- May 23, 2014
Creating documents using PDF software provides significant formatting advantages over word processing applications, like the iconic but aging Microsoft Word. Primarily, a PDF-generated document retains its formatting across different platforms, like mobile and PC, for example. Traditional Microsoft Word documents often won’t.
While this is troubling for any business, it’s a real disadvantage for sales teams because lack of consistent formatting can diminish the message your team is sending to potential customers. When you’re closing deals, a buttoned-up appearance is key. Which is why it can pay off to consider using PDF software to create documents from the get-go. Here’s why.
The PDF and Word formatting difference
Unlike Microsoft Word, PDF can embed all of its fonts in the carrier file, so formatting that you see when you send the document is what your correspondent will see. Microsoft Word doesn’t do that—it can embed some fonts, but often uses the destination machine’s fonts. If your recipient’s machine doesn’t have the svelte font you created the document in, it’ll make an often rangy, or chunky substitute.
Word can also line-wrap and page break, which further distorts the look you intended.
More-sophisticated formatting, and other benefits, like digital e-signatures, and place-your-own ink-style signatures, has established PDF superiority over traditional word-processing tools, across industry verticals including sales. Your sales teams can focus on content, knowing that format is under control with PDF software.
Formatting consistency for sales teams
A consistent document look is nice in intra-office communications, but it becomes crucial in external and sales-team communications.
Why? For one thing, any business identity that you’ve carefully—and quite possibly, expensively—developed, isn’t getting skewed by font substitutions or end-user changeable view-layouts, such as Microsoft Word’s print- and web-view variants, for example.
As any graphic designer will tell you, something as seemingly minor as line-weight, or width, can alter the look and feel of a document. Over time, these kinds of inconstancies add-up and dilute your identity.
And no sales person wants to share shoddy looking or inaccurately rendered documents with potential customers. Sales teams are your field-representatives. If they’re not getting a clear read on your ‘look and feel,’ they can’t be expected to communicate it to the customer.
Adding and verifying signatures, and time stamps
Marketing collateral isn’t the only place PDF is sales-effective.
Digital signatures such as e-signatures and “place-your-own” ink-style signatures, along with digital certification, like that found in PDF Sign, lets sales teams store information related to who signed the document, along with date and time of signature.
So you can commit to a sale via signature then store it electronically, where it’s immediately sent back to your home office, without need for scanning. Additionally, for a team manager, time stamps allow highly accurate tracking of sales performance levels and goal-driven targets, which helps improve sales team management.
Third-party certification, where a trusted third-party binds an electronic signature to a certificate, provides even more security. Tampering with the file invalidates the e-signature in solutions such as PDF Protect, found in PDF software like PhantomPDF. In a fast-moving sales environment, this kind of 100% validation ensures no arguments down the road.
Closing the deal
PDF out in the sales field isn’t just about viewing and signing documents, though. Document management, office communications, and PDF workflow tools come into play.
PDF editing, including annotation; printing; collaboration and sharing; scanning and PDF OCR; conversion and exporting; and PDF form filling are boon tools for sales teams.
PDF form filling software, for example, can include PDF form auto-complete, where the form predicts what the user is likely to type. Plus, PDF form-design automation products allow sales people to create professionally produced interactive forms on their own, through use of automatic form field recognition.
Add the on-message formatting to this mix of workflow functions, and PDF software may just be the tool that lets your sales team concentrate on performance, customer problem solving, and closing the deal.