Part 2: Five years of Zoho Sign with the key people who built it from the ground up

Thousands of business documents are signed every few minutes. The world is moving fast, and it is important to empower users to keep up with that pace. Zoho Sign has time and again proven that it is one of the most efficient and reliable digital signature solutions on the market. Zoho Sign was also recently recognized as a Leader and an Outperformer in the 2023 GigaOm Radar report for eSignature solutions.

On a normal business day, more than twenty-five thousand documents are signed with Zoho Sign. Over the last five years, Zoho Sign has improved the work lives of millions of users worldwide, and we're bringing you the stories of some of the key people who built this app from ground up.

Raghu Alse, Head of Sales, Zoho Sign

You head the sales of Zoho Workplace apps and Zoho Sign. Tell us your challenges in the initial days to win customers for Zoho Sign.

The initial challenge to win users for Zoho Sign was to build trust. As a digital signature app, we are replacing a customer's physical signature in several cases. These included business documents and agreements. We needed to explain how Zoho Sign was a legal and secure option. The follow-up discussions also included detailing the return on investments via time and costs saved by companies opting for Zoho Sign.

What was the most challenging sale you and your team have closed for Zoho Sign, and what key strategies helped you succeed?

We often come across organizations that are not so clear on which among the various Zoho Sign editions and signature levels to opt for. We ensure that we capture their requirements in detail and suggest the edition and signature level that suits them the best. For example, EU users from regulated industries need qualified electronic signatures, Indian users need Aadhaar eSign, and Singapore users need to Sign with Singpass to comply with their local standards. Choosing the customer's value for money over upselling has always been our priority.

Sales is a cross-functional role that works with people from product, marketing, finance, legal, and customer support. Tell us how you and your team keep things in harmony.

Since our end goal is to ensure we take care of our customers well, we work closely with all the stakeholders and ensure we deliver results on time. We have a fantastic relationship with all the teams.

Gopinathan V., Engineering Manager, Integrations

For an app like Zoho Sign, how vital are its integrations?

Today, everyone is looking for a solution online, and each application is expected to work with each other and solve all the needs of the customer. Hence, for Zoho Sign, integrating with essential solution providers, popular apps, and platforms that customers use daily like Zoho CRM, Microsoft Teams, Zapier, Power Automate, and HubSpot is crucial.

Could you share an example of a particularly challenging integration you worked on?

Among the various integrations that we have done within the Zoho ecosystem and other third-party applications, the Microsoft Power Automate integration was a very challenging one to build. The integration provided great flexibility to connect with and operate multiple Microsoft products, making it an essential integration for Zoho Sign and all the more interesting to work on.

The integration has not only saved hours of valuable time by automating daily tasks but also powers the users to use and integrate with hundreds of other applications with Zoho Sign in just a few clicks.

Can you please tell us what is coming next in terms of new integrations and why they are important?

At the end of the day, we want to address all expectations of users and provide them with a complete, hassle-free experience. We are constantly looking for the right tools and solutions to integrate with. Presently we are building tighter integrations with Zoho apps like Zoho Writer for document editing, Bigin and Zoho CRM for sales folks, and third-party applications like Infusionsoft, ServiceNow, and Salesforce. Another interesting feature in the pipeline is leveraging Zoho's Real-Time Communication Platform, or  RTCP, to enable video calling and recording while signing a document.

Mary George Mayiladumpara, General Counsel

Zoho Sign is a legal tech app. Could you tell us how you or your team are involved in the product's development? 

As the first users of the app, we provided some key feedback to the development team keeping our collaboration, legal, and compliance needs in mind. This helped ensure that the product provided solutions to the challenges that we face everyday at work. Our team was able to give inputs on key features and functionalities that resolved the pain points of customers.

When it comes to Zoho Sign, the app should be legally compliant across the globe. How do you help Zoho Sign comply with all popular laws such as the E-Sign Act in the USA, PIPEDA in Canada, IT Act in India, and eIDAS in the European Union?

To achieve compliance, we first thoroughly understand the requirements of the law concerning digital signatures in each country, including the specific scenarios in which digital signatures are allowed and the requirements for a valid digital signature. We work closely with the product development team to ensure that the product meets the legal requirements in each country.

From advising the team on special requirements, such as obtaining a signing certificate from a government-recognized certifying authority or any necessary time stamp requirements, to guiding customers on effectively using Zoho Sign in a legally compliant way, we are a part of the entire process. Our team helps the Zoho Sign team with input in documentation and webinars to help users understand the legal aspects of electronic signatures.

I am sure the legal team would be the power users of Zoho Sign. Could you tell us your top three favorite features and why?

Zoho Sign is our top choice for all our digital signature needs. While we find many features useful, my top three favorite features are private notes, reassigning partially signed documents, and pre-configured templates and approval workflow.

Adding private notes to the signatories becomes particularly handy when we need to provide additional information or context to the signer that may not be appropriate for other signatories to see. Similarly, since Zoho Sign allows us to reassign partially-signed documents to a different signatory, this saves a lot of time as we do not have to recall the document from scratch, making sure that our document workflows are not delayed due to unexpected absences. With pre-configured templates and approval workflow, other teams can initiate a document based on a template and follow a pre-defined workflow, making the process more streamlined and efficient.

Sivaraj A, Lead Product Designer

How did you balance user needs with business goals when designing Zoho Sign?

My primary focus while designing the UI and UX for Zoho Sign was to increase the ease of use for our users. It is indeed true that a picture can convey a thousand words; I try to ensure that there are more icons which convey the meaning effectively to reduce the amount of text in the UI. This helps users to have more clarity in a single glance and save time that would have been otherwise spent on reading long texts.

I have adhered to Zoho's general guidelines on product UI and UX to ensure that Zoho Sign meets the needs of our customers and at the same time is aligned with Zoho's vision.

What are some common design challenges you have faced, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge for me would be understanding the technicalities of the various features that I work on. As the product scales, we have new features and integrations, so learning them is a fun challenge. I ensure that I go through the documentation in detail to understand the feature. The designing process involves taking a substantial amount of input from the developers and incorporating them, having multiple iterations before we finalize what goes in it.

Could you take us through the process you follow when designing a new product, from ideation, to launch, and scale?

Designing any product or feature starts with research. I try to understand the feature in-depth, its uses, and the customers who are to use it. There is also a bit of competitor analysis to see how others have approached this idea and how we can do it differently. After, I move on to the sketching stage. The designs and flow are finalized after taking feedback from the developers, the product manager, and our marketing team. As more people use the product, we try to reduce the number of clicks and screens the user has to go through while using the app, which is a challenging task.

Dhanasekar MJ, Digital Marketing Manager

What are some digital marketing practices that have caught your attention, and how have you incorporated them into your campaigns?

While digital marketing practices and trends are ever-changing, one practice that has caught our attention is influencer marketing. Another practice that has impressed us is the effectiveness of personalizing email marketing. This has resulted in higher conversions for us.

How do you measure the success of a digital marketing campaign, and what metrics do you focus on?

Metrics are undoubtedly vital parts of any digital marketing campaign. The ones that have helped us understand our campaigns better over the years are website traffic, conversion rates, click-through rates, and engagement on social media platforms. Additionally, analyzing the return on investment and cost per acquisition has provided valuable insights into the campaign's effectiveness to us. We must focus on the metrics that align with the campaign's objectives and goals.

Could you share an example of a challenging digital marketing campaign you headed, and what were the outcomes?

The most challenging digital marketing campaign I headed for Zoho Sign was to increase sign-ups from small and medium-sized businesses. We implemented a multi-channel approach that included targeted email marketing, free educational webinars, and content marketing to educate our audience on the benefits of our product and how it could help streamline their business processes, resulting in a 40 per cent increase in website traffic and a 25 per cent increase in lead generation.

With this, we come to the end of the series for now. We will definitely be back with more stories and features as we continue to grow. Thank you for being a part of the Zoho Sign community and showing us continued support.

If you are not already a Zoho Sign user, sign up for a free 14-day Enterprise trial. If you have any questions or feedback about Zoho Sign, write to us at (if you reside outside the EU) or (if you reside in the EU), or drop your comments below.

Happy signing!


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