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Close Contracts Quicker with Electronic Signatures

By Rahul Alim, CEO of Custom Creatives (Find him on LinkedIn)

Find out how Rahul Alim of Custom Creatives made one small change to their sales process and dramatically decreased their time to close and increased their close rate


In general, I am old school. During the day I’m busy selling, managing our teams, and working with our clients. As an entrepreneur, I wear every hat in my business at different times. It’s not always easy to take a step back and evaluate your operations when you’re in a go-go-go mode selling and servicing clients.

e-signature software helped Rahul Alim close more deals faster

e-signature software helped Rahul Alim close more deals faster

One tool that I wish I had implemented earlier was electronic signature (e-signature) software. e-signature software streamlined my company’s sales process by making it simpler for customers and my team to sign a contract. It shortened our sales cycle from weeks or months (or never) to minutes or days. I made this little shift to e-signatures in our contracts on December 4th 2014 and closed $100,420 before 2015. Needless to say, I am true believer in the effectiveness of e-signatures.

The Old Way To Get Contracts Signed

Our old process for sending out proposals and contracts was pretty antiquated and should be familiar for most salespeople.

Here’s what we used to do:

1) Modify contract in Word with client specific requirements and pricing.  2) Save Word document.  3) Convert to PDF.  4) Attach and send to client.  5) Call client to see if they received it.  6) Email client the contract again to make sure they received it even though you know they did since they replied.  7-8-9) Call client again, and again, and again. 10) Client lets you know they went somewhere else or are not ready.  

Suffice to say, our old process for handling contracts took a lot of time and often had mixed results. I chose to implement e-signature software because my business needed to way to keep track of outstanding contracts and close more deals in our contract stage.

The New Way

I wasted 5 years “thinking about” implementing e-signature software and 5 minutes getting started.

hellosign_addsignature.png

There are many e-signature tools out there, and I personally decided to go with HelloSign because of their simplicity. (For additional e-signature software companies, check out this blog post).

HelloSign was easy to set up, easy to integrate into my sales process, intuitive to train other people, and the most important – IT MADE IT EASY FOR CLIENTS TO SIGN. Additionally, the support I received from HelloSign was really good. They replied to emails, called me back, and they were accessible. We live on a digital planet but if you need that human touch, you have it. Bonus!

Why do I attribute closing $100,420 to integrating e-signatures into my sales process?

The best way to share with you is by talking you through an example. I recently closed a deal for a website contract with two different recurring transactions. This is a pretty standard deal for my business, although the exact transactions can vary from deal to deal.

Easy to customize and select signatories

First, using e-signature software helped me to easily update a standard contract using a template that I uploaded. Once I uploaded the template, I was able to easily set and determine a list of all the people who needed to sign the contract. Most e-signature companies let you set if you need multiple people from your company and multiple people from another company to sign. You can also cc individuals on the contract who may not need to sign, but may want to be able to have viewership of the contract.

Easy to highlight areas to complete

Implementing e-signature software also helped make the actual process of signing a contract simpler. When you prepare a document on HelloSign, for example, you can easily add text areas, signature fields, dates, and initial fields onto a contract. These areas are highlighted on your proposal, and your client will know all the places that they need to complete in order to fulfill the contract.

Easy to Send

When you’re ready to send a contract, e-signature companies also let you add a subject line and include a brief message. It’s vital to ensure that your subject line requesting a e-signature is compelling. I’ve seen too many salespeople work hard on a sale only to lose a deal because a contract gets buried in an email inbox. I personally like to use a subject line that restates the value proposition from my sale (for example: Increase Rankings, Traffic and Sales for ABC Co).

Easy to Follow-Up & Know What to Do Next

My favorite aspect of e-signature software is that it gives me intelligence around where my contract is in the process of getting signed. Previously, I would have to hound my customers with emails and phone calls to figure out what was going on. With e-signature software, I know who opened my email, who has signed, and I can even get intelligence around areas of the contract that may be causing some confusion. Finally, once everyone has signed the contract, everyone receives a final version of the contract with all signatures included.

Tips to stay organized and save time when using e-signature software

Here are some time saving tips and ideas for staying organized with e-signature software:

  1. You can upload templates into e-signature software for common contracts that you send over and over again. For example, you may want to upload templates for fixed projects, work orders, NDA’s, employee documents, etc.  

  2. You can get email alerts when your customer views your document.  This feature is great because you know they are reading the contract and you can call or check in with them to ask if they have questions.

  3. Depending on who you choose to send out a contract to, make sure you understand the automated reminders that go out.  The one i personally use automatically alerts a potential client 3 times. My email sequence sends reminder messages after 1, 3 and 10 days. You can send manual email reminders as well.

  4. Once your contract is signed, you and all signatories get a fully executed copy along with an audit trail. Make sure to upload into your CRM.

  5. If you delete the document, it’s gone forever so keep a backup copy somewhere. Again, it’s important to track this into your CRM.

  6. While these are legally binding contracts, you should still ask your attorney if electronic signatures are satisfactory in your industry. I work in marketing and advertising, and e-signatures are valid most contracts that I have.

  7. If someone is sending you a contract you can upload it to your e-signature software to execute. No more print, sign, scan and email.

  8. If you need to countersign contracts, make sure that you understand how this is setup in your software.

  9. Most e-signature products have a team function so other members of your company can have their own log-in to the account and track their own contracts. If you are the manager, you can see the status of your sales team’s contracts.

If you don’t already use e-signature software, it may revolutionize your business by increasing your closing rate and decreasing your time to close. All you have to do is spare a few minutes to sign up, familiarize yourself with the software, and then you should be all set to start getting contracts back faster than ever before.


Rahul Alim has over 12 years’ experience in Digital Marketing, Strategy and Business Development.  He has help clients such as Move.com, Advertise.com and 1000’s of small business owners with their strategies.  To reach Rahul Alim, you can contact him on LinkedIn.

3 Tools To Make Planning Sales Meetings Easy

The logistics around your meetings should be the easy part. Find out about three different types of tools you should use so you can focus more on your customer.


Meetings with your leads are valuable. Unfortunately, the logistics around sales meetings are annoying. Finding a common time to meet, scheduling a conference call, and sharing documents afterwards can be a pain if you don’t have the right tools.

Don't get twisted into knots trying to get your meetings logistics straight. Use better tools!

Don't get twisted into knots trying to get your meetings logistics straight. Use better tools!

Fortunately, there are a number of programs out there that you can use to make logistics a breeze. Modern sales tools can simplify the logistics around meetings so that you can focus on your customer’s needs and deliver the most value. Below are several tools to check out if you’re looking to make planning for your next sales meeting easy.

NOTE - We don’t have an affiliate relationship with the businesses below - we just think that they’re useful for salespeople!

Scheduling Tools

Sometimes the hardest thing about having a meeting is finding a common time to meet. Scheduling a meeting can be repetitive and time-consuming if you’re using email to coordinate between several people. With the right tool though, you can easily organize a meeting with your prospective buyers and clients with one email.

Schedule meetings with one email using ScheduleOnce or Calendly

Schedule meetings with one email using ScheduleOnce or Calendly

Our sales team uses ScheduleOnce to schedule with customers. ScheduleOnce allows your clients to select their preferred meeting time based on your availability and automatically update your calendar with your appointments. Simply embed ScheduleOnce in your email communication or on your website, and your customers will find the best time to connect with you in a relaxed atmosphere.

We like ScheduleOnce because it integrates with Google Apps, allows for various meeting types, and it is simple to use. We’ve also recommended it in the past to Outlook users because of its integration with Outlook.

One alternative to ScheduleOnce is Calendly. Calendly offers a lighter-weight version of ScheduleOnce optimized for Google Apps. Calendly is less customizable than ScheduleOnce, but it can be a great alternative option for teams with basic scheduling needs.

PipelineDeals Pro-Tip - You can integrate PipelineDeals with Google Apps and Outlook to sync your calendars. If you use a service like ScheduleOnce or Calendly to plan meetings and use our integration, this means that your meetings will be automatically scheduled back into your CRM. Brilliant!

Conferencing Tools

GoToMeeting has been a standard in web conferencing for many years, but they’re not the only option available for companies. Increasingly, savvy and growing businesses have been turning to more flexible conferencing services that are quick to setup and less expensive.

If you’re conferencing between Google users, one easy (and free) option available is Google Hangouts. Google Hangouts lets you share files, share screens, and collaborate in real-time. Unfortunately, Google Hangouts are only available between Google users and do not offer recording services.

For more functional conferencing needs, check out Join.Me or UberConference. Join.Me offers on-demand web conferencing for free, and can be used to setup a quick screenshare between teams. With the pro version, you can setup a personal and permanent sharing link, record sessions, and view on your mobile device or tablet. Better yet, the conferencing is available in a browser and doesn’t require any browser.

Modern web conference tools like Join.Me and UberConference are affordable and easy tools to conduct meetings.

Modern web conference tools like Join.Me and UberConference are affordable and easy tools to conduct meetings.

UberConference offers a comparable service to Join.Me, and comes with easy collaboration tools, unlimited calling, and screensharing.

PipelineDeals Pro-Tip - If you record your phone conversations or video conferences, upload those conversations and video conversations into your CRM. We don’t charge you for storage and this is the best way to stay organized.

Document Signing Tools

The proposal and contract phase of a sale is a headache for many salespeople and a surprisingly easy place to lose a sale. Proposals can languish in potential customer inboxes for a number of reasons, and without the right tools, it can be impossible to know what may be holding up the signing of a document. Having the right tool can have an enormous positive impact on your business (Sneak preview – we’ll be featuring a story from a customer this week who closed more than $100000 in December by implementing a document signing tool).

e-Signature tools make signing contracts easy and help you follow-up to close more deals.

e-Signature tools make signing contracts easy and help you follow-up to close more deals.

So what document tool should you use? There are a few different tools out there to check out, including DocuSign (the market leader), RightSignature, PandaDoc, and HelloSign. RightSignature and PandaDoc have built integrations for PipelineDeals that allow you to integrate PipelineDeals with their services. However, any document signing service can ease the process of getting a contract signed.

To find the best service, check out the reviews on G2 Crowd. G2 Crowd offers a comparison of different document signing services from actual customers. Of the available e-Signature reviews on the site, RightSignature had the highest overall score amongst e-Signature products.

PipelineDeals Pro-Tip - Remember that you can track documents on to People, Deals, and Companies in PipelineDeals. If you remember to cc@pipelinedeals.com on documents that you send out, these documents will be automatically stored in your CRM.

What Tools Do You Use?

What tools do you use to ensure your sales meetings are successful? Let us know in the comment section below.

2014 Year in Review

2014 was a historic year for PipelineDeals. We released an app for Android, an integration with Outlook, and deployed thousands of improvements to our web app. We were also named to the Inc. 5000 list for fastest growing companies, became a Google Premier Technology Partner, and closed the first round of funding in our history

We're ready for another exciting year at PipelineDeals. To celebrate 2014, we created our own annual report.