Proposal software helps sales professionals create and manage sales documents, such as business proposals, more efficiently. Companies that use proposal software send more offers, faster, and have higher win rates. In this article, we answer the question 'what is proposal software?' and help you understand how it can transform the way you do business.
Let's set the scene
Put simply: Sales teams that use proposal software are more efficient and more successful.
In fact, teams that use proposal software can improve revenue by up to 12% each year.
And yet, a third of all sales teams do not use proposal software.
We surveyed sales professionals at SMBs and mid-market companies and found that 33% of B2B sales teams are not using a proposal software solution.
One-third is a lot. But are sales teams missing out?
In our opinion - yes, they are!
After all, companies that use proposal software:
- Send out more proposals
- Get higher win rates
- Hit their targets and increase revenue
So let's take a closer look at how.
What is proposal software?
Proposal software is a tool that can help you and your sales team manage the entire business proposal process.
Whether you’re responding to RFPs or issuing proposals directly to prospects, the best proposal software offers a full suite of features to help you with things like:
- Proposal creation - Giving you all the tools you need to create beautifully branded proposal documents that are customized to the needs of each prospect, whilst ensuring all the pricing and product information is always consistent.
- Proposal management - This includes internal sign-off features before you send the proposal to customers, as well as activity tracking to help you see when prospects have read the proposal, and e-signature technology to help you close the deal in record time.
- Data Integrations - Making sure that your proposal activities don’t become separated or ‘siloed’ from the rest of your business development activities, you should expect any proposal software you choose to include a number of flexible integration options (for example, GetAccept has 500+ integrations).
The big benefit of using proposal software to manage your proposal process is making your team more efficient while at the same time improving your close rate.
"Before we adopted proposal software, creating proposals was hard and manual. It required hours of paperwork, spreadsheets, and word processing. A time-consuming, error-prone maze that was totally inefficient”.
Draven McConville, CEO and Co-founder of Klipboard
Who is proposal software for?
Think proposal software is only suitable for large Enterprise-level companies based in the US?
Nope. And here’s why.
Research shows that companies of all sizes have similar results when it comes to using proposal software, with Enterprise companies seeing a 46% close rate, Mid-market companies seeing a 45% close rate, and Small companies seeing a 42% close rate.
Not only can small companies benefit from using proposal software in the same way that much bigger companies can, but they also benefit from a fast-tracked return on investment as well - with at least 40% of small companies seeing ROI in under 6 months.
“Once we started using proposal software, things changed. We slashed the time it took to make proposals by 40%, sending out a quarter more each month, while our win rate went up by 15%”.
Campbell Tourgis, Executive VP of Sales at Wainbee
Proposal tools are ideal for almost any B2B company that uses proposals as part of their sales process - either directly or through RFPs.
However, there are some industries that GetAccept works particularly well with.
- IT & Tech - Enabling digital-first proposal workflows in this fast-moving sector.
- Telecoms & Media - Giving your prospects options to review and sign on mobile.
- Staffing & Recruitment - Spend more time on placements and less on proposals.
- Real Estate & Brokers - Collaborate with buyers, sellers, brokers, & realtors to close deals.
- Wholesale & Retail - Transform how you interact with customers to boost closing rates.
- Transportation & Logistics - Stop proposals from becoming a logistical nightmare.
- Consulting & Professional Services - Secure, streamlined, & professional client proposals.
Above all else, though, proposal software is built for B2B sales teams who want to create a series of high-quality, scalable, and efficient workflows in their sales process - using it for RFPs, proposals, and CPQ.
Proposal software for your RFPs
An RFP, also known as a ‘Request for Proposal’, is where an organization outlines a product or service they’re looking to procure and invites companies to submit their bids as part of a business proposal.
While you may have some opportunity to engage with a company issuing an RFP, it's typically heavily policed and often limited to very standardized ‘information gathering’ sessions, or even a simple email clarification of any questions. This makes gaining rapport with prospects more difficult.
RFPs are typically used by large organizations looking for suppliers for high-value products or services, and so often, they are highly competitive as a result. This means you need to do everything you can to impress the prospect.
Using proposal software to create a highly polished proposal and offer a professional experience throughout the review and close processes is sure to put you ahead of the competition.
“Proposal software has numerous advantages when it comes to the RFP response process. One reason we use it is to prevent RFP response team burnout - which can be common amongst teams tasked with repeatedly delivering high-quality proposal responses”.
John Pennypacker VP Sales @ Deep Cognition
Create business proposals to win over your prospects
Proposals document the pain points expressed by a prospect during discovery calls and present your company’s solutions.
Compared to RFPs, where there is typically limited contact with a prospect before a ‘response’ is submitted, proposals provide you with an opportunity to build a good rapport.
By using customization and personalization tools in your proposal creation process, you’ll be able to create a winning business proposal that not only stays true to your brand, pricing, and product information - but also reflects the exact needs of your prospect, reinforcing the good work you’ve already done during previous conversations.
Most prospects will be collecting proposals from at least 3 vendors during their procurement process, but if you get to the proposal stage, it typically means you have a strong chance of closing the deal.
This means it’s important to not only clarify all the information you’ve discussed with the prospect to show you truly understand their needs - but also to offer a seamless and smooth process for them to review and approve your proposal.
Proposal software as part of the CPQ process
If you’re conducting sales at scale, you may also benefit from using the capabilities of proposal software to help you manage your CPQ - configure, price, quote - processes.
Typically an ‘Enterprise’ function, CPQ gives sales teams the opportunity to fast-track the proposal process by offering quotes instead of full proposals.
This can be most beneficial when working with existing customers who are looking to increase their account spend through additional products or services.
So now you’re clear on who proposal software is for, let’s take a closer look at the types of people in your company who will benefit from using it.
Proposal software use cases
As part of our research into the impact of proposal software on B2B companies, one of the things we looked at was the types of role where it's used.
There are typical use cases from members of the sales team that you might expect, but did you know that proposal software also has touch points across most organizations?
Typical use cases for proposal software
- Account executives - Incentivised to close deals, AEs need proposal software to help them reduce the amount of time they spend producing proposals, as well as to create personalized buyer experiences to close more deals.
- Sales Leaders - Tasked with managing the sales team in order to boost revenue growth, sales leaders have an interest in using proposal software to improve the overall close rate. Sales leaders also use the metrics provided by proposal software to analyze the gap between top performers and everyone else.
- Sales Operations - Focused on maximizing the efficiency and productivity of sales teams, sales ops professionals choose proposal software to help them generate 30% more revenue by leveraging sales automation and improved data integrity opportunities.
Additional use cases for proposal software
As part of our online sentiment analysis research, we also looked at the types of people who shared their views on proposal software and their role within a company.
We then broke those specific roles down into relevant categories to help you get an ‘at a glance’ view of just how far the impact of proposal software can spread across a company.
As well as the typical sales use cases, our research also highlighted that professionals in multiple departments would come into contact with proposal software.
This cross-company approach even filtered up to the Executive level, with 24% of people we spoke to about proposal software operating at Director, VP, or C-suite levels.
Other use cases across your organization that you might not have considered include:
- Executives - Always keen to understand company performance, particularly in terms of revenue, Executives can use the proposal tracking and metrics features to understand how effective their sales team is. On top of this, particularly in smaller companies, executives can often be involved directly in the proposal process.
- Marketing - Tasked with making sure the right information is presented to the right people, marketing teams are involved with proposal software by ensuring that the brand is presented appropriately and consistently within the proposal templates.
- IT & Software - As part of their duties to ensure all systems are working seamlessly, your IT team will work to ensure that your proposal software is integrated into the rest of your IT infrastructure. This will help prevent data silos as well as be the catalyst for further efficiencies in productivity.
Now you know what proposal software is, who it’s for, and the use cases you can expect to find in your organization, let’s take a closer look at some of the key features you should be looking for in your next proposal software.
Key features of proposal software
Because proposal software offers a powerful solution to help companies with both proposal creation and proposal management processes, it means it has a number of exciting features you can take advantage of, including:
- Proposal and contract management to help you centralize the entire process
- Drag-and-drop editor to help make your proposals faster
- Electronic signatures to help you close the deal, quickly
- Proposal analytics so you can see who viewed your proposal and what they saw
- Buyer engagement features to keep your proposal front of mind with prospects
- Custom branding options to bring your brand to life in your proposals
- 500+ integrations to put proposal management at the heart of your IT systems
The beauty of branded proposals
As part of our research, we asked a group of 11,000+ sales professionals from SMB and mid-market companies to share what their favorite proposal software features are.
We received a number of responses for features, including centralized pricing controls and e-signature, as well as proposal tracking.
However, the clear winner was branded proposal builder - cited as their favorite feature by an incredible 71% of the sales and business professionals asked.
So, what makes the branded proposal builder so well-regarded for so many sales professionals?
Using a proposal builder feature as part of your proposal software offers a number of advantages, including:
- Consistent branding to help your proposals look professional every time
- Easy customization to tailor proposals to the specific needs of prospective clients
- Easy to use drag-and-drop editing so everyone on the team can use it
- Centralized product information and pricing to keep your team on the same page
- Mobile-responsive proposals so prospects can view and accept ‘on the go’
- And much more….
Now you know some of the key features you can expect to find in proposal software - like GetAccept - what are some of the benefits you’ll see, and why should you use it?
Ready to get started? Try our free proposal templates!
Why you should use proposal software
There are a number of benefits of using proposal software.
For example, because sales can often be about speed, companies who use approval workflows to quickly seek internal sign-off on proposals can see a 12% uplift in sales.
As part of our research, we also asked respondents to tell us what they saw as the biggest benefit of using proposal software.
From speaking to sales professionals in SMBs and mid-market companies, we discovered 3 clear winners when it came to the biggest benefits of proposal software:
- Saving time / being more productive
- Boosting sales / improving win rate
- Tracking proposal views and metrics
However, if we break down each of the 3 biggest benefits, there are a number of additional benefits or outcomes within them that should be highlighted in order to give you the full picture of just how useful proposal software can be for your organization.
- Save time by using proposal templates to fast-track proposal creation
- Centralize all your sales information with content management tools
- Quickly adapt to customer requests to change documents or proposals
- Dramatically increase proposal submission by 10% or more
- Create personalized buying experiences to make a lasting impression on clients
- Ensure all documents are legally and securely signed with e-signatures
- Boost sales by being the quickest vendor with the best proposal
- Understand what your prospect is seeing by tracking proposal interactions
- Set automatic reminders to follow up with prospects on auto-pilot
- Seal the deal faster with instant proposal delivery and signature options
- Leverage AI to help you better estimate the closing probability
- View your team’s progress and track proposal metrics to improve future sales
One-third of sales teams are yet to discover the benefits of proposal software.
There’s a reason why 67% of sales teams use it to power their sales efforts.
It helps sales reps in companies big and small to close more deals and maintain a consistent proposal close rate of around 45%.
One company used proposal software to reduce the time it took to make proposals by 40%, which increased their win rate by 15%.
GetAccept as a proposal software provider
If you want to see similar results in your organization, sign up for a free trial and start using GetAccept’s proposal software today.
With GetAccept, you get access to:
- A content library full of proposal templates for any business
- Our proposal editor that lets you record personalized videos to go along with your proposal
- Insights to see who’s received the proposal and, more importantly who’s read it
- 500+ integrations, allowing you to send proposals directly from your CRM
- And much more…
Try GetAccept and start sending high-quality, personalized proposals at scale, while ensuring a seamless experience that’ll help you turn more prospects into customers.