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By now, you’re certainly no stranger to the impact that digital transformation is having on businesses of all size in every industry. Moving online is no longer an option; customers now expect the companies they interact with to make their products and services available digitally. Unfortunately, making the migration isn’t as simple as putting up a virtual “for sale” sign. The many teams and processes that support your product also need to pivot and adapt to this new channel.
One process that is too frequently left at the bottom of the list during digital transformation is contracting. Since contracts are often an afterthought during the traditional sales process, no one gives much consideration as to how they might need to be modified to support online sales. But traditional pen and paper and eSignature contracts are far from adequate to keep sales moving in a digital environment.
Legal agreements have evolved over the years in the footsteps of the products they support. For centuries, this meant putting a pen to paper. When online channels first opened, simulating the process digitally with scanned PDFs seemed like a good alternative.
But the speed of the internet today far outpaces these traditional signing methods. Customers can now sign up for services and purchase products in seconds with the click of a button. Using a contract that takes longer to sign than to acquire the product itself just doesn’t make any sense. When a simple contract draws out the length of the sales cycle, it frustrates customers and may even lead to lost deals.
Customers aren’t the only ones who suffer from these antiquated signing processes. Internal departments that handle high volumes of sales shouldn’t have to dedicate large chunks of time simply to managing and collecting contracts.
But this is exactly what happens with paper contracts and traditional eSignatures. As other segments of the sales cycle undergo digital evolution, allowing for a higher volume of sales at a faster pace, bottlenecks occur due to contracting inefficiencies.
It makes sense that outdated contracts would add time to the sales cycle, but how much can it really be? As it turns out, quite a bit. Our research shows that businesses that with a Word-to-PDF B2B contract flow see a two-week turnaround period between verbal commitment and purchase. The same deal takes an average of just 14 hours and 26 minutes to close when click-to-accept technology enters the picture.
This may sound unbelievable, but it’s the unfortunate reality of what happens when your contracting methods haven’t transformed at the same rate as the rest of your business processes. In fact, contracting overhauls may reveal the time-saving benefits of other investments in areas like customer acquisition and product delivery that were previously overshadowed.
Another time-sensitive issue to consider is the devices currently supported under your contracting scheme. It’s no longer safe to assume that customers have a computer on hand to read and sign terms. Over 40% of all online transactions take place on mobile devices, a trend that is only expected to continue upwards. Not even B2B sales are immune; studies have shown that employees spend around a third of their work day on a mobile device.
The problem is that traditional signing methods aren’t compatible with smartphones in most cases. If this is part of your current sales cycle, any customer that begins a transaction on a mobile device will hit a wall when it comes time to sign the contract and be forced to switch over. Chances are this loss of momentum is leading to dropped sales as customers don’t remember or simply can’t be bothered to pick up the process again later.
If paper or traditional eSignature contracts are holding back the digitization of your sales process, it’s time to think about bringing them up to speed. With digitally native contracts, you’ll see a shorter sales cycle, a better customer experience, and a higher conversion rate as more leads make it to purchase.
Introduce clickwrap and embedded signatures to your sales cycle. More modern signing methods are faster and more intuitive for customers, easier to manage internally, and responsive for use on multiple devices.
Take advantage of self-service. There’s no need for sales representatives to waste valuable time preparing and sending the same contract to every lead. With self-service contracting, customers can pull the contract they need on demand and sign it without a single employee having to oversee the process.
Meet your customer on their mobile device. With updated contracting technologies, the entire sales process can take place from start to finish right in the palm of your customer’s hand, eliminating barriers that might lead to abandonment.
Traditional eSignature (and worse, pen and paper contracts) slow down your signing process significantly. This increases both time to sign and the likelihood of the contract closing at all. By embracing self-service options, introducing faster signing methods, and meeting the customer where they are, you can beat your growth goals, increase your sales velocity, and make contracting the least painful part of transacting with customers.
For more tips on how to remove roadblocks in sales contracts, check outour eBook, A Salesperson's Guide to Beating Growth Goals: Contracts that Close Faster.