Document automation defined

Document automation is about as straightforward as it sounds – automating the process of creating various types of documents, at scale.

How document automation works

Document Automation works by pulling data and text from a variety of sources and inserting it into predefined areas of document templates. These templates can include anything from simple text blocks to more sophisticated elements such as tables, graphs, and images.

Automation is most useful for users who need to frequently assemble complex, data driven documents. Besides being a huge time saver, the user can ensure that the documents are always accurate, properly formatted, and most importantly, compliant.

The role of document automation in sales enablement

Sellers tend to spend countless hours preparing documents for customer engagements. Whether it’s a presentation, contract, or a customized quote, sellers must dig through a variety of content and data storage software to track down the information they are looking for, and then manually paste information into each document they’re creating.

This practice adds so much friction to the sales process that on average, sellers only spend about a third of their time actually selling.

As such, business document automation is a critical part of sales enablement— adding value in the form of time savings, reduced risk, and the ability to personalize sales collateral at scale. Document automation features are typically included in sales content management platforms, such as Content Hub or similar solutions. 

For customer-facing roles, document automation is a game-changer, especially for industries operating in a complex regulatory landscape like financial services, law, or insurance, where minor errors could lead to major legal or financial repercussions. By incorporating compliance measures into the content creation process, your pitchbooks, client reports, factsheets, and other client-facing documents will always be accurate, on-brand, and meet legal requirements.

Intelligent document automation removes time-consuming, error-prone processes saving organizations from countless hours of repetitive work while providing real-time data syncing and built-in controls to ensure regulatory compliance and professional-grade branded assets that leave a great impression.

What are document automation solutions?

Document automation technology

Document automation software is the technology that makes document automation possible. These software range in functionality and the complexity of the documents you can automate, but all work to expedite the overall process of document creation. Document automation software for sales is becoming increasingly popular as organizations are seeing the value in the time and cost savings.

Implementing document automation for sales enablement offers several benefits by allowing sellers to dynamically generate content using third-party data, reusable templates, and automated workflows.

Here’s a quick look at some of the key features found in most sales document automation solutions:

  • Integration with third-party data sources. Document automation platforms derive the most value from their ability to dynamically assemble documents that automatically populate with data pulled from connected sources. Where creating one-off sales collateral once involved hours of sourcing, exporting, editing, and formatting, sellers can create professional-looking documents loaded with valuable insights on-demand.
  • Reusable templates. Document automation platforms enable users to create templates, which can be duplicated, reused, and edited — with real-time syncing anytime an admin makes a change. Salespeople can now provide tailored reports and collateral to buyers on-demand, while organizations are secure with the knowledge their assets remain in compliance with industry regulations.
  • Intelligent workflows. Many of the top business document automation platforms allow admins to define workflows that guide salespeople through the document creation process, so they can quickly assemble and share contracts while meeting with a buyer or generate a quote for multiple solutions. Proposal document automation allows sellers to streamline their pitching process so they can start making deals faster.
  • Compliance tools that protect your brand. For organizations facing strict governance and quality assurance standards, solutions must include visibility into compliance initiatives and controls that prevent violations. Legal document automation software automatically covers those bases, allowing admins to build the required fine-print into specific forms such as non-disclosure agreements, service agreements, and contracts. Additionally, users can capture e-signatures and securely send documents, reducing time-to-close, without putting the organization at risk.

Document automation solutions give sellers a competitive edge

Sometimes the simplest solutions have the most impact. This is certainly the case with document automation. Document automation is an easy and effective option for organizations looking to better align their resources and focus on successful revenue enablement.

Here are some other benefits organizations can gain by embracing business document automation:

  • Save time and resources. Document automation leverages third-party data to instantly generate personalized client reports, pitch books, fact sheets, and more, while saved templates turn document assembly into a repeatable process, making more time for engaging customers with tailored solutions.
  • Total control over branding. Document automation allows organizations to ensure that all materials — whether it’s a quote, contract, or presentation are on brand, including elements like your company logo, fonts, color scheme, and core messaging, ensuring a cohesive experience across all customer engagements..
  • Fast and secure digital sharing. Sellers can digitally share content collections with buyers securely, which speeds up the sales process for sellers working in complex regulatory environments. Financial document automation allows users more time to prepare for meetings and presentations by streamlining the process of creating personalized documents at the tap of a few buttons. Sellers can draw up a contract and capture signatures on the spot, while those operating in regulated spaces like healthcare can share documents while staying compliant.
  • Enhanced customer experience. Intelligent document automation allows teams to pull insights from a range of connected sources and instantly generate content that tells a story through personalized data points. This helps sellers quickly demonstrate the value of their offer, improving buyer engagements and moving them closer to the close.

What to look for in a document automation tool

Document automation solutions ultimately exist to streamline and simplify the sales process by allowing sellers to quickly assemble and share documents, confident they have the most recent information. The best platforms save time, ensure accuracy, and capture data that connects document usage to the sales cycle.

With that in mind, you’ll want to look for a solution that can do the following:

  • Mobile access. Because today’s sellers are always on the move, document automation platforms work best when designed for mobile users. Sellers should be able to easily generate documents and then be able to access, present, and share these documents from the device of their choice.
  • Intelligent content management. Ideally, solutions should update templates, define custom workflows and enforce rules that maintain accuracy, compliance, and brand standards by automatically syncing edits and updates across all accounts and data sources. Additionally, some platforms offer batch automation features, which allow users to generate hundreds or thousands of presentations, statements, reports, and other pieces of collateral in one go, allowing sellers to create specialized documents on-demand that cater to specific customer segments.
  • Built-in analytics. Any interaction that a buyer has with your brand, direct or not, is an opportunity to collect data that can be used to optimize your sales strategy. A good sales document automation tool not only pulls data from third-party sources, but it also captures interaction data for every proposal, report, or quote you send to buyers. That data can be used to refine your message to better meet buyer needs. Targeted insights help sales and marketing teams truly understand what motivates customers and prospects to take action, and measure the impact that each piece of content has on the sales cycle.
  • Integrations with existing business software. The real value of document automation comes from its ability to combine data from multiple sources such as CRM, analytics software, content repositories, and bring that information together to assemble relevant assets.