Over the last 10 years, we have seen great advancement in sales tech, especially around sales efficiency. One of the crowning glories of this, in the SaaS world, is EchoSign which has made it possible to get a Contract, SOW or NDA signed electronically very quickly. An amazing tool that I personally love using.
As the way of the world, we too often end up relying on technology as the crutch. I still see no increase in the time it takes sales teams to get the signed contract back from a client after first engaging them. It is only when the contract is actually ready to be signed by both parties that a tool like EchoSign speeds things up and saves the time of printing, scanning, and more.
As a sales professional, you still need to reverse engineer the process, thinking through all the steps your contact will go through. Here are some simple steps to speed up this part of the sales cycle to get your contract back quicker.
Use the power of the cloud
Every client wants to redline something and make changes whether it is your day to day contact or a company’s lawyers. Instead of sending it back and forth on a word doc via email pop it straight into the cloud in something like google docs. This way you both start making and tracking changes instantly saving endless time.
Preempt who will be involved
Hopefully, you will have a great relationship with your prospect if you have gotten to this stage. So do not be scared to ask who is dealing with the changes. Many a time I see sales guys not understanding who might be making changes to the agreement. Make sure you understand who is involved and try to deal with them directly to save time. This can also add in an extra tactic and include everyone on the comms. As we know most companies bigger than a 200+ employee can be slower. If you use the power of social responsibility they will feel they want to get everything back quicker and push you to the top of the list. If you want everyone to see every touch point, follow up.
Think about your sales prospect and what they care about
Think about your client and what type of company they are. For example, if they’re a financial institution they are likely to have strict policies and knock down the door more on data security do a penetration test etc. If they have a large number of employees they may be more interested in insurance or liabilities coverage that you have.
Be prepared for this and send them the right information in advance of actually sending the agreement. This can be as simple as providing them a due diligence document to cover certain areas in detail, providing references in a similar sector or connecting them with the other members of your team early, who speak the same language, like IT to IT. If you ask the right questions, then make actions in advance, you will speed things up.
Make sure pricing and length of contract is nailed down
I have seen this as the elephant in the room many a time. The salesperson is reluctant to bring up the nitty gritty details: what they’re going to pay, the length of contract or even the payment terms. Be very clear with your champion on these and make sure they are happy with them. This sounds simple but you need to be on the same page before you send this over so everyone knows where you stand. There is even a competitive advantage of doing this when passed to procurement. If you agree on contract details in advance then you can be much stronger when negotiating any potential rates.
Be Human, tell them you need to hit your quota
This is the most simple but effective strategy yet. You may do an amazing job of selling in your product or service and they are happy to buy. Their urgency is always nowhere near where yours is to get the deal signed. This is especially true in B2B. Just be honest. If you need a contract signed by the end of the month or the end of the quarter just tell the truth. Tell them you have quota to hit as a team or a business and would really appreciate their help in getting this signed by X date. Everyone has deadlines in their job so, more often than not, they will have empathy and help you. Trust me.
Using technology to speed up the signing of agreements is a great idea. Just be sure not to simply rely on it solely. Incorporating these extra efforts in your process will assure you close more deals more quickly and easily.
I hope this helps