And before you ask – yes, there are still many sales teams who use word processors and other outdated methods to send proposals. If you’re part of that group, we’re sorry to call you out, but it’s time for a change.
With so many ways to send proposals online and an endless array of proposal software options at your disposal, there’s no reason to keep doing everything manually. From creation to close, proposal management software streamlines the entire proposal process so that your sales team can focus on winning.
Now, if you aren’t already familiar with it, you might be asking yourself,
“What Is Proposal Management Software?”
Proposal management software is an application (usually cloud-based) that allows users to create, manage, send, and track business proposals. It combines all of the proposal writing, designing, sending, tracking, and electronic signature tools into a single platform for a streamlined closing process.
And that's just the simple version. In reality, proposal management software is so much more. It often includes proposal templates, various app integrations, custom fields and variables, roles and permissions, payment processing capabilities, and even in-proposal chat – features that are all designed to help your team make every deal a closed deal.
Now that we’ve established what it is and what it can do, here’s why every sales team (who wants to win) needs to be using proposal management software.
Benefits of Proposal Management Software
Sending proposals manually can work, but it leaves you with little control over your proposal process. If reps are creating each new proposal from scratch, there is plenty of room for error. Between pricing, deal terms, discounts, design, format, approvals, and anything else that goes into your proposals, there are a lot of variables that can change from rep to rep and proposal to proposal. Sure, reps can copy previous documents to use as templates, but there’s no guarantee that they’re using the right information. Without control over your process or an efficient way to collaborate, there are bound to be some inconsistencies.
With proposal management software, consistency becomes a non-issue. With assigned roles & permissions, proposal templates and a library of approved content and pricing info, you can rest easy knowing that your reps will always be using correct, up-to-date information. Instead of worrying about whether or not your sales materials are consistent and accurate, your team can focus on building relationships instead of building proposals. With inconsistencies in your messaging and branding under control, you won't have to worry about reps sending unprofessional sales docs that could compromise your brand.
One of the biggest issues with creating and sending proposals manually is the lack of visibility. Sales leaders have no way to tell who’s working on what, which can lead to reps prioritizing the wrong deals. And without a closing dashboard, there’s no easy way to get a snapshot of all open deals or their progress throughout the sales pipeline.
Without visibility, reps struggle to figure out which proposal document version they should be working on, what’s been done, or what the next steps are. And when proposals finally get completed, they’re essentially sent off into the void; there’s no way for reps to tell what’s happening with deals once they’re in the prospect’s hands, meaning they don’t know where deals are getting stuck or when to follow up.
With proposal management software, your team can see exactly what’s going on at each stage of the sales process, with metrics to boot. You’ll be able to identify which parts of your process run smoothly and which ones need a bit of help, allowing you to support your reps where they need it most.
Plus, you’ll get actionable insights about your prospects’ behavior. You’ll be able to track if/when they’ve opened your proposals, how many times they’ve viewed it, what they did once they opened it, which sections they’re looking at the longest, and more. Armed with this data, you can send strategic follow up emails to move your prospect along or get in touch to clear up any of their questions.
Designed to cut down on manual tasks, proposal management software leverages automation to help you save time and increase efficiency across the entire proposal creation process.
Proposal templates provide a great jumping-off point for your proposals, and they’re usually included with most proposal software. So instead of starting from scratch each time you want to send a new proposal, you can kick off from an existing proposal template or create your own for added flexibility. Then, you can simply sub in information and tailor your business proposal to each prospect, and you’ll be getting proposals out the door in no time.
Gone are the days of manually pulling client information, fees & pricing, branded content, and other details from spreadsheets and who knows where else. With the content library feature, you’ll be able to create, save, and store bits and pieces of approved content that can easily be accessed and inserted into proposals as you see fit. And since everything in the content library is approved, you can rest assured that any sections, snippets, or information you pull from it is correct and up to date.
Without an efficient way to move data and information between the apps you rely on and your proposals, there’s a good chance you’re wasting time (and creating more room for error). This goes for your CRM, project management software, invoicing system, and beyond.
With proposal software integrations, all of your business tools talk to each other when it’s time to close. Once you’ve connected them, they communicate seamlessly to ensure the information you need is always right in front of you. The possibilities are endless; you’ll be able to pull pricing details from your source of truth into your proposals, monitor proposal activity in your CRM, create tickets in project management software, and even request payment from clients right in your proposals. From Asana to Zapier and beyond, Proposify has over 30 integrations that can help you streamline your business proposal process by leveraging tools you already use.
Did you know? In industries like SaaS, a payment processing integration within the proposal makes it up to 90% more likely to close. For more data-driven insights to help you close, download our 2021 State of Proposals.
It can be difficult to manage responsibilities and tasks as deals move through the internal pipeline before a proposal is sent off to prospects. This is especially true for approvals, which are a major bottleneck in the proposal process, since there are often multiple parts that hinge on approval from managers or other departments. Without a formal process, entire deals can get held up if an approver doesn’t have time or access to review the whole proposal before signing off, even if their signature is only needed for one section.
Proposal software can help streamline your deal approval workflow process by presenting approvers with relevant documents at the right times. So instead of getting bogged down with a backlog of proposals that don’t concern them, they’ll be able to keep deals moving and maintain that sweet, sweet sales momentum.
Unfortunately, many prospects do judge a book by its cover. The cover of your proposal is the first thing that the prospect sees, and if it doesn’t look professional, it could alter their perception of your offering – and not in a good way.
Proposal software can help you design and create stunning proposals that look great every single time. It will also allow you to add images, videos, and other media that will make your proposals pop. After all, proposals that stand out close deals. In fact, including at least one image in your business proposals can increase your close rate by 26%.
At the end of the day, every sales teams’ goal is to close. Proposal management software does exactly that. In fact, based on a study involving thousands of sales professionals, we found that proposals that were created and sent with Proposify had a 111% higher close rate compared to industry average. By shortening your sales cycle, improving collaboration, and streamlining your proposal process, proposal software helps your sales team close more deals. If that doesn’t sell you on its value, we don’t know what will.
No matter how you go about it, creating and sending proposals manually is time consuming – and that’s assuming everyone on your team is already familiar with your process. That might not be an issue now, but it will be once you start to bring in new business and train new hires. Time is limited, so it's no wonder why sales leaders struggle to create a process that is scalable, while supporting team growth and shortening the sales cycle.
Proposal management software allows sales leaders to design a scalable closing process that’s repeatable across the entire team. It also helps them optimize their existing processes in order to keep teams focused on closing, rather than wasting time building proposals from scratch. Plus, once these processes are in place, it becomes much faster to onboard new hires and reduce ramp time.
At the end of the day, the best proposal is one that converts prospects into clients. Whether it’s created by hand, in Microsoft Word, or online, the important part is that it closes. We’re not saying that you can’t send proposals manually, but it’s definitely not the most effective or efficient way to win more business.
Proposal management software, on the other hand, is. It combines all of the tools, resources, and data that sales teams need to succeed under one roof, making the proposal process more predictable, consistent, and scalable. And with a free version right at your fingertips, there’s no reason not to give it a shot.