Doing things in bulk has always been a great way to save time and effort. Doing it with software means you can execute tasks in batches without sacrificing the personal touch. 

Under the pandemic, businesses around the globe have discovered just how powerful that combination can be.

In a time when the rules can change on a dime, functions that simplify processes can be a lifesaver. And the ability to have essential documents signed-off or approved anywhere on any device has become a business necessity. 

That’s one reason why so many businesses have swapped ink signatures and paper for e-signing. E-signature solutions like SignRequest save time, reduce costs, and eliminate manual errors during the critical last stage of an approvals process.

E-signing can speed up sales, simplify administration, and slash paper. Sometimes though you need to reach a group of people and have them sign the same document — perhaps to implement a new company policy, or offer a promotion to a large group of customers. What do you do then? 

When you need the thumbs-up from a large group of people, SignRequest provides a simple, secure, and reliable way to send e-signature requests in ‘bulk’. 

Bulk send allows you to send the same prepared document to multiple different people. Each recipient signs their own copy. As the sender you receive back all those signed documents electronically, each with its own unique signature and inputs.

After a little bit of setup, all you have to do is click ‘send’.

In this blog we’ll explain how it all works. But first, let’s look at what bulk send can do for you.

The benefits of bulk send

When the pandemic arrived, every organization swapped manual processes for digital to keep operations on track and revenues flowing. E-signature solutions became a vital enabler. Having the ability to gain approvals and formalize agreements remotely kept many businesses in the black.

That was especially true for organizations that needed a simple way to send and get sign back on documents from dozens or hundreds of recipients in one go. 

As commercial lockdowns intensified and mobility became restricted, retail chains like 7-Eleven Philippines faced enormous challenges agreeing on new promotions and moving goods from suppliers to their 3,000+ locations around the country. 

With so many key decision-makers working from home, managing internal approvals on large scale purchasing and marketing activity could have ground to a halt. But with features like e-signature bulk send from SignRequest, they were able to approve new suppliers, set up new payment processes, implement new HR procedures, and keep products on the shelves with minimal disruption.

How to use bulk send from SignRequest

​​Step 1: Create your bulk send template

To get things started, you need to create a template for the document you’re going to send out for signature.

Whether it's a simple approval form, a purchase request, or a complex multi-page contract, you can build it once in SignRequest and then re-use it as many times as you like. 

You can also upload an existing document and use it as the basis for your SignRequest template.

When you create the template you’ll need to decide the following:

Required:

  1. Who needs to sign (Choose ‘Only Other’)
  2. The fields that recipients need to complete (text, signature, checkbox, date, etc.)
  3. The number of people inside your organization who will collaborate on the template
  4. The action required by each recipient (sign, approve, receive a copy only, receive a notification only)
  5. The signing order for each contact set and saved

Optional:

There are optional template settings you can customize, like the name of the document, the accompanying email message, auto reminders set to trigger after a few days of activity, an expiry date or deadline for signing, and more. 

These can all be added or changed at the sending stage, or you can save them as standard parts of the template too.

Step 2: Add your data

Go to your saved template, select 'Bulk Send' and then press 'Generate xls' to create a test Excel spreadsheet that displays the columns your recipient data will reside in.

Type or copy/paste the email address(es) and recipient names into the corresponding spreadsheet  column.

Add any additional recipient data that you want to have pre-filled in the document each person receives to the corresponding column.

Once complete, save the Excel sheet.

Step 3: Load and send

Go to your saved document template, select 'Bulk Send' and upload the Excel spreadsheet using drag and drop or ‘file to upload'.

Once loaded, all your recipients will appear as a list on the right.

To preview and ensure that data that is being pre-filled correctly into the document each recipient receives, click a contact and preview the data that will be pre-filled into the document.

When you’re satisfied that everything is working as it should, click ‘Send.’

Optional features to consider

Setting up a signing order

With your template created and your recipient data loaded and ready, you can think about how you want to send the document.

You can do a mass sending, where everyone on your recipient lists receives the signature request at the same time, or you can set a signing order.

Some approval processes require a process where a document moves through legal, technical, financial or regulatory vetting before it's finally affirmed by a company officer or relationship owner.

In that case, you can establish a signing order for the document, so that one contact needs to sign or approve first, before the document is sent to the next person in the chain for signature, and so on.

Setting different actions for different recipients

In addition to signing order, you can also establish different actions for each recipient in a bulk-send SignRequest.

It's often the case that certain people simply need to ‘approve’ an agreement where others need to add their signature. Sometimes people simply need to be notified or ‘copied’ on the e-signature request for reference. 

For large companies with a multiple stakeholder approvals process or when agreements are more complex, SignRequest gives you the ability to set five different actions and levels of involvement in the signing process for each individual recipient:

1. Signature

Asking for a signature is the default setting for any recipient in a SignRequest, bulk send or otherwise.  It's automatically selected in the options check box. You have the option to add fields to accompany the signature as well, such as date, free text, or a selection of checkboxes.

2. Approve Only

‘Approve only’ is for recipients in the bulk who need to give their approval but aren’t required to add a formal signature to the document.  An ‘Approve Only’ recipient will be sent the document for review and simply asked to click a button confirming they approve of its contents.

3. Notify Only

If a recipient is set for ‘Notify Only’, they don’t need to take any action.  They will simply receive an email notifying them that a SignRequest has been initiated, along with a link that enables them to view the document should they wish. They’ll also receive a notification when the SignRequest has been completed.

A Notify Only recipient will be able to review the document without editing or commenting privileges.  They will receive access to a copy of the final document and signing log at the end of the process.  

4. Copy Only 

Similar to Notify Only, a recipient set for ‘Copy Only’ won’t need to take any action on the document. They will simply receive access to a copy of the final document and signing log when the e-signing process is complete.

5. Sign now in person

While this one wouldn’t normally apply to a bulk send SignRequest, it’s worth knowing the option’s there. You can set this action if the recipient is actually with you in the room.  Instead of sending the SignRequest to their email, you can simply hand them your smartphone, tablet, or laptop and have them e-sign on the spot.

Bulk send: why not give it a try?

There are all sorts of reasons why you might want to use bulk send. 

  • Maybe it's a big contract, and the customer has a complex approval and signing process with a set hierarchy. 
  • Maybe your HR team needs to send out a new IT or work-from-home policy and be sure that everyone’s acknowledged receipt. 
  • Maybe you’ve designed a marketing promotion that requires an opt-in or opt-out by each customer? 

Whatever the application, SignRequests’s bulk send function makes it easy to customize, manage, and execute. 

Read and watch the full tutorial here.

Want to give it a try? Take one of our business plans for a free trial and see for yourself how powerful it can be.


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