Sealing the digital deal. From first impression to final sale.

by Adobe Document Cloud Team

posted on 09-28-2018

[ ] Explore

The Challenge A Simple Solution Focus on Experience Save Time Gain Insights Start Now Adobe Sign

Sealing the Digital Deal

It’s a salesperson’s worst nightmare. You’ve met numerous times with your client. Haggled over numbers again and again. And just when you thought the deal was done, more red lines come through from legal. So you’re back to creating another contract and getting signatures all over again. But now the CFO is out of the country on vacation. And your quarterly deadline comes and goes — without closing the deal.

Only 25% of sales professionals’ time is spent selling.

  1. Source: CSO Insights

It’s no wonder sales reps are losing sleep. They’re facing intense pressure to close more deals, yet finding it harder than ever to get them done. In almost 50 percent of the cases, “done” deals come undone — even those that were forecast to close. According to the CSO Insights 2017 World-Class Sales Practices study, the average win rate is just 47.3 percent — which means you have a better chance of winning a pass bet playing craps in Vegas (49.3 percent) than closing a deal.

It’s not due to lack of effort. Sales teams are putting in plenty of time. Yet a mere 25 percent of that time goes to selling and nurturing relationships. The rest is spent on paperwork, tedious administrative tasks, and manual processes that are bogging them down.

In the 2017 Richardson Report, the top productivity challenge for sales teams was spending too much time on administrative or non-selling activities.

Balancing customer and company expectations.

Potential customers aren’t making things any easier. Nearly 18 percent of the CSO survey respondents reported that customer expectations are noticeably or significantly increasing. They want a great digital experience, have things move quickly, and be able to work from anywhere — and their sales reps to do the same.

This means sales teams have to be on their game, at all times. On top of customer expectations, they’re feeling immense pressure to hit annual revenue numbers, but according to an Aberdeen report, most only get halfway there.

These barriers to the sales process create barriers for your business. If you’re like the majority of sales professionals who admit their ability to close deals in the predicted time needs improvement or a major redesign, it’s time to rethink your processes.

In today’s highly competitive environment, you need more than half a chance.

53% of forecasted opportunities are either lost or go to “no-decision.”

53% of sales professionals reach their quotas, a 10% decline from 2012 and 2016.

55% of sales goals are being met.

(CSO Insights and Aberdeen)

Don’t leave things to chance. Sign on to a better way.

Your sales team needs every advantage they can get. Set them up for success by freeing them from time-consuming manual processes so they have more time to focus on creating great experiences and great relationships.

E-signatures is a solution that helps your team close more deals in less time.

The right technology can help. According to a Smart Selling Tools survey, companies that report significant growth use an average of 5.7 sales tools. Yet with so many tech investments to choose from and tight budgets, it’s important to choose a solution that gives you the biggest impact.

“For those looking to get value and results from their Sales Tech Stack, e-signatures appear to be a great bet,” says Nancy Nardin, founder and CEO of Smart Selling Tools. While they didn’t rank in the top five tools currently being used, they were one of the top four tools with high adoption percentages. And they ranked first for perceived benefit by those who actually use them, earning the highest satisfaction rating of 4.0 or higher. In other words, e-signatures are the undiscovered darling of the sales world.

E-signatures rank #1 for perceived benefit by those who use them.

Source: Smart Selling Tools

Switching to e-signatures is one of the easiest ways to make a significant difference in your sales process. It can help you accomplish the following:

Create great experiences, right from the start.

Sales is all about service. But it’s also about your brand. Your sales team has the opportunity to influence the brand experience from the very first contact a prospect has with your company. Whether it’s a form that gathers customer data, a proposal, or a contract, those first interactions create first impressions of your brand. When they’re good, you’re well on your way to creating a great experience.

The new business battlefield.

By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key differentiator.

Source: Gartner and Walker

And experience is everything. According to Gartner and Walker information, customer experience is the new business battlefield. In fact, by the year 2020, it will overtake price and product as the key Differentiator.

Create and send documents from anywhere, using any device

A great customer experience includes the convenience and speed of doing business digitally. With e-signatures, you can create and send documents from anywhere, using any device. And your customers can sign and return them just as easily. Many e-signature solutions integrate with CRM platforms, DAMs, and other sales tools, helping you deliver a seamless experience for both your sales reps and your customers.

Deals get done faster, easier, and greener — making e-signatures one of the easiest ways to deliver exceptional customer service and position your company as an experience business. And that very first document is where it all starts.

Speed the time from quote to close.

Despite having multiple tools available, most sales processes are manual and inefficient, and too much time elapses between a verbal agreement and the contract getting signed. The reasons are many, from data entry errors to waiting to get paperwork signed — but they all can lead to missed deadlines and lost sales.

E-signatures can drastically improve efficiency.

Benefits of improving the time from quote to close.

Source: CSO Insights

Barriers to closing the sale.

Sell cycle too long: 32%

Lack of common sales processes: 21.4%

Ineffective sales process: 17.8%

Low sales process adoption: 11.6%

Source: CSO Insights

On the other hand, e-signatures can drastically improve efficiency by making it more convenient to create, send, sign, and return documents. All it takes is access to the internet, an email address, and a browser.

The call center representatives for Diner’s Club International now use e-signatures to sign people up for credit cards. The reps pre-populate the applications directly from Salesforce, email them to the customers, and stay on the line while they review and sign them. Since making this change, they’ve cut the average turnaround time for completed applications from several days to 17.3 minutes.

And that’s not an isolated case. Forrester reports e-signatures can cut cycle time up to 95 percent and save 50 hours of work per person per year.

Diner’s Club International has cut the average turnaround time for completed applications from several days to 17.3 minutes using e-signatures.

Know more. Close more.

When a contract requires multiple signers, it’s easy to lose track of exactly where the deal stands. Yet that’s essential information, especiallyt if you’re down to the wire. It’s no surprise that in an Aberdeen report, two-thirds of sales organizations said effective tracking was their number-one need.

E-signatures let you track contract status in real-time.

With e-signatures, you have real-time visibility into the process, so you know exactly where the contract is at any time, who has signed it, and who hasn’t. “If I see a customer has spent a lot of time on a particular page of a proposal, I can reach out and ask if they have any questions or concerns,” says Jake Reni, head of Adobe Sales Academy, adding that this kind of visibility helps keep the process moving.

Two-thirds of sales organizations said effective tracking was their number-one need.

Source: Aberdeen

Since moving to e-signatures to process their hundreds of annual agreements, the sales team at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has gained valuable visibility into their contract status as well as a reputation for being an innovator. “We can see where our contracts are at all times,” says Joost van de Bunt, business development manager at KLM. “The added visibility strengthens client relationships and frees up time for us to focus on other critical activities.”

You also gain insight into the length of time that went into a deal, along with everything that happened along the way, including potential roadblocks that could kill it. “It’s not just about knowing where a contract is,” says Peter Halderman, senior partner, product and segment marketing manager at Adobe. “It also helps with forecasting, because you have a better idea of whether something is likely to close on time or not.”

You can use the information to duplicate effective sales efforts, too. The Aberdeen report found that 94 percent of e-signature users say they can identify the most profitable buyer profiles, customers, or accounts across their efforts. And 70 percent say they’re able to document the knowledge and behavior of top performing sales reps and share it with lower performing team members.

The sale isn’t the only thing at risk with an inefficient sales process. Expensive legal mistakes can result from manually updating legal information or rebuilding contracts every time. But with the templates in many e-signature solutions, you can standardize proposals and contracts, reduce data errors, and ensure compliance with messaging. “You’d be surprised how often sales reps build their own PowerPoint presentations and send off a ‘rogue proposal,’” says Reni.

Avoid costly mistakes with standardized proposals and contracts.

E-signatures also provide a complete audit trail. You’ll be able to see everything that happens with a document, in real-time or after the fact. They’re safer, too, because they allow you to route important documents directly to the recipient, reducing the risk of them landing in the wrong hands, getting lost in the mail, or never making it into a briefcase for the signing meeting. After everyone has signed a document, you can lock it to prevent more changes and automatically archive it.

As you consider s-signature solutions, look for one that has strong security standards and complies with industry and legal requirements.

Sign on to e-signatures. Sign up for more wins.

When you speed up the sales process, eliminate costly and time-consuming errors, and create better experiences for your customers, your win rate goes up. But it’s about more than winning deals. It’s about seeing the revenue from them, too. The faster you can get a contract signed, the sooner you can onboard your customers, get them using your products, and get revenue coming in.

The better the customer experience, the greater your chances of closing.

E-signature users are taking charge.

Source: Aberdeen

It comes back to creating great customer experiences. The better experience a customer has with your brand, the greater your chances of closing the deal. Not to mention seeing additional incremental revenue from new deals down the road.

Turn documents into experiences, and experiences into sales.

Winning the deal today is all about serving your customers — quickly, conveniently, and with attention to detail. It’s about being an experience business and giving your customers exceptional service every step of the way.

It starts with e-signatures. When you remove the mundane tasks that bog down sales teams, you give them a huge advantage. You give them time to build personal relationships with customers, focus on meeting their needs, and bring them on as customers.

You also prevent those down-to-the-wire nightmares. Instead, you open the door to what every sales department dreams of — higher win rates and increased revenue.

Adobe can help.

Adobe Sign, an Adobe Document Cloud solution, helps your customers move from “maybe” to “definitely” by creating an all-digital workflow that eliminates the lengthy timeframes and tedious paperwork that kills so many deals. According to a 2017 Forrester report, nearly 100 percent of Adobe Sign users now return contracts in one day or less, and 80 percent within four hours.

Eliminate tedious, time-consuming tasks, so you can focus on results.

Adobe Sign users tell the story best.

According to TechValidate, 95 percent of users say Adobe Sign is better than other apps they’ve
used for improving the following:

Forrester reports users are seeing the bottom line benefits of Adobe Sign:

Adobe Sign is prebuilt to run directly inside solutions such as Salesforce, Microsoft, Workday, SAP Ariba, and other enterprise apps, allowing you to do more with the sales tools you already have. And your brand goes on all e-signature documents, helping you create a positive, seamless experience everywhere customers engage with you.

Discover how e-signatures will become the technology you can’t live without.

Learn more about Adobe Sign


Andrew Moravick, “E-Signatures and Sales Operations: A Catalyst for Better Sales Performance,” Aberdeen, October 2017.

“B2B Sales Tools: Consideration, Acquisition & Performance,” Smart Selling Tools, April 2015.

Customers 2020: The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience,” Walker Information, 2013

Jake Sorofman, “Gartner Surveys Confirm Customer Experience Is the New Battlefield,” Gartner, October 23, 2014

“Running Up the Down Escalator: 2017 CSO Insights World-Class Sales Practices Report,” CSO Insights, 2017.

“TechValidate Research on Adobe Document Cloud,” TechValidate, March 22, 2018 and April 23, 2018.

“The Total Economic Impact of Adobe Sign,” Forrester, May 2017.


Products: Acrobat, Document Cloud