SignNow Blog

Workflow Solutions in the Enterprise [Infographic]

By definition, enterprise businesses rely on a vast number of processes and workflows to run efficiently. The good news is that technological innovation has brought about unprecedented opportunities to automate these workflows – in recent years, thousands of software solutions have emerged to help you boost productivity, supercharge efficiency, save time and cut down on costs.

In our latest infographic, we take a look at some of the most popular solutions out there to help you automate workflows in a variety of sectors: from finance and operations, to marketing and sales.

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5 reasons your sales team needs to start using eSignatures

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To be successful in sales you must be confident, efficient, and a quick-thinker. However, having said all this, sales teams that are still using paper are anything but. Yes, paper documents are comfortable, and we’ve used them for years, but now that eSignatures have been introduced and confirmed as legally binding we should be swapping out those hefty stacks of paper for slick, featherlight tablet computers.

In this blog we’re going to present five reasons why your sales team needs to start using eSignatures.

1. Save Trees!

The benefits of eSignatures are so far-stretching that if you incorporate them into your business, not only will your sales team and clients be much happier, but the entire environment will be too! Did you know that on average, one US office worker uses 10 000 sheets of copy paper per year?! We’ve not sat down to do the math on how many trees that equals, but, as you can guess, it’s a lot.

By switching to eSignatures you can prevent trees from being needlessly cut down, at least to some extent. And, the key word to mention here is needlessly. If you think about it, for each client that one of your sales reps closes a deal with a huge contract is printed, only for the client to glance at it and sign a tiny part. Once that’s done, you probably scan this document into a computer anyway, and then place the paper copy in a dusty filing cabinet where it will lie for the rest of eternity – needlessly.

2. Save Time!

Continuing from the point above, printing large documents that only get glanced at once, takes up a lot of unnecessary time. The time taken to print the documents is probably longer than clients actually spend reading them.

SignNow cuts document turnaround time by as much as 90%. This is because documents are signed on a device, and kept in the ever-expanding, ever-secure cloud. When documents are kept in the cloud, or in other electronic storage systems, it also saves the time it takes to root through a filing cabinet for an age-old document.

eSignatures can also save time when it comes to documents needing multiple signatures. Originally, multiple signatures would mean posting a document to each person individually so that they could add their signature. A process that could take weeks and even more if the document were to be lost in the post. With SignNow, the document is simply uploaded to a computer and emailed to each person in turn, and then back to the sales rep and all other recipients when it is completed.

3. Impress Clients!

Sales is all about impressing the client in order to seal the deal. But, what’s definitely not impressive is sending out a contract that has a mistake on it, goes missing in the post, or worse, in your unorganized filing cabinets, and then making the client wait another week or so to sign another one.

eSigning has been proven to impress clients, deepen customer relationships, and improve sales team productivity. A study of 472 organizations by the Aberdeen Group found that users of e-signatures were 50% more likely to show improved customer renewal rates. They were also 41% more likely to reduce proposal errors, and 18% more likely to shorten their sales cycles!

So instead of plonking a wad of documents in front of clients, your sales team can just get out their iPads or Smartphones and show them the dotted line.

One of the greatest benefits?

No more of that frantic patting of your pockets when the client says “Have you got a pen?”

4. Heightened Security

eSignatures are more secure than signatures collected on paper because they leave a clear, electronic, audit trail. Unlike, paper documents that can be very difficult to track and easily forged or altered, electronic signatures can be validated to prove that they have not been tampered with. And, with SignNow, you can even track the progress of your document to see where it is and how long it will take to get back to you.

To protect the security of eSignatures within our platform we have a 256-bit encryption key. This means that no one can see your signed documents unless they are authorized. On the other hand, wet signatures on paper documents are usually seen by any number of people — mail room staff that open and sort post, colleagues walking past each others desks, visitors to your office, and so on.

5. Increased Competition

With the use of eSignatures, your sales team can get signatures faster and log them all within your computer database. With this information, you can create graphs to see who is the best performing sales rep. Throw in a few incentives and you’ll create friendly competition that will see all aspects of your company improve.

Not only will you see an increase in friendly competition throughout your sales team, but also with your competitors. If you are the first of your competitors to take on electronic signing (or the first one to do it right) this will give you a professional, competitive edge like no other.

So…

Have we convinced you yet?

Your sales team needs speed, and your clients need security — the five points above prove that eSignatures offer both of these aspects and more! So, if you want to get started with the eSignature platform that serves over 60% of the Fortune 500 then contact SignNow today!

The Rise of eSignatures [Infographic]

eSignatures have enjoyed a huge surge in popularity in recent years – shortening a painful, inefficient process that used to take days, weeks or even months, into a matter of minutes.

In our latest infographic, we take a look at the rise of eSignatures…from the origins of ‘wet’ signatures and handshakes, through to a period where contracts were signed by morse code, and the ESIGN Act of 2001 which enshrined the validity of digital signatures into US Law.

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Key Facts

Wax seals or ‘emblems’ were used by the earliest civilizations to authenticate a document.

The earliest evidence of a ‘handshake’ being used as a custom to show friendship and formalize agreement dates back to the 5th Century BC.

The first hand written signatures can be traced back to the year 439 AD.

Morse Code was used for a broad range of communications in the 19th century, including accepting contracts and agreements.

Morse Code was ruled to be a legal form of ‘digital signature’ by multiple court cases in the 1860s.

The creation (and growing use) of the modern fax machine opened up a debate over the validity of digital signatures.

Legislation in the 1990s reinforced the standing of digital signatures as a legal alternative to ‘wet’ signatures.

President Clinton (digitally!) signed the ESIGN Act on June 30, 2000, giving eSignatures the same legal weight as written ones.

Over 15 million people have digitally signed more than 120 million documents in 188 different countries.

The eSignature software and services industry grew by 48% between 2010 and 2011.

eSignatures reduce document turnaround time by 80%.

eSignatures cut the cost of each document by $20.

eSignatures can result in a 5x increase in customer loyalty.

Usage of eSignatures by life insurance companies increased from 47% in 2007, to 74% in 2013.

How to Automate 5 Tedious Workflows

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It might be one of the oldest clichés in the book, but it still rings true: time is money!

And yet, despite phenomenal advances in technology, many businesses still waste untold amounts of time on the manual performance of tedious, lengthy tasks. The good news is that many of these workflows can now be automated – delivering enormous benefits to your business.

In this article, we’ll look at five tedious workflows which you may consider automating. We hope that it’ll help you boost your productivity and efficiency, and give you more time to focus on the stuff that really demands your attention!

1. Social Media

There’s little doubt that social media can be a highly useful tool for businesses…it can build your audience, boost your brand, and it’s a great way to develop and nurture highly engaged relationships with potential customers. That’s the good news!

The bad news is that it can also quickly become a bottomless pit from a time management perspective. Finding relevant content to post, allocating time to post it out, and monitoring for replies, comments and messages can all be time-consuming tasks.

Now, while there’s no substitute for the ‘personal approach,’ there are automation tools available that can really take the sting out of social. By automating and batch-processing some of the more time-consuming aspects of social, you can deliver a great social offering with no more than 10 minutes a day of on-social time.

You can use platforms like SproutSocial to find content using RSS feeds, and then schedule that content out for specific times. There are also intuitive tools available which can identify the best time to push content to your followers, and then do this automatically on your behalf – check out Buffer and Social Oomph.

2. Payroll

Whether you pay your employees weekly, bi-weekly or monthly, payroll is an unavoidable task that eats up time on a regular basis. A study by Iris Software and Services suggests that, by automating the payroll process, a business with 50 employees could save nearly 8 hours each month – freeing up 13.5 days per year to focus on other tasks

As well as making the task that much quicker and more efficient, automation can remove the possibility of human error, making things easier for everybody involved.

3. Signature Collection

We all know how important it is to get signatures on your documents – the quicker you can get those agreements signed, sealed and delivered, the more efficiently your business will run. Once upon a time, there was no real alternative to the painstaking process of printing and mailing paper forms out to co-signors, then waiting for them to reply. Today, there is an alternative. eSignatures carry the same legal weight as written ones, and the whole process takes a matter of minutes and hours rather than the days, weeks and even months you’d waste with paper.

The key here is to find an eSignature platform that suits your needs. We’re proud to say that 60% of the Fortune 500 and over 100,000 small businesses use SignNow to collect signatures digitally. Our intuitive platform allows you to collect signatures by email, across multiple devices. Find out more about our features and pricing.

4. Project Management – Communication and Collaboration

There have never been so many different ways in which we can communicate with our colleagues and co-workers – and yet getting people to actually communicate and work together is one of the most frequent challenges faced by businesses. All too often, people choose to communicate in their own way via emails and private to-do lists – which give management and colleagues little idea as to how projects are progressing, and badly hurt collaboration.

Internal communications are definitely an area that can be streamlined and improved by automation. Choosing the right software can help encourage strong communication and collaboration in your teams, unlocking a multitude of benefits. Tools like Asana, Do and Trello come highly recommended, as do platforms like Basecamp and Mavenlink if you also need to communicate with customers in the same space.

5. Email Marketing and CRM

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is one of the most important parts of business success in today’s modern world, and it’s vitally important to maintain those relationships with regular, timely and relevant communications.

Auto responders can be a great way to manage your customer relationships for maximum ROI. These are essentially automatic emails which you can send to different sections of your database at various points in the sales cycle. With minimal work on your end, you can ensure a regular stream of relevant messages designed to nurture leads and close sales.

There are plenty of email marketing solutions out there, but MailChimp is perhaps the most popular.

Automate and Win!

We hope this article gave you some useful ideas to help you automate some of the more tedious and laborious processes you face in your business. One of the best things about the technological developments of recent years is that they give us unprecedented scope to take these time-consuming tasks off our desk, saving time and money to let us concentrate on the things that really require our attention. Good luck!

Are eSignatures only Suitable for Larger Businesses?

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Last week we blogged about electronic signature usage in the enterprise and how 60% of Fortune500 companies are using SignNow as their eSignature platform. So does mean that eSignatures are only appropriate for larger businesses?

The short answer is no, but in this blog we’ll discuss why, and give reasons how you can benefit from eSignatures no matter how small your business may be.

How would my small business use eSignatures?

The truth is, every business can benefit from an eSignature platform as it can help streamline processes across a variety of different departments. Take a look at the people in your business who could really see the value from using eSignatures…

Sales Reps

This is the most logical place to start, as your sales reps are the people who are out in field looking to make the sale. As a small business, it’s so important that you move quickly to close the sale, in order to grow your business.

The problem with paper contracts is that you have to wait weeks for them to get signed, where-as if you implemented eSignatures you can instantly deliver contracts and get the signature without delay.

HR

So you may not have a huge inflow of new employees, but the more sales you do, the more people you’ll need. Candidates and employees will be able to sign their contract straight away, so you can get the data you need digitally saved, rather than lost somewhere in a physical file.

Legal

When setting up a business, there will be various different legal contracts that need to be signed. It could be contracts regarding your office, or legal contracts that need to be set up with on-going suppliers. By using eSignatures, you will have a record of each signed contract on hand, whether you have an in-house legal team, or you outsource it.

Finance

Your finance department will be able to do their job a lot quicker too! Everything will be managed digitally so they can get instant access to financial data, execute invoices quicker and get contracts signed without delay.

What are the benefits to my small business?

Benefit 1: Save on cost

As a small business or start-up, one of the most important factors is learning how to keep your costs down. The fact is that by using an eSignature platform you do save on many unnecessary costs.

Just think about how much you spend on paper, printing and cartridges, especially considering contracts can be extremely lengthy! If you use eSignatures you will save on having to constantly refill your printer and buy more paper. Not only that, but you won’t have to post them anymore, meaning you can say goodbye to mailing, postage and packaging costs.

Benefit 2: Save on time

We’re all looking for time savers, but as mentioned above, for a small business it’s all the more important. Firstly you can save time by getting rid of paper from your normal contract procedures. In fact, you can actually save as much as 40 hours per month by avoiding paper.

Another great benefit is that using eSignatures is a proven method to cut document turnaround time by as much as 90%. So you don’t have to wait weeks for a contract to be sent back to you, your customers or clients won’t deliberate on signing the document and you can close the sale quickly.

Take a look at our infographic for more insightful stats on the real cost productivity.

Benefit 2: Accelerate business growth

So you are a small business at the moment, but do you want to stay that way? It’s natural to want to grow bigger and by implementing the right tools early on in business, you will be able to reach that goal faster. Not only is it quicker for your sales reps to send clients a contract to sign, but by using an eSignature platform such as SignNow, they can keep track of the status of that contract.

Say for example a client has opened the contract but not yet signed it, your sales reps will be able to see that data and send them a friendly reminder to help move the sale forward. The same benefit can be applied when waiting for employees to sign their contracts – you can check the document status and ensure that your business stays compliant.

Benefit 3: Streamline workflow

Not only does an eSignature platform help save on time, but it streamlines your workflows so you can enjoy a hassle-free experience. Often in business the same contract needs to be sent to various team members to sign. Well with SignNow, you can actually send a document to 1,000s of signers all at once.

You can also keep an audit trial of every signed contract and because it’s saved in the cloud, there’s no need to worry about ever losing important documents. Our SignNow platform is especially helpful as it lets you filter searches by name or department to quickly access the right document.

SignNow even integrates with popular business platforms including your CRM system, Salesforce.com, Netsuite, MS Office, Google Docs and more! Meaning you can integrate the right data with complete ease.

Benefit 4: Showcase your professionalism

In the early days sometimes it can be hard to get people on board with what you do. You need to build up trust and show clients and customers that you are professional. But if you’re sending out paper forms for them to sign then this can be off-putting. By using SignNow you can customize contracts to match your brand with your company logo, colors and messaging. It will show you respect the client, are quick to respond and above all, a business leader.

SignNow for your business…

Making it so easy for clients, suppliers and customers to sign a document on any device, an eSignature platform is a must for any small business. In fact, 100,000 smaller businesses actually use SignNow to help them run their business, so why don’t you join them?

We offer great deals for smaller businesses with prices starting from as little as $15 per month. Try our free trial to see how SignNow can transform your business!