Let’s start from the beginning. Electronic signatures (or e-signatures) have been around forever in digital years (President Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act both by hand and electronically on June 30, 2000), but they are just now becoming more mainstream in business. Businesses all over the world, large and small, are starting to realize just how useful e-signatures are in shortening their sales cycles. Depending on your current contract lifecycle management (CLM) process, you’ll have different responses to this, right? Maybe you don’t buy the faster sales cycle thing. Or maybe you’re not totally sure what an electronic signature is.
What is an Electronic Signature?
According to the U.S. Federal ESign Act, an electronic signature is characterized as an “Electronic sound, symbol, or process, attached to or logically associated with a contract or other record and executed or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the record.” There are different types of e-signatures, but they are all considered secure, legally binding alternatives to a traditional handwritten signature—not only here in the United States, but all over the world too.
What makes electronic signatures so secure?
Like a handwritten signature, e-signatures are as unique as your individual thumbprint. Unlike a traditional signature, e-signatures carry layers of information about who signed the document, when, where, and how they signed it. First, the software requires generating a specific signature by both a fixed message and a private key. Then, it’s authenticated by the public key. This creates a unique signature for each user that can’t be replicated without access to the user’s private key. This is called asymmetric cryptography, which prevents attempts to gain access to the digital signature.
What’s this about shortening my sales cycle?
Simply put, e-signatures are contract management tools that make it easier for your clients to sign your contracts. Every time you send a contract without e-signature capabilities, your clients have to download and print your contract, sign it, and then either upload or mail it back to you. You’re relying on them to do all the work, and in business, time is money. The more time they have to spend signing and getting your contract back to you, the more time it takes to close the contract. (Plus the US alone uses approximately 69 million tons of paper and paperboard per year. Think about how much paper your company uses every year, and how much you spend on it. Save money—and the planet!).
On a technological level, e-signatures carry a lot of information that can aid you in shortening your sales cycle. They can provide reporting and analysis throughout the entire sales cycle. E-signatures allow you to dig deeper to understand the average amount of time it takes your sales team to close a contract. They also monitor how long it takes your client to complete the paperwork. Using this data, you have an overview of the contract activity for all senders in your company. This type of information can be useful in helping you develop sales training so your team can close contracts quicker. Remember, the industry average to close a contract is 30-60 days. The basic tenet of IntelAgree is to make contracting easier, through new and improved ways to create, negotiate, sign, and manage agreements—and e-signatures are one way to cut down that time.
Free Signatures for All! Right?
So maybe you’re wondering how you can make electronic signatures work for you. Good news: there are options. Better news? You shouldn’t have to pay for any of them. Not-so-awesome news? Not everybody feels the same way.
When you think of electronic signatures, you probably think of Adobe Sign and DocuSign. They’re the big names, so you should have to pay for their services, right? Wrong.
The thing is, all e-signatures are equally binding. Doesn’t matter if you used Adobe software or even a smaller platform like HelloSign or Signable. You sign it? It counts. Every electronic signature program allows your customers to sign contracts wherever they are. With both mobile and desktop functionality, your customers won’t have to rely on printing contracts to sign and return, which in turn saves both of you money. You’ll appreciate getting your contracts back in a timely manner, and your customers will appreciate how easy it is to do business with your company. It’s a win-win situation for both parties, and to be honest? It’s a must-have these days, and you shouldn’t have to pay for it.
When it comes to contract management services, lots of options offer electronic signatures but they come at a price. They may charge by signature or by user—but IntelAgree comes with an unlimited number of both. We’re on a mission to provide a platform that makes you more efficient, and a part of that is making contracts easier for your customers. We’ll give you electronic signatures that make signing a breeze—and they’re all part of the deal.
Hooked yet? Call or email us today to learn more.