You know the drill. You and a client agree on terms. You send out a contract and it sits. You give a reminder call, and the client finally inks the contract--but the scanner is broken, so the contract sits some more. By the time it's in hand, you've worked months with no legal umbrella.
There's no reason to live with that scenario anymore. Technology has made signing with electronic signatures (e-signatures) a real option.
The legal framework for acceptance of e-signatures has been in place since the passage of the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act in 2000. Many larger businesses have adopted the practice, but delivery models have been too cumbersome and expensive for most smaller outfits, until recently.
With the software-as-a-service model, a solution that integrates with PDF and Word documents costs as little as $10 a month. In fact, with the release of Adobe's free beta for eSignatures, it may be possible to jump on the e-signature bandwagon for no upfront cost.
The adoption of e-signatures could help you reap dividends during the sales cycle. A study of 472 organizations by the Aberdeen Group found that users of e-signatures were 50 percent more likely to show improved customer renewal rates. They were also 41 percent more likely to reduce proposal errors and 18 percent more likely to shorten their sales cycles.
"A key challenge facing businesses is achieving cost-effective sales growth," says Peter Ostrow, Aberdeen research director. "Users of electronic signature technology outperform non-users in areas that significantly impact sales growth."