Have you ever needed to print a document, sign it, and then scan it (or God forbid, post it) back to the original sender? If you have a home printer and are lucky enough to get it working, this process probably seems very archaic in today’s digital world. Enter, Salesforce eSignature!
Though electronic signature solutions have been on the market for a number of years and have been adopted quite broadly, with so many vendors out there, how do you know which one to choose, and more importantly, which ones work with Salesforce?
In this guide, we’ll cover a number of Salesforce eSignature solutions and show some standout front runners, up-and-comers, and innovators in the market to help you make the best choice for your business needs.
Why Is eSignature So Important?
Electronic Signature has revolutionized the way people sign documents because it allows them to sign from anywhere in the world, instantly, from either a computer or mobile device.
Documents uploaded into eSignature systems are also extremely secure because they cannot be modified, downloaded (prior to signature) or replaced with another document – recipients can only review the document and sign (or refuse to sign).
Documents sent with eSignature tools also come with a very clear audit trail, meaning you will know where (via IP address) and when a document was signed. This is impossible with old fashioned ‘wet signature’ signing that could leave companies in a vulnerable position.
Features Every eSignature Tool Needs
When eSignature tools were first introduced to the market, the features they had were fairly limited. The tool simply allowed a user to fill out and sign a document, and that was pretty much it!
Today, eSignature is usually just one offering from companies which offer broader document management, contract management, or document generation software. Though eSignature plays a vital component in document lifecycles, it’s not enough to offer this functionality as a standalone tool.
Certifications and Compliance
It is important that whichever Salesforce eSignature tool your company chooses, it is backed up by certifications and conforms to other compliance standards – this will reassure users that it is a secure tool.
Some important certifications are:
- ISO 27001
- AICPA (SOC I Type 2 and SOC II Type 2)
- HIPPA (if you work with any healthcare data in the US)
Ensuring the tool you choose has basic certifications will give you peace of mind when sending out documents for eSignature.
Form Fields/Tagging Ability
Any eSignature solution should give you the ability to add form fields or tags to a document, as standard – these allow users to fill out documents they receive for signature. Signature tags also allow you to specify where precisely the signature should go on the document.
Any worthwhile eSignature platform will provide you with an audit trail of your document. This is usually known as a “certificate” and can be downloaded from the eSignature platform as required. Without this feature, documents may not be considered valid.
Salesforce eSignature Front Runners
Front runners are the most well-known solutions on the market – the Heinz of the Salesforce eSignature world, if you will! They provide a robust, extremely secure and overall good user experience, but they can be pricier due to their brand names and market share.
Solutions in this category also started out purely as eSignature tools and expanded their product offering from there.
DocuSign is probably the most well-known eSignature tool on the market today. “DocuSign” is almost used as a verb in some corporations, even if they don’t actually use DocuSign specifically – it’s synonymous with electronic signatures.
DocuSign was one of the first eSignature tools on the market, and is the overall leader on G2 Crowd for eSignature providers across all business segments.
- Well-established brand
- Top certifications
- Diversified product offering
The use cases for DocuSign and Salesforce range from sales organizations and legal teams, through to HR and procurement teams.
Sales teams can send out quotes, NDAs, and other documents to prospects and customers without needing to involve legal or sales ops teams, reducing the time spent on sales activities. HR teams can send out employee onboarding documents or updated contracts, compensation plans, etc. through DocuSign to get documents returned and signed easily.
In recent years, DocuSign has expanded its offering significantly to include the DocuSign Agreement Cloud which allows users to create contracts, spot business risks, collaborate with other teams, and of course, get the documents signed.
Adobe Acrobat Sign
- Backed by Adobe
- Configurable time stamps
- Affordable custom branding options
Adobe Acrobat Sign is a front runner as it’s also one of the original tools in the eSignature market. As it’s an offering from Adobe, it’s backed by a large company with extensive resources for future product development.
Acrobat Sign can be integrated with Salesforce, and provides you with real-time status updates as to where your documents are in the signature process. Also, a copy of the signed document can be attached to the original record in Salesforce.
Acrobat Sign makes it easy to send out documents in bulk, which is especially useful if you need to update terms and conditions for a large number of customers, or send out employee onboarding packets prior to new employees’ start dates. Admins can look to automate this process even further with the right setup.
- Easy-to-use interface
- Affordable pricing options for businesses of various sizes
- Fast implementation
HelloSign is also a leader in the eSignature market, aimed more at the small-medium business market according to G2 Crowd. It is very highly rated against the top players in the marketplace for eSignature.
HelloSign has two other solutions in its wheelhouse: HelloWorks and HelloFax. HelloWorks is a solution to help create mobile forms, to help with tasks such as onboarding new employees, or collecting info from customers on a mobile device – have you ever been stopped by someone and asked to take a short survey? They could be using HelloWorks to capture the data.
HelloFax is exactly as you’d imagine – faxing, but it’s digital. I remember the first time I was asked to fax something at my first office based job back in 2014 – I was completely clueless and the process was overly complicated. HelloFax has made that a thing of the past. Users can fax from any device and the transmission is fully secure.
Salesforce eSignature Contenders
Vendors in this category offer a signature solution as part of their overall product offering, but it was not their initial product offering.
- 100% native to the Salesforce platform
- Create workflows with several signers and approvers
- FDA compliant
Formstack as a whole is a fantastic form creator built 100% natively to Salesforce. Formstack Sign is one offering from Formstack which makes it easy to get signatures on forms, contracts, and any other document you might need to manage.
Formstack is easy to install and get up and running, and what’s more, it’s very intuitive to use from an admin and user perspective. The average Salesforce Admin could probably have it up and running in just a few hours, with more time required to build out custom forms and/or documents. Formstack also offers hundreds of pre-made form templates.
- Conga Sign is just one small offering from the Conga Platform.
- Conga merged with Apttus in 2020 to offer a very comprehensive Quote to Cash offering.
- Conga Sign licenses are included by default in Conga Contracts for Salesforce (CFS) licenses, so if you are a CFS customer, you have access to Conga Sign already!
Conga is probably the most well-known document generation vendor on the Salesforce platform, with their original flagship product being Conga Composer. Conga grew their product offering extensively in 2020 when they merged with Apttus.
Conga Sign integrates seamlessly with Conga CPQ, Conga Contracts, and Conga Composer. If you’re already using these tools, Conga Sign is a no-brainer.
- 100% native to Salesforce
- Easy to use and highly rated by customers
- Integrates seamlessly with S-Docs document generator
S-Docs is another fully native Salesforce solution that combines document generation with the power of electronic signatures. Users can generate their contracts, quotes, order forms, invoices, etc. and send them off for signature quickly and easily.
With S-Docs, you can utilize things such as Salesforce validation rules on your documents to ensure that you’re getting exactly the data you need fed back into the system – you will never get a document back that has to be resent because the recipient filled in the details incorrectly! This reduces the amount of time spent reviewing documents when they come back from signature, as well as giving everyone the peace of mind that every document is accurate.
Salesforce eSignature Innovators
Vendors in this section are re-defining the eSignature space with innovative solutions centered around eSignature.
- Remote Online Notarization (RON) offering – the first of its kind!
- Excellent document generation capabilities
- Workflow options for approvals and more
PandaDocs is first and foremost a platform to create and generate professional documents – eSignature is just one of the features it offers.
The platform offers a comprehensive document generation platform, including the ability to manage individual pieces of content, workflows to approve content before it can be used in documents, and even Remote Online Notarization (RON).
Notarization is a process that must normally be done in the physical presence of a Notary Public, but PandaDocs is the first all-in-one solution that offers the ability to create, edit, eSign and notarize documents (US only). Remote Online Notarization by PandaDoc is approved at the state level and can be used in industries such as legal, real estate, and financial, or in any situation that requires a more stringent signature process for documents.
Users join a secure audio-visual session, fill in some personal details (all held securely, of course), and finally, verify their identity by uploading an approved form of government ID.
This is a true game-changer for businesses that frequently require notarized documents as it provides a seamless user experience, and more importantly, does not require in-person visits to a notary public.
- Create and manage contract templates in the Oneflow platform.
- Utilize Salesforce flows in conjunction with Oneflow for a truly automated contract experience.
- Collaborative negotiations process, with the ability to sign once the deal is done.
Oneflow is an off-platform solution that offers seamless creation, collaboration, and execution of contracts. It has integrations with multiple vendors, including Salesforce.
Oneflow’s differentiator is its ability to collaborate on documents whilst keeping them secure. Dynamic product and pricing tables can be added to the document and recipients can negotiate directly on the contract if you leave sections of the contract editable, eliminating the need for constant back-and-forth with the legal team.
Oneflow notes that risk is reduced when only a single version of the document is being worked on – much like a GoogleDoc which shows the changes made by users.
The eSignature space has grown rapidly during the digital age, and I don’t foresee it slowing down any time soon. What is apparent is that eSignature is no longer offered as a standalone product, but rather as a component alongside a larger product offering from the majority of vendors. It’s great to see so many vendors, both on and off the Salesforce platform, pushing the envelope when it comes to innovation and efficiency.
If you use one of the Salesforce eSignature tools mentioned above, let us know in the comments!