Digital Contracting

6 Ways to Send and Accept Contracts that Don't Involve PDFs

6 Ways to Send Contracts that Arent Pdf-14

The business-as-usual mindset is dead. It’s being replaced by business like never before. Think about it: you’re using technology to reach new audiences, personalize relationships, and take organization efficiency to peak levels.

And how you send and receive contracts is changing, too – or, at least, it should be. While your competition considers itself cutting-edge, it’s still using PDFs and Word documents that delay signings and ruin the customer experience. Don’t make the same mistake.

Today’s buyers want to do everything from their mobile devices. And you can’t afford to be ignorant of this trend (or averse to making necessary changes). There are a variety of mobile-friendly contract acceptance methods waiting for you.

Related Content: Accept Contracts via SMS

By implementing any combination of the six solutions mentioned below, you’ll meet customers where they are regardless of time or location. You’ll enhance your brand and buyer experience by providing unique, convenient, and instant transactions that consider each individual shopper’s needs. And you’ll accelerate deals by shortening the sales cycle and introducing contract automation tools into your workflows.

So, let’s dive into the details and learn a little bit more about your options.

SMS and Mobile-Friendly Contracts

The world is changing – you can’t assume your customers are sitting in front of a computer all day. And any unnecessary step that stands between them and their final signature has a chance to scare them away forever. After all, most shoppers are willing to switch to a competitor if they feel inconvenienced. So, it’s never been more important that your contracting process avoids confusing digital signature tools or a printable document to get deals done.

Mobile-friendly contracts are built for speed and execution. Because the best time to close a sale is always the moment a customer expresses interest, being able to instantly deliver the terms of your deal via text message is a huge advantage. Especially when you consider that a customer probably has their phone in their hand already.

Related Content:Using Mobile-Friendly Contracts to Capture Acceptance

With a SMS-friendly contract, however, a consumer is able to provide a signature via text message. SMS is an unbelievably easy way to capture contract acceptance. And the best part? Courts have ruled that a buyer replying via text message with “Accept” or “Agree” is every bit as legally binding as a traditional signature.

By using SMS to solicit positive responses from buyers in real-time, mobile-friendly contracts powered by click-to-sign technology enable your team to close sales in seconds – and your customers to receive the simple, convenient transaction they desire.

Plus, click-to-sign also keeps your company protected by generating a tamper-proof legal record of the contract as soon as it’s “signed.” Not to mention a robust set of acceptance data and analytics that can further your future mobile tech-fueled initiatives, too.

Selling Through Salesforce

CRM tools like Salesforce have become mission-critical for many B2B sales teams. So, why not give yours an integrated contracting tool within the platform rather than making them swivel-chair between multiple software products or use a variety of time-consuming workarounds instead?

Companies like  ForeScout that adopt an AppExchange integration and insert it into their contract acceptance flow are finding tremendous benefits as a result. Since contracts are hosted inside of Salesforce, the organization has accelerated its sales cycle while simultaneously saving salespeople time, improving its CRM’s data hygiene, and improving the buying experience for its customers.

Related Content: 3 Contract Acceptance Methods Defined and Compared

A Salesforce-integrated contract acceptance solution is also extremely easy to implement. Once installed into your CRM environment and connected to all relevant stakeholders, all of your agreements, terms, templates, etc. can be viewed, edited, and communicated according to your custom business rules. Work smarter – not harder.

Chat-to-Sign

If you haven’t heard of  chat-to-sign, you’re not alone. This technology helps you collect contract acceptance by integrating with collaboration hubs like Slack and customer messaging platforms like Intercom. By doing so, chat-to-sign gives potential signers the ability to view and accept your terms from within a live chat scenario. Pretty cool, huh?

For any business looking to modernize its contracting processes, chat-to-sign is a great place to start. Once in place, anything from business proposals, repeat orders, employee documents, and legal forms can all be sent directly to a respondent’s messaging application of choice.

This innovation helps your company (as well as your potential customers) move fluidly from conversation to conversion – giving your contracts a highly personalized feel and a highly scalable business framework.

Modern eSignature

While it may not always work for mobile-friendly contracts, modern eSignature is a widely adopted approach to collect acceptance. Much like its traditional pen-and-paper alternative, this method involves manually emailing or deliver your terms to a signer. For example, a PDF that can be signed via typing, stamping, or drawing a digital signature.

However, not all eSignature solutions are created equal. If you choose to use this tool for your personalized agreements, make sure you’re using one that collects more than just a replicated signature. In today’s contracting world, metadata and authentication security should be considered mission-critical.

Related Content: Is A Text Message A Legal Document?

From creation to negotiation to acceptance, your modern eSignature experience should protect your business and your customers at every step. That means storing approved contracts in a way that makes them trackable so every transaction’s authenticity can be proven in court if necessary.

Embedded Signing

Also known as  API signing, embedded signing uses a JavaScript link to capture contract acceptance on a website or inside of an app. By prompting a user to accept your terms and collecting their digital “signature,” embedded signing speeds up your agreements because it eliminates the need to upload, send, and collect signatures via email – a task that would take up entirely too much time for an online store that sees thousands of shoppers every day.

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If a majority of your contracts contain a standardized set of terms and conditions, embedded signing could be an effective option for you. This method enables a business to present high-volume contracts to a broad range of users when deals don’t need to be negotiated.

Clickwrap: The Gold Standard for Online Acceptance

If your goal is  efficiency and speed to close, clickwrap agreements should be your  contract acceptance solution. That’s because while similar in some ways to embedded signing, clickwrap is a one-click experience for any individual accepting your website terms, privacy policies, licensing agreements, etc.

People are shopping online because they want a transaction that’s quick, painless, and easy to perform. And clickwrap makes all of this possible with the click of a button or the checking of a single box.

But there’s more. What truly makes clickwrap unique is its ability to collect key data points and build an audit trail for every transaction – confirming that each user or buyer “actively assented” to your terms through an explicit action. You’ll have trackable records of who agreed, when they agreed, which version of the contract they agreed to, and more safely stored should these details be needed as evidence down the road.

So, Which One Should You Use?

Every business is different. While some of these contract acceptance methods may not be relevant to you at all, others may make a world of difference. That said, there are four key questions you should consider before you make any decisions:

  1. How many times will the contract be signed every year?
  2. Will the contract be the same every time it’s used? Or, will the terms and language change frequently?
  3. How valuable is the contract? Is the time and energy of redlining and negotiations worth it?
  4. Would the business benefit from allowing the contract to be accepted on a website or mobile app?

As a general rule of thumb, high-volume, low-value contracts that can be standardized are prime candidates for clickwrap. For more personalized, high-value deals, modern eSignature or embedded signature may be the way to go.

Regardless of which contract acceptance option(s) you choose, mobile-friendly contracts are must-have for any business that wish to move deals faster, grow their customer base, and find new opportunities. Because – let’s face it – the experience of viewing and signing a PDF feels outdated.

To see how you can accept contracts via SMS and on mobile, take a look at PactSafe in action! Watch our instant demo.

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