Agility is critical as organizations attempt to quickly adapt in today’s ever-changing business landscape. However, most businesses don’t move as quickly as they’d like. This is especially true for sales teams, as a majority of their time is spent on repetitive tasks and manual data entry rather than selling, so much so that only 33% of a salesperson’s day is actually dedicated to selling.
One of the best ways to combat these challenges is automating the creation of essential business documents. Document automation helps organizations move faster and more efficiently, and can transform organizations to be more profitable and productive.
The following are some of the most essential documents that businesses — and specifically sales teams — can automate for the greatest impact on sales velocity and team performance.
- Sales proposals: Sales proposals can be time-consuming when produced manually, which can result in delayed delivery. Automating proposals helps to save time and resources, maintain brand consistency, ensure accuracy and create a paper trail by creating templates with dynamic fields and forms.
- Contracts: Prospects don’t like waiting, yet it can take companies up to a month to create and approve a new contract. Utilizing document automation for contracts provides clients with fast, efficient, and error-free documents.
- Pipeline Reports and Opportunity Reports: These documents help managers and sales executives accurately report sales performance and identify trends to make quick decisions and meet growth goals. However, most sales organizations aren’t meeting this need. Currently, 61% of sales managers have trouble gathering insights into current opportunities. Sales organizations can improve their close rates by simply automating their proposal generation and tracking processes.
- Invoices: Manual processes get in the way of revenue attainment as errors and duplicate invoices can slow the invoicing cycle, and in turn damage reputations in the process. With only 16% of companies having an automated process for payment reminders, invoice automation is essential to ensuring payments aren’t missed and revenue doesn’t slip through the cracks.
- Account Plans: Successful teams with solid account plans are 29% more likely to identify new business opportunities and 55% more likely to produce new revenue growth. In addition, effective account planning helps properly align stakeholders and focus on maximizing client efforts.
- Project Report Cards: Project report cards keep projects on track and help to ensure clients are satisfied, but they require a serious time investment. Losing touch with accounts and not tracking customers’ goals has a direct impact on satisfaction, which can affect ongoing loyalty and future business. Therefore, it’s important for businesses to get these right and streamline this process.
- Renewals and Business Reviews: Retention is the most effective way to grow and lay the foundation for success. In fact, increasing customer retention by just 5% can increase profits by up to 95%. Investment in periodic business reviews and contract renewal preparation goes a long way, and teams can maximize that investment by automating as much of the process as possible.
Organizational benefits with document automation
In addition to becoming more productive and profitable, automation can help businesses gain the greatest return from their technology investments. In fact, research has shown that over half of sales organizations have improved their win rate by automating their proposal process. Document automation saves time and reduces hassle by ensuring employees don’t spend time manually creating documents. Instead, they can complete other business tasks and benefit from enhanced productivity.
Automation also helps with reducing manual errors. While it’s easy to lose track of versions or make mistakes when manually updating documents, document automation streamlines this process and makes it more efficient for both businesses and clients. Automating time-intensive processes allows teams to be more responsive to client demands, and gain a strategic advantage when it comes to winning new business or maintaining existing accounts.
Another benefit of document automation is the dynamic nature it offers to proposals and the ability to better track customer and prospect engagement, which allows sales reps to gain more visibility into the proposal process and close deals more easily. Sales professionals can use data insights to improve sales process elements and other measures. Automating essential business documents also helps sales teams execute their sales strategies, customizing every process and detailing every document to specific needs.
Overall, the document automation process can improve organizations in a number of ways. With everything managed centrally, templates, documents, and data are always right at the team’s fingertips — meaning businesses are more efficient, consistent and data-driven. It saves time and lets teams focus on engagement, ultimately improving effectiveness and customer satisfaction. And finally, it can transform organizations from slow, inefficient and ineffective teams, to more nimble, productive and profitable machines.