Remote work is on the rise. And not just in response to the global COVID-19 health crisis. An analysis by FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics about remote work found that over the last five years, the number of people working remotely grew 44%. 

This trend is expected to continue even after the current pandemic because of the productivity results remote work delivers to business owners. Companies that have experimented with these nontraditional work environments have found success with employees, suppliers, contractors and clients located around the country or even around the world.

If your staff, especially your sales team, is increasingly composed of remote workers, you can benefit from a modern suite of solutions that is built specifically for this workflow. Since some sales teams still have work to do to adjust to the new business landscape, this post will first present tools to facilitate immediate success and then solutions to lay the groundwork for long-term success capitalizing on a remote sales workforce.

Step 1: Keep workers connected and productive immediately

Businesses don’t have a lot of time to spare when it comes to transitioning to remote work. For any organization still looking for the right tools to steady the ship, here are a few critical business solutions that can instantly improve your remote work landscape:

  • Electronic signature 
  • File sharing
  • Video conferencing 
  • Project management 
  • Instant messaging 

The benefits of tools like these for employees are centralized spaces to store and retrieve documents, real-time communication and visibility into workflows for all members of a team. These collaboration solutions offer businesses improved workforce productivity whether teams are together or apart. 

Routing contracts for electronic signature 

Electronic signature solutions allows sales teams to send contracts for signature to anyone with an email address. Rather than waste time and money printing, signing, scanning, faxing and mailing contracts for completion, agreements can be digitally sent and signed from a computer or mobile device. Teams can also track where agreements are in the approval process, making collaboration easier and the whole process faster.

Hundreds of thousands of businesses worldwide have adopted our electronic signature tool, DocuSign eSignature. With eSignature, up to 82% of agreements are signed in less than a day. And DocuSign eSignature saves an average of $36 per agreement by reducing hard costs and improving employee productivity. The best part is that electronic signature is fast and easy to set up, integrating with your other business systems to make sure your team can get agreements signed from anywhere.

Step 2: Invest in a successful remote agreement workflow

To enable sales teams to succeed when shelter-in-place orders are lifted and traditional business resumes, there is additional digital infrastructure to consider. After moving to e-signature, organizations that are committed to providing the best agreement experience for customers can move even faster by automating inefficient manual document processes. Here are a few examples of solutions that can streamline the agreement experience: 

  • Contract lifecycle management (CLM)
  • Document generation
  • Contract negotiation
  • Customer relationship management (CRM)

Contract lifecycle management

As any business grows, it needs a CLM solution to centrally store and manage a broad library of contracts. Gartner even recognizes the importance of this product category by releasing the first ever CLM Magic Quadrant report this year. A contract lifecycle management solution allows teams to store, tag and organize all contracts in a single searchable place with granular permission controls. With DocuSign CLM, procurement and legal teams can increase agreement oversight while saving time they would have otherwise spent searching for contracts.

The biggest pains in the contract process are often felt in approvals, clause management and workflow. Leading contract management solutions reduce sales dependence on legal during negotiation by offering an easily accessible library of preapproved clauses and fall-back options. 

Generation of sales contracts

Document generation is one of the first steps of preparing an agreement for signature. However, according to DocuSign’s 2019 State of Contract Management report, 94% of business professionals say human error impacts the contract process. There are contract generation tools available for sales teams that pull information directly from Salesforce or other CRM systems and help to automate the creation of a first draft sales agreement. Some of these tools even work natively within Salesforce, so sales reps do not have to switch from one tool to another. An example of this is DocuSign Gen for Salesforce, a tool for small businesses that automates agreement generation from within the Salesforce CRM.

Redlining sales contracts

Once a contract is generated, changes or redlines often need to be made as a part of the contract negotiation process before the final version is ready for signature. The majority of businesses manage this process manually with tools that aren’t made for the job, like spreadsheets and word documents.

Because the average contract goes through three or four versions before it is finalized, the process of managing reviews, redlines, versions and approvals can take more than 30 hours per contract. 

This can be especially costly for small businesses that lack the personnel resources to invest in time-intensive contracting processes. With DocuSign Negotiate, reps can automatically generate agreements from customer, product and pricing data in Salesforce. They can also insert or exclude content based on business rules or Salesforce data, such as deal size. Reps can then use Negotiate to collaborate with internal and external reviewers for negotiation and approvals. Everything is tracked centrally, with version control and an audit trail of who did what and when. 

Today’s most successful sales teams are utilizing technology to stay connected and remove manual processes that can slow down a remote workforce. Wherever your business is in its digital transformation, DocuSign has tools that can help your sales organization move faster and improve transparency. Read more about digital tools for your sales teams by downloading our eBook: Eight Digital Best Practices for Sales

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