Proposal automation software isn’t a one-hit wonder.
Sure, its main purpose is streamlining proposal creation, but it can do so much more. Here’s how seven companies bring harmony to their sales and customer success processes using online business proposal software.
1. Keep a finger on the pulse of all your sales activity
“I particularly like the activity feed. I can go into that and see what’s cooking."
—Mike Watson, Sales Director, Orlo
When Mike Watson joined Orlo, a social media management SaaS company, they set a goal of sending out 20 proposals a month. With so many deals at various stages of the sales process, creating those proposals in Microsoft Word wasn’t going to help Mike and his team a) prepare them efficiently or b) track them.
Luckily for him, proposal software isn’t all pretty proposals and professional presentation. It’s also a metric-packed sales reporting tool.
Like Mike, you can hop onto the dashboard to see the deals your sales team has on the go at a glance: proposals in progress, pending ones, and (woohoo!) won deals.
Plus, if you can integrate your proposal software with your CRM, you can reconcile sales forecasts with actuals from the signed contracts and rest easy knowing that the numbers will be completely accurate.
2. Organize all your proposal content in one place
“If I need to make a change, my team doesn’t have to look in Gmail or go searching through old documents.”
—Lisa Lavelle, Operations Manager, Catalina Tours
Is version three of the team bios the most recent one? Who has a high-res logo I can use? I thought we had the updated terms and conditions copy saved somewhere—does anyone know where?
If you’ve ever been on a proposal creation team, you’ve experienced time-consuming content sharing headaches like these.
Custom travel experience provider Catalina Tours was feeling that collaboration crunch, too, until they switched to proposal software. With reps on the road and working remotely, the shared content library keeps everyone and everything organized and efficient, says Lisa.
No more searching through old emails and chaotic folders to find the most recent version of a text snippet or fee table. A central repository for proposal content puts everything at your salespeople’s fingertips, allowing them to send out more proposals and decrease proposal turnaround time.
3. Sell prospects on your solution with videos
“In our templates, we have a ‘why work with us’ page with a video of our testimonials. It’s great to have for new clients who haven’t worked with us before, or for existing clients to see our latest work.”
—Micah Kohne, CMO and Visual Litigation Strategist, High Impact
It’s a visual world. Using a text-based tool like MS Word for your proposals is time-consuming and frustrating for your sales team.
And, it just can’t give your clients your full story the way images and videos can, especially if you operate in a visual business niche like High Impact. How else would they be able to show off how their legal exhibits’ blend of scientific accuracy and Hollywood-level graphics help attorneys convey complex subject matter?
Adding video to your proposal template ups your proposal game and showcases exactly who you are and what you do. It makes your proposal look cutting-edge and professional. Plus, using a pre-designed template will help you get it all ready in a flash.
4. Customize your design for beautiful proposals
“For a company like ours, which promises clients beautiful branding, it’s easier to show them what we can offer with a beautiful proposal. As soon as I saw that we could have a gorgeous cover page and all the flexibility that comes with the editor, I jumped in.”
—Alexander McArthy, El Capitan, Raising Sails
Some companies might be able to get away with a plain-old proposal, but not a branding agency like Raising Sails. Delightful design is part of the company’s DNA, and their proposals needed to reflect their creative sensibilities.
Proposal software helps them do just that, with full customization options that go far beyond throwing a logo in the corner and calling it a day. As Alexander says, the ability to show off your design chops at the proposal stage gets you that much closer to sealing the deal.
Even if you’re not in the digital branding space, full customization doesn’t have to mean tons of time spent. Proposal software with a robust editor makes it easy to edit and update your proposal design and layout. You can quickly add in your own images, fonts, video, and more.
5. Get client sign-off and payment in one fell swoop
“Most of our clients are out in the field in their trucks with their iPhones or iPads. The ability for them to be out there and get the proposal with the Stripe integration and click on it and say ‘OK, we need that 800 feet of rental fence later today. Bring it on out, we've paid.’ is of considerable value to us.”
—Mark Dunn, Bid Manager, Rio Grande Fence Co.
Score—the client likes your proposal! Now you wait for them to fax you back a signed copy, and then you’ll hover around the mailbox until their cheque arrives. Or not.
Few people have time to do business like it’s 1999, especially not fence rental company Rio Grande Fence Co. Since most of their customers aren’t sitting at a desk, let alone anywhere near a functioning fax machine (who is?) they needed a proposal solution that could accept electronic sign-offs and quick digital payments on the go.
A secure signature option and app integrations with a payment processor like Stripe right in your proposal speed up your sales cycle, getting you a faster YES and saving you the hassle of chasing accounts for payment.
6. Use notifications to power your follow-up
“For us, it’s that validation we need to keep following up and staying in touch with our prospects."
—Melissa Versnik, VP Business Development, The Payroll Company
I’ve sent the proposal. When should I follow up with my lead? Are they waiting on my call? Wait, I wonder if they’ve even read my proposal yet?
Knowing when to reach out after sending a proposal can be a total guessing game. As Melissa and her sales team at The Payroll Company have found, proposal notifications provide critical insight into how their leads are interacting with proposals. Sales reps then know when to swoop in with a timely call or email to help close the deal.
With proposal software, you’re not left wondering if the prospect even received it, let alone opened it, viewed it, and are considering it. Proposal metrics can also tell you how long they spent on each page, letting you know what to focus on in your follow-up messaging.
7. Make proposal software part of your entire project lifecycle
“We used to send weekly update reports via email to all of our clients to let them know if their project is on track, how many hours we’ve used, and how many are remaining. Using Proposify we can now send the contracts, and follow up with their project update reports. We can keep everything in one place.”
—Ashley Flowers, Director of Sales, Inverse-Square
You’ve sent the proposal. You’ve got the e-signature sign-off. Congrats, closer! Time to log out of your proposal software and get cracking on that brand-new project.
Not so fast. Proposal software isn’t just for proposals—there are many more documents you can create using its flexible editor.
Ashley Flowers and the team at Inverse-Square use proposal software not only to secure the initial sign-off but also to produce the client reporting that helps keep their software and app development projects on track.
Frequent, customized reports are vital to keeping clients in the loop about what’s happening on their project but they can be time-consuming to put together. The production of these valuable reports can be sped up because you have all the information in one place in your proposal software.
Not only do the reports look super professional, but you can also use the software’s tools to track sent reports. The dashboard lets you know whether the client actually read the report and you can add an e-signature or initial box for them to approve it.
As these closers show, proposal software isn’t one-note. It’s a well-orchestrated symphony of features, tools, and use cases that come together to help sales teams close more deals. That’s music to any sales pro’s ears.
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