Posted on 

June 8, 2022

7 Contract Management Problems With Using PDFs In Sales

Ruzica Mastelic
Content writer

Is your software helping you thrive or is it hindering you? Businesses that are the best at selling use only efficient tools. So if you’re looking to improve your output, you should learn about the most important problems with using PDFs in sales.

Table of Contents

  1. Do people still use PDFs?
  2. When should you not use a PDF?
  3. Key problems with using PDFs for contract management in sales
  4. Contractbook: Your Best Alternative To PDFs

Do People Still Use PDFs?

Yes, there are a lot of businesses that still rely on PDFs. And that won’t change any time soon. It’s simply because the format offers a lot of advantages for certain types of tasks. 

What is a PDF? PDF is short for portable document format. Its main benefit is that it can be shared without being altered in the process.  

This is exactly why using PDFs is a great choice if you want to preserve the appearance of a document. That is if you don’t want fonts, colors, or the layout to be changed. So, for example, if you’re creating files for print, such as brochures, there’s no better format out there. 

However, there are plenty of situations where using PDFs will only hinder you. This is especially true if you’re looking to improve sales efficiency through automation.

When Should You Not Use A PDF?

According to Nielsen Norman Group, PDFs are only good for files that are created to be printed. And if that’s not the case, you’re better off with other formats. 

Why is this, you might ask. There are plenty of PDF disadvantages that could be listed here, especially for use in business. But it all depends on what type of company you’re running. 

For example, if your business depends on creating interactive content, PDFs won’t be a great option for you. It’s simply because one of the major PDF disadvantages is that they’re static documents. 

But when we talk about the use of PDFs in business, we generally talk about two different sets of issues. We either talk about more general contract management issues or the specific problems with using PDFs in sales. Here we’ll be focusing on the disadvantages of PDFs for your salespeople. As you’ll see, these are numerous and affect both their efficiency and, ultimately, their conversion rates.  

Key Problems with Using PDFs for Contract Management in Sales

A lot of companies still keep their contracts in PDF format. But this doesn’t make it smart. On the contrary, there are plenty of problems with using PDF for contract management in sales in particular. Here are the most important ones.

1. No options for easy negotiation

When you’re in Sales, you rarely have a contract signed without engaging in some form of negotiation. And when you use PDFs, this can waste a lot of your time.

First, there’s a lot of back and forth between you and the client. This is because there’s no easy way to add a comment to a PDF.

Second, there’s the work you need to do if you want to edit an existing contract. If it’s saved in PDF format, you need to convert it to Word or some other editable format. And have you ever tried to do this? It’s not a very complicated process, but it still takes time. What’s more, success is not guaranteed. 

Namely, not all PDFs can be converted into Word documents without loss of data or some other complication. It’s one of the key problems with using PDFs in sales.

2. Lower conversion rates

Who are the most important people that come in contact with your contracts? Your clients. But if you’re using PDFs, clients can have a lot of trouble dealing with them.

Why are PDFs so horrible in terms of user experience? It’s because they:

  • Require the use of third-party software
  • Slow you down
  • Aren’t mobile-friendly

Sadly, you can’t just open a PDF. Not unless you have some sort of PDF reader already installed on your device. But even if you do, they’re known for being slow to load. And because of the way they’re built, they won’t automatically adjust to your screen when you’re on your phone.

3. Higher risk of time-consuming errors

It’s only logical. The faster you are at negotiation and getting your contracts signed, the more sales you can make. And you can’t be fast if you’re making mistakes that require you to waste time fixing them. 

One way to reduce errors is to implement quality version control. After all, if you can’t track changes that have been made to a document, you lose both visibility and control. 

It’s one of the biggest problems with using PDFs in sales. Salespeople deal with a lot of contracts and often engage in complex and lengthy negotiations. For them to be efficient, there needs to be a way to achieve a certain level of version control. And PDFs simply can’t give you that.

4. Prolonged sales cycle

What’s one of the best things you can do for your sales performance? You can keep track of the way your clients engage with you. This gives you the feedback you can’t put a price on.

When it comes to contracts, one of the things you can do is monitor if and when they’ve been viewed. You can also use advanced software to enable real-time data flow. So if a client requests a change, you’re automatically notified and you can act on it right then and there. 

These are not things you can do with PDFs. PDFs are static documents that don’t allow tracking or notifications of any sort.

5. No way to use data to improve sales performance

Wouldn’t it be great if you could use your existing contracts to analyze your sales performance? After all, they contain all sorts of valuable information. They could tell you:

  • How long is your average sales cycle is
  • How many contracts eventually get renewed
  • How much profit do you make from each sale

Unfortunately, one of the problems with using PDFs in sales is that all this information stays inaccessible. As we’ve already said, PDFs are static documents and you can’t do anything with them except view them.

6. Higher chance of losing clients to competitors

When you’re in sales, you have to keep your competitors in mind at all times. You also have the information you’d like to keep confidential. Maybe it’s your pricing or maybe it’s the functionalities that separate you from the crowd. 

Considering all this, it makes sense that you wouldn’t want everyone to be able to gain access to your contracts. And it’s one of the biggest problems with using PDFs in sales. They simply offer no protection and can be distributed without you ever finding out about it. 

7. No easy option for digital signing

Technically, there’s no need to print, sign, and then scan your contracts when they’re in PDF format. You could sign them digitally. But this requires you to get a digital ID. And even with this ID, you still need to go through several time-consuming steps to complete the signing. 

This is one of the biggest problems with using PDF for contract management in sales. It’s simply because we already have better digital signing solutions. With them, signing digitally becomes a matter of clicking a button. And you almost instantly get higher conversion rates.

Contractbook: Your Best Alternative To PDFs

As you’ve already seen, there are many different problems with using PDFs in sales. Luckily, to solve them all, you only need to switch to quality contract management software. We at Contractbook offer tailored solutions you can use to improve collaboration, user experience, and all of the above. There simply is no end to what our software can facilitate and automate. And to reap the benefits for your own business, you only need to get in touch.

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