Sales proposal software can help your business create custom proposals quickly and efficiently — that way your sales team spends more time on closing leads and less time on creating proposals.

To do this, most online proposal software will usually give you a wide variety of proposal templates to choose from (e.g. business proposal, product proposal, etc.), along with e-signature capabilities. The idea is that your sales team can plug in the right data (like the price of your services), make branded proposals with the client’s logo, and send them out via email. Then the prospect can review the proposal, ask any questions they have, and esign on the dotted line.

But the reality of closing a sale is not that simple. Most sales teams see creating professional proposals as part of a continuing and evolving sales process, not necessarily the final step. The sales proposal is a living document where your sales team and prospects communicate with each other until a decision is made.

That’s why you need more than just a document template —  you need highly flexible sales proposal software that can adapt to your needs as you adapt to your clients’ requests.

Below, we look at 3 key features of the best proposal software, including the ability to:

  1. Create custom and compelling sales proposals (without spending hours upon hours for each proposal).
  2. Send proposals to your prospects (without having to worry about file size or losing control of the proposal the moment you send it out).
  3. Get insights and analytics into how your prospects use your sales proposal (to help you refine and improve your process).

With Bigtincan, you and your team can quickly create and share sales proposals with your prospects. Once shared, you can monitor your prospect’s engagement with the proposal and make changes as necessary. Book a demo today to see how Bigtincan can help your team

Feature #1: Create custom and compelling sales proposals at scale

It’s time-consuming to create sales proposals, especially because you will have variations in each proposal.

To create a compelling sales proposal that will help you close deals, you need to:

  1. Gather data from multiple sources. A sales proposal shouldn’t just be a quick pitch, but a detailed explanation of your pricing and services. To create a compelling proposal, you may need pricing information from Salesforce and inventory numbers from an Excel spreadsheet. Then you may need to supplement that more quantifiable data with product copy that’s kept in a Microsoft WordDoc. Tasking your sales rep with hunting down all of that information takes a lot of time that could be spent pursuing more leads.
  2. Make sure your information is correct. Making sure your information is correct can be as simple as double-checking that the prices you’re quoting are accurate. And it could be as tedious as making sure your services are compliant if you’re working within a heavily regulated vertical, like healthcare or pharmaceutical sales or an industry where you need to comply with OSHA regulations.

This is where using Bigtincan is a step up from most of the sales proposal software available.

First, there’s the proposal creation processYou can use Bigtincan’s document automation software to create your own templates that will allow anyone to quickly create customized sales proposals at scale. You won’t need highly specialized programming skills to use our proposal automation software. Instead, anyone with a good understanding of tools like Excel will be able to create sophisticated templates.

Note: A dedicated Bigtincan team will be available to walk you through the process, but many companies find they’re easily able to create any document template with minimal support.

To get started, you will need to decide which areas of the template you’re creating will stay the same and which areas will need to change with each client and during negotiations.

Then it’s time to build out the template with integrations to the data sources and information you need. Bigtincan makes this quick and easy because you can connect all of your company’s internal sales documents and data sources to Bigtincan. This includes CRMs like Salesforce and content libraries like Google DriveDropBox, Google Sheets, and much more.

Your sales team can access all of these files from one place using the Bigtincan search, so they don’t need to worry about moving files over to a new platform or copying and pasting the content they want. And, you won’t need to worry about metadata or rigid filing rules because the Bigtincan search functionality can find matches in any text (from titles to footnotes) — even text within a PDF.

This also helps keep your original document intact. For example, let’s say you update the terms of agreement for one of your proposals. When you make an update like that, just update the master doc, so now when your team accesses those proposal documents through Bigtincan, they’re getting the updated version. You don’t need to spend time sending out an email or making sure your team is using the right version of any document when they customize their sales proposals.

This is a big win for all teams, but especially if you’re working in a highly regulated industry like manufacturing or life sciences. Your compliance offices and managers only ever need to correct one document — the master document.

Document automation builder.

Then you’ll customize how your proposal looks. With Bigtincan, you can get granular with your details, customizing down to the pixel and the color code.

Now your sales team can easily create their own proposal, using the right documents, and having the tools needed to create a visually compelling (and professional) proposal. Every part of your proposal will represent your brand perfectly.

Once you have your proposal built out with the right information — and designed to your liking — it’s time to send it out to your leads.

Feature #2: Easily share your proposals

Generally, proposal management software works by having you send your proposals as email attachments. It seems like the most straightforward way of doing it, right?

But using email attachments comes with some big drawbacks.

  • You’re limited in what file size you can share. And even if you’re under the size limits, it can take a long time for your proposal to load.
  • Your lead could have issues opening or downloading the document. For example, not everyone has the software on their work computer or mobile device to easily open a CSV, PPT, DOCX (or some other file). And when they finally do get to open the file, there’s a chance the formatting isn’t right, which ruins the usability of your proposal.
  • You lose control of the proposal. Once you send your proposal via a downloadable email attachment, you lose control of the proposal. That means if you need to update the proposal, you need to make the changes on your master copy and send it out again. That’s a quick way to have several versions of the same proposal, messing up your internal organization.

Bigtincan solves these issues because you’ll share your proposals through a digital sales room (via a link to a microsite). This lets you send a document of any size or type, and it also lets you retain control of the document, even after your customer has opened it.

Let’s say that you sent a proposal but then your company updated its SLAs. Instead of having to update your master proposal and send out another copy, you can just update your prospect’s microsite.

There’s also another benefit to using Bigtincan’s microsite, which we cover in the next section — it gives you insights into what parts of your proposal are being actively viewed (or not viewed) by your prospects.

Feature #3: Get real-time insights that will help you optimize your proposals for more conversions

When you use Bigtincan to send out proposals through a microsite, you not only have the freedom to send files of any size while maintaining control over your proposal. You also get valuable insights into how your proposal was received/used by your prospect.

For example, with Bigtincan’s microsite, you can see:

  • When your prospect opens their proposal  — This can give you an idea of how “ready” or “invested” a prospect is in your services.
  • On what page did your lead spend the most time — If you have a prospect who spends most of their time on your pricing page, then you can reasonably deduce that pricing is a major factor for them. Or if you have a prospect who is spending most of their time on your length of engagement page, then you can better prepare for any questions that may come your way about engagement periods.
  • What pages did the lead skip altogether — If you keep sending out proposals and prospects keep skipping the same pages, you might want to take a close look at the information in those pages to discern if they’re really relevant to your prospects.

These are just some of the valuable insights that your sales team will benefit from when using Bigtincan. You can also view various metrics and data to help you monitor engagement throughout the entire process — from initial contact to sign-off.

Customer engagement report.

Here’s a real example of how one of our customers, The Economist, uses these tools to help their sales team close more leads.

The Economist has a relatively small marketing team, so it’s practically impossible for them to be on every proposal call or in the middle of every sales pitch. And when they do reach out to a prospect, they want to go in armed with information.

By using Bigtincan, The Economist’s marketing team gets valuable insights into how their proposals are working, even though they aren’t present for them.

  • They get notifications when a prospect has opened a proposal. This lets them know when they might want to have a dedicated sales rep reach out to a prospect.
  • They get notifications on what slides of the proposal are getting the most attention. Their marketing team can now follow up with their prospects without being in the dark. Their small sales team can be more effective because when they follow up with a prospect they already have their talking points ready to go.

Bonus feature: Monitor audience engagement during live, online proposal presentations

Above we looked at the benefits of using Bigtincan when sending proposals directly to your prospects. But sometimes, a sales rep will present a proposal over a video call. Typically, most teams will have their sales rep schedule a call over Zoom or Skype. Then that sales rep will share their screen and go over the proposal.

But video conferencing tools like Video or Skype don’t do anything to help your sales team close leads.

With Bigtincan, your sales team gets web conferencing software that’s designed to help your team close their leads.

Specifically, when sales team members use Bigtincan, they get alerts when a meeting participant loses focus. This could mean your prospect is looking through their emails or fidgeting with other browsers. Knowing when you’ve lost your audience is key for saving a proposal.

Our web conferencing software is also a powerful way to offer continuous training to your sales staff — by monitoring active engagement from their prospects (and recording and storing all calls), your staff can see whether or not their proposals are correctly catered to their audience.

Plus, your sales staff can find any tools/resources they need while they’re on a call.

Let’s say during a proposal, your prospect asks about your company’s track record with OSHA. Your salespeople may not know that information off the top of their heads. But the good news is that they can find that information in Bigtincan, even when they’re in the middle of a sales call.

Your rep simply opens an off-screen window (that only they can see) and types in what they’re looking for. Alternatively, they could use the Bigtincan app to find information using a mobile device. They don’t need to know the exact title or even where the document is hosted. Because all of your platforms are connected to Bigtincan, your staff will be able to find what they’re looking for.

Next Steps: Start making better proposals with Bigtincan

Plenty of sales proposal software will give you some tools to edit proposal templates, send out the proposal by email attachment, get electronic signatures, and call it a day.

But those features on their own don’t save you as much time as you’d think. To create a sales proposal, you need to gather a lot of information that’s stored on disparate platforms. Then, once you send out your proposal, your job isn’t done. Instead, you’re entering the new phase of working closely with your prospect to close the sale. This could mean updating the proposal, answering any questions, and getting on a sales call.

Bigtincan helps you simplify the entire proposal process, from beginning to end to streamline your workflow. It’s an all-in-one content management tool that saves you time by letting you easily find the information you need to create a sales proposal. Then you can send it out to potential clients and monitor how they’re engaging with your proposal.

To see how Bigtincan can help you with your sales proposals, book a demo today.