Sales, Meet The Digital John Hancock

“Press hard, the 3rd third copy is yours.” These words seem out of place in our digital world. Or, print this contract, sign it and fax it back (or even scan it and send it back). Think about it from the customer’s view point. Many retailers no longer use traditional contracts, preferring to go with  digital ones instead. Need a car? The car dealership types in your info and the system spits out a pre-filled contract. Bought a house? Same thing. Rent a car? Ditto. Some retailers even have electronic clipboards to capture your signature. No paper. No fuss.

So why do B2B companies lag behind in this area?

If your company is already doing digital contracts and eSignature – congratulations. You can stop reading and check back tomorrow for another topic. But for those organizations where sales reps still lug around mounds of paper to do a deal, keep reading…You need to go paperless!

Do it for sales productivity.

Contracting accounts for 18% of the selling cycle. 1

You can use it to generate proposals and contracts straight from Salesforce. Why login into another system? Why re-type it if you don’t have to? There are several ways to get contracts out to prospects. You can print pre-filled contracts to hand deliver, mail or fax. Or you can email contracts. Clients can sign and return manually, they can fax back, or they can approve online and email it back. When the contract is generated, your opportunity can automatically be updated to “Contracted”, saving you a few steps. And when faxed or emailed back, the system will automatically update your opportunity to “closed-won”, again saving you some clicks.

Plus, the system can keep a record of the contract attached to the account so you always know what was signed. No more missing paperwork.

Do it to cut costs.

On average, $215,000/day is lost to the contract process for large organizations.2

There are two ways your business can save money in this area:

  1. Printing supplies.
  2. Labor to store and retrieve documents.

These costs can be significantly reduced by going paperless. Paper, toner, printer maintenance, reprints, filing cabinets and offsite storage, paper disposal and photocopies, filing and refilling – the costs add up. Imagine the savings if even ½ the contracts were digital. You may not get to paperless, but you can always get to less paper.

Do it for the environment.

Let’s do some math for a smaller company.

  • Let’s assume a team of 25 sales reps that each do 5 deals per week, using a 2 page contract.
  • Let’s also assume 30% of deals are reprinted for some reason – lost contract, unreadable, contract change or something else.

That’s 16,900 pages per year – approximately 2 trees3, which produce enough oxygen a season for 20 people4. Did we mention it takes 20-35 years, depending on the species5, for trees to grow big enough to be used in paper processing? Not to mention the labor and carbon footprint involved in paper production.

If these benefits sound appealing and you want to implement a contracting solution, then take a look at these digital sales proposal and contract providers that integrate with Salesforce.com: Adobe® EchoSign, DocuSign, BigMachines and more are available. Check out the full list on Salesforce.com AppExchange.

Authored by Yvette Montague, Marketing Director at SalesForce Training.

SalesForce Training & Consulting is a Salesforce.com training and Salesforce Management consulting firm based in Toronto, with training centers in Boston and Chicago, helping sales teams get the most out of Salesforce.com.

1Calculation source: www.conservatree.org
2Source: About.com
3Source: www.tappi.org
4Source: : www.ecology.com
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by   Mark Christie