Cloud-based Contracts Enhance Customer Service

Digital cloud servicesHow to improve the customer experience with digital signatures.

Today’s consumers are bombarded with multimedia advertising, personalized offers and e-mail solicitations. In such an environment, a company’s best option for attracting and retaining prospects can come down to service.

A competitive business has to make it easy for customers to do business, particularly at the critical moments of contract negotiation and closure. By moving those processes to the cloud, organizations can improve the customer experience while capturing numerous other benefits.

Cloud-based contracts and digital signatures can reduce sales cycles by 200 to 400 percent, freeing staff to focus on bringing in new revenue, shrinking the personnel hours required for administrative tasks, and creating a positive, secure contract-signing experience for prospects and customers.

This final benefit eliminates the frustrations consumers encounter with traditional contract procedures: finding a fax machine, standing in line to purchase postage and mail documents, haggling over contract details via phone and e-mail. Any of these hurdles encountered while closing a deal can sink a sale. For customers who complete the overly long contract processes, the likelihood that they will return to the company in question for additional business is low.

Cloud-based contracting offers companies the means to transform their processes and change their customer relationships for the better. With the confirmed legality and security of e-signatures, businesses can confidently adopt technology that blends efficient Web services with contract execution – meaning a deal can occur completely within the cloud, from first sales pitch through negotiation and closing.

Piecing together two critical functions in the sales process puzzle – customer relationship management and contract execution – makes sense for today’s competitive organizations.

Online CRM platforms and contract management integrations are changing traditional CRM models by allowing teams to more effectively manage return on investment in real time. Such integrations let companies share both customer data and contract data more efficiently across departments.

For example, last year’s customer received a special incentive to purchase, and now wants to renew this year with the same incentive. The original contract, having been signed in the cloud and stored in the CRM application, is easily accessible with one click by all parties that have access to the CRM application.

After all the work a business puts into securing a customer, it makes little sense for them to put up barriers at the final stage of contract signing and execution. Cloud-based contracts let users collaborate, negotiate and share contracts and sales data in the cloud. Certainly, this generates faster time-to-sales for businesses. Equally important, however, is the positive impact e-signature capabilities have on customers.

To make a purchase, book a trip, request a quote or order a service, customers can quickly complete intuitive Web-based tasks that take seconds rather than days or weeks. Sales and marketing teams that don’t offer such options must consider the potential negative impact on customer and partner relationships. Faxing, mailing, shipping and calling are hard on customers. E-signing is easy, and easy spurs business.

About the Author

Jason Lemkin is CEO and co-founder of EchoSign. Lemkin previously was an executive in residence at Storm Ventures and served as president, chief business officer and co-founder of NanoGram Devices, now a subsidiary of Greatbatch, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with Magna Cum Laude designation from Harvard University; a JD and Order of the Coif from University of California Berkeley, and he completed the Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Executive Management Program.

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