If there ever was a remake of the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, it would probably be a lot duller than the original version. That’s because in today’s world, Jerry (originally played by Tom Cruise) would be relying on e-signature technology to launch his new spin-off sports agency.
Consider how a key passage in the movie would have to be altered.
Jerry trying to urge star football player Ron Tidwell to sign on with his agency:
(Original script) Tidwell: “Say it with me one time, Jerry. Show me the money!”
(Revised 2016 script) Jerry: “Fine, but check your email first, Ron – I just sent you the contract. Sign it right now and I’ll scream it from the rooftops.”
You get the picture. With present-day e-signature technology, deals can happen a lot more quickly and effectively, taking out a lot of uncertainty and hard feelings that traditionally come before the dotted line is signed.
Although today’s technology helps radically smooth the process of deal-making, and both B2B and B2C transactions are almost entirely digitized, most organizations still rely on paper for the “last foot” of the process – the sign-off. Many businesses are still unaware of the very real costs and risks to organizations that still rely on manual, paper-based document transactions. These include:
Lost Revenue and Productivity: The need to print out and re-scan documents as part of a sales process or agreement slows down both sales representatives and the staff members who support them. For sales reps and information workers, following up with people to get documents reviewed, approved or signed is time-consuming.
Legal Issues from Inaccurate or Incomplete Documents: The company is exposed to legal and business risk because it’s too easy for reps to send out an outdated version of a contract, use the wrong terms, or have incorrect or missing information in the sales contract. In addition, an inability to confirm that documents have been signed off by appropriate parties may lead to auditing or compliance issues.
Lack of Visibility: Even though most, if not all, documents are digitized and stored in both personal computers as well as enterprise systems, it’s still difficult for people to track the course of those documents, to find the latest copy or to ascertain its current status. Often, sales executives and reps need to spend time hunting down the latest version of a document.
Poor Customer Experiences: Interruptions caused by the need for manual reviews and sign-offs create headaches for customers as well as sales teams. These stalls could also impede the ability to retain customers for upsells or future agreements. Errors in storage or tracking can also lead to customer dissatisfaction. Lack of signed authorizations may even crop up during the course of the contract engagement, creating friction between an enterprise and a key customer.
Now, consider the benefits of the alternative;
Accelerate Time to Revenue: E-signature technology enables sales reps to send documents for signature from anywhere, and signers can view them on any device, such as a tablet computer, on the spot. Signed documents can be quickly made available to other parts of the enterprise responsible for fulfilling contract details.
Support for Mobile: E-signatures are just as viable on smartphones, giving reps the ability to seal deals and agreements on the spot and gives customers the ability to sign from anywhere.
Increase Transparency: Electronic signatures help make review processes transparent. With dashboards displaying all recent activity to complete audit trails for compliance, companies are more capable than ever of knowing the exact status of any given document — and therefore better predict a deal’s likelihood to close.
Ensure Greater Security: E-signatures are maintained within protected online files, and thus are not as vulnerable to accidental exposure as paper printouts are.
Reduce Errors: By integrating e-signature technology into existing sales systems, sales documents have fewer errors, helping to avoid hold-ups during the course of the engagement.
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