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  • Linda Pophal

How to know if you need quote software

In this article, we discuss indicators that the manual, individualized method of sending proposals is counterproductive to sales generation and customer relationship management, and it might be time to consider a more efficient option: quote software.

What a great feeling it is when you finally get to a point in the sales process when your prospective customer asks you for a quote! 

A request for a proposal (RFP) or a request for a quote are indeed positive steps in your buyer relationship, but as the volume of those quotes increases, they can also start to represent a big headache for sales reps. At some point, a business simply cannot efficiently and effectively continue generating quotes through a manual, labor-intensive proposal process.

So, while needing to generate more and more quotes is a nice problem to have, it raises an obvious question: is it time to automate the process?

In this article, we discuss indicators that the manual, individualized method of sending proposals is counterproductive to sales generation and customer relationship management, and it might be time to consider a more efficient option: quote software. 

What is quote software?

First, let’s be clear about what we’re talking about when we say quote software, also referred to as proposal tools or quote builders. At its most basic, quote software is a software system that allows companies to create sales proposal documents at scale. 

Quotes can be as simple as creating a description of the good or service being offered and the associated price. Or, proposals can be quite complex, requiring multiple pages, images, interaction, etc. Chances are you’ll want more than just the basics when you begin your search for a quote software solution so that it can grow with you. 

Commercial quote software typically offers time-saving features such as:

6 signs that you need quote software

Ok, so now we understand what quote software is and some of the useful features, but how does a company with a limited but growing customer footprint know if and when it’s time to purchase it?

For starters, the emphasis here is really on the “when” part of that question, as opposed to the “if” part. Any successful company is going to reach a point at which it simply can’t manage its quote process manually. Here are “6 signs” that it’s time to start seeking solutions in earnest:

1. You need to stand out from your competition

Potential customers are routinely inundated with vendor proposals. Imagine a customer who puts out a request for quotes, then is faced with the unenviable task of sifting through dozens of dense and lengthy proposal documents. A company that can stand out from the noise with a sharp, professional-looking proposal can get a leg up on the competition.

“There’s a real art to sales,” says Ben Childs, Co-Founder of Digital Reach Agency. “Anyone in sales knows how hard it is to pitch everything you want in a short call or document. So it was easy for us to make the mistake of sending an overloaded, information-heavy proposal that didn’t quickly grab the client’s attention. Now, [since using quote software] I’ve seen clients so impressed by the standard and quality of the proposals we’ve sent them that they’ve actually introduced Qwilr to their own teams,” he said.

Without quote software, creating stand-out presentations requires the work of a design team or a skilled sales operations group. In contrast, proposal builder software can facilitate advanced features like incorporating gifs and videos into sales documents to really help a brand stand out, without using a designer.

2. Your sales team is spending too much time creating proposals 

Quote creation is a necessary part of the sales process, but it shouldn’t be the primary focus. A company’s sales team needs to be actively networking, making connections, and spending time getting to know prospects and learning about new markets. Every minute a salesperson spends working on putting a quote together is a minute they’re not out selling your products and services.

“On one hand, we could whip up a simple email quote very quickly, but it wouldn’t be enticing for our client. We could also send a lush and crafted PDF document that would be very persuasive, but it would have a huge time overhead of one to two days to design,” commented James Carr of Symmetry Media. “Quote software has filled a gap in our business by allowing us to create dynamic and professional proposals in a matter of minutes, not days,” said James.

Automated proposal builders dramatically improve the speed, efficiency, and productivity of the sales team, freeing them up to spend their time doing what they’re paid to do: sell! 

3. Your customer experience is fragmented

During the sales process, a prospective customer really gets to know a vendor and, of course, first impressions are key in any relationship. What kind of impression is a prospect going to have if they get frustrated with that vendor’s clumsy, disjointed, and inefficient quote process? The prospect is likely to assume that experience would characterize their long-term relationship with the vendor.  

From a visual standpoint, when a vendor’s website and collateral content don’t look the same, that variation can be confusing to customers. If brand guidelines are not consistent, it’s difficult for a prospect to truly get to know and become familiar with the vendor’s brand. Quote software can ensure brand consistency across sales content. For example, Qwilr provides users with branding controls, such as the ability to set colors and fonts once during an initial setup so they’re applied to all documents going forward.

Another issue that impacts the customer experience relates to the heavy reliance on mobile devices to access a wide array of content—including proposals. In a mobile environment, though, proposal viewing can be quite clunky—especially when creating proposals as PDFs. As John Kelleher, Founder and Chief Executive with ESM Inbound, explains: “PDFs are a terrible experience on mobile. It’s frustrating to pinch and zoom your way around a carefully laid-out document on a screen that fits in your hand.” The ability to use responsive pages instead of PDFs, he says, has been a big benefit of using quote software. “We’re able to instantly create responsive pages that look great regardless of the device used by the prospect. It’s a frictionless experience that means the prospect is focused on our message rather than the medium.” 

4. You’re experiencing more errors in your proposals

And speaking of first impressions… few things are more cringeworthy when receiving a quote from a prospective business partner than seeing errors, whether they’re spelling and grammar errors, or outdated pricing or product information. 

“We needed a system that would allow us to seamlessly update all our content, straight from our CRM, eliminating errors and version control issues,” said Connor Lawrence, Director of Revenue Operations at TravelBank.

Quote software like Qwilr has built-in functionality to avoid these embarrassing mistakes, including integration with customer relationship management (CRM) software to pull current price information and a block library with approved messaging stored in one place and the ability to block revisions to content protected by user-based permissions.

5. You want to scale your sales and marketing teams

Businesses increase their revenue by growing sales; they improve profitability by reducing the costs of their sales. 

As companies look to grow and scale their sales and marketing teams, finding ways to reduce manual work is essential. The quote creation process is a prime example of an area where far too many companies waste time and effort by failing to take advantage of available quote software. 

As an example, Destined, a Salesforce platinum partner, found their sales team was getting bogged down with proposal creation. “We tried several options, from Google docs to Google sheets and other document tools, but they just weren’t enough and didn’t provide what we needed,” commented Andrew Thomas, Head of Marketing.  “We wanted velocity in our sales process, and quote software helped us achieve that. Proposals that used to take hours now take minutes, thanks to the content library we’ve created,” he said. 

6. You want to simplify and accelerate your sales process

Finally, even for relatively mature and well-running sales teams, moving from manual quote generation to proposal builders can streamline sales processes and accelerate a sales cycle. It’s not uncommon as the sales conversation progresses that updates to quotes are needed to keep the sales process moving forward. Change is inevitable—the right quote software can make those changes less painful and productivity draining. “When a client makes changes or requests additional services, it can be disastrous if mishandled. Quote software provides a simple way for us to get client agreement without going back and forth. Qwilr makes managing large projects much easier,” commented Andrew Thomas. 

Conclusion

In summary, having so many sales prospects that the quote generation process starts to become unwieldy is a nice problem for a business to have, but it’s still a problem. Qwilr’s quote software solution provides maximum functionality for sales teams to produce professional, accurate, and brand-aligned proposals quickly and cost-effectively. To learn more about the benefits of quote software and Qwilr’s exclusive features, we invite you to book a demo.

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