Organizations create a sales order form to list the products and services being ordered by a customer. The customer may provide one or more purchase orders (PO) for that purpose.
The sales order is a document that’s created internally by the company so that it may process the order in a controlled manner with the necessary checks, authorizations and signatures in place. Generally, the sales order form includes any associated purchase orders for convenience. In some cases, the sales order may also be sent externally to the client for signature, for example, to formally accept Terms & Conditions.
In a manufacturing environment, where each ordered line item is physically built or constructed, the sales order may generate multiple work orders. Work orders are used to assign tasks or jobs to individuals in order to fulfill line items on the associated sales order.
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Why Are Sales Orders Important?
Sales orders are obviously essential to any business. Efficient and fast order processing is vital to a positive customer experience and ultimately to the profitability of your business.
A clear sales order process also helps to ensure that employees correctly follow and never bypass internal business requirements.
If the process includes the client (see example above), it also facilitates communication with the customer, clarifies expectations upfront and enables us to provide the best possible customer service. Finally, since it’s a contractually binding document including terms & conditions, it also provides legal protections e.g. in case of a financial audit or if there is a misunderstanding.
Note that a sales order is related to but different from a purchase order. The former is used by vendors while the latter is part of the buying organization’s overall procurement process.
What’s in a Sales Order Form?
There are obviously many variants depending on your company and industry. However, practically every form will include:
- Your logo and business name.
- Order date.
- Shipping and Billing address.
- A table with entries for individual items being ordered including item name, unit price, quantity etc.
- Subtotals, grand total, taxes, fees and discounts.
- Comments, approvals, and authorizations.
- Signatures of all participants – salesperson and client in particular.
What Is the Sales Order Process?
Order forms vary widely by industry since some companies offer digital products while others make physical products. Products may be custom-built or off-the-shelf, require services etc. For example, frevvo’s sales order contains line items for software licenses and services being purchased along with descriptions.
The process itself could have just a few steps or many:
- A salesperson creates and fills in the order form and sends it to their manager for approval.
- The manager reviews the sales order and approves it. They can also reject it back to the salesperson for corrections.
- Depending on your business requirements, a VP may have to then sign off on the order e.g. if the Amount exceeds $10,000 or perhaps if the offered discount exceeds a predetermined threshold.
- In some cases, the order form may then be sent to the client for signature. If applicable, it includes the client’s PO as well as any terms and conditions. Once signed by the client, it becomes a binding contractual agreement with the client.
- Then, the form goes to Billing. Depending on the agreement, this could mean one invoice for the entire amount or multiple invoices spread out over time.
- When the client pays the invoice, the Billing department forwards the order to fulfillment to deliver the ordered items.
- When all items have been delivered, the sales order form is saved to a document repository e.g. an ECM system or a network folder.
Emailing Excel Sheets for Approval Is Inefficient
In many cases, this process is manual – employees use an Excel spreadsheet and email it around for approvals. This is a highly inefficient way to process sales orders and could slow it down. That means it takes longer to get your money and no one wants that.
Email and Excel are notoriously unwieldy.
- Errors are rampant since Excel has very limited data validation.
- Employees email documents to the wrong person for approval. That results in delays as the person either ignores the email or does the wrong thing with it.
- Employees waste time trying to figure out where the approval is currently stuck.
- Since Excel sheets cannot connect to your SQL database or other systems, employees often perform unnecessary data entry.
Manual paperwork slows you down, provides a poor customer experience and can literally risk the viability of your business. In spite of this, too many organizations continue to use these outdated modes of operating for everyday tasks like sales orders, purchase orders and vacation requests.
How Do Automated Sales Orders Help?
The majority of organizations, particularly small businesses, cannot afford an ERP system since it requires a large and expensive I.T. department. So, they use Excel spreadsheets or PDFs which employees fill out and email to process sales orders.
These Excel spreadsheets can certainly perform automated calculations and limited validations but it is still fundamentally a manual process. Of course, many business still use paper and filing cabinets – an incredibly wasteful way of doing business in today’s world.
Automation delivers incredible ROI. Your electronic sales order can deliver cost reductions of 50% or more in your operations. That’s because there’s better communication, fewer mistakes to correct and less paperwork. Everything works on mobile devices, is available 24×7, performs calculations and validation automatically and there’s never any need to print, sign and scan for signatures.
Ultimately, this means salespeople spend more of their time selling and not chasing down paperwork. The company processes orders faster and customers are happier with their experience. It’s easy to track the status and even to provide updates and access to customers.
Why Automate Processes With Frevvo?
frevvo’s visual, drag-and-drop workflow software is incredibly easy to use. It provides numerous features and capabilities that make it suitable for real-world sales order forms and processes:
- Your existing employees can drag-and-drop to design beautiful, easy-to-use forms for your orders and other processes. Most important, there’s no need to hire skilled programmers to create forms and workflows.
- The Visual Rule Builder provides a convenient easy interface using which anyone can easily design dynamic behavior.
- Using point-and-click wizards, you can easily connect with your database or other systems.
- Mobile is built-in. Your forms will automatically work on smartphones and tablets without any additional work.
- The software fully supports electronic signatures. That means there’s never a need to print for the purpose of signing. In addition, since signatures work on mobile devices, managers can approve and sign anytime, anywhere and from any device.
- frevvo integrates with your existing security and authentication infrastructure including Active Directory, other LDAP systems, SAML providers etc.
- The software also includes a drag-and-drop mapper so you can map form fields to custom PDF documents and generate them automatically.
Our customizable sales order form templates are simple. Install a template and customize it to get started quickly. Click the image below to try them for yourself and sign up for a free 30-day trial to learn more.