How e-signatures can help you advise your clients and build your network faster

By Christina Bentley on April 23, 2020

Building client relationships in a digital age

The COVID-19 lockdown has changed the way advisers work with their clients. But with the right tools, remote working isn’t a problem when it comes to getting signatures and writing new business.

You may have adapted your contact strategy for getting in touch with new financial advice leads when you can’t come to the office or put more care into understanding how your clients’ needs have changed.

But there’s more you can do to futureproof your business. Electronic signature (e-signature) technology can help you grow your business faster, increase productivity and appeal to a wider market.

What is an electronic signature?

Simply put, an e-signature is a way to sign documents digitally, indicating an agreement to a document or contract. They come in many forms such as:

  • Scanned or photographed wet signatures
  • Typewritten signatures on a PDF or other electronic document
  • Digital fingerprints or retina scan
  • An electronic representation of a handwritten signature

How e-signatures protect your business and clients

Since the Electronic Communications Act 2000, e-signatures are legally binding in the UK. There are many safeguards in place such as rigorous security standards and certificates to protect you and your clients.

This means you and your clients can create and use e-signatures with the assurance that they’re legally compliant and verified.

How e-signatures can benefit your financial advice business

E-signature software is nothing new, but if you’ve never used it before you may be missing out – especially while you’re working remotely.

Using e-signatures can help you save countless hours of admin, postage fees and time waiting for documents to be sent back. More importantly, the time they save you can be spent advising more of your clients and building additional relationships.

Here are our top five recommended tools to help you deliver a better service to your clients, reduce paperwork, and work smarter.

1. Adobe Sign

Adobe Sign has become a favourite with big businesses such as Yodel who need to be compliant on a global scale. This tool works on mobile and the web, giving you and your clients the flexibility to sign and access signatures from anywhere. It also integrates with other tools such as Salesforce, Microsoft Office 365, and Workday.

Top features:

  • Best for medium to large-sized firms
  • Web and mobile app
  • Easy to use – no need to download or signup to e-sign
  • Add custom logos and branding
  • Mega Sign tool lets you send one document to multiple clients and track their progress
  • Two plans to suit small business and enterprises

2. DocuSign

With over 500,000 worldwide customers including Apple, Samsung, and Visa, DocuSign is one of the most trusted e-signature tools out there. The easy-to-use platform helps you end back and forth emails so you can build relationships faster. Add your branding to your documents and track their progress with a real-time audit trail. Whether your clients are on iOS or Android, they can review and sign documents and agreements on the go.

Top features:

  • Intuitive and easy-to-use
  • Integrates with Google Drive, Dropbox, Microsoft Office 365 and more
  • Personalised branding for documents
  • High-level security certifications on e-signatures
  • Four plans to suit individuals, small and enterprise-level businesses

3. PandaDoc

If you want to streamline your admin and workflow even further, PandaDoc is one tool to consider. It goes a step further than other tools, letting you drag-and-drop an e-signature form into any document. Add your branding and create professional documents using over 400 templates. Your client can then sign in seconds, no signup needed.

Top features:

  • iOS and Android app
  • Works on any device, mobile or desktop
  • Integrates with Salesforce, Dropbox, Google Drive,
  • Microsoft OneDrive and other services
  • Every e-signature is compliant with built-in security technology
  • Password protection on PDF documents
  • Real-time signature tracking
  • Four plans to suit individual advisers, small teams and large firms

4. OneSpan Sign

Firms that need extra security will appreciate OneSpan Sign. Formerly called eSignLive, they’re trusted by the likes of IBM, NASA, and BMW. Their cloud-based service is ideal for teams that work remotely or across larger networks and will have you set up in minutes. Clients don’t have to download an app to sign and they can even use their mobile as a digital capture pad.

Top features:

  • iOS and Android app
  • Works on any device, mobile or desktop
  • Integrates with Office 365, Salesforce, and more
  • Advanced signature authentication for full compliance and security
  • Two plans to suit any size business

5. SignNow

SignNow is a great choice for small firms that want to go paperless. It’s easy to use and works across all devices. Simply send clients a link and they can e-sign by typing, drawing or taking a photo of their wet signature. It even works when they’re not connected to the internet and will sync up where they left off when they’re back online, helping you process paperwork faster.

Top features:

  • iOS and Android app
  • Works on any device, mobile or desktop
  • Integrates with Google Drive, Salesforce, Office 365, and more
  • Unlimited document templates
  • Offline mode
  • Set custom signature deadlines
  • Four plans to suit any individual adviser or size business

Making remote working work for your clients

While e-signatures can help you streamline your business, they’ll also make a big impact on your clients. A simpler process of signing documents means you can give them greater support and guidance to help them reach their financial goals.

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