End the Copy/Paste Horror Story

The Plot

If you’re like many of the businesses I’ve worked with or for, your organization spends an inordinate amount of time copying and pasting text from various sources into document templates.

Need a proposal? Pull out the proposal template and copy/paste text from a bunch of sources into the template. The cycle of endless copying and pasting is repeated for countless other business documents, nearly wearing out the “Ctrl”, “C”, and “V” keys on users’ keyboards.

The number of human hours lost filling out these templates, which are often the spawn of years or even decades of business needs piled into massive document templates, is the stuff that nightmares are made of. The horror of the true cost breakdown on the time spent filling out templates like this would rival anything from “The Shining.”

Good news.  There’s a better way.

The Fix

Modern day technology platforms (such as Salesforce) allow easy access to every key piece of data that you need and allow rapid deployment of functionality with bolt-on apps that also live natively on the platform.

Apps exist to address most business scenarios that you can imagine, including our problem: document generation.

Document generation is a powerful capability that enables users to spend less time copying and pasting text into templates and more time adding value to the company. Solution providers have created powerful and flexible applications that can eliminate the need for end-users to waste time filling in document templates.

If implemented correctly, solutions like Nintex Drawloop Document Generation for Salesforce allow users to interact with the business platform as part of their day-to-day jobs and add the benefit of push-button document generation on-demand.

An example that rests near-and-dear to my heart is the world of proposals and statements of work, which I’ve used as an employee and as a technology consultant.

Anyone who’s worked in or with a professional services organization has probably seen or been a part of a similar process:

  1.  Open Word document template from company share drive or Dropbox
  2.  Fill in non-boilerplate sections to describe the scope of the work, often interfacing with the company’s CRM for some of the details
  3.  Fill in pricing information, interfacing with both the CRM and rate sheet
  4.  Complete rough draft and start the internal approval/revision process on Word document housed in company share drive
  5.  Iterate with internal team on scope, pricing, staffing, terms, etc., modifying the document accordingly
  6.  Reach final approval, proofread document again and make any changes needed
  7.  Send proposal/SOW to customer
  8.  Negotiate with customer, iterating on pricing/terms/scope
  9.  Get final internal approval for changes to document (again)
  10.  Send final proposal/SOW for signature

Properly implemented document generation solutions can turn the process above into a simple point-and-click experience to generate the proposal, get internal sign-off, and send the proposal and terms to the customer.

Instead of using a document template that is external to the system and having to re-organize all of the content from a variety of different sources, your organization can have a process where proposals are built as part of the overall sales process.

Tasks that already need to happen like discovery, budget validation, pricing, and scoping are done in a way that allows them to funnel seamlessly into the proposal later. Using this approach, by the time a sales executive reaches the point where a proposal is necessary, all of the information is already in the system and the document generation solution does the heavy lifting of generating the document.

Approvals are equally straightforward since an approval process can be created that sends only relevant information to each approver for overall approval of that portion of the document.

Once every approver has signed off, the proposal document can be automatically generated and sent to the customer for signature behind the scenes. Easy.

The End

Businesses of all sizes can benefit from document generation.

The pluses of implementing document generation for commonly-created document types are very straightforward: consistent branding, elimination of grammatical errors, process consistency, massive time savings, increased information accuracy, software system consolidation, and more.

These advantages typically make document generation an ROI no-brainer for any organization that has already taken the leap onto a modern business platform.

Consider how many document templates exist within your organization, how frequently the document templates are filled with data and sent, and how much time is spent filling in, proofreading, and iterating upon these documents. Now consider how many other value-add activities can be done in the time can you save by eliminating these repetitive tasks.

Isn’t it time to take these tasks off of the plates of your valuable employees and enable them to spend more time on what matters?

Don’t hesitate to leave any feedback or questions/concerns on this approach. I’d love to hear how it could fit into the day-to-day at your company.

 

This is a condensed version of a post I originally shared on LinkedIn. Read the full post here.

To try Nintex Drawloop Document Generation free for 30 days, click here.

Aaron Shook

Aaron is the Founder of Green Irony, a Salesforce technology partner with a passion for bringing enterprise-class solutions to the medium business. In his time at IBM and PointSource, Aaron worked on a broad range of enterprise technology software solutions, and they all had one thing in common: they were prohibitively expensive for the medium business. Green Irony uses Salesforce as a vehicle to bring the same caliber of solution used by multi-billion dollar companies to the medium business.