Do you know?
- Teams using dedicated RFP (request for proposal) response software win at least 45% of the bids
- Teams with no dedicated RFP response software have a relatively lower win rate of 41%
While a 4% difference might not sound like much, it can have a massive impact on your company's earnings. Hence, it is a great idea to automate your proposal-making process using a proposal generator.
This article explains everything you need to know about proposal generators to help make it easier to create winning proposals.
But first, it is essential to understand what proposal software is.
What is proposal software?
Proposal software is a computer application or program designed to help individuals and businesses create proposals, presentations, and RFP responses.
Besides creating proposals, the software will also streamline and automate the entire proposal-making process. Most allow you to send and keep track of the pitch at different stages with real-time analytics and email/SMS notifications.
There are several free proposal software that allows you to make and manage business proposal documents. However, if you want to enjoy premium features, you should go for a paid proposal software package.
Benefits of proposal software
Business proposal software helps streamline the entire proposal-making process. Here are more specific benefits you can expect by investing in this business tool:
- Using templates saves time
Using a proposal generator tool helps you save a lot of time. You will not need to gather information and craft your proposals from scratch.
A proposal generator provides templates with most of the sections already filled out. And so, it saves your sales team a lot of time as they only need to customize it a little to suit the specific situation.
- Increased accuracy and consistency
According to the 3rd annual RFP Response Benchmarks & Trends Report, proposal teams using RFP software respond to an average of 142 RFPs annually. Those who don't use the software react to only 125 RFPs.
What all this means is that when using the software, you can apply for more opportunities consistently. What's more, your applications will be free of the many human errors that characterize manually-generated proposals.
- Beautifully designed proposals
The pre-formatted templates you get when using most paid or free software are designed by experts after thorough research.
The professional designers are keen on everything, including minor things like the font sizes and spaces across templates, to ensure you get a perfect document.
Also, the experts behind the software have a deep understanding of what works for different industries. And so, besides being beautiful and well-structured, the proposals will be tailored to suit specific industries.
- Safe and quick deal sealing
Besides creating beautiful and professional-looking proposals that will appeal to clients, proposal generator software can help you seal deals quickly.
Most of these tools provide handy tools like e-signature and payment gateways. Therefore, clients can sign the document and make payments on the platform.
- Track your client's interactions and record time
When you use a proposal generator, you can track your client's interaction with the proposal to know if you need to make further interventions to increase the likelihood of conversion.
These tools provide advanced analytics that provide essential data on how prospective clients interact with your document. You can also get real-time notifications, on when the prospects receive the document or when and how long they open it.
- Wide integrations
Proposal software will integrate with most of the other tools you use for y0ur business such as CRMs, Slack, and QuickBooks. Therefore you can keep track of all your business operations from one central location.
Overview of the proposal making process
Overall you can break down the proposal-making process into 4 phases: capture, pre-proposal, final, and post-proposal.
- Capture phase:
In this phase, a business identifies an opportunity, contacts the customer, and collects information to use when proposing engagement with a prospective client.
- Pre-proposal phase:
In the second phase, the business or its sales team takes a preliminary bid decision and comes up with a proposed management plan. At this stage, you plan how to write the proposal and source templates, annotated outlines, and data calls.
- Final phase:
This comprises analyzing the proposal plan and making a final decision. Once this is done, you have to write the actual proposals or fill out the template, review what you craft and then send it to the prospects.
- Post proposal phase:
The last phase comes once you send the proposal. It will entail responding to prospect questions and identifying weaknesses and deficiencies. You can then submit a final revised proposal that fixes the original draft issues and answers any queries the prospects have or create a new proposal from scratch.
Creating effective sales proposals that connect with clients
Have you ever wondered what you should include in your proposals?
While you can use some readily available proposal templates, below are some pointers you should consider when creating proposals to enhance your sales process.
Make the proposals look professional to seal the deal
Whether you're creating a proposal for project funding, business partnerships, or new clients, the design and functionality are essential elements to consider.
A professional-looking proposal hooks your target audience and shows them you are an expert at what you do, and they should trust you with their job.
Design customized, on-brand proposals
Proposals are not just about closing a deal, as they are also a representation of your brand. Therefore, when designing the proposal, make sure it can leave a remarkable impression of your brand on the client.
You can add your logo, icons, and unique branding text to the proposal to make it more on-brand and show your business's credibility.
Also, remember to save your brand text, fonts, logo, and colors for easier branding and consistency when sending future proposals.
Proposal templates make the proposal-making process smooth and help save time. However, the proper proposal template design for you depends on your brand and the kinds of projects you want to win. Here is an overview of a few common ones:
Mobile app development proposal templates:
Developers use a mobile app development proposal template to persuade clients you can help them develop their apps and offer other related services.
Consulting proposal templates:
Almost every business person will depend on a third party or in-house consultant at some point. Consulting proposal templates are the best way to pitch your consulting services as it explains why the businesses will benefit from your services.
Business proposal templates:
Business proposals templates are more general, and you can use them to pitch for almost any business opportunity. However, when using these templates, make sure you choose something that suits the specific industry.
Project proposal templates:
If you are pitching for a project management role or want to take up any other position for an upcoming project, you should use a project proposal template. You have to make precise project proposals to suit different projects and industries.
Sales proposal templates:
A sales proposal template can help you convince potential clients to buy your products and services. The proposal is an integral part of the sales process as it explains to the client why your products/services are better than what others are offering.
How do I write a free proposal with a proposal maker?
Some websites provide free proposal generation tools. Here are the steps to follow if you want to write a free proposal using one of these tools:
Step 1: Sign up for a free proposal-maker website.
Step 2: Pick a customizable template that suits your specific needs like project, sale, app development, etc.
Step 3: Customize the template by dragging and dropping different elements as per your requirement. You should then arrange everything to create an appealing and professional page layout.
Step 4: Once you create your page layout, you can customize the color scheme, fonts, and images to match your brand identity and impress clients.
That's it! Now, you can download your proposal in high-quality digital or print format to use to win business. Also, you can send it to the clients directly from the proposal management software if it supports this functionality.
How to create professional proposals in Lucidpress?
Here are the steps to follow when creating a proposal with Lucidpress:
1. Design your template:
Start by creating a template from a blank page. Lucidpress provides an easy-to-use drag-and-drop editing tool that should simplify things here.
Once you have the basic template, you should customize it further to suit your brand's image by adding elements like images and icons.
2. Add innovative fields:
You can reduce the proposal creation time by using the creative fields feature in Lucidpress. Some of these innovative features include auto-completing specific fields of the proposal template with information like names, email addresses, and contact details.
3. Customizing the proposal:
After making a template, make it available to your team members. Explain to them how they can customize the template to start using it for different projects.
4. Send it to the potential clients:
You can use Lucidpress to share your customized proposals online instantly. Also, you can download or print the proposals and send them any other way you want.
Top 6 interactive proposals management software
Indy is one of the best proposal management software out there. Indy offers a library full of industry-specific and customizable templates to ensure you have something for any project that requires a proposal.
Additionally, their web-based online graphic design software will allow you to enhance the proposal appearance further and make it even more attention-grabbing in just a few clicks.
Indy allows you to download a copy of your proposal in high-quality PDF or PNG formats. You can even download the document as an interactive PDF.
PandaDoc is a proposal maker that helps you deliver fantastic proposal documents with workflows, insights, etc.
PandaDoc is an all-in-one automation software for businesses that you can use for the entire proposal process, from crafting the templates to approval and payments.
Also, the tool allows you to create invoices and quotes, and you can sign all your contracts quickly with the built-in e-signature tool.
3. Better Proposals
Better Proposals is an easy-to-use proposal maker with auto-formatting, contact and pipeline management, collaboration, and much more to offer a complete proposal generation solution.
Like many other top proposal software, it provides over 200 ready-to-use templates with a drag-and-drop editor and other functionalities like real-time tracking.
With the tracking function, you can quickly know when the client reads and signs the proposal electronically using their e-sign feature.
Prospero provides more than 30 templates for making proposals for different industries. Their templates also support several elements like logos images, videos, graphics, and texts in several fonts.
You can send unlimited proposals using Prospero if you choose one of their paid packages. Besides creating and sending the pitch, the software also makes it easy to track the progress with email notifications, and it also supports digital signatures and a variety of integrations.
Proposify is a top-tier proposal maker that offers customizable, readymade templates organized in different industries and several components that you can edit. For example, you can add or remove sections like overview, goals, team bios, the scope of work, etc.
The software takes care of the entire process as you can send proposals directly and track them with real-time metrics and notification.
Proposify will also support e-signature for legally binding signatures and provides secure payment gateways to make it easy to seal the deal.
HoneyBook is a customer relationship management tool that also allows users to create proposals. The software aims to provide an all-in-one solution for all your business activities.
You can use it to manage your projects, sign contracts, book clients, send invoices, and receive payments.
HoneyBook also supports several integrations, including Calendly, Google mail, Calendar, and Quickbooks, to allow you to work more efficiently.
Before settling on any proposal management software, it is crucial to answer the following questions:
- How user-friendly and adaptable is this proposal management software?
- How helpful is this software for the team in creating proposals?
- Will the software support the entire proposal process?
- Which features are most important to convince a potential client? For example, a variety of customizable templates, proposal analytics, integrations, electronic signatures, etc.
- Will it integrate with my CRM software and other tools I often use to ensure smooth operation?
- What are its monthly or yearly subscription fees? Will I get value for my money?
Need a proposal for a potential client?
Create a professional proposal in minutes with Indy’s Proposals tool. Use your logo and branding, add terms, and include portfolio items.
Crafting proposals manually can be a tedious task and is also quite boring if you have to do it repeatedly. However, proposal software with some professional templates, a good editor, and a rich content library will make things much easier for you.
Proposal software also offers other valuable elements like real-time proposal tracking, e-signature, and payment gateway support. Also, they can integrate with your other tools to help ensure smooth business operation.
However, make sure you choose a good proposal software from the many options out there by looking at its key elements, ease of use, and value for money.