15 Dec 2020
7 reasons why Sales unnecessarily wastes time
By: Diederik Verstraete
How to close more deals in less time with smart technology like document automation and e-signing
How much time to do you lose on administrative tasks in the sales process? All these tasks are inevitable but let's be honest, we would like to spend our time on other tasks!
Studies show that today’s sales professionals spend just 34% of their time selling. And most of the remaining time they have meetings and struggle to keep up with data entry, quote generation, and other tasks that take them away from customers. What if the majority of those tasks can be done for you? What if we automate boring and error-prone tasks? How would you spend the extra time you get? The past few years, we had multiple projects at clients where we helped in making the administrative sales process easier. We digitised numerous quote documents, contracts and other administrative documents. By doing this, we reduce the use of paper, streamline the process and free up time from sales representatives.
At first, we identified time-consuming tasks that need to be handled manually by the sales representatives. Sales people have to do administrative tasks for registering calls and making and sending quotes or contracts to seal the deal. These are inevitable process steps, but add few value for the client. They are purely administrative tasks that need to be done to process the sales opportunity or contract.
In theory, we should aim to decrease these low-value activities and get it right the first time. But in reality, we see otherwise. Current processes are now still often based on technology from many years ago. Many companies manually draw up a document in Word using static templates, fill in all specific customer data and save it onto a shared drive or sharepoint server. Then we print the document and send it to the client via post. What a waste of time and paper!
Customer point of view
Take a look at the customer's point of view. Days after having contact with the company, the customer receives an envelope with a paper document. He has to sign this document, frank an envelope and send it back by post. Most of the time this signed document ends up laying around, waiting to be posted by the customer. That means everyone is waiting. The sales cycle is stalled. It can even get worse, the customer receives his document as an attachment in a plain email. He has to print this document (even though it's already “digital”), sign it, scan it back in and send it to the company. That is not really customer-friendly! Many customers do not even own a printer or scanner nowadays, which makes this process annoying for the customer.
Time-consuming, error prone and not at all environmentally friendly
The problem is obvious, but let’s point out a couple of pain points of these inefficient processes:
- Processing. Time is money. The sales representative loses time filling in the customer details in the documents. We have to set up PDF files, save on locations, prepare e-mails, print and send envelopes… all repetitive tasks that take time.
- Waiting times. If we look at this process from a Lean point of view we would identify a couple of “waiting times” where we should focus on. We have to wait for the mail/post to arrive or until the customer has printed and scanned the document.
- Data quality. Often, we use templates to prepare the document, but it is subject to human errors. The quality of the documents is at risk. Essential data might be missing and a typo is quickly made... Eventually the signed document could get lost or be saved in the wrong place. And how about the probability of having all sorts of different structures and layouts in the documents sent?
- Prone to error and double handling of data. If you demand data from the client to be filled on the document, you have to manually read and copy this new information into your CRM or database. Prone to error and a waste of time!
- Costs. Paper and stamps cost money but maybe even more important: it’s bad for the environment.
- Postponing or even losing the deal. When the sales cycle is prolonged due to waiting times, this gives prospects opportunities to change their mind, doubt the offer, react to other deals etc
- Scattered data storage
All factors mentioned above lead to inefficient work and a customer experience that could be ever so much better.
Via document generation tools on the Salesforce platform, such as Documill Dynamo, we can create a smart and dynamic template that will automatically read in all your customer data. Via a e-signing solution we can send the document.
All you have to do is simply press a button and your document is generated. We can have handy templates where we just fetch the customer contact details, or we can create advanced templates that interpret the complex situation and result with the correct and completed document(s). Let’s take the example of a Quotation offer. Working with Salesforce we can generate a tailored quote for this customer based on the Opportunity or Quotation object. We can include all sorts of dynamic data into your document: account, lead or opportunity information, product information, subscription or contract details, terms and conditions etc. All tailored to your company brand style. The result is a PDF file.
A second technique we should use is an Electronic Signature solution such as SignRequest or Documill Engage. These clever tools make sure the client receives the correct document and is assisted in signing the document electronically. This electronic signature is secure and coded into a blockchain, to give it legal credibility as well. The biggest advantage is that you receive immediate feedback. You can have an immediate overview of which client still has to complete and sign a document. You will know if they have received, opened, signed or rejected the document. Based on these statuses you can automatically launch the next appropriate process or step. For example: set automatic reminders, log a task to ask for feedback when rejected etc.
You can set up multiple recipients, order of signing, who needs to be informed and much more custom settings. It is best practice that when all parties have signed, the document is stored immediately at the right place, connected to your customer’s record for a full 360 customer view. Also, you can ask for a customer's input. Imagine you still need some contact details or they have to agree to some terms and conditions. During the electronic signing process you can ask for some details or they have to complete a checkbox about GDPR regulations. This is important data that automatically will be saved onto the customer CRM record.
With just two tools you can help your sales representatives and you give your customers a more digital sales experience. These two tools are part of the basic recommended setup. But you can improve to a better and advanced setup. What if we could combine those two tools?
Example of a next-level automatic process
You want to take the experience one, or even two steps further? Great! We can connect both document generation and sending of the document via e-signing. When the Sales person is finished setting up the quote details or opportunity in salesforce, he can simply press 1 button: generate and send documents. This will trigger the document generation (without user interaction), create the documents and pass them through to the signing tool. A pre-filled email template will be used to send the documents for electronic signature to the client.
When all parties (or just the client) have signed the document, this information is fed back into salesforce, triggering automatic closure of the opportunity and confirming the order or activating of the subscription/contract. No interaction is needed anymore from the sales person. We go from a long and slow process with multiple steps to just one: “press this button”.
Two steps further: client self-service
We can also build a solution where the client himself starts the process. This way, the client has control over the sales cycle, and we do not even need the salesperson to press this one button. This will improve efficiency, data quality and free up time from your sales professionals. A webshop or online affiliation tool can also trigger the document generation and signing. When the client has placed his order and filled in all details, we can automatically trigger the process. The data will be merged in the documents automatically. And there is more.
We can use Salesforce Lighting flow or custom Lightning components to build an online wizard to let customers buy your products or sign up for your services. In this wizard we will ask the necessary Account and Contact details to complete these records and the documents. We will use the product interest to generate an Opportunity and quote record. After signing, we can generate Contract, Subscription or Order records.
Let's take the first step together
As you can see, there is a lot of room for improvement in the administrative sales process. With a few easy tools and a short implementation (the longest project took us only 4 weeks) you can update your processes and benefit from all the improvements. Don't let the opportunity pass you by to benefit from smart technology. Give us a call! We're happy to show you the possibilities for your daily practice.