What is a Proposal Management Software?
It’s a tool that helps you streamline the sales proposal process, right after the prospect is identified as closing a deal with it. It involves creating proposals, collaboration with the team, managing proposal content, sending & tracking proposals, checking performance using a proposal dashboard. Beside automating proposal process of collaboration, review and approval, it provides sales signals or insights based on prospect’s interaction with proposals to convert more sales deals
Without a Proposal Software
With a Proposal Software
Every sales team needs to know the submission deadline for RFP, RFP, RFI, well before time and should be able to create, review and send proposal on time.
Higher the quality of your proposal, higher are the chances of your proposal getting selected.
If sales team is going to commit its resources without realizing whether company will be able to achieve stated goals or implement/deliver projects; it will not only challenges its accountability of its resources but also put a big question mark in the mind of customer, whether you are a reliable business to deal with or not.
Customer Buy-In Challenge
Typically when you email a proposal to your client as PDF/PPT/DOC or such formats, there is no way for you to understand whether the client has opened your proposal or not. There are no signals.
- You have to keep requesting information to be filled in the proposal from different teams
- Every involved proposal ‘writer/contributor/reviewer’, keeps creating his/her own version of the proposal and no one has an idea about who is filling which specific section of the proposal.
- You do not have a central place for standard marketing collateral such as logo, images, best-written piece/well crafted ‘About Us’, Why Us’ ‘pricing/investment’, and likewise branding stuff.
- You have to pour 7, 10, 12 hours of work to assemble a single proposal.
- The proposal owner can not easily know who has reviewed and approved the proposal internally and have to keep following with stakeholders before sending the final proposal to the client; thus spending even more time.
- Use of pre-defined proposal templates in online proposal software will ensure, every ingredient is in place and you are not missing out. Plus seamless collaboration & approval will help you figure out that everything is included and nothing is missed out.
With the online proposal software, you have central content repository, no need to copy-paste content & and in turn there is no need to keep correcting errors due to copy-pasting items (such as client name and other placeholder content)
- With online proposal, you can collaborate with your sales team, everyone Everyone invited can refer to one single copy of the proposal, add their comments, update the proposal directly. There won’t be any confusing email trail or file exchanges.
- Online proposal tools provide precise intelligence to help you, track whether/how client is interacting with your proposal. You know exactly when your client has opened the proposal, how many times s/he has opened it, which section s/he has spent more time
- Online proposal gives you great head-start with ready-made, industry-specific sales proposal templates which save many hours.
- With the proposal template and placeholder tags ( also know as merge-tags or variable-tags), your sales proposal, the quotation becomes more accurate and consistent.
- Online proposal software offers a built-in digital signature which your prospective client can use to sign its name online to accept and approve your proposal legally.
- Online proposal tool provides precise intelligence to help you track client interaction with the proposal, such as the number of times the client was on a particular page, how much time has s/he spent on a given page/section, etc.
- If you are already using CRM software, you can make your CRM tool to work with the online proposal easily. These tool’s integration will allow you to see better information in CRM tool and vice-versa
Proposal Management and Automation
The essential purpose of proposal software is to enable sales team to create and manage proposals. Sales proposal management software can offer automation of sales process such as creating proposal based on certain email received, getting approval of specific stakeholders based on the pricing or client involved, reminding stakeholders/approvers of the pending approval
Online proposal software allows you to not only create proposal and proposal templates but you can also save specific sections in the proposal/templates in sections library. Section library offers distinct advantages.
Online proposal software allows you to set an approval process. Thus you can select who are the internal stakeholders/managers to review the proposal before it is sent to the client.
Proposal software used online, allows your sales team, business managers in various department such as marketing, finance, accounts, operations, development, engineering to collaborate irrespective of their location.
Proposal templates is one of the biggest reason why sales team would use proposal software online. Proposal templates not only help you get started very quickly but also offer convenience. You do not have to keep copy-pasting (unlike writing proposals with Microsoft Word) or editing information such as client name, customer name, address, etc from one proposal to another.
Online proposal software not only offers dashboard visualising number of proposal sent, proposal success rate, pending proposal, etc but also offers very helpful information about client’s interaction with the proposal. To close a sales, one has to act fast and act right based on insights and signals.
Centralised Proposal Database
All your proposals, sections, templates, customer information remains secure with an online centralised platform. You can tag, search, archive proposals centrally so that you never ever have to loose them.
Electronically singing a document is not only legal but also becoming a common practice among many businesses these days. Online proposal tool allow you to send proposal and get it signed digitally by clients.
Which Factors Should You Consider Before Choosing a Proposal Software?
Now that you know the reasons why you should start using a software tool to manage your sales proposal process, the next question comes is what are all the things you should consider while choosing the best proposal management software?
Here are top 7 Considerations when selecting a Proposal Software
- Easy proposal creation using templates and online editor
- Organize proposal content as reusable sections, templates
- Interactive pricing along with online signature for your prospects
- Proposal comments/ interactions, notifications for better collaboration
- Integration with existing CRM, accounting tools
- Proposal dashboard to stay on top of all the proposals
- Downloadable proposal PDFs for future references
What Are The Types of Proposal Management Software?
There are various kinds of proposal software depending on who wants to use it, how they want to use it, for whom do they want to use it. e.g. categories of proposal tools can be
- Online (web based) vs Offline (desktop based)
- On-premise vs Cloud based proposal tools
- Single user/SMB user vs Department/Team Users
- Basic Vs Advanced/ Enterprise proposal software
- General usage Vs Industry/Sector Specific proposal software
Now web based (also known as software as a service: SaaS) proposal software are quite popular. Of course there are reasons why online proposal tools are widely used.
- These tools offer all capabilities of desktop based proposal tools but no installation or maintenance is required, available almost all time, anywhere
- Proposal tracking, insights available at a click of a button
- Integration with wide range of applications
- Better collaboration with team as well as clients
- Pay as you go (On demand) pricing makes it even cost effective.
How to Find the Best Proposal Management Software?
Are you looking for the best proposal software for your own business or your team? You need to understand there is no such thing called the best proposal software that works for everyone. That means, you will need to first identify what you need. The proposal software that meets your requirements, enables team collaboration, helps you turn around quickly, helps your client to look-through and navigate easily and ultimately help you close deals – is your best proposal too.
To get the RIGHT proposals software, you should
- Clearly identify your need for a proposal tool: purpose (avoid delay), goal (impress client, close deals)
- Enlist the features you and your client will need, prioritize those features and assign relative weights
- Search for proposal software and shortlist tools based on above filter parameters
- Start trial, get your hands dirty, ask for demo, get your questions answered
- Be sure of non-feature aspects such as usability, robustness, availability, integration-automation
- If necessary check reviews, references about the proposal software
How a Proposal Management Software can Help you Improve Productivity?
- Believe it or not but every successful deal requires an effective sales proposal and drafting such proposals every time while pitching your product or service is a total waste of your valuable time. This is where templates come handy.
- Meetings- they are a big part of a sales proposal process. With a proposal software, you can eliminate the need for such team meetings, as it allows you to invite your internal team members from sales, pre-sales, marketing, accounting, legal teams to work together on a single copy of the sales proposal.
- A proposal software provides precise intelligence to help you, track how the client is interacting with your proposal. You will know exactly when your client has opened the proposal or which section s/he has spent more time on.
- Signing a contract can be time-consuming and it also requires a lot of paper archives. When you sign a contract online and make your clients do the same will definitely save a lot of your time and money. As they are easier, quicker, and more secure.
Which Industries Make the Most Use of Proposal Software?
Business sales proposals are used across industries and sectors. However, following industries especially in the SMB segment are the one most commonly use proposal software
- Digital marketing – SEO, PPC, Content Marketing, Social Media
- Most professional services e.g. IT & IT Enabled Services, event management, accounting, consulting, branding, marketing, etc
- Manufacturing, Engineering, etc
- Essentially most industries dealing with B2B services/ products
- The Foundation Center’s Guide to Proposal Writing
- Grant Writing for Dummies
- The Only Grant-Writing Book You’ll Ever Need
- Persuasive Business Proposals
- Million Dollar Consulting Proposals
- Handbook for Writing Proposals
- The Complete Book of Grant Writing: Learn to Write Grants Like a Professional
- Start your Own Grant Writing Business: Your Step-by-Step Guide to Success
What Does the Best Proposal Software Offer?
Stunning pre-built business proposal templates packed with key components of a proposal
You only get one chance to make a first impression and the cover page of your proposal is your only chance. A cover page of your business proposal should look neat and should be easy to read.
The cover letter in your proposal sets the tone for the rest. The best practice for writing an impressive pitch is using your prospective client’s words to them. This means simply describe the problem they are facing.
Scope of Services
This section should include the details about your approach. However, the details should only be about the approach and not about the solution.
Implementation of Timeline
This section should include the details about your approach. However, the details should only be about the approach and not about the solution.
Make use of pricing table with a range of options that let your prospect or customer edit the quantities, select the services that best fit their needs, and allow them to customize your solution.
You can fill out this section with the expertise you have, the awards you won, the big list of your happy clients.
In this section, you can make your clients visualize themselves working with you by telling the past clients success stories with similar issues.
Terms of Services
Always keep the contract and your terms and conditions part of your proposal and get them signed together to avoid future conflict.
(Request for Information): When an organization is collecting information.
(Request for Quote): When an organization is seeking detailed cost of service/product.
(Request for Proposal): When an organization is seeking solution options with detailed costing.
Paper sales proposal is rapidly becoming an old fashioned thing in a connected and interactive world. It’s clear that sales proposal have evolved in many ways. Sales proposal files have been replaced by fancy proposal tools. You can also call it a technological leap.
- Today’s selling world has become more competitive than ever before.
- Buyers have become more sophisticated.
Now, the look and feel of your sales proposal is equally important as the content and quality of it. In this day and age, you can’t have a general sales proposal approach; they have to be cutting edge to dazzle your potential clients. It doesn’t have to be a crazy formal document, especially if you don’t need to present it to the bank or the investor
The time has come where you need to create a glamorous living sales proposal (but also keeping the sales proposal checklist in mind) that will shine and help you win the deal.
- Creating a new proposal every time to promote or sell your products or services is a total waste of your valuable money and time. Instead, you can shift your focus on using proposal templates.
- Templates are an efficient way to enhance and improve the identity, ensure consistency, and make an awesome impression on your prospects, customers, and organizations.
- The proposal templates helps you to hit the right targets. If you choose the right proposal template, it will not only assist you show off your core qualities but also make you look more impressive.
- Templates give the biggest benefit is standing out from the crowd. Templates put the entire proposal document in order by giving it a stylish professional look. And once you set yourself apart from others you will probably get more responses than the ignorance.
Check these 5 things before you pick a sales proposal template,
- Business proposals must have the right tone to ensure it is effective. If the tone makes the content unclear, confusing or even worst – offensive, the reader will not be able to soak up or react properly to the proposal.
- The look and feel of the proposal template should differ depending on the type of industry. For example, you can’t just pull up the real estate proposal template and use the same for a marketing industry deal. And hope that you will magically walk away with a sale
- You may have the best content but if you fail to present it well, you won’t be able to catch your potential client’s attention. Keep one thing in mind that you have to make your proposal dynamic and memorable. A well-designed business proposal will not only sell your business but also help you win more deals.
- The goal of any business proposal is to sell something and if you want to sell something the first task you need to accomplish is to grab the attention. And of course, color plays an important role in capturing attention and setting up a path for the readers’ eye to follow.
- Graphics: A typical proposal filled with lots and lots of words doesn’t influence the prospect to read furthermore. Graphics can make readers experience more memorable.
- Design: A messy and unattractive sales proposal can be a real turn off to your prospective clients. It sends a message that you didn’t care enough to make your proposal look good.
- Heading and Subheading: Headings and subheadings play a major role in the readability of the user. It provides context and a path to navigate throughout the document. It helps the reader to visually scan the document.
- White Space: When a text forms a solid block, it directly affects the readability. The reader feels negative about it even before they begin to read. White space is about letting your reader breathe.
- Alignment: Aligning a document is one of the most frustrating challenges we face while writing a sales proposal. Alignment determines the position of the text, images, or videos. It’s so important to give your document a basic structure.
- Collaboration Challenge: Most of the deals are discussed and decided in a group. Because each person reads the proposal on different devices. So making your proposal easily accessible is a big challenge.
A strong, well-written proposal can help your business thrive but a poorly-written proposal can send your qualified lead packing. Below are the factors you should consider before creating your next business proposal.
- Length: While drafting business proposals, there is one thing you need to keep in mind that they should be lengthy enough to get to the key points such as who is offering what and how they will overcome the pain point. Simultaneously, they should be concise enough to hold their attention.
- Design: Selling and design always go hand in hand. In this day and age, you can’t have a general sales proposal approach; they have to be cutting edge to impress your potential clients.
- Interactive Pricing: Providing interactive pricing is the one important factor of a successful business proposal. You need to incorporate interactive price tables with a variety of pricing options where customers can modify the quantity, select products or services that suit their needs.
- Electronic Signatures: You need to keep up with the trend if you want to be successful in the marketing industry. And e-signature is one of the digital transformations that you need to implement in your sales proposal.
- Proposal Comments: After sending a proposal to your client, they should be able to add comments, feedback, notes, questions, or clarifications while reviewing it.
- Writing proposals without thoroughly qualifying leads
- Singing “I”, “Me”, “We” tune
- Keeping it all static and not engaging at all
- Not keeping it brief and to the point
- Not proofreading, leaving typos
- Not making the communication personal
- Not using the proposal templates
USE FRESH PROPOSALS TOOL AND INCREASE YOUR SALES
Send Professionally Designed Proposals. Clients Will Readily Prefer of You
100 % Customizable Template
Though this template is professionally designed, it is 100 % customizable. You can modify its design, fonts, images as well as content as you would like.
Show Your Best Work
Include your portfolio of photoshoots, images as well as videos in your proposal. Let your prospect/ client experience your capabilities, skills better
One time fees or recurring / hourly pricing; no worry. Simply include your fees item and let your prospect change quantity or select option things.
Drag-n-Drop Content Editor
You have lot more flexibility and superior control how your proposal is going to look like. You can drag-drop desired content using online editor.
Track Prospect Insights
Know exactly how your prospective client is interactive with your proposals. Use these insights to smartly convert your prospects into customers.
Online Signature, Acceptance
Be that forward looking vendor who uses cutting edge tools and technologies. You will be sending proposal that your clients can sign online.
TRY FRESHPROPOSALS NOW