In the past, paper was the go-to choice for most sales organizations that needed custom sales order forms.

Today, businesses can choose between a variety of more convenient options. Instead of paper sales order forms, sales reps can place orders using mobile apps on their smartphones and tablets.

Which choice is right for your business? Should you do it the old-fashioned way—with custom sales order forms on paper? Or should you go digital with mobile ordering applications?

Paper Custom Sales Order Forms Have Drawbacks

Many organizations start with a paper-based sales process because that’s what they know. After all, who hasn’t filled out a paper form at some point? And certainly, it’s not difficult to find a Word or Excel-based template to create a custom sales order form for your business.

But aside from familiarity and seeming low cost, paper forms have a variety of issues that make doing business more difficult.

Paper forms are hard to read. It can be a challenge to read handwriting on a paper form. As people become more dependent on the use of mobile devices, the art of writing neatly is being lost. When you are in a hurry to fulfill orders, there’s no time to decipher hieroglyphics. That means mistakes will be made—not good for your customers or your business.

Paper forms provide limited information. Another issue with creating custom sales order forms on paper is that when additional information is needed (like product images, customer notes, etc.), it’s difficult to include those unique customer requests, photos and other details.

Paper forms are slow. Another disadvantage of paper sales forms is that they tend to move slowly through processing. You have to wait for the form to be filled out by hand. Then you have to wait for it to be turned in and entered into the system. Only then can the order be fulfilled.

Paper costs more over time. There are added costs with using paper custom sales order forms that don’t exist with digital and mobile processes:

  • Paper and ink are expensive. Making copies of paper forms takes time and costs more than .03 cents per page, on average. The more copies you need, the more money you can expect to spend on every order. Even storing paper costs money. You’ll need to invest in a storage system to house, file, locate and destroy your paper records.
  • Data Entry Costs. It is also expensive and time consuming to enter your customer’s order information into your backend ERP systems, and practically impossible to analyze inventory requirements when you’re depending on paper-based custom sales order forms. The human error associated with data entry can also create additional costs.

Why mobile sales order applications?

We’ve talked about the drawbacks to using old-fashioned paper custom sales order forms for your business. Now, let’s discuss the benefits to using a mobile order writing solution.

Customization is easier. When you’re using paper based custom sales order forms, customization is complicated. When your customer needs or sales processes change, you may have to change forms or possibly use multiple forms for different types of orders. That’s a lot of paper for your sales team to have to carry around. With a mobile order writing solution, your sales orders can be easily customized to meet the needs of diverse customers.

Higher quality order data. With mobile sales ordering, notes and attachments can easily be added for clarification on an order. This means your employees can more easily and successfully fulfill that order, so your customer gets exactly what they want. More satisfied customers means more business.

Speed and ease of use. Mobile sales ordering is fast and easy to use. Rather than writing everything out by hand, customers and sales reps can tap their mobile device screens, type in some quick details and immediately submit those orders for processing. This means faster and more accurate order taking, and more efficiency through the fulfillment process.

Environmentally friendly. Using a mobile order writing system allows your business to be eco-friendly. This might seem a trivial concern, but a recent study by Nielsen found that not only was sustainability a high priority for millennials, these customers will pay more for products from companies that share their concern.

Available anywhere. Mobile order writing allows your business to be accessible from any device, anywhere in the world. Your reps and customers can place orders from any computer or mobile device, and those orders get to your back office fast. You can promptly and accurately fulfill those orders, the customer receives their products sooner, and you get paid faster.

Expected/required by more customers. B2B buyer expectations have shifted. They’re looking for the same easy ordering experiences that they’re used to in their consumer lives. B2B suppliers can’t afford to continue to use antiquated custom sales order forms on paper when competitors are shifting over to online ordering.

Streamlines and improves business processes. Finally, mobile order writing software can help you streamline and improve more than just your order writing processes. Inventory control, production planning, reporting and analytics – just to name a few – can all benefit from having a single source of information about sales orders and their impact on inventory and trends, available from any device and integrated with other applications you use to run your business.