When Paper-based Sign-offs Become Turn-offs

There is often little margin for error when working and closing a deal. Unfortunately, it’s at the finish line where many sales opportunities stumble and fall, preventing the successful close of the deal. Crossing the finish line is still a long, drawn-out affair for many sales reps, with delays that often stretch the process into days or even weeks—plenty of time for all their efforts to unravel. It doesn’t have to be this way.

When paper-based sign offs become turn-offs

When your customer is ready to sign, you want to close the deal ASAP—not be slowed by a paper-based signing process. And yet that’s exactly what happens in many organizations. According to an IDC report, Bridging the Document Disconnect in Sales, although most business today is digital, 56 percent of executives still rely on paper to sign contracts and close deals.

With fewer than one in five sales deals (18 percent) signed electronically, it’s not surprising in a report from MHI Global, they found that 75 percent of companies say their quote-to-close process takes more than a week—and, in 30 percent of the cases, a month or more.

Add to these figures the risks and costs inherent in relying on manual paper-based signature processes, and it’s no wonder organizations that use e-signatures consider it the #1 most-beneficial sales tool according to a study by Smart Selling Tools B-to-B Sales Tools Consideration, Acquisition & Performance. Paper documents have always been risky—forms get misplaced or misfiled, contracts are missing signatures or data, parts of documents become illegible or damaged.

Business slows down every time your sales team needs to download a document, print out a hard copy, chase down a signature, or correct an error. And paper-based processes make forecasting complicated, since you can’t easily tell when deals are moving forward or not, and where they might be stalled while getting routed for signatures.

In addition, for organizations still relying on manual sales processes, they are often putting their own customers through a poor experience trying to sign, route and return a contract for signature that adds unnecessary risk to closing a deal. Instead of making it easy for customers to do business with your organization, paper-based signatures slow down the sales process, turning what should be simple into something more complicated. IDC also found that 63 percent of business leaders say gaps in automation negatively impact the quality of their customers’ experiences.

E-Signatures cut quote-to-close times

If your sales team is still trying to close deals with a paper-based sales process, then your business is moving too slow. And it’s costing you too much. Studies have shown that the need for sales reps to deal with paper processes adversely impacts time to close, customer satisfaction, productivity and, ultimately, revenue.

Moving to a cloud-based electronic signature solution can slash the time it takes your team to get contracts sent, signed and returned. With e-signatures, your sales team can prepare, send and get contracts signed in minutes, not days or weeks—or even months. And you get complete visibility into every deal, so you can quickly monitor your pipeline and see what contracts have been signed and what are still pending.

By substituting e-signatures for pen and paper, you give your sales team the tools they need to compete and win in today’s digital world. Give them a tool that integrates with your CRM and other sales solutions like CPQ and CLM. It streamlines the process for getting signatures signed, even for more complicated signing workflows, and reduces the risk of error and failure. It’s a win for you and your clients.


Today’s post is by guest author, Brendan Caleca, Vice President – North America Adobe Sign Sales. For more information on this subject, check out an article Adobe recently published, E-signature Technology Helps Assure Sales Victories, about the challenges faced by sales teams still using paper-based signatures and how cloud-based e-signatures can streamline the quote-to-close process and help you grow revenue faster.