8 key goals your proposal software should meet

  1. Producing each proposal is a breeze. The tool should make it quick and easy to create a proposal. Look for one that includes templates and comes with central branding control.
  2. Every proposal is visually impressive. Choose software that lets you easily customize the style. After all, first impressions count—and you’ll want your proposal to impress your customers.
  3. Use analytics to iteratively improve your proposals. Your proposal tool should absolutely come with analytics and notifications to drive action at appropriate times.
  4. The buyer has a great experience. Consider how your buyers will receive and interact with the proposal. Remember that they will likely want to share it with their boss and teammates, without you even knowing.
  5. Sign and pay in the proposal. Keep everything on the one (digital) page, so to speak. People expect purchasing to be faster and easier than ever.
  6. Automate as much as possible. Look for a tool that integrates with your CRM, connects to the right data, and automates key tasks. This way, you’re less likely to send off a proposal with mistakes.
  7. Perfect your pricing. The pricing experience should be interactive, visual, but not overwhelming to the buyer.
  8. Keep everything super secure. This is a must. To protect your IP and sensitive pricing information, you need the ability to securely control access to proposals.

1. Producing each proposal is a breeze

To get the most value from your investment, look for proposal software that’s easy for your teams to use.

For starters, you’ll want a tool that lets you set up templates. Think about it—if each seller has to create a brand new proposal for each and every prospect, that’s a lot of time wasted that could be spent selling.

You’ll also want a tool that centralizes branding. The last thing you need is a proposal that goes out with your old branding or product messaging.

To make your branded proposals pop, look for a tool that comes with an image library (like ours does, with its beautiful Unsplash gallery). This way, it’s quick and easy to add high-impact imagery to each proposal.

And, finally, to simplify proposal production even more, look for the ability to create reusable content that your teams can easily modify for specific industries or use cases. Setting up a saved library of drag-and-drop components saves everyone a lot of time and hassle.

2. Every proposal is visually impressive

As humans, we naturally seek out beauty. The science says, “citizens vote for more attractive political candidates, judges give attractive defendants more lenient sentences, and teachers grade better-looking students more favorably.”

The same goes for your proposal.

To win the hearts and minds of your buyers, your proposal needs to be visually appealing. Forget plain old PDFs. To bring your products and business value to life, you’ll want the ability to embed videos, files, images, interactive pricing, and ROI calculators in your proposals.

See how a PDF can be transformed

With features like these, your prospects are sure to be impressed when they open your proposal for the first time.

3. Use analytics to iteratively improve your proposals

With the right analytics and insights in hand, you can arm yourself with knowledge about how your proposals are performing. And there are four key things you need to know:

1. Has it been opened?
This is important. If a prospect doesn’t open your proposal, there’s a good chance you’re being ghosted. Don’t waste your breath after a couple follow-ups—instead, move on to other opportunities.

2. Who has seen it?
Get to know your buyers. In most situations, you’ll only speak to one or two people in the business you’re selling to—and you don’t get direct access to the folks who might derail the sale. A proposal tool should clearly identify each person who looks at your proposal.

With Qwilr, you can ask for details when someone clicks on your proposal, so you know who’s seen it.

3. What are they most interested in?
When you send a proposal to multiple parties, you’ll want to know what matters to each person. For example, one person might spend a lot of time looking at your onboarding process—which means they need a little more hand-holding in this area. Another might get stuck on pricing—which means they need a reminder of the value you offer. With Qwilr, you can click into individual sessions and see all the session details, including the last action the viewer has taken, when they click on accordions, select line items in the quote, and more. Qwilr also tracks Interactions, which are all the micro actions a buyer takes on a document.

4. How often do they check back?
Knowing how often your prospects dip in and out of the proposal can help you gauge interest, and indicates when you could get back in touch. For example, if someone opened it but only spent three seconds in the document, they likely got derailed—and could do with a reminder.

Qwilr tracks the number of sessions someone has, and how long they view for. Our proprietary Engagement Scores track whether buyers are engaged or not. Watch this in action.

Analytics alone are never enough. Busy sales teams need alerts and notifications to take action on insights—which Qwilr delivers in spades.

4. The buyer has a great experience

Often, we’re so busy polishing the proposal and making sure all the details are right, that we don’t stop to ask what the customer thinks about it.

Yet their experience—from the moment they receive the proposal to the way they share it with stakeholders and extract key information from it—is critical. A great experience goes a long way towards helping seal the deal.

Look for a proposal tool that helps you add a personal, professional touch. For example, you could add a Loom video to the intro, with a personal welcome from your CEO; or a video in the product section explaining the nitty-gritty of your offer. Tricks like these help you control the narrative, while also bolstering that crucial first impression.

You could also embed a link to your calendar in the proposal. This way, if the customer has questions, they can easily and immediately book a session with you.

Finally, with a tool like Qwilr, you could consider customizing the proposal while on a live video call with the customer. It’s a great way to show how collaborative, flexible, and easy to work with you are—and it feels a lot less like they’re being sold to.

5. Sign and pay in the proposal

Closing the deal should be simple. Ideally, you’ll want to collapse multiple steps in your sales process into one—combining the sign-off, agreement, quote, and payment into one interactive page.

Look for software that makes it easy for multiple buyers to co-sign using electronic signature, and for payments to happen at the point of signing.

6. Automate as much as possible

To streamline your internal processes, your proposal software should integrate with the tools and systems your teams already use—such as your CRM. And the integration should be easy.

In just a few clicks, you should be able to get your proposal software and your CRM talking to each other. Then, the software can map to CRM fields and pull key customer information into proposals with 100% accuracy. It’s a huge time-saver. Plus, it mitigates the risk of error.

If you don’t use a CRM, you'll want to make sure data input is still fast and accurate. If there’s information you want populated automatically into a proposal, ask each vendor what options they have. For example, at Qwilr, we have a form that pops up every time a proposal is created from a template. The data entered in the form then populates the relevant fields in the proposal. It’s that easy.

Another advantage of automation? Notifications. With the right proposal software in place, you can receive alerts when a proposal is viewed or signed. This way, you know your deals are moving in the right direction, without having to rely on a human to check in on the status of every proposal.

Pro tip.

As well as sending notifications when stakeholders engage with your proposal, Qwilr can also send you an alert when a customer becomes disengaged.

a screenshot of an email that says accept process stalled

This way, you know you’re losing momentum on the deal and can take proactive steps to pick things up again.

7. Perfect your pricing

Let’s face it. The success of your proposal often comes down to pricing. Yet, for too long, pricing has been relegated to boring quotes or tedious spreadsheets.

Get your pricing right, and you can win over more customers.

Look for proposal software that offers interactive pricing and flexible fields for you and your customers to play with. This way, buyers can take control—choosing package A or B, exploring add-on services, and really understanding what’s on offer.

To build trust and help you stand out from the competition, make your pricing dynamic, visual, and easily digestible. With Qwilr, for example, you can easily add quotes or interactive pricing plans—drawing directly upon accurate data from your CRM. You can also upsell buyers with add-ons while you’re there.

8. Keep everything super secure

Your proposals likely contain a lot of sensitive business information. It’s why you need proposal software that takes security seriously, and offers multiple ways to restrict access to proposals once they are ‘live’.

For example, you should be able to set permissions for who can view your proposal and how many times they can view it. You should also be able to set expiry dates, limit access to specific domains, and more.

About the author

Tania Clarke, Head of Product Marketing

Tania Clarke|Head of Product Marketing

Tania heads up product marketing at Qwilr – looking after positioning, sales enablement, competitor intelligence and more. Tania brings experience from former roles at high growth startups like Atlassian and Safety Culture.