Every day at Dropbox Sign, I have the opportunity to connect with our diverse mix of awesome customers. I work with folks in all different departments – from C-level roles to experts in Engineering, HR, Legal, Marketing, Sales, and Support.
A lot of the customers I work with use Dropbox Sign to fill a basic eSignature need. But many others want to take it a step further by integrating eSignatures right into their workflows or web apps using our API.
This post will go through 5 common questions people can ask to determine if an eSignature integration is the next step for them.
(And if you’re more technical, you might be interested in checking out our documentation. You can start testing here!)
1. "Why would I need an eSignature API?"
One of the first things customers want to figure out is how they can benefit from an eSignature API. The first thing I recommend doing is to envision how you see your company or team growing in six months, a year, two years, etc.
One of the biggest benefits of an eSignature API is the opportunity to scale the solution as time goes on. As your company grows, more employees, departments, and paperwork will be added. You’ll want to look for the infrastructure that can scale and streamline your operations.
Here are a few other things to consider:
- Look closely at the volume of your company agreements. You might find that your teams are already overwhelmed with the number of documents they need to process each week! Having high volume of contracts or documents without the resources to handle them can lead to clerical errors that take time to resolve. This could make you a good candidate for the API, which can handle high volumes of documents quickly.
- Review your existing paperwork flows. Look for any inefficiencies or missing pieces that put a pause in your contracts being completed and returned. Once you know what challenges you face, imagine your dream agreement flow. Is it online? Is it fast? Is it easy? An eSignature API could be the missing piece to creating a seamless agreement flow.
- Figure out what metric you want to solve for. There are typically three things that companies are trying to do each time they consider getting a new service or solution: 1) save money, 2) save time, or 3) increase revenue. It's helpful to figure out what’s going to be important to you as you grow your company (it might be all three!). Understanding the metrics you'd like to improve makes it easier to see how you can benefit from an eSignature API.
If you aren’t super familiar with APIs, here are a few resources I’ve found to be really helpful: “What is an API, and Why Does It Matter?”, “Do You Need an API,” and “5 things you need to stay current”
2. "What does the Dropbox Sign API look like when implemented?"
This might be one of the hardest questions to answer because we’ve seen hundreds of unique implementations of the Dropbox Sign API. Seriously, the sky’s the limit!
I help many customers start their blueprints with a few more targeted questions like these:
- Do you need to send agreements straight from an existing tool you use, such as an applicant tracking system or CRM software?
- Should your clients be able to request, sign, and complete agreements straight on your brand website, without ever clicking through to another site or wait for an e-mail link?
- Do you envision eSignatures being a crucial part of your product for your customers?
Once you have an idea of what you want to do with an eSignature integration, you can start bringing your vision to life. For instance, you might want to use the API to create a way for your customers to fill out vendor applications directly on your website.
3. "Will using an API give me a competitive advantage?"
A lot of times, companies invest in APIs so they can stay nimble and move faster. A lot of our customers have implemented our API specifically to stay competitive in the market. It’s amazing to see the results, like Openlegal increasing efficiency by 30-50% and Trxade streamlining their application process from 90+ fields to a few simple clicks for over 4000+ independent pharmacies.
By overthrowing time-sucking paperwork processes with an eSignature API, companies save time that’s better spent focusing on their expertise and goals. Investing in an API (rather than building one) can also save you the engineering resources.
"5 Ways an API is More than an 'API'" has a great breakdown of how to understand the value of APIs and they are changing the way we do business.
4. "What is my budget to improve operations?"
Many cringe at the word “budget,” but I’ve found it’s helpful to lay a budget on the table early on so you can be realistic in your project planning.
As you think about your budget, there are a few things to consider. Aside from your API subscription, take a step back to go over the total cost of ownership. You'll want to determine how much you are currently spending per document, which includes cost of supplies and time spent sending and awaiting completion. Then determine the time it would take to implement an eSignature and the payback period you expect. You might find you’re already spending way more on paper products and paper management than you would on an API subscription.
Another thing to consider as you budget is how many resources you'll have to put into testing out an API. This is actually something we’ve thought a lot about here at Dropbox Sign.
All of the Dropbox Sign API functionality and all API features are free to use in the sandbox – which is an environment to “play” and develop the API in a test mode. This helps you see what works best for your project before going live. If you need some help along the way, you also have access to Dropbox Sign API Support.
5. “Do I need a developer?”
Yes! … And sometimes no, not necessarily.
APIs do require planning and technical effort to set up. If you have developer resources or even limited developer resources, that’s fantastic. We provide SDKs in multiple languages for an easy implementation and care deeply about the overall developer experience (DX).
No developer? No problem! I’ve worked with loads of customers who set up integrations with ZERO developer background with Zapier, an easy way to integrate Dropbox Sign with hundreds of your other apps that you can view here.
We're here for you!
It can be stressful to evaluate a new solution for your company. I hope we've made it a little bit easier for you to get a sense of whether the Dropbox Sign API is right for you. And when you’re ready to take the next steps, don’t be a stranger. We’re here to help at any time. We’re looking forward to getting to know you!