Proposals — and the process associated with developing, writing, sending and tracking proposals — are an important part of getting business. Often your proposal is the key to winning contracts and making those all-important sales. They’re increasingly relied upon by digital marketers as a way to bring in new clients and win lucrative contracts with increasingly larger companies that can help put them on the map.
The practice of putting together a new business proposal can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming, demanding the full attention of several team members before the proposal can actually be signed off on and sent to the prospective client. Without the proper strategy and tools, this can be an arduous process, even for digital marketers, who often have a way with words and pride themselves on their persuasive skills. The proposal process is even more disheartening when your bid for a contract that is not accepted.
It’s little wonder that so many digital marketers are turning to proposal software. These automated systems have features that can make putting proposals together and tracking their progress much easier, from automated document creation and stylish templates to highly accurate metrics and real-time tracking.
We’ve scoured the market to find three of the top pieces of proposal software out there, each claiming to offer real business benefits for those hoping to win big contracts. Are they of any use to digital marketers? Let’s take a look.
Proposify is perhaps the market leader in the world of proposal generator software and tools. It comes with an almost dizzying array of features, full integration with dozens of existing business apps and programs, and it’s said to help save time by ensuring you don’t need to start from scratch with every proposal.
The main selling point of Proposify is that it helps to ‘revolutionize’ the entire sales process, from creation to close. The simple, intuitive dashboards allow managers to organize their teams more effectively, facilitating close collaboration with ease. Team members are able to browse the content library (more on that later) and access proposals quickly, and all individual activity is managed with the help of roles and permissions, to ensure no one has access to files they’re not permitted to see or use.
The content library is a great tool, and marketers will get out of it what they invest. If you use the proposal tool heavily, you’ll soon develop an enormous database of case studies, bios, sections and standard digital marketing service fees. These can then be tagged and searched, with the ability to drag-and-drop them into new proposals quickly. The longer you use Proposify, the more content you’ll develop, and the more time you’ll save on future proposals.
Proposify also gives you full tracking capabilities on-the-go. You’ll be able to see when a client opens the proposal, which sections they’ve lingered on, how long they spent looking at it and whether they’ve left comments or accepted it. This can be incredibly useful because you can start to see where bids are being lost – and you can gauge which sections ‘put off’ the client and which areas you might need to work on using these tracking tools.
The verdict: A great all-around proposal tool that could really save digital marketers time as they build their proposal content library.
Huddle’s big pitch is the claim that this particular piece of proposal generation software can help users create winning bids 35% faster. By reducing response times, Huddle is said to increase sales capacity and automate data collection, making everything much more efficient.
Like Proposify, Huddle goes heavy on collaboration. It allows managers to create virtual bid teams, as well as creating, sharing and managing documents with all stakeholders. With many digital marketers now working remotely, this level of support for collaboration is important. The entire tool integrates with Microsoft Office and Google G-Suite, and accountability is assured with version control, audit logs and an infinite rollback feature which means no files are lost when they’re saved over accidentally.
Every digital marketer worth their salt knows that building client relationships is essential in the marketing world, and Huddle makes this a priority. Clients can access their own branded portals to receive their bids, rather than having their sensitive data and important material shared through email or another file-sharing app. This projects a great image for any marketing firm, showing the client that you take this process seriously and you have the tools, resources and personnel to deliver on any bids or contracts you win.
The verdict: Great for speeding up proposals and also enhancing those important client relationships with a very professional image.
Scoro has tapped into the idea that the more time saved on building proposals is time that can be spent on winning other businesses and making other sales. The proposal generation system is part of Scoro’s larger project management suite, and it allows for the creation of beautiful proposals (and associated documents like invoices) quickly and easily.
Scoro’s simple tool makes it easy to compile accurate proposals that have real style – and all digital marketers understand the importance of having your sales materials looking beautiful. If you’re looking to impress with aesthetics, this is a great resource to have access to. Users can also track proposals to see when prospects progress through the pipeline (and see where they drop out).
Scoro’s dashboard is where this tool comes into its own. It allows marketers to gain a comprehensive overview of all proposals and their profitability, with a real-time KPI dashboard to help keep track of progress. If there’s one thing that digital marketers love, it’s having access to detailed analytics! Financial reports are also available in real-time, and time spent on each task can be tracked for highly accurate billing.
The verdict: Creates beautiful reports and offers very detailed reports for digital marketers trying to optimize their win-rate.
What do you think?
Have you used proposal software? Or do you think the best bids are crafted the old-fashioned way, by hand? Share your thoughts with us, we’d love to hear from you.