The “Customer Spotlight” series shines a light on DocuSign customers who are benefiting from accelerating their businesses with digital signatures.

At BMW Group Netherlands, sales operations specialist Klaas de Jong shared the details of a dramatic decrease in the signing time of sales contracts, dropping from a three-month turnaround to one week.

Klaas, can you provide an overview of BMW Netherlands and your role within the group?

I work for BMW Netherlands. We import BMW’s, Minis and motorcycles, and sell them to our dealers. We have a number of major accounts – larger fleet customers in the Netherlands like Siemens, KPMG and so on – who require more than 100 vehicles. We have direct contracts with them where we give discounts to their employees.

I’m a sales operations specialist and around one-and-a-half years ago we started sending contracts with DocuSign to these major accounts. Some customers have designated use where the dealers also need to sign contracts.

Can you talk us through the implementation experience for you and your team?

It was great. In the beginning, we had a few other companies with digital signature capabilities competing for our business. DocuSign excelled with its support and understanding of our business requirements. They had a good overview of what the possibilities were for us and the team provided the best presentation of their solution, which was very clear to us. The other vendors couldn’t supply what was needed to meet our requirements as an enterprise.

What made you begin your search for a digital signature solution initially?

For all our contracts, our corporate sales manager needs to sign as well as our sales director. If the contract goes via a dealer, whereby a customer buys a car solely from this dealer, the dealer will need to sign, in addition to two other people. So, there can be up to seven different people involved in the signing process.

My colleague before me printed contracts and would put them on the desk of a sales manager to sign. They’d create a copy and send it to the dealer, who would also create a copy, and send it to the customer. So, it took a long time to receive the contracts back. If the corporate sales director asked my colleague what the status of the contract was, she could not say. It could be with the dealer, the sales manager, or the first signer of the corporate customer. 

Do you know how long that process would take before you implemented digital signatures?

Months. The contracts were being sent by post and going from desk to desk. Best case is we’d get the contract back in one month, worst case would be three months. We also had the problem that during this time, we didn’t know where the contracts were.

Additionally, we had a lot of work in the back office; copying, printing and posting the contracts. That would incur a large cost and create extra work for our administrators. We also needed to get the contracts back before the auditors from KPMG came to the office to check our records. On occasion, this happened and some contracts had not been returned, so it created a lot of stress getting the contracts back for them to review. Now, you can see in DocuSign with whom the contract is with.

Has the document turnaround time changed with digital signatures?

Using digital signatures, we’ve reduced the time it takes to get a contract signed from up three months to one week. The way we were sending contracts previously, it could be with the customer for two weeks. Now, it’s a day or two. It’s a huge improvement.

Are you using DocuSign on any particular devices, such as mobile, tablet or laptop?

My manager, who is involved in the contract signing workflow, usually signs on his mobile, as do most of our internal managers. They have the DocuSign app on their mobile devices and it works perfectly. We do of course use the web application on laptops as well.

Are there any integrations that BMW Netherlands is using in conjunction with DocuSign, for example, Salesforce or another CRM?

No, not yet. I hope it will happen in the future as I am working with N-count, a national key account management tool, which will be our CRM for corporate customers. As we use DocuSign for our corporate customers, I am working to connect it to our CRM system. That way, we’d have the CRM creating the contracts and DocuSign to capture the signature.

What has the feedback been like from your stakeholders about the technology?

Our partners are generally happy to use DocuSign. Our management is especially happy as they have visibility into the document status once a contract is out for signature. They can see if it’s with a dealer, a sales manager, or a customer. They can see exactly who it is with. That’s very important to us.

Are you using digital signatures within other areas of the business or is it just the sales use case at present?

Currently, it’s just the sales use case. There are a few other departments interested in DocuSign, such as purchasing and HR. But at the moment, my colleagues are only sending contracts to dealers and to major customers.

Purchasing is also interested in using it to capture information and signatures for BMW’s vendor setup form. It would allow us to automate our accounting systems with this information. I told them DocuSign would be a great way of doing this because we have at least 600 vendors who could benefit from this way of working.

Do you have any advice for other enterprises or departments that are looking to use digital signatures?

If companies are using mobile devices and want to be paperless, then DocuSign is the perfect solution to facilitate that. You can send any document, whether it internally or externally facing. Even within BMW, there is more we can do within the likes of HR.

There may be a few customers who are afraid to sign things in the digital environment, but this is the future and has become the standard. I think our government should endorse the use of systems like DocuSign because the companies that are hesitant about the legalities should know that it is legal and secure.

Thanks for sharing your story, Klaas!