pen-and-paper documents. But with many countries including the United States and the UK having conferred legal validity to digital signatures, it makes sense to have a digital signature app with the CRM tool that allows any user of the CRM system to append their digital signatures to documents.
Electronic Work Flow
Any process involving pen-and-paper documents results in a time consuming and costly manual workflow. The need to send documents to and fro when the different signatories are not in the same location, the need to arrange a meeting to sign the document, lack of access to a printer when needed, manual errors when the document is scanned and uploaded to the CRM, illegible scans, misplaced paperwork, and many other potential roadblocks, all result in delays and inefficiencies and take a heavy toll on productivity. Moreover, there is always the chance of the final pen-and-paper document being different from the earlier electronic drafts. Many people underestimate the time and effort it takes to double check the final paper document.
An app that facilitates digital signatures and, by extension, an electronic workflow, will eliminate most glitches and accelerate the sales cycle. Apart from the direct savings of the time and cost to print and exchange documents, efficiency will improve manifold, as the process becomes seamless, fast and efficient.
Large companies that are spread over multiple locations or have a wide network of dealers or franchisees invariably handle many documents that require signature on a daily basis. However, a majority of businesspersons, their employees and customers are now increasingly mobile and rarely at their desk to approve or sign documents. An app that brings the documents to wherever the person is, and allows them to sign from the spot improves the speed of the process manifold.
Digital signatures improve visibility and transparency. It becomes possible to exchange the same document across the different stakeholders, make changes and have clarity on different versions before taking the final signature on the same document. It also becomes possible to use the same document as a reference to fix commitments and deliverables. When there is no such visibility, time is spent on cross-verifications and clarifications, making it very difficult to close business quickly.
Digital signatures go beyond creating a legal binding on the contents of the documents. For instance, a marketer can integrate data directly from the CRM to the contract delivered to the client, to eliminate time-consuming manual task of searching for data, and improving accuracy in the process.
The digital contract management option that comes with digital signatures facilitates real-time monitoring and tracking of documents, and makes it possible to set automated reminders and follow ups. Other value added features such as one-click transmission, and streamlined signature tracking, topped up with easy-to-understand dashboard views of contract milestones, key performance metrics, and more accurate forecast accelerates the process and improves productivity drastically.
Automated Contract Creation
A digital signature app that pulls data from the CRM and offers automated contract creation and execution of documents in double quick time is a lifeline to many businesses.
Consider the case of real estate agency that requires signed authorizations from many tenants and clients. An app that facilitates digital signature and integrates with the CRM makes it very easy to create standardized templates, exchange versions and get signatures quickly. In sales, delay in signing a contract can stall a deal or kill it altogether. But even if the deal eventually comes through, each day of delay will result in realty spaces remaining vacant and hence loss of rental income. Moving to an electronic workflow will reduce the amount of time these spaces stay unoccupied.
Also, consider the case of an advertising agency, where signatures are indispensable for signing new project contracts, or for insertion orders that dictate when and where ads will run. An app that integrates with commonly used enterprise applications to deliver consistent and standardized contracts speeds up the process and improves efficiency manifold.
In today’s fast-paced and highly fluid business environment, where geography has become history and people are always on the move, shifting to an electronic workflow and integrating a digital signature app to the CRM is no longer a luxury, but rather a pressing need.
To know more about how digital signatures play a pivotal role in a CRM suite, access our webinar on Docusign with Salesforce, held on 18 November 2014.
Image Credit: ebayink on Flickr