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eSignature use cases for small businesses

The use of electronic signatures is quickly becoming the norm in the business world. If you run a small company and you’re not already allowing clients to sign documents electronically, you’re almost certainly losing out on sales and revenue.

Electronic signatures are an inexpensive and efficient alternative to handwritten signatures. Manually signing a proposal, contract or quote is time-consuming from the perspective of both the document creator and the recipient, and requires numerous instances of printing, hand-signing, and scanning.

In this post, we’re going to look at the top six reasons why you should use electronic signatures in your business. Whether you run a small independent company or a multinational enterprise, e-signatures have the power to transform your document workflows for the better.

1. Your close rate will improve

Virtually all small businesses can expect to see an increase in their close rate after transitioning to electronic signatures. At PandaDoc, our clients see a 28% boost in conversions after implementing our e-signature solution.

The majority of your clients will be extremely busy. And a document may require approval from several decision-makers within an organization. This means that there is always a possibility that non-essential documents are set aside and even forgotten about, especially when they demand a large amount of time to process.

Removing the need to manually print and hand-sign business documents limits friction in the approval process. Recipients are much more likely to sign a contract or proposal when it takes twenty seconds to add a signature as opposed to twenty minutes.

2. You’ll save hours of employee time every week

Most companies are completely unaware of how much time their teams dedicate to signing documents. After implementing PandaDoc’s management solution, our clients save an average of twelve hours per employee per week. And while other features are also responsible for this number, electronic signatures play a significant part.

Time wasted by employees equates to lost revenue. By allowing your team to approve documents in a fraction of the time it would normally take, you are freeing them up to focus on other important tasks. When it comes to departments like sales and marketing, which are directly responsible for driving new leads and customers, this can have a notable impact on your bottom line.

3. You’ll significantly cut down on storage costs

Filing paper documents like proposals, contracts, and invoices, often on a daily basis, is costly.

The average price of renting one square-foot of office space in the US is between $8 and $23 per month (Source: PriceItHere.com). A filing cabinet, which may take no more than a few months to be filled, can easily occupy that space. On top of this, there are also costs associated with paper, hardware like printers and photocopiers, and ink cartridges.

Electronic signatures allow you to store copies of your documents securely in the cloud, reducing or even completely eliminating the need for physical storage space.

4. Your documents will be more secure

Storing documents on-site comes with many risks. Important paper files (which usually contain sensitive client details) are vulnerable to theft or accidental loss. Unforeseen events like fires, floods, and natural disasters can also cause irreversible damage.

Electronically-signed documents can be stored securely in the cloud as PDFs. Most online storage providers offer military-grade encryption and security. Moreover, you’ll have complete oversight of employee permissions and authentication settings and will be able to control exactly which members of your team can access confidential and sensitive files. Regular backups also ensure that data is protected if you accidentally delete a document or storage servers are corrupted or damaged.

Finally, electronic signatures are usually much easier to verify than handwritten ones. Most have lengthy email “audit trails.” And most document management and e-sign solutions offer additional features. Whenever a recipient signs a document with PandaDoc, for example, a PDF signer certificate recording the time and date of approval is automatically generated and stored online.

5. Approval times will be faster

By giving clients the ability to approve documents with a few clicks, as opposed to printing and hand-signing, you will likely see a significant increase in approval times. Recipients simply need to download a document (or open it online), add their signature to the relevant field, and attach it to the return email. They can even sign contracts from a mobile device when they’re not at their computer.

Electronic signatures can also streamline the approval process in your own organization. When multiple busy individuals, such as members of the legal department or upper management, need to approve a proposal or contract, it can take days and sometimes even weeks before it is ready to send. Including electronic signature fields in documents, however, streamlines this process and reduces the amount of time that decision-makers need to spend on the approval process.

6. E-signature software delivers a substantial return on investment

The majority of companies that make the shift to electronic signatures will opt for a dedicated online solution. These apps provide access to an array of features in addition to basic e-signature functionality, including automated document workflows, embeddable payment options, and tracking features which enable companies to follow up with clients at the best times.

In one study, electronic signature software demonstrated a 404% return on investment (Source: FinancesOnline) over five years. If you’re worried about the cost of building the tech infrastructure required for electronic signatures, then figures like this should put your mind at ease. In most cases, browser-based apps are available for inexpensive monthly subscriptions, with dedicated pricing options for small and medium businesses, and all back-end development tasks will be taken care of.

Conclusion

Using electronic signatures is one of the easiest ways for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to limit waste, drive more revenue, and save employee time. As electronic signatures become more commonplace, it’s essential not to get left behind.

If you’ve been thinking about making the shift to electronic signatures and paperless workflows, take a look at PandaDoc’s flexible packages. PandaDoc offers a feature-rich and easy-to-use signature platform which includes reusable document templates, real-time document tracking, onboarding assistance, industry-leading levels of security, a mobile app, API access, automation, and more.