An order form is an agreement, a legally binding document that lists down products and/or services required to be bought, sold, delivered, and received as per the agreed terms and conditions. It is important to have a well-structured order form because it makes the sales process faster and convenient by removing ambiguity and setting clear expectations.
Order form – What does it include?
An order form is a primary document in the sales process. It contains the necessary information required for a business transaction to be successful. The format of the order form may vary from one business to another, however, certain fields are constant and always included –
- Parties to the agreement are defined. This includes the details of the customer and your company.
- Customer details like the billing, shipping address and point of contact.
- List of products and/or services that are to be delivered or sold to the customer.
- A clearly laid out pricing plan with descriptions and quantity of products that are to be delivered as per the agreement.
- The total deal value agreed upon with accepted applied discounts and tax information.
- Standard terms and conditions that govern the overall document – This usually includes the payment guidelines, instructions about shipping and billing details.
- Finally, the endnote which is the signatory acting as a proof for both the parties mutually accepting the agreement.
Knowing and standardizing content helps to formalize the sales order and lets businesses maintain sales processes in an organized way. Order forms also give an overview of the terms and transactions involved in the process.
What makes an ideal order form?
A business deal without any legally binding document is not a business deal at all! Any kind of sales deal – from that of buying clothes to a million-dollar acquisition – is governed by business and legal documents. But even with its inevitability, many people escape from creating and reading these documents.
Legal teams (working with sales and finance team) help prepare an order form, a critical document in any deal. They also form the basis of reference for other legal documents such as MSA, SOW, etc. This results in documents like order form being text-heavy with legal jargon that is difficult to comprehend. Individuals such as sales rep – the primary users of order forms – lack legal expertise and may read and interpret the terms of agreement differently than intended. This can lead to multiple negotiations with an increased turnaround time that cause delays in the overall sales process.
In order to reduce that turnaround time, ensure consistency and churn out your order forms quickly, you should create a reference order form for your organization. This will make the order form consumable by non-legal personnel without losing content accuracy and intent. And the overall simplification will help in a better understanding of the terms and conditions.
So here are a few things to keep in mind before you DIY –
Be the king of minimalism
An ideal order form is short and easy to fill out. It should ask for necessary details that are sufficient and have the utmost relevance to the agreed terms between the parties. It is important to maintain the brevity of the document without compromising the language structure at the expense of legal and contractual compliance. Simple language with clear communication of terms governing the document facilitates its use further than just a legally binding agreement.
Visual appeal is the key to ease of use
The secret to making any content readable and interesting is by making it visually appealing. That doesn’t mean you put in images in your order form. Keep a clean design with the content laid out in a presentable manner. One of the easiest and most sought after ways to display content is through a tabular representation. It may also include communication through icons and visual aids. Click here to know more about it.
The advantage of the digital age
The concept of pen and paper is long gone. It’s time you part ways with it too. Online order forms are the talk of the town. There are still many businesses that are manually creating order forms in word and excel as they are cheaper. But it can be very difficult to track and manage multiple documents with it. Online order forms are work on the go. It can be accessed on mobiles, tablets, and desktops, and has automatic data validation to check calculations ( eg- tax calculations, if any) and validate your content. This saves time and brings in efficiency by reducing dependency on different teams such as legal and finance.
The entire purpose of creating your own order form is to ensure that it is straightforward and easy to understand. Online order form templates are readily available for use. It’s time for DIY – there is no rocket science involved here!
By suggesting to create your own order form, we do not support the idea to eliminate other teams from the process flow rather try and reduce dependency on them to the maximum extent possible. One-time creation and review of order form template will decrease the approval time and ensure a faster sales process.
The Terror of Errors – How do you correct it?
Errors in order forms can become friction points in your sales process. It is critical that you identify any possible error and take prompt measures to rectify it. Following are the standard steps for correcting mistakes in important business and legal documents –
- Line through the incorrect information (Make sure that the original content is still readable)
- Make the change
- Date and initial the change
- Send it for second-level review to relevant teams which can be legal, finance or sales team before sending the order form to the customer
If the document is sent to the customer and comes back with comments
- Get it reviewed by the team (legal, finance or sales) to whom the change concerns and affects the most
- Send the updated order form to the customer and have it dated and initialed, so it’s clear that the change is accepted by both the parties
By following these steps, you will not only optimize your sales process but target and reduce pain points, and generate more sales for your business. Also, keep in mind that there are different types of order forms available for specific purposes. Make sure you choose the one relevant for your intent.
Purchase Order Form (PO) and Sales Order Form (SO) – Know the difference!
SO and PO are two of the most frequently used order forms by businesses today. But still, there is an air of ambiguity around it as their names are used interchangeably, several times without understanding what the document contains and means. Here are some striking differences between PO and SO –
|Purchase Order Form (PO)||Sales Order Form (SO)|
|PO is a commercial document issued by a buyer to a seller.||SO is a confirmation document prepared and shared by a seller to the customer.|
|PO lists the type, quantity, price, and quality of the product or service along with terms defining how the product or service is to be delivered.||SO provides the customer with information about the delivery of goods or services at the customer’s place. |
|When a PO is accepted, it confirms the buyer’s intent of purchase and their expectation on delivery.||When a SO is accepted, that means it approves the sale and how the customer will be served.|
The type of order form that can be used depends on the kind of business that you are involved in.
Seal the deal
Many businesses today admit that their sales process isn’t as efficient as it should be especially when it comes to order forms. By following the steps mentioned in the above sections, you are heading towards a more optimized and efficient sales process that reduces friction and ensures maximum sales.
Are you still struggling with documents and spreadsheets to create order forms? Negotiations and approvals for order forms are taking too long? It’s time you simply automate your process. Use built-in templates from the template library, create automated workflows for specific fields and launch your order form with RevvSales. Also, do share your thoughts in the comment below or tweet to us!