The cost of a sales contract is surprisingly high: even a simple contract process comes with an average price tag of nearly $7,000. It clearly pays to accelerate the closing cycle and get the cost down. What matters even more, perhaps, is that a faster contract process makes the transaction simpler for the customer, too. Thus, it contributes to a better overall customer experience – and potentially increases the closing rate.
From an offer to a contract with just one document
One way to simplify your contract process is to adopt a standardized contracting practice based on a minimum number of documents. For example, all the steps from issuing an offer to signing a contract can be covered by one document.
This is the very practice that we at Documill have adopted. The key prerequisite for streamlining the process this way is to have a clearly structured solution and product offering. As a SaaS vendor, we have had the chance to put our customer offerings into a few neat, simple packages that, nevertheless, allow reasonable tailoring.
We explain here step by step how our approach works in practice. It is based on our commercial document automation solution in Salesforce, complete with some of its automated workflows. Mind you, we describe here an implementation tailored to our own contract creation and approval process. However, given the flexibility of the automation solution, it can support a wide range of approaches, so the procedure here makes just one simple example.
In a previous article, we already described the benefits of this approach and, for example, what content to include in that one document it entails.
Salesforce is the nexus
1. All our customer data needed for contract creation is in our Salesforce. When we get a new prospect, one of our sales reps clicks a button in Salesforce to create a new Opportunity record.
2. As the sales rep learns the relevant details of the prospect, they are entered in Salesforce. In our data model, among other details, they include:
- name and other details of prospect
- expected amount of deal
- close date
- probability of closing
- preferred communication language
- additional details: new/old customer, lead source and so forth.
3. Now we have learned enough about the customer and their needs. The sales rep just clicks on the New Offer button in the Salesforce Opportunity record. After that, our document automation solution generates an offer document.
4. The sales rep now has an option to edit the offer in certain parts and add comments.
5. In this case, the value of the offer exceeds the sales rep’s approval privileges, so a Request Approval button has appeared. The sales rep clicks it to notify the sales director of the pending offer approval via Salesforce Chatter channel.
6. The sales director receives the Chatter message and clicks a link in it. The document opens. He has the option to reject the document or request changes from the sales rep.
7. However, the document is fine, so he just clicks on the Approve button.
8. The sales rep gets a message that the document was approved. The change in its status is also visible in the Salesforce record.
9. Now the sales rep can click Share to send the document for customer approval and e-signing by both parties.
10. In this case, the signees have been predefined.
11. The sales rep just clicks on the Send Email button. An email alert with automated content goes out to the approvers.
12. The customer’s signee receives the email and clicks a link in it. The document opens. The signee has a chance to accept, reject or request a new version – and add comments to the seller.
13. In this case, all is fine again, so the customer’s signee just approves the document, then moves on to select the e-signing method.
14. The sígnee clicks Sign. On the seller side, the approver signs it as well. A link to the signed document is delivered in an automated email to the persons who need to have it.
15. As the sales rep receives the signed document, he closes the case.
16. Then he just sets Select closed stage as Closed won.
Now the offer document has become a binding contract. In this case, no tweaking of the terms was needed. The template-based approach was fine as such.
As said before, this is an example of how the versatility of our document automation solution supports the specific needs of our sales team. Would you like to learn how we can help you make your offer-to-contract cycle quicker, more robust and easier – for the benefit of both you and your customer?
Or just learn some more tips for faster