If you look at Joseph Walla’s history, you’ll notice a trend of trying to solve big problems. His early experience took him through a range of both charitable channels and commercial ones, but all initiatives largely revolved around repair, reform, and ultimately, growth.
Eventually in 2010, alongside Neal O’Mara as CTO, Joseph founded HelloFax, a platform that enabled organizations to eliminate the need for fax machines through a more efficient and eco-friendly digitization of fax documents. One year later, from this concept emerged HelloSign, a powerful eSignatures platform recently ranked by G2 Crowd as the #1 eSignture solution for SMBs and Mid-Market companies and the overall best software solution for mid-market companies.
The HelloSign platform helps companies all over the world (the likes of Samsung, Twitter, Lyft, etc.) drastically improve sales conversion and operational efficiency by taking all the processes and workflows surrounding document signing and making it totally paperless.
Again, Joseph Walla was solving a problem. “I was working a lot on the go; constantly on a plane, at home or working out of a coffee shop. Whenever I needed to sign or fax something (which was often) it was always a big pain,” recalls Walla. “I didn’t have a printer or fax machine, but needed to turnaround documents quickly. It was a problem that seemed silly to continue running into considering how advanced SaaS had become.”
It still is a silly problem with an easy, elegant, affordable solution (namely, HelloSign), so we thought we’d pick Joseph’s brain about the subject; why companies aren’t as digital as they could be, what benefits they could gain from pursuing paperless, the increasing importance of user experience, and of course, where it’s all headed.
All anyone ever talks about is “Digital” now. You’d think everyone everywhere and all anyone is doing is digital—but perhaps that’s a superficial perception, and that may not be the ground-level reality. Are businesses truly where they need to be when it comes to adopting a digital-first framework?
Not at all. We continue to bring on new customers everyday that aren’t digital and want to be which is a clear sign of that shortfall. In fact, Aragon’s recent Research Globe on Digital Transaction Management points to the fact that less than 20% of today’s business processes are digital.
There’s a massive difference in revenue and efficiency between those who are truly digital and those who aren’t. If you zoom out, the conversation really isn’t about being ‘digital’ or not. It’s about whether businesses and professionals are being the most effective they can be. It just happens to be the case that going “digital” is more effective than not. By not going digital today you’re essentially buying into the idea that going digital doesn’t make you more effective. I can’t imagine a scenario where that’s the case.
HelloSign customers—companies or professionals who making agreements digital—have seen up to a 99.6% reduction in the time it takes to complete a transaction. Digitizing agreements clearly helps your bottom line, and companies that aren’t doing this are missing out on big revenue.
At a high level, what is a platform like HelloSign solving, or perhaps more accurately, “driving” for a business?
All the benefits of HelloSign can be quantified and tracked.
- Improved conversion rate (increased revenue); for example, our customer Brokermint increased sales conversion rates 23% by using HelloSign
- Increased efficiency: your current team can do more, which also results in a decrease in costs
- Faster speed to revenue: better cash flow + increased revenue. (One customer saw a 8% increase in first year revenue, since they got documents back in 1-2 days versus 30 days, and could start charging the customer immediately.)
- Better customer experience: better NPS, more loyal customers
The last one is especially true with the HelloSign API because we allow customers to embed the signing experience directly in their own native site or application. This means their customers won’t be jerked around from site to site with a clunky experience.
It’s also important to note that by using HelloSign, companies can mitigate risk by centralizing critical business driving docs and storing them securely with us.
For those who have yet to adopt an eSignature platform, or an intelligent document management platform like yours, what do you think the gap is? Is there misconception? Is there a lack of good education? Are people not realizing how much time and money they’re burning with “classic” processes?
People still don’t realize the impact that digitizing the agreements process has on your bottom line. Some industries are slower to adopt new technology than others, and some are highly regulated, so fear of the unknown takes over. But inertia is powerful and I have a huge amount of faith that people are going to realize that making the signature process digital is going to be the best business decision in the long term.
There’s also an unfortunate misconception that submitting a signature online isn’t as valid as a handwritten signature, but that is simply not the case. The ESIGN act passed in 2000 deems electronic signatures just as valid and legally binding as handwritten ones.
Is there a company too small or too big to care about a solution like yours?
No. Every company would benefit from using us. Every company needs to sign documents—agreements are the foundation of any business. We have customers of every size in every industry. We offer different products for different use cases and offer a lot of flexibility to meet the needs of prospects.
For example, some companies would benefit from our HelloSign web app; some a combination of our web app and API; and some HelloFax, and so on. By streamlining workflow and eliminating redundant processes, we can enable a super small company to take on much more work without hiring more admins. Even as one person, increasing conversion rates by 23% is significant; as 10 people too; as 100 people even more so. What individual, business or corporation wouldn’t want to increase the deals they close by 23%? That’s massive. The benefits scale as the company size increases.
Perhaps the biggest buzzword of the app era is “User Experience”. Often though, people are quick to equate that to a granular “design” problem. Can you speak to how eSignatures / an eSignature platform actually very much revolves around and facilitates excellent “user experience” in its most fundamental sense?
For emerging markets, like the eSignature market, user experience is key. The notion of signing documents online is new to a lot of people and most are very used to using paper and pen. This makes it very important for the eSigning process to be as intuitive as possible and with as little complication as possible.
User experience also has a huge effect on completion rate, and therefore revenue. The early iterations of eSignatures after the ESIGN act was passed were so convoluted and so complex that there wasn’t really a lot of mainstream adoption and it was mainly through making this really valuable tool accessible through better user experience that we’re even talking about it today.
When it comes to our API, it becomes significantly more important for us to have a good user experience because our experience will be passed down to our customers’ customers.
Continuing from that, much of user experience, when you boil it down, is dependent on a strong technical foundation. In the case of HelloSign, a lot of work has gone into your API development to afford your customers ultimate control over that user experience. Can you speak to the strategy behind and the work you have done in that area?
Most companies think of an API as an afterthought, but we made it a core part of our strategy. What do companies and developers want from an API? They need it to be fast to integrate, highly customizable, embeddable, have great customer support and be easy to debug.
So, we made sure our documentation was as clean as possible; we built the only eSignature API dashboard available to give developers more insight and control; and we embed at a level that our competitors can’t. We take a completely different strategy than our competitors — we’re happy to be behind the scenes.
What’s the most interesting, notable thing about eSignatures, or the HelloSign platform, that most people don’t think about, realize, or appreciate right away?
How much it can impact your revenue.
What’s the most exciting part of your job? What’s the most exciting thing about your industry?
Talking to customers. We’re still in the early days of the market – it’s really exciting to be working on what the future will look like.
In 10 years, do you think people will be signing ANYTHING with a pen?
Our goal is that in 10 years, people are only signing their holiday cards with a pen. Everything else is done with an eSignature.
Final words of wisdom or advice for SMBs out there?
Talk to your customers often and take great care of them.
This article has been sponsored by HelloSign. Thank you for supporting the partners that support SnapMunk.
Latest posts by SnapMunk (see all)
- Consider These 4 Innovative Startup Models - January 18, 2018
- SnapMunk’s Top 17 Tech, Business & Startup Articles of 2017 - December 29, 2017
- 6 Common Mistakes Made During Early Startup Stages - December 15, 2017