Don’t use Excel for sales proposal generation. There’s a better solution for your quotes.
When you’re trying to design the perfect sales quote, chances are you begin like many of the rest of us sales people do: “let’s see what Google has to say about it.”
What you’ll find is that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of companies offering hundreds, if not thousands, of free quote templates. And if you download one, you’ll also find that you get what you pay for. (To be blunt, most of these proposal templates are not worth the kilobytes they consume, the digital version of “not worth the paper they’re printed on.”)
Proposal automation software makes these kinds of searches completely unnecessary as it can come complete with pre-configured sales quote templates that have all the elements in place, and — more importantly — are YOUR templates reflecting and building your brand, while you properly set customer expectations.
Here are three simple ways to improve sales quote design and efficacy by using proposal automation software.
Targeted from top to bottom
There’s a phrase marketers use when dreaming up campaigns to sell a product or service: make sure the party matches the invite.
If what you’re selling is IT security services, for example, you’re not going to send an overly colorful sales proposal with copy in it about “realizing your dreams.” Your sales quote is going to be simple and straightforward. Colors: maybe one or two (ideally, that reflect what you have in your logo). Words: nothing but the facts. We’re talking about security, so be direct.
Ensuring that your sales quotes are “invites that match the party” is far easier if you’re using a proposal automation software solution pre-populated with vertically targeted and on-brand templates. Not only can the software help you create better proposals and a better customer experience, but it can improve the speed with which you create and send proposals.
Centralized product & pricing configuration
Let’s keep that “party/invite” idea rolling: most every party you go to is, in some way, preconfigured: e.g., birthday parties have cakes and goodie bags and you bring gifts; NYE parties have booze, and lots of it.
The party that you’re hosting is your products and services; the invite is your proposal. Most proposal automation software is built on a product and pricing configuration engine that lets any rep — regardless of how well they may know your product line — populate every proposal with the ideal products and pricing for both the customer’s needs and your bottom line.
These configurations, and reps’ permissions, are centrally administered, which means you have control over what any given rep puts into any given proposal. You can also tie certain proposal templates to certain product and pricing configurations, thereby always ensuring “party” and “invite” are a match.
In sales, things change, and fast. Sometimes, Joe Salesguy in location X will be in the middle of creating a proposal selling Widget A at the lowest possible price. But earlier that day, Steve Salesperson in location B did a very similar proposal finding that Widget A could be sold for higher margins as part of a bundle.
With a sales quote automation solution, you can in effect, make a mid-stream adjustment to a proposal, adjust its pricing on the fly and always be certain you’re getting the best possible margins on all your products.
Too often, products and pricing and the sales analytics tools we use to further and better understand a sale are discussed retroactively: “If only we’d known the customer would have paid 20% more, we would have offered the bundle in Joe’s proposal.” But with proposal automation software as part of your sales quote process, you can make changes in real-time to improve both closing rates and returns.
So make sure your party is all it can be (targeted, optimized products and pricing) and that your invites (targeted, optimized, and branded sale proposals) both capture customers’ attention and let them know what they can expect when they reply “Yes.”
The Importance of High Quality Visuals in Business Proposals