What is an Electronic Signature? A Detailed Breakdown

Sales tech7 mins
Oct 5, 2021
signing a sales doc on mobile

Providing an electronic signature option can accelerate the closure of a deal. Before choosing a proposal or electronic signature solution, take time to understand your needs for integration, use cases, and compliance before starting your search—it will make it easier to understand which solution fits your needs.

An electronic signature can be a massive boost to the speed of your sales cycle, but many companies aren’t yet utilizing it to their advantage.

Unlike the old-fashioned “wet signatures” required on documents, electronic signatures allow users to sign digitally. Multiple people can sign from various locations when using cloud-based software, whereas desktop-based versions offer a different buyer experience, signing singularly on a personal device.

There are a few different common types of electronic signatures:

  • A scanned or photographed copy of a signed signature
  • A signature made using a dedicated platform like DocuSign
  • A name typed at the end of a document
  • A scanned signature through a PDF-editing software or Apple Preview
  • A signature is written on a screen with a stylus
  • A signature provided via an integrated signing software

No matter what type of e signature software you use, offering a digital signature option will make things much easier for both your sales team and prospects. But, not all e-sign options are created equally; some are easy to use while others are more cumbersome.

Here are a few things to look for when using an e signature with your proposal software to accelerate a deal.

Electronic signatures: what to look for

E-signature options vary in ease of use and functionality. When considering which to use with your sales proposal, there are a few key aspects that you should look for and consider.


Ensure that any e-signature software you are thinking about purchasing integrates directly with the other programs you use for your sales team. For instance: your content management system, CRM, and your proposal software. Believe it or not, not all proposal software provides an integrated electronic signature experience, which means capturing a signature requires a separate document from your sales proposal.

Building your pricing table along with your e-signature on one page in your proposals creates a natural flow and correlation to the package price and “accept” action. Additionally, when your accepted proposals are integrated with payment tools like Xero, Stripe, or Quickbooks, it makes invoicing and payments easy.

Meets compliance standards

Depending on the industry that you or your prospects work in, there may be specific compliance standards that you need to be aware of. You want to ensure that there is never any conflict over using an electronic signature and that all of your documents are binding and official. Double-check the ESIGN Act, eIDAS, and any other laws that govern your or your prospect’s country regarding e-signature requirements.

Electronic signatures are part of Qwilr’s platform and support legally binding documents. When setting up your accept block, you have the option to capture single, multiple, and countersignatures. Additionally, Qwilr’s e-sign allows for custom form fields, to capture extra details you might need, like a phone number or email.

Easy follow-up

When you send a PDF proposal or contract, it’s a static document— you don’t know if or when your prospect has reviewed the document. When you send a Qwilr proposal with an accept block, you get alerts when your proposal has been viewed, plus you get analytics of which blocks your buyer is spending the most time on. Having analytics and insights into how your document is being viewed is incredibly valuable, as it helps guide the salesperson’s next conversation, highlighting areas that are of interest (or concern) to your buyer.

Electronic signatures: what to avoid

As you evaluate e-signatures and proposal software, make a list of all of the use cases, and then use that to choose the best option for your organization.

Beware of proposal software that doesn’t meet all of your use case needs, particularly when it comes to e-signatures. For instance, if you can capture a signature on a separate document but cannot integrate a signature request into one of your proposals, you may want to consider different proposal software. It’s less than ideal to be paying money for multiple solutions, not to mention, you want to reduce steps in your sales process, not add to them.

Additional steps for signers

Some signature software requires signers to pay a fee or create an account to sign. It should go without saying, but it will take longer if you need your signers to pay a fee or go through a signup process before signing your document. This is especially true if the signature process doesn’t necessarily serve them.

For instance, if you are a SaaS product requiring a signature on your contract to finish the purchase, you want a signature process that’s simple to use and doesn’t require extra steps. One out of four SaaS buyers want e-signature options; try to pick proposal software that removes as many steps in the process as possible. You want the process to be straightforward and easy to do—not complex and confusing.

The document isn’t mobile-friendly

Just a few years ago, only 31% of web traffic occurred on mobile devices. However, in 2021, that number is up to 54.8%—a fairly sizable growth in such a short period. Given that, you can safely assume that at least some of your signers will be signing virtually. If your proposal software or e signature isn’t mobile-friendly, like all PDF options, you put a large number of your potential buyers at a disadvantage. Doing so makes the critical process of getting your contract signed even more complicated.

Make sure that your signers can open and act on documents when viewing them on mobile devices so that your electronic signature is accessible to decision-makers.

Consider your options for the best e signature experience

Before choosing a proposal or electronic signature solution, take time to understand your needs for integration, use cases, and compliance before starting your search—it will make it easier to understand which option fits your needs.

As you consider your own needs, don’t forget about the needs of your signers as well. Pick an electronic signature software that makes it easy for your signers to sign. Ensure that there are minimal steps and that they don’t have to sign up for an account or pay to sign your document. Know which environments your signers are using to view your documents, and pick software that works efficiently in that environment as well, to ensure you don’t have any last-minute hitches delaying your close. Create an excellent experience for your buyers, and you’ll create an excellent experience for your sales team as well.

E-signatures are just another way that Qwilr helps your organization to create sales proposals that attract, engage, and convert buyers efficiently and effectively. For more tips on e-signatures and accept blocks, please view the Qwilr guide to winning new business with the quote and accept blocks.