Managing the Sales Pipeline with Digital Tools & Sales Automation

Unbending the sales pipeline with digital tools

Could you manage your sales pipeline more effectively? Sales automation can rapidly accelerate growth, and an organisation’s sales pipeline underpins its commercial performance. Despite the benefits, a study* by Forrester Consulting, The State of Systems of Agreement 2019 research, discovered 84% of sales agreements are generated manually, and 45% of firms believe inefficient, manual agreement processes have led to poor customer experiences. The State of Systems of Agreement 2021 update, discovered that still, 58% of respondents were preparing agreements manually and 42% believe that inefficient manual agreements had caused poor experiences for customers. Read on to discover better digital tools for sales pipeline management and the benefits of sales automation. 

What are the benefits of sales automation?

Sales automation can enhance the efficiency of B2B and B2C sales teams and operations. A successful sales team is dependent on several departments. Creating a seamless sales agreement process using sales automation tools can provide many benefits:

  • It can accelerate the deals process to get revenue in the business faster
  • It can help eliminate slower manual processes and non-integrated systems, which often drive inefficiency and negative experiences for everyone involved.
  • Frees up the time of salespeople to generate new leads or follow up on inbound enquiries and reduces admin time. 

Forrester’s research confirms many businesses need to improve these stages of the agreement process. The 2021 research discovered that:

  • 60% of respondents experienced errors due to manually transferring data such as  customer or product information into agreements.
  • 46% said they experienced delays due to errors or missing information.
  • Automating the creation of documents reduces errors and transforms processes, therefore optimising business performance.

But what’s the best way of automating sales and managing the sales pipeline more efficiently? Contract lifecycle management lets you automate sales agreements, including estimates, quotes, service contracts and agreements, recurring payments and renewals. You can streamline and automate a contract’s creation, negotiation, execution and storage, allowing you to digitally transform contracts and speed up the approval process.

Why do organisations need to improve sales pipeline management and sales processes?  

In 2021, Forrester conducted the State of Systems of Agreement Survey of 1087 business leaders responsible for document-intensive processes at organisations in the UK. Each organisation had between 250 to more than 20,000 employees. The aim was to evaluate the maturity and automation of an organisation’s agreement processes. A key takeaway from the Forrester Research for sales is that there is an opportunity to improve. The survey found that:

  • 58% of agreements are still being generated manually in some way
  • 46% of organisations experiencing delays in projects due to inefficiency in the agreement lifecycle
  • 67% of legal departments have to draft and approve or amend changes to agreements manually
  • 42 % of respondents said manual processes cause poor experiences for customers. 

When you are managing a sales pipeline, sales negotiations often delay contracts, due in part to stakeholders outside the sales department. As an example, the legal department requires access to the contract, as well as the ability to edit and share it. When this is done manually, it often results in contracts being lost, or there are bottlenecks in the approval process. To manage the sales pipeline more efficiently, it’s essential to ensure sales contracts are negotiated and signed by all approvers easily. Those respondents who were ‘digital disruptors’ and had implemented contract management software were experiencing benefits. 54% said they were experiencing faster deal cycles and 57% better customer experiences.

How do you automate the sales pipeline and sales agreement process?

Automating the agreement process can help secure revenue faster and make the whole process more efficient. Both B2B and B2C businesses can reap the benefits of automation, and sales teams can expect greater reliability when it comes to contract conversions and renewals.

Companies can automate processes with different digital tools and solutions like DocuSign eSignature and by using contract lifecycle management software like DocuSign CLM. In recent years, electronic signature technology has become well-established, reducing turnaround time on agreements from days to hours or even minutes. Signing represents just one part of a four-stage agreement process - agreements need to be prepared, signed, acted on, and managed. Many businesses are still spending significant time manually inputting information from one system to another

When implementing Customer Lifecycle Management software; the sales department has a direct impact on operational efficiency and performance across the organisation. Automating agreements and moving them into the cloud helps secure revenue faster and reduce negotiation periods. By implementing DocuSign signature and CLM, Salesforce was able to reduce their average contract turnaround time from 2 days to just 1 hour, and now 85% of agreements are “no touch”. Salesforce saved over 10k+ hours of preparation time annually. 

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Sales

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud™ for Sales can help you modernise your system of agreement for long term success. Deals that previously took weeks can be approved in hours, and using the software can also help your team go paperless.

The DocuSign Agreement Cloud for Sales lets sales reps quickly generate agreements from within your CRM and collaborate with other departments to edit and track version changes. Automated workflows route contracts for approval and signing. Download the free eBook for sales teams, “Trades and transactions - Unbending the sales pipeline within digital tools”, to find out more.

Read our eBook: “Trades and transactions - Unbending the sales pipeline within digital tools”

Download the free eBook for sales teams or speak to an expert to find out more.
Daisy O'Malley Glynn
Marketing Communications Specialist