Electronic signatures are fast becoming the norm in the corporate world. A growing number of businesses are choosing to go paperless, ditching traditional pen-and-ink workflows in favor of digital alternatives.
Electronic signatures sit at the heart of paperless workflows. That’s why their use has increased dramatically over the last several years.
Companies that opt for e-signatures tend to see a myriad of positive outcomes, from reduced document creation costs to happier, more loyal customers. What’s more, investment in a document management app drives a positive return-on-investment in the vast majority of cases.
If you’re thinking about using e-signatures in your organization, the seven proven benefits outlined below should be enough to push you over the line.
1. eSignatures cut down on costs
In a study commissioned by Adobe, 61% of managers said that using e-signatures cut down on document-related costs.
When you think about the resources required to process paper documents, this is unsurprising. On average, a US employee uses two cases of paper per year, at $40 per case. For a 100-person company, that amounts to $8000 per year without even accounting for storage space, printer repairs, ink, and so on.
Of course, documents requiring an electronic signature only make up a portion of the total amount of paper used by an average company. But there are still significant savings to be made. What’s more, e-signature apps usually allow for secure online storage of contracts, PDFs, proposals, invoices, etc. without the need for physical space.
2. Faster document processing time
The number of hours that e-signatures can cut from document turnaround times is truly staggering.
“According to one study, the average document processing time was slashed from five days to 37 minutes after the introduction of e-signatures.”
Yep, you heard that right – 37 minutes.
With wet signatures, both senders and recipients have to print and scan documents numerous times. If a contract requires multiple signatures, this process takes even longer. It’s common for clients to set documents aside until they have time to print and sign it. And often, they’ll get lost in a mountain of other paperwork. E-signatures, on the other hand, can be affixed to a proposal or contract in seconds.
3. Fewer document errors
Companies and individuals usually use contract management apps to apply electronic signatures to documents. These apps, of which PandaDoc is an example, provide numerous additional benefits, particularly when it comes to reducing the number of errors in contracts, proposals, invoices, and so on.
Research shows that e-signature apps reduce the total number of mistakes by an average of 80%. Writers, managers, and legal experts can take advantage of a suite of tools that are designed to work in concert with e-signatures. These include automated approval workflows, templates, and content libraries.
4. Greater customer loyalty
E-signatures don’t just improve internal company processes. They also have a positive effect on customer experience, boosting satisfaction and loyalty. Businesses that use e-signatures tend to have a higher Net Promoter Score.
E-signatures offer a range of benefits to clients in addition to streamlining the signing process and removing the office printer from the picture.
For one, customers can sign documents with e-signature fields from any device, which adds an extra layer of efficiency. Proposals and contracts delivered with a contract management solution can usually be approved without requiring the recipient to leave their email app and download any files.
Furthermore, the additional security of e-signatures reassures clients that contracts won’t be lost or misplaced.
5. Increase in approvals
In-house data from PandaDoc shows that companies that use e-signatures see up to a 28% increase in their document close rate. Cutting out the cumbersome process of hand-signing documents, especially when multiple signatures are required, significantly reduces friction in the approval process. E-signature apps also often allow document creators to add further efficiency-creating features to documents, like embedded payment buttons, which drive close rates up even further.
Notably, e-signatures also speed up internal approvals. It can take days to prepare a signed document that requires hand-signatures from several different people in an organization before it can be sent out. E-signatures instantly solve this problem. One company, for example, saw an 83% boost in performance for in-house approvals.
6. Positive return on investment (ROI)
In a study published by AIIM, 81% of respondents said that they saw a positive return on investment within twelve months of adopting e-signature software. A quarter of those asked said they saw a payback from e-signature solutions within three months.
Setting up a software infrastructure which allows employees and clients to use electronic signatures is straightforward and inexpensive. Apps come with numerous plans for organizations of different sizes (and individuals), and most offer dedicated onboarding support so that transitioning to a paperless workflow doesn’t take any longer than necessary. Cutting down on the cost of paper alone is usually enough for most companies to see a positive return on electronic signers.
7. Higher levels of security
Countries around the world have been introducing legislation relating to electronic signatures at an ever-increasing rate. The United States passed The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act and the European Union established eIDAS (electronic IDentification, Authentication, and trust Services).
Not only are e-signatures fully legally enforceable, but they’re often more secure than handwritten signatures. Because e-signatures are usually accompanied by a digital audit trail, made up of emails, signing certificates, stored copies of contracts, and so on, they’re very easy to verify. It’s also much harder to forge an electronic signature than a handwritten one. Digital signatures, a highly secure form of online signature, provide even greater security to signers.
…oh, and did we mention that they’re good for the environment?
It will come as no surprise that e-signatures are much better for the environment than pen-and-ink alternatives. Companies that use e-signatures have helped reduce paper consumption by hundreds of tonnes. That’s a lot of trees!
Try out the industry’s leading e-signature app
There’s no better time than now to adopt electronic signatures in your organization. At PandaDoc, we’ve seen hundreds of clients boost their approval rates, streamline their document workflows, and increase customer satisfaction and happiness.