Whether your business sells a SaaS product or plastic widgets, your sales people probably use some sort of paper order form to close plenty of deals. Even if you have attempted to move the entire sales process online, you likely still will have deals that close offline. As if contract management wasn't already difficult enough, the combination of online sales and offline sales make it much more difficult to keep track of things. However, with a little planning (and of course the right tools), you can not only make this process easier to manage, you can also streamline your entire sales process.
Step 1: Put the legal terms and conditions applicable to the sale online.
Strip all of the legal mumbo jumbo out of your order form, and put it all on your website. This is important for a few reasons:
- It simplifies your paper order form - maybe even allowing it to be a single page long (sales people rejoice!)
- It ensures that your online orders and your paper orders all reference the same set of legal terms and conditions (more on that below).
- Your legal team can update your standard legal terms and conditions without forcing sales teams to replace order form templates and potentially repriint order forms. Even if they are using an esignature solution to execute order forms, it still makes things easier on them, and gives more control over legalease to your legal team.
The key here is to make sure that the online terms and conditions are easy to find (i.e. give them a simple URL), easy to read, and have the published and effective date clearly notated. You should also make sure that prior versions of the legal terms and conditions are available at that same URL. If not, someone who executed an order form on a date prior to the published date of the currently effective terms and conditions might have an argument that no record exists for the terms and conditions that are applicable to them!
Step 2: Create a simple order form that CLEARLY references the online legal terms and conditions.
The order form should be as simple as possible, and should include customer information, pricing, and information specific to the product being ordered (features, seats, support...etc). That information should obviously all be as detailed as possible, non-ambiguous, and provide an accurate description of the order. There should then be a very clear and obvious incorporation of the legal terms and conditions by referencing the URL for those terms. You should also include some carefully crafted language that leaves no doubt that the online terms and conditions are part of the agreement, along with a representation that the customer has indeed reviewed those online terms and conditions.
There will invariably be situations where a customer will want to modify the online terms and conditions for whatever reason. That can easily be accomplished with an attachment to the order form. Just make sure that the terms of the order form supercede any of the online terms and conditions.
Step 3: Bind your customers ordering online to the same legal terms and conditions.
When you create your online order / purchase form, make sure that your customers are accepting the SAME legal terms and conditions that your paper order form customers are accepting. As the video shows, make sure you are keeping proper records regarding who/what/when acceptance occurs. Also, consider emailing your online customers a copy of what they just agreed to - putting a durable record of the agreement in their hands is always a good idea.
The net effect of all of this should be that you have a streamlined and unified sales contracting process ensuring that all of your legal terms and conditions applying to any sale remain consistent. To really tie a bow on things, you should consider scanning in your paper order forms, and attaching those to a digital record that would drop into the flow above - which would truly unify all of your offline and online sales contracts. The flow below shows how PactSafe handles this.
Pretty cool huh! And of course, PactSafe allows you to do all of this and more right out of the box!