During the lifespan of a company, there are usually myriads of business documents created. They comprise internal and external communication documents, pricing information, offers, invoices, business contracts, and other confidential agreements.
Business documents – whether physical or electronic – are required and protected by the laws of countries. They help and guide people to stay on the right track and protect the business’ integrity with transparent, and clear information.
Parallel with the explosion of digital business, companies are using customer relationship management (CRM) software like Salesforce to:
- Store, manage and track their contracts, tasks, opportunities
- Automate the workflows
- Enhance collaboration, both internally and with customers.
It is obvious how vital business documents are to any company. Currently, multiple companies use the Salesforce CRM to store documents in the cloud. In this article you will learn:
1. Type of business documents are used often by Salesforce users
The five most common document types with Salesforce users are:
- Statements of Work (SOW)
- Business contracts
Here you can find guidance and tips on how to get sales contracts signed faster in 2022
A proposal can be either a formal or unofficial offer. This is a written document that specifies a service and/or product to be delivered to a customer.
There are two main types of business proposals:
- Unsolicited business proposal: You reach out to potential customers and send them a proposal even though they did not request one.
- Solicited business proposal: Your future client requests you to send them a proposal to address their needs.
The proposal management process entails the following steps:
- Creating: The first step is to make a draft of the proposal. An administrator will control, and manage access permission to documents as well as files of clients.
- Internal editing: It is important that the document has correct content, is easy to read, and focuses on the customer’s requests.
- Reviewing: At this stage, contributing experts can comment on and make changes to the document.
- Sending: The proposal will be delivered to the customer.
- Viewing: Other parties can read the content and get back with the responses should they decide to move forward with the business.
By the way, if you are already busy with a vast number of sales documents, you can find our tips from the Quick Guide to Proposal Generation in Salesforce.
1.2 Statement of Work (SOW)
A SOW is a document agreement between businesses made to guarantee that both sides fully understand what the results of the given project work should be.
A SOW defines the project requirements, acceptance criteria, payment terms, and the working conditions of the people involved in the project.
A SOW helps both sides minimize conflicts, make a smooth plan, and schedule for all stages of the project.
A good statement of work will include these sections:
- introduction of the purpose of the project and the document
- scope of work and deadlines
- tasks breakdown, milestones, and deliverables for each objective
- definition of requirements and outcome
- payment terms.
A sales quote is a document that allows buyers to see the prices for goods and services. A quote can be:
- An estimate: This sets an estimated cost for a project. When companies cannot calculate the costs of a project beforehand, unpredictable extra costs may be incurred. By providing just an estimate, a business can ensure more flexibility in carrying out the project. Of course, the customer is also left with greater insecurity about the outcome.
- Fixed price breakdown: in this case, the quote states the exact cost for a specific project.
A buyer may also issue a request for quotations (RFQs). This is a document that the seller is expected to reply to with a quote for a service, project, or product. RFQs are used to assess and analyze competing vendors’ offerings before making a purchase decision. Companies typically request multiple quotes to find the best options and prices for their demands.
For many businesses, quotes are unique for each delivery or project. They may require a lot of input and changes from internal and external contributors. If that is the case and you are a Salesforce user, specific Salesforce applications can help you reduce the risk of human mistakes and save time. For example, a document automation application can come in handy: automating quotation creation in Salesforce in less than 20 minutes with Documill Dynamo.
A project or delivery contract is any agreement in terms of development, cooperation, operation, exchange, and provision between two or more parties to reach an aim decently.
There are three types of contracts:
- Fixed Price Contract (FP): The seller provides the buyer with the fixed price quotation once the scope of work and requirements are clarified and before work on a project begins. The seller is legally bound to complete the project on time. Sometimes the scope of work is changed during the project, or it gets completed sooner or later than expected. In these cases, the costs can be revised afterward and a new price set. There are some disadvantages and advantages to this type of contract. You can read more here.
- Cost Reimbursable Contract (CR): In this contract, the purchaser must pay the actual cost and an additional fee. CR is applied often when the scope of work cannot be defined accurately and the risks are high. This can be the case with emergency work, urgent alterations, and repairs. It is also applicable to research, construction, and development projects with unforeseen content and costs.
- Time and Material Contract (T&M): refers to the combination of FP and CR based on the consumption of a product or service. T&M illustrates the sketchy scope of the job with a quote for hourly wage or reimbursement plus the cost of materials. The ideal time to utilize T&M is when the extent of the project or its duration cannot be established before the work begins. Therefore, contractors and their customers agree on hourly wages as well as specify the materials to be used and the potential rate for material prices.
When contracts are stored in Salesforce, they can be used for tracking the approval process easily by implementing alerts that remind the appropriate users of the stage of the contract or its renewal date. Here you can learn more about the steps to set up contracts in Salesforce.
An invoice is an itemized list of goods that clarifies the price of goods or services. This is a document that is used to record the transactions between buyers and sellers.
Once the work has been completed, an invoice will be delivered to the buyer. This is also the difference between an invoice and a quote. If the quote is sent before work is done, the invoice is delivered after the work is completed.
The invoicing functionality can be implemented right within Salesforce. It allows you to automate the creation of your invoices as well as their delivery, customized to your specific requirements.
Here are the 6 typical types of invoices:
- Pro forma invoices: is a document that shows the seller’s commitment to supply items and services to the buyers at a predetermined price.
- Commercial invoices: is a document that declares for the customs the sales and prices of items when selling products across international boundaries.
- Credit notes: is a document given to the purchaser when products are returned because of damage, mistakes, or errors.
- Timesheet invoices: is a document delivered to a buyer to bill them on an hourly basis for tasks done or services rendered.
- Retainer invoices: If a customer makes an advance payment for a product or service, a retainer invoice is delivered to them. This fee is subsequently taken from the customer’s ultimate payment upon completion or delivery of work.
- Recurring invoices: is prepared and distributed to clients at regular periods such as subscription fees.
If you are looking for more tips to generate documents automatically in Salesforce, you should not miss out on our essential guide to the topic. It shows you how to populate your document with data directly from Salesforce to create a PDF file, for example.
Apart from that, there are also other types of documents used in general, not just in Salesforce, such as project plans, employee agreements, training materials, datasheets, textsheet. These various documents play crucial roles in different aspects of business operations and facilitate smooth communication, collaboration, and overall efficiency.
2. Pros and cons of storing documents on salesforce
Although Salesforce is the leading CRM worldwide, it has its advantages and disadvantages such as document storage.
One of the key reasons why companies decide to use Salesforce for this purpose is the range of functionalities it provides:
- Ready-made solution for managing documents in Salesforce: Salesforce has 5 different modules that allow users to upload, store, and share documents with team members and external users. Moreover, users can work with multiple types of documents: presentations, contracts, success stories, case responses, and so forth:
✓ Files Home: Here you can upload, store, and share documents, as well as cooperate with your teams privately. Real-time collaboration across different device types, including desktop and mobile, is a fantastic feature. Multiple devices can access, change, and customize shared files.
✓ Salesforce CRM Content: This module is used to work with various document materials. The user can grant, restrict, or block access to the other roles when working with contracts or confidential information that is not suitable to be viewed by other departments. In addition, you can generate duplicate content and allow access to it for selected colleagues, even external users. However, your file must be shared with publicly accessible if you want to add a guest user to your libraries.
✓ Salesforce Knowledge: You can search, edit, and organize articles in libraries as well as share them internally or externally, for example through a web portal.
✓ Document Tab: This is used to store web resources and Visualforce materials. Visualforce is a component-based user interface (UI) framework that permits developers to create and customize sophisticated and dynamic user interfaces. It can run natively on the Lightning platforms which is an app developed to help businesses build processes faster and easier, especially for those who do not have programming experience (you can read more here).
✓ Attachments: Attach a file to selected objects.
- Organizing documents: Users can search to find documents and use various criteria to streamline searching. These search filters can help classify search results and make a report at a meticulous level.
- Automated document management with a large set of tools: Salesforce empowers users to subscribe to authors, themes, and files to get notifications of updates.
- Uploads: The Salesforce Data Loader allows uploading and updating documents and inserting links. This tool enables systematic updates of Salesforce files systematically without human effort.
- Integration with Google Drive, OneDrive, and various other repositories. These repositories can be linked to Salesforce. The Salesforce interface allows them to access and manage these external files via Salesforce Files Connect.
Still, Salesforce has its shortcomings in document management:
- The native document management features are poor in Salesforce.
- Even though integration with Google Drive and other repositories is supported, the external storage system space is limited
- To enable users to collaborate and share information better, Salesforce has developed Chatter- a real-time collaboration application. Chatter is useful for connecting and engaging and inspiring users to work effectively anywhere, anytime. However, it has many drawbacks:
✓ Limited user’s rights: Users can see the profiles of each other, join groups, and post updates but cannot view records or edit documents right in Salesforce.
✓ There is no access to the calendar and events
✓ Low capability to deal with departments that do not naturally use Salesforce
Therefore, many companies decide to use applications from Salesforce’s AppExchange app store to automate document creation and enable your customers to make changes and comment directly on the files (of course, you can review, approve, or decline their edits before jumping to the final stage of signing). This allows you to manage documents better in Salesforce and minimize making mistakes than using built-in modules.
Documill also has developed specific solutions to help companies enhance control, work, and collaborate in Salesforce. You can manage your document processes better by implementing document workflows with our solutions.
3. How to save time and cost for contracts.
During your negotiation process, you and your partners might agree to record your online discussion to avoid missing out on important information. In this scenario, you can convert mp4 into mp3 files to store them on your devices, which saves you lots of time in the future when taking notes and preparing the contract.
When you get into the contracting process, depending on the complexity of the document, the time will differ. The larger the document the bigger the completion time. On average, businesses take approximately 20-30 days to create, negotiate, and finalize a contract with the average cost of 50,000$, 21,000$, and 7,000$ for complex, middle, and simple contracts respectively. However, if you automate your document creation process, you can speed up negotiation cycles, reduce abandoned deals, and cut operating costs. We have provided some concrete figures in our infographic.
Let us make a quick calculation. You are negotiating with your customer a deal worth 54,000$.
As the table above shows, you can save valuable resources and increase revenue just by changing from manual to automated document creation and negotiation workflows.
The higher number of documents you have, the more errors may occur from difficulties in document management. Here we have mentioned the most common types of business documents used in Salesforce: proposals, statements of work, quotes, contracts, and invoices. We have also covered the pros and cons of managing contracts on Salesforce and document automation solutions.
You can read more about these topics in these articles get rid of the boring sales routines, fast contract process to delight you and your customers.
As such, Salesforce native built-in modules have a number of shortcomings in document management and collaboration features themselves. Nonetheless, Documill (Salesforce Application) will support you to speed up and simplify your core sales processes with three essential solutions:
- Workflow orchestration: Standardize and unify your sales processes for greater efficiency and compliance.
- Contract collaboration: Invite as many parties to the table as required, both from inside and outside your organization, and collaborate online.
- Document automation: Avoid time-consuming manual tasks by automating document assembly to sell lightning fast. As a bonus, your documents come branded completely in line with your visual guidelines.
Feel free to book a demo with us. We will also help you solve your issues and enhance your document collaboration right in Salesforce. If you are a Salesforce Admin, you might be interested in finding the most important certifications for a Salesforce Admin career path.