Would you believe us if we were to tell you that we’d deposit a million bucks into your account if you read this blog in all its entirety? No! Well, what if we promised? Still no, huh? Not even if we promised? Doesn’t that count for something? Hard pass, eh? Sure, that’s hurtful. But, your skepticism is rationally justifiable. How are you expected to believe anything unless some contractual obligation binds it with definite tenure, validity, terms, and conditions? And there are none out here!
A promise is nothing but mere words, but an attested agreement is what binds the participants to the terms. They make promises legal and enforceable. Without a contract, such promises are nothing but tall worthless claims. A contract is what coaxes the promising party or parties to stand by their word and comply. Otherwise, mere words are just fluff without any concrete obligation, aren’t they?
Needless to say, businesses employ contracts for all their transactions. Contract and Agreement documents don’t just bind the promising party to the mentioned task, but they also provide a crucial blueprint with clearly defined roles, responsibilities, expectations, obligations, tenure, validity, terms & conditions, and endpoints, among other criteria concerning a deal.
Irrespective of your category, as a freelancer, startup, or enterprise, inappropriately handled agreements can expose you and your business to significant risks. Therefore, it is essential to safeguard your interests and optimize the value of every offer and deal. But, this is possible only with reliable documentation technology, such as an e-signature platform. Why and How? We’re glad you asked!
- It lets you collaborate from anywhere, any time. Electronic signature service platforms allow you to access, create, modify, rectify, attest, verify, and store your agreements with ease through every stage of a deal.
- Most businesses simultaneously juggle multiple proposals, and keeping track of them can be quite a task. Through secure, centralized, cloud e-signature services, you can say goodbye to an ever-increasing pile of files & documents to easily locate and manage your files instantaneously through a digital medium.
- With e-signature solutions, you can digitize, integrate, and streamline complex workflows. Electronic signature services allow you to narrow down multiple processes to a mere few. You no longer have to wait for and send agreement documents across with several pit stops. Simply deliver, approve, sign, and seal a document all on one singular platform – easy, isn’t it?
- Some e-signature service providers allow you to choose and create templates to suit your requirements. Thus, you save much time that would have otherwise been devoted to cumbersome, redundant processes.
There are several stages that a deal goes through. Of course, these may vary by type, organization, and industry. But let's narrow down these processes to a generic classification, and we'll get five crucial phases. So first, let us understand the contract lifecycle and the ways e-signatures can alleviate some of the pain points at every stage.
If a deal is imminent, one must create a request to initiate an offer. An offer must highlight the objectives, goals, proposed responsibilities & liabilities, effective date, date of delivery or end date, payment – amount, method, and terms. This stage revolves around a proposal and is subject to alterations considering the interests of all participants. Nothing is concrete yet, and nobody is bound to oblige to any terms. The focus at this stage is to provide a basic framework by outlining the rights and duties of every participant. It is a good idea to add conditions and clauses that refer to action plans in case of a mishap, dispute, and other such circumstances. Digital signature platforms enable all the participants to view and suggest recommendations simultaneously through cloud computing services accessible only by authorized participants.
Also Read: What are the practical uses of Electronic Signatures & How effective are they?
After the proposer completes their draft, the ball moves to the respondents' court. Their team must thoroughly analyze and ensure there are no loopholes or ambiguities to safeguard their interests. The offer might need approval across departments as multiple teams scrutinize it. This is a time-consuming process, but it can lead to severe complications if a department misses out on inspections. Depending on the inputs provided, they can counter the offer, reject it, or suggest modifications. A typical negotiation phase accommodates a lot of oscillations until the consenting parties conclude to draw up a memorandum of understanding. Imagine this entire process made a lot easier with digital workflows and e-signature solutions. You'll eliminate the need to send and sign multiple drafts and copies physically. Besides, e-signature platforms allow you to store all iterations of an offer with a robust audit trail to eradicate the possibility of any confusion. Talk about transparency!
This is when things begin to stabilize as far as documentation is concerned. Although this isn't the final stage, most disagreements get ironed out as teams prepare to set things in motion. It is crucial to get attestations from all consenting authorized personnel during this stage to bind the agreement legally. The legal team must conduct thorough due diligence to ensure the company's interests are safeguarded. With electronic signature workflows, acquiring these consensual attestations becomes a cakewalk allowing all concerned parties to conveniently move on and concentrate on the next phase of a deal, its execution.
Remember the age-old saying, 'Actions Speak Louder Than Words'? After finalizing and approving a deal, it's time to set things in motion, which marks the beginning of the execution stage. All parties would have agreed to an effective date for the execution duration and validity during the finalization stage itself. All parties that consented by signing must fulfill their obligation. Electronic signatures enjoy the same privileges as handwritten signatures. Thus, an agreement signed through an e-signature platform must comply with the specifications mentioned in the agreement copy, or there may be legal, financial, and reputational implications. Digital signatures are legally binding and accepted in most use cases and locations worldwide, making them an efficient tool for managing contracts.
Everyone wants to close a sale deal as soon as possible. But you cannot complete a deal without relevant signatures. The closure of an agreement is a crucial stage, and e-signature platforms allow you to close your deals without participating in a time-consuming chase. All participants must have a clear idea about what is expected once the job gets done. Are all parties inclined towards an auto-renewal for another definite tenure? Do they wish to terminate it? What are the conditions that need to be met in either case? Will the same terms be applicable? How pertinent will a renewed bond be in the next term? If any revisions are recommended, all of these should be documented to avoid any misunderstandings. If you plan and manage your contracts well, you can mitigate many risks associated with poor document handling.
Always remember these basics while handling contracts:
- Thoroughly comprehend and weigh the responsibilities, obligations, and risks.
- Ensure the roles and timelines are suitably assigned with appropriate provisions for delays, circumstances, or malice.
- Track and monitor the status and completion of your agreement.
- Always keep your settlements accessible and saved in a secure device or location.
A deal is subject to revisions through every stage. Clauses can be added or deleted, and conditions may be tweaked to suit the participants. Electronic signatures make it easy to streamline every stage of a contract. Imagine all of this being done the traditional way with heaps of paper going back and forth several times to every participant's address. Eventually, the older iterations become nothing but trash that may carry sensitive information, ultimately ending up at a paper shredder. That's like consciously generating waste. Indeed, you shudder to think about how much paper gets wasted this way! Sure, work must get done. But, when there is a better way, why not adopt it? Especially considering e-signatures provide users with the security and efficiency that traditional documentation cannot guarantee. They improve TATs by leaps and bounds and save a lot of pennies. For seamless contract management and to gain a competitive advantage, it's advisable to manage your agreements with e-signatures.
Your Contract’s Fine…if you’re using DrySign!
DrySign is an e-signature platform that is secure, quick, and easy to use. With thousands of businesses entrusting us with their documentation, we're sure to amaze you too! Give us a call to find out exactly how we can revolutionize the contract management process at your end. Or just sign up here for a FREE TRIAL.
And about that so-called offer at the beginning of this blog …unicorns and fairies! Next time, insist on an electronic contract with valid currency! Ensure an e-signature from someone with authority backing it. And if you want to know how e-signatures work, check out DrySign here.
DISCLAIMER: The information on this site is for general information purposes only and is not intended to serve as legal advice. Laws governing the subject matter may change quickly, and Exela cannot guarantee that all the information on this site is current or correct. Should you have specific legal questions about any of the information on this site, you should consult with a licensed attorney in your area.