Nobody likes paperwork, and we get that.
But the best sales reps, the top performers, don’t just dislike paperwork—they hate it. It’s not because they deserve special treatment, either—it’s because bureaucracy slows down a hunter-style salesperson, and that works against her primary interest—commission.
And when you think about it, that’s the type of salesperson you should want at your company, because the fewer commissions she makes, the less revenue the company makes as a whole.
The best part about hatred for paperwork, however, is that as a company, you can use it to improve your sales process and get better results. In this post we’ll cover the reasoning behind a salesperson’s natural disdain for paperwork, and then we’ll also show you a few ways to capitalize on that and create a faster process to revenue.
Time spent filling out paperworking is less time spent selling
Sales is an incredibly valuable skill, and no matter what you see on television, it’s not easy. The best salespeople usually aren’t the gregarious, drunk-before-noon blowhards you see on TV—they’re excellent listeners with great attention to detail.
Simply put, they have a unique skill and accomplish a task that not anybody can do. But anybody, perhaps even a machine, can fill out paperwork.
Put yourself in a salesperson’s shoes:
You’ve worked over a time period of six months doing multiple presentations, some which included airplane travel. You’ve handled every objection and even upsold some items to create incremental revenue. Congrats, the deal is done.
But if the contract and/or signature process isn’t seamless, you’re in for another couple days of fairly tedious work—double-checking the language in the contract, obtaining signatures via fax, etc. Additionally, this type of manual process leaves room for human error. It’s the height of “hurry up and wait” frustration.
And really, all you want to do is keep the momentum going by launching into a new sales cycle...
A salesperson’s primary value to the company isn’t filling out paperwork—it’s lead nurturing, it’s, closing deals, etc. In the typical commission structure of a salesperson’s employment contract, it’s also her primary incentive to work hard. When a full-time employee who doesn’t work in sales fills out paperwork, he gets paid the same.
Salespeople hate paperwork because it keeps them from doing what they’re good at, what they enjoy, and what they get paid for. And there’s actually another reason paperwork is at the bottom of their list.
The results of paperwork are unfulfilling
“Over 90% of people go home at the end of the day feeling unfulfilled by their work, and I won't stop working until that statistic is reversed - until over 90% of people go home and can honestly say, 'I love what I do.'” -Simon Sinek
In the workplace, there’s few things lower than ‘accomplishing’ work you hate that also has no purpose or goes unused. It’s a double whammy of disappointment.
Paperwork can be a huge culprit of this type of work.
For example, many companies require sales reps to fill out activity reports where they log their activity every day. There’s no doubt this is a tedious task, but if those reports aren’t being reviewed, discussed, and acted on, they’re a huge waste of time. There are tools that can help automate some of this reporting that can help eliminate a tedious, manual task.
Another example from the sales niche is customer handoff. As a salesperson who has been in contact with a potential customer for a period of time, wouldn’t you want some feedback from the customer support team to make sure he’s happy? Or, perhaps you’d like to hear internally about what a great client you signed.
Consider scheduling some sort of follow-up meeting or check in post-signature to help give your sales team a sense of fulfillment for the works they’ve done.
What you can do instead
At this point you might be thinking. “Less paperwork, more fulfillment—Yes, I want that. Now what?”
If you’re looking to really overhaul your paperwork problem, you might want to check out our recent post on sales automation. While it won’t happen overnight, using sales automation to streamline tasks can eliminate a ton of paperwork from your sales process with things like automated sales reporting, lead delegation, call tracking, and a lot more.
For a quick win, you might want to check out Dropbox Sign workflows. In addition to eSignatures that work seamlessly with tons of apps (like Gmail, G-Suite, and Salesforce) to reduce paperwork, you can also get the documents out to your team faster with automated workflows. Your prospective customer can sign the contract in less than 30 seconds without even leaving her Gmail inbox.