These products help create, store and manage proposals quickly and in an organized way. Businesses that need to draft and design proposals on an ongoing basis can save time and effort by using proposal management software. Most products come with a drag-and-drop interface that allows you to add images, text and videos to a proposal. Some products even come with templates that allow you to make recommendations for cross-selling and upselling. More advanced products have analytics features that let you track the performance of your proposals. For instance, you can find out how many times your proposal was viewed and what sections of your proposals attracted maximum attention of viewers. Read the full software guide...
Proposal management is a process that involves implementing specific techniques and actions in an effort to improve team collaboration and proposal quality.
Proposal management means setting standards and defining the process, planning and implementing the content, and coordinating reviews. This also means assigning the right people and coordinating their activities.
In today’s business environment, however, most proposal managers rely on proposal management software solutions to efficiently manage their techniques and streamline workflows.
Proposal management software, also commonly referred to as proposal software, proposal writing software, or proposal automation software, is a computer program designed to facilitate proposal management tasks. It helps users create and refine their proposals, presentations, and responses to RFPs (Request for Proposals).
Proposal management software solutions have become increasingly popular with most companies and organizations that manage recurrent and extensive proposal writing projects. These types of software applications allow businesses to automate some of the more routine tasks involved with proposal management while being able to easily track multiple versions.
Proposal management software solutions offer multiple functionalities, which include storing, revising, controlling, semantically enriching, and publishing documentation. As a central storage or repository, proposal management software solutions increase the version level of newer updates to an existing file.
A key requirement for marketing teams and sales professionals is to have a standard proposal layout or structure that they can easily modify to suit the specific requirements of their customers and/or prospects. A proposal management software solution will enable users to simply cut and paste boilerplate materials, making the process of creating proposals way more convenient and effortless. As such, the software solution is designed to let users assemble specific elements in a standard document structure. Some proposal management software solutions even provide a “shopping cart” function for a more convenient experience for customers. Sales professionals will be able to choose which components they wish to incorporate into the document content.
In addition, the content components may be reused, instead of just copying and pasting, within a single document or across multiple documents. Features like data tags and smart content sections enable automated organization by client name, product selection, or region, thus ensuring a more consistent content across the entire document database.
There are two main types of proposal management software solutions—web-based and native file format proposal management software.
Web-based proposal management software is a software as a service (SaaS) platform that needs to be imported into the company system. Once the content has been imported, the proposal management solution then acts as a search engine allowing users to find whatever they need quicker and easier. The HTML format makes for more effective application of search capabilities like stemming and full-text searching.
Web-based proposal management software solutions are typically available as both a small business system and an enterprise system. Small business systems are ideal for solo entrepreneurs and small businesses requiring a lightweight, one-size-fits-all solution.
The enterprise system, on the other hand, is more suited for medium to large businesses that require solutions that are more customizable. These types of systems are designed to help improve productivity and sales efficiency by offering tools and applications with more advanced functionality. They also generally provide more robust business logic and support functionality.
The native file format proposal management solution works exactly as the name suggests. The software stores documents and files in their native formats, which is in contrast to most web-based proposal management solutions today that are starting to store content in the form of HTML.
When choosing proposal management software, there are three main objectives any proposal management software has to do for it to be an effective and reliable solution.
First, the software solution has to be able to bring proposal writers together by providing a centralized collaboration functionality that effectively replaces the endless email back-and-forth. It also has to organize documents efficiently—i.e. one version stored in one place. Additionally, to improve collaboration, the solution has to make it so that assigning and tracking writers becomes quick and easy.
Second, the software solution should facilitate the management and visualization process. The solution should allow users to instantly see who is doing what, it should provide progress bars and summaries as a basic functionality, and it should allow for effortless ETA and automatic accountability.
Finally, the proposal management software should allow users to obtain the information they need anytime and anywhere. The software should have the ability to recycle past responses, it should be functional enough to track and compile every version, and it should have a comprehensive knowledge base or information database that is easy to search and access.
In addition to those fundamental components that every proposal management solution should possess, there are a number of key characteristics you should look out for when choosing the software for your business. Some of these features and capabilities are not always available in every software solution in the market.
As part of the fundamental components of a standard proposal software solution, collaboration capabilities should be one of the key aspects you look at. Therefore, a real-time collaboration feature is a good basis for choosing a software solution for proposal management. This is because the real-time feature further enhances and streamlines the workflows of collaborative teams.
One of the things that make a huge difference in proposal management solutions is the automation function. Most software solutions today in general, aside from just proposal management, come with automation features as a major part of their selling point. It just makes things a lot easier and more efficient, especially in a competitive and fast-paced business environment.
When you’re running any software solution, it being stable and secure is pretty important, regardless of the industry your business is in. The security features of the proposal management solution have to be robust enough to protect sensitive company information or to secure the organization’s database where most customer/client information is stored.
With this feature, users can essentially utilize the same content to update various documents. It helps teams to effectively maintain consistency in every proposal and document they create and send out to business partners, clients, customers, and so on.
Good proposal management software solutions, with all of their varying features and capabilities, present a multitude of benefits for small and medium-sized businesses and large enterprises. Among them is the fact this type of software can help reduce task completion time and improve efficiency for users by allowing them to quickly and easily locate common content.
Another benefit is the improved content management results in more accurate and very up-to-date proposal documents. As a result of the streamlined and guided proposal creation, developing proposals is actually quick and easy.
Proposal management software also assists in the creation of smart content, which brings tailored and more focused proposals—and that is what you want when trying to create professional and winning proposals. Finally, they also allow you to drive consistent and continuous improvement of your content through accurate reporting.
|API||Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.|
|Audience Targeting||Allows for audience segmentation, generally to tailor marketing or advertising messages to target specific user groups.|
|Contact Management||Manage large amounts of personal or business contacts in a centralized system.|
|Contact Sharing||Share contacts across teams or platforms to give access to others or to migrate address books across different systems.|
|Conversion Tracking||Track signups, purchases or user actions to measure the effectiveness of marketing or advertising campaigns. This is often used to optimize inbound or outbound marketing efforts and improve sales conversions through a range of online channels.|
|Customer Management||Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.|
|Data Export||Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.|
|Data Import||Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.|
|Email Integration||Integration with email clients or providers to create and send emails as well as view received emails within an application.|
|Expense Tracking||Track employee travel and other expenses to stay on top of budgeting requirements and reimbursements.|
|External Integrations||Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.|
|Inventory Tracking||Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.|
|Lead Management||Manage business leads to improve sales outreach processes or stay on top of prospect inquiries.|
|Lead Scoring||Manually or automatically assign quality scores to business leads to target / segment sales outreach efforts.|
|Multi-Currency||Support of different currencies for payments, accounting purposes, taxes, reports and more.|
|Multi-User||Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.|
|Notifications||Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.|
|Project Management||Manage projects from conception through the planning stage to delivery and post-project reporting phases. This allows organisation teams to organise resources, plan budgets and improve efficiency in the delivery of project objectives.|
|Supplier Management||Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.|
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