Proposal Software Overview
What is Proposal Software?
Proposal software is a sales enablement or productivity tool that helps salespeople quickly create accurate, personalized proposal documents. Users can then deliver a produced version of the proposal to clients, whether in hard copy, in an electronic file, or through a link to a custom URL (online proposals). Some proposal automation software also automatically scans proposal documents to check for legal & brand compliance. It also handles proposal formatting, via templates or branding rule logic,
Proposal Software Features & Capabilities
Proposal branding: Allows users to create branding rules and/or scan proposals for brand compliance.
Proposal templates: Allows users to utilize proposal templates for standard proposal layouts, with variable fields.
Proposal content library updates: Users can update saved proposal language and standard proposal content.
Searchable proposal database: Proposals are organized in a central repository; users can easily locate past proposals within the database.
Guided proposal creation: A proposal authoring wizard, question flow, recommendations, or other elements guide salespeople in authoring proposals based on the particulars of the deal.
RFP management & response: Proposals can be created based on RFPs received.
Proposal collaboration and approval: Users can review and revise proposals in a collaborative fashion; may include versioning and/or automated approval workflows.
User permissions and proposal editing controls: Users can set appropriate, granular controls over who can view vs. edit elements of proposals.
Proposal content tracking: Reporting & analytics around proposal content engagement and performance, e.g. what content clients spend time reading, and what content makes for a successful deal
Proposal distribution/delivery: Options for providing proposals to clients are robust and convenient. May include hard copies, electronic files (PDF, Word, RTF, HTML), or online proposals via links to custom URLs.
Sales proposal workflow: Proposals fit conveniently into the sales workflow on both ends (coordinating content to create proposals, and moving from proposals to contracts/revenue); proposal automation improves sales efficiency.
Requests for Proposals (RFPs) & Automation
Proposals are often sent as a response to RFPs (requests for proposals, or requests for pricing), which are sent to alert suppliers and providers to make a competitive bid on a sales opportunity. In cases where price is the main decision-making factor (and the specific terms/requirements are already configured), this may come in the form of a request for quote (RFQ) rather than an RFP.
Sales Proposal Automation Software Integrations
Sales proposal automation software typically integrates with CPQ software and a company’s CRM system. It may also integrate with an enterprise content management system, eSignature and/or payment software, product catalogs, and other Sales applications. Integrations with CPQ software, product catalogs, and CMS systems feed personalized and contextual content into proposals, whereas integrations with CRM systems help track account engagement and sales performance, and integration with eSignature and payment software helps to streamline deals and generate revenue.
Key Benefits of Using Sales Proposal Automation
Sales proposal automation software automates the creation and/or delivery of sales proposals. According to vendors, this allows sales reps to be more productive and attend to more of the pipeline. These are some of the key benefits reported by vendors and users:
Streamlines workflow so proposals can be created faster.
Proposals are better quality—more consistent brand-wise, and more personalized in terms of contact details and CPQ or RFP specifications.
Improved sales effectiveness through client-focused (customized) proposals and speedy proposal turnaround, both of which may help improve win rate.
Opportunities for “self” upsell with interactive proposals can lead to higher revenue/bigger deal size without additional effort required from Sales.
Most vendors offer tiered pricing from individual up to large teams. The user price per month can vary between $20 and $150, depending on capabilities.