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What Are the Key Features You Need in Electronic Contract Software for Small Businesses?

What Are the Key Features You Need in Electronic Contract Software for Small Businesses?

Written by Timothy Ware

Companies have been digitizing their external and internal processes for years. This has only accelerated thanks to the ongoing pandemic. Now, it’s contract management’s turn to go digital.

Thanks to new legislation coming into effect around the world (e.g., E-Sign and UETA in America and UECA in Canada), e-signatures and electronic contracts can now be treated as equally enforceable to pen-and-paper contracts.

In the rush to make every facet of business easier and faster, companies are signing up for electronic contract software solutions. However, not all electronic contract software is the same. You should take the time to pick one that meets the needs of your business.

In this article, I’ll list the core elements you need in your electronic contract software to make sure it is the best choice for your firm.

The electronic contract revolution is unfolding at record pace. Thankfully, SignTime has you covered with this recent article detailing everything you need to know about electronic contracts. That way, when it comes time to sign up for our free trial, you can be confident that you’ve made the right choice for your firm.

What is electronic contract software?

Electronic contract software, sometimes called contract management software, is the newest way that technology is doing away with the more tedious parts of business management. Electronic contract software allows you to write contracts, send them to signatories, have them signed and returned, store them in the cloud, and then be able to access them forever using convenient tags.

Most people are now aware of e-signatures, as a way to sign a contract on your laptop or smartphone instead of with a pen. While this is a crucial feature of almost all electronic contract software, it is only the beginning.

Having the ability to store your contracts in the cloud and then access them anywhere is just as important a feature and one that can be missed by some companies.

What are the benefits of using electronic contract software?

The benefits of electronic contract software can be summarized as “the simplification of business”. Internally, this means streamlining HR functions, budget approval, onboarding, and document storage.

Externally, it means closing more sales, more quickly—sales calls are more likely to end in a win when you remove all the hurdles to doing business.

Here are some of the specific ways that electronic contract software can benefit your business:

  • Reduce the carbon emissions associated with delivering and returning traditional contracts
  • Restrict access to important information to specific team members
  • Maintain a central repository of all important documents
  • See updates on who has or has not yet signed a contract
  • Easily send copies of concluded contracts to all signers
  • Create and reuse templates of common contracts
  • Reduce costs associated with contract signing
  • Simplify remote work environments
  • Speed up contract cycle times
  • Eliminate physical storage space
  • Shorten the sales cycle

What are the main features you should consider when choosing electronic contract software?

The next paragraphs present some of the features that electronic contract software must have to be considered a complete contract management solution.

Modern contract storage

Contracts are not signed and then forgotten. They need to be accessed and reviewed. Good electronic contract software will enable you to review contracts, anywhere, in a secure environment. This means cloud storage with state-of-the-art security measures in place. Being able to find a contract quickly is also required.

Simple folders are no longer sufficient for this job, and better contract management software options allow you to tag contracts with several different words, for example, company names, contract types, the year it was signed, and so on, so that you can find and sort documents with ease.

Workflow management

Streamlining workflow management requires the following features: various user roles with separate permissions, easy searching, and email alerts. These can help you keep track of who has signed what. It is also important to be notified when people sign contracts and to see whose signatures are still missing at a glance.

Template capabilities

Creating, editing, and updating templates are mandatory requirements from electronic contract software. The gold standard is being able to drag and drop any number of fields into docx or pdf templates, including signatures, initials, dates, typed names, etc.

Bulk sending

The dream of digitalization is a reduction in labor costs. One of the clearest ways to reduce employee workload through electronic contract software is to be able to take hundreds of actions with a single click. Sending out an updated non-disclosure agreement to hundreds of employees at once is a must for an HR department to benefit from electronic contract management.

Smartphone enabled

One of the major benefits of electronic contracts, for both small and large businesses, is the removal of hurdles from sales. By making it easier to sign a sales agreement, you are directly increasing the odds of an opportunity turning into a win. One such hurdle is requiring your sales contact to open up their laptop or head to the office. Good electronic contract software should be able to collect signatures from a smartphone.

Third-party integration

Smaller businesses might not need specialized APIs to integrate electronic contract software into their own platforms. However, they will still want integrations into payment gateways, such as Stripe, and cloud drives, including Dropbox.

Free trial

Free trials are a must. You need to give these platforms a try and see if they have the features you need to digitize all of your workflows. You’ll also want to confirm that the user experience matches the skillset in your firm. Even the most powerful platform will go unused if your employees can’t figure out how it works.

SignTime meets all of the requirements for sound electronic contract software

Whether you are trying to simplify HR functions or get your next sales quote signed today, SignTime is here to help. We offer a full-service electronic contract management solution with options geared towards any business size.

The easy-to-access and organized online contract repository means never searching for important paperwork again.

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Talk to our team now about how SignTime can digitally transform and accelerate your business!

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