The Sales Management Association’s latest research on studying agreement practices found that most firms take longer than expected to prepare and execute agreements. These delays are perceived as more acute from the sales organization’s point of view than from customers’ — understandable given that sellers are often more anxious to complete agreements than buyers.
When considering the sales organization’s perspective, 59% of respondents say agreement preparation takes too long; 51% say agreement execution takes too long. Respondents’ view of customers’ perceptions is more sanguine; 41% say customers believe agreement preparation takes longer than expected, and 37% say customers believe agreement execution takes too long.
There are many factors that affect this speed of agreement preparation and execution. We covered 4 such factors in our research:
- Quality of agreement preparation
- Integration of technology and process
- Effectiveness in leveraging technology
- Adopting various technologies
The research established that each of these four factors has a measurable impact. The two that had the most significant impact are integration of technology and adoption of technologies.
Integration of Technology
Better integration of internal process and tools has the largest positive impact on the speed of agreement preparation and execution. Firms with well-integrated internal processes prepare agreements 84% faster from the sales organization’s point of view, and 41% faster from customers’ point of view, than firms where internal agreement administration processes are not well-integrated. Similar improvements of 30% are realized in agreement execution speed from the sales organization’s point of view, and 17% from customers’ perspective.
Adopting Various Technologies
Adoption of various technologies also has a significant impact on agreement preparation and execution speed. For agreement preparation, frequent usage of workflow management technology results in a 48% improvement in speed from the sales organization’s point of view. From the customer’s point of view the highest jump is seen from frequent usage of e-signature technology (26%).
From an agreement execution perspective, frequent usage of e-signature technology leads to the highest improvement in speed from both the sales organization’s point of view (46%) and customer’s point of view (28%).
Our research led us to the conclusion that merely adopting new technology is not enough to have an effective agreement administration process. It is equally important to integrate this technology with other procedures to experience their full impact.
To learn more about our Streamlining Agreements research and read the detailed report, please click here.