One of the most frustrating things that any salesperson has to endure is the length of time it takes to draw up a contract and get it signed.
After the initial verbal agreement is reached, any number of people back at corporate headquarters can get involved in drafting the actual contract. It's no surprise then that all kinds of terms and conditions can be added to the proposed contract, many of which wind up killing the deal altogether.
What's particularly galling about this state of affairs is that most salespeople have no visibility into the process that surrounds the drawing up of the contracts. Without that visibility, salespeople can exert no real influence when it comes to making sure the deal actually gets done as first intended.
But now Salesforce.com and Ariba are coming together with a cure for "the silent deal killers." The two companies have inked an expanded alliance under which a library of contracts developed by Ariba is now hosted on Force.com. According to Ariba Chief Marketing Officer Tim Minahan, this library is tightly integrated with the Salesforce.com customer relationship management (CRM) platform, which means that salespeople now have direct access to a set of contract paperwork that can be pre-approved by their legal departments and digitally signed by customers on a mobile computing device.
Ariel Kelman, vice president of product management for Salesforce.com, says the primary benefit of this integration is that the amount of time it takes to actually close a deal can now be substantially reduced, especially when organizations leverage social networking software such as Chatter to stay on top of the process. And the less time it takes to close a deal, the more likely it will be that the customer doesn't change his or her mind.
We live in a digital age where the maxim "time is money" now runs on steroids. The time it takes to close a deal more often than not seems like an eternity for everyone involved. And while there are many great things that can be done with IT in the enterprise, sometimes it is simple things like speeding up the deal-making process that wind up making a real difference to the business.