Building a Business Case for Electronic Signature

There’s a plethora of technology solutions on the market promising remarkable benefits. But when it comes to an e-signature solution, more than just promises, there are facts and compelling ROI on your side to support adoption. To gain buy-in among your organization’s decision makers, your e-signature business case needs to convey the potential impact of the new solution and the positive business outcomes it will enable.

The need for a persuasive and fact-based business case is critical during challenging economic periods. By following the model below, you can create a successful argument for digitally transforming your agreement processes with an e-signature solution.

Out with the traditional, in with the modern business case

Traditional business cases can focus too much on current state and not enough on how the proposed changes will drive future outcomes.

A strong, factual business case makes all the difference in getting a project funded. It should:

  • Present a clear vision based on achievable outcomes 
  • Show how the proposed solution will solve current challenges
  • Demonstrate tangible business impacts
  • Persuade your audience using buy-in strategies

The following three tips will help strengthen your business case and lead to a successful outcome.

1. Examine your entire signing process

The first step is to understand your organization’s needs and how an e-signature solution can meet them. Begin by asking the most fundamental questions so that you have a baseline to measure your proposed solution against.

Here are some sample questions to gain a holistic perspective of your status quo:

  • How long does it take for documents to be signed and returned?
  • How often do you encounter errors?
  • How many employees and how many hours are involved in processing contracts?
  • How much does your organization spend on paper, shipping costs and document storage?

Get the information you need to show how current processes are sub-optimal. Talk to stakeholders for insight into the present state of your company’s contract management. All too often, leadership is startled by the answers. Even more, some companies don’t even have the ability to track these important metrics.

2. Show the impact of e-signature on business outcomes

Once you’ve established your benchmark, use it as the basis to present the future state, including how e-signature will:

  • Accelerate turnaround time for forms and contracts
  • Speed up internal processes like routing contracts for approvals and legal review
  • Reduce errors and mitigate risk
  • Lower costs
  • Improve the customer and employee experience

An e-signature solution enables clients to track a whole host of metrics that you can use to concretely support your business case. For example, customers using DocuSign eSignature report numbers that provide a powerful business justification:

  • 75% improvement in turnaround time (the time it takes documents to be signed and returned) 
  • 80% of documents are returned within 24 hours
  • 70% improvement in error rate
  • 37% improvement in productivity
  • 36 minutes in saved administrative work, which equates to $15 per transaction 
  • $3 saved per transaction on shipping and paper, along with reduced environmental impact

Taken together, this means faster time to revenue and a better customer experience (often represented by measures such as Net Promoter Score). It also amplifies workforce productivity, freeing up time currently spent on paperwork and correcting errors, and reducing the need to hire additional employees as contract volume grows. Especially during a tight labor market, companies make it a priority to keep best performers. Employees feel more fulfilled in their roles when they have time to focus on strategic projects, sales and other critical initiatives rather than mundane, manual tasks.

Real DocuSign customer results

  • Flexential reduced time spent on quote-to-cash (QTC) for sales teams by 80%
  • Yamaha eliminated errors and saved $125,000 on shipping costs
  • Boston Scientific reduced the rate of Not in Good Order (NIGO) forms by 48%
  • AAA of Washington reduced completion time for business applications by 80% and shredding needs by 60%
  • Refinitiv increased their customer satisfaction Net Promoter Score (NPS) by 20%

In total, companies that implemented DocuSign eSignature saved around $36 per agreement, and with higher completion rates driving the number of documents completed, those savings add up. Our research shows that companies with over 250 employees that process over 500 documents per month saw $216,000 in savings per year. Compare that to how many documents your organization processes each month and do the math. That's a compelling e-signature ROI.

3. Use buy-in strategies

Armed with this data, you now need to package it together to make your case for implementing an e-signature solution. The following strategies can help you garner buy-in.

Understand company norms. When making any persuasive argument, it’s important to know your company’s specific norms and how it typically approaches business cases. Determine whether the process is formal or informal and whether you’ll be presenting your case to a committee or a single stakeholder. Identify the ultimate decision-makers and develop your business case accordingly.

Select your audience. If you’re in charge of the meeting invite or document distribution list, use this to your advantage. In addition to core decision-makers, you can assemble support from other groups to create a persuasive environment and demonstrate wide impact.

Actively involve stakeholders. E-signature business cases frequently warrant cross-functional and inter-departmental participation. Legal, sales, HR, procurement and IT can all benefit from e-signature, as agreements commonly touch two to three departments across your organization. Use insights from your fellow stakeholders to present a powerful business case.

Pick your timing. Your project is one of many priorities for your company, and you may find it deprioritized. Be aware of what’s going on both internally and externally, and don’t marry yourself to a specific timeframe that could change. Try to time your presentation to a period that’s conducive to having the attention and open mindset of decision-makers.

Tell a story. Weave a compelling narrative of how e-signature will benefit your company. Data by itself isn’t always the full story. Appeal to the brain and the heart by crafting a hero’s journey that burnishes the bottom line, as well as your company’s reputation and brand image. Other departments, your customers, employees, competitors—even regulators—all play an important role alongside metrics and ROI.

Build your business case for DocuSign eSignature

DocuSign eSignature can transform how your company does business—saving money, speeding time to revenue, reducing errors and much more. Presenting a rock-solid business case based on the advice above is an important first step. It lays the foundation for continued discussion, product evaluation, provider selection and, ultimately, adoption.

At DocuSign we’ve helped thousands of companies across business sectors and the globe take the first step on what their future state can be, and we stay with them through every step thereafter. It’s why we’re trusted by over a million customers and a billion users in over 180 countries. 

Learn more about DocuSign eSignature or try it for free.