Several years ago, I helped an associate establish their own digital agency that targeted local hospitality businesses and assisted with their sales process.
We would spend weekends walking into restaurants to pitch our social media and reputation management services to business owners who were too busy or afraid to post content on Facebook and respond to Google reviews.
“Send me a proposal,” these proprietors would suggest.
Unluckily for me, writing is my forte. I spent my nights crafting dozens of proposals that included sloppily cropped logos (common, it was before Canva was a thing!) and numbers that didn’t add up after my head started to explode from the extensive research, wordsmithing, and costings involved in creating perfectly tailored pitches.
And then we would play the waiting game.
Are they going to get back to us? Did they even open our proposal email? How do we keep track of the 50-odd submissions we made over the weekend?
It was a daunting part of agency life, so when Vendasta unveiled its new innovative sales proposal software, Proposal Builder, at Conquer Local Connect, I couldn’t help but be gobsmacked. I wondered just how much easier this software would have made the sales process back then!
In this post, I’ll explain the benefits of Vendasta’s Proposal Builder, explain the steps involved in generating a proposal, and offer tips from agency owners on writing better proposals (and closing more deals). You can also take a video tour below.
Proposal Builder overview
Proposal Builder is a new innovation launched within the Vendasta platform designed to help B2B sellers generate slick and customized proposals quickly. It’s included in every Vendasta subscription at no extra cost.
Compared to the traditional way of sending business proposals (within Word or PDF documents, for example), Proposal Builder provides a range of benefits including the ability to:
- Auto-populate a prospect’s information using existing data in the Vendasta platform
- Customize pre-built proposal templates
- Leverage high-quality templated marketing content for the 250+ products in the Vendasta Marketplace directly from their vendors
- Pull in products with your retail pricing directly from Marketplace
- Easily track a deal’s progress with real-time notifications and inline messaging
- Book orders and collect payment directly from an approved proposal
- Incorporate content from our sales intelligence tool, Snapshot Report (coming soon)
Unlike other sales proposal software, Proposal Builder is fully integrated with Vendasta, so prospect details in your CRM and any custom pricing packages you’ve created will be pulled from the same platform. This will save you time and money, while reducing the risk of inaccuracies that is present when data is sourced from external systems.
Top tips to use Vendasta’s Proposal Builder effectively
While sales proposal software like Vendasta’s Proposal Builder makes it easier and faster to submit a proposal compared to outdated options like Microsoft Word or dedicated software that lacks integration, it’s critical to remember that timing is everything.
Below are useful tips from Vendasta’s Trusted Tester panel, who put Proposal Builder through the wringer before its launch, on writing better proposals, tailoring proposal templates, and closing more deals.
The proposal should be the final step of the sales process
If you haven’t gained a prospect’s trust then don’t send them a proposal, urges Dane Whitney, Director of Marketing at WikAds in Kamloops, BC, Canada.
“The proposal should be the last stage of the buyer journey. B2B sellers should be putting in all the building blocks first, in terms of building a relationship, prior to sending it,” says Dane.
Fredericksburg, Virginia-based Janine Kristina, CEO of Mobi9 Tech agrees. She adds that B2B sellers should have had numerous conversations with a prospect and exposed them to a nurture or drip campaign before submitting a proposal.
“Before I sit down and create a proposal, I’ve made a list of what I’m going to offer them as I’ve already spoken to the client and taken their needs into consideration. That makes it much faster to create a proposal and helps you speed through the sales process,” explains Janine
Call prospects to close the deal after submitting a proposal
“I jump on the phone and ask them ‘Did you get my proposal? Would you mind going ahead and approving it?’ and I find that to be really effective in closing deals,” she says.
Customize templates to save time
Manaraze also encourages new users of Proposal Builder to save time by setting up permanent proposal templates with the exact wording and other variables they want rather than copying across pre-built templates and constantly editing individual sections.
Create better proposals by split testing
Split or A/B testing, the practice of sending different content to similar groups of recipients, is a boon for marketers in learning more about user behavior. So why not for B2B sellers?
In order to develop better proposals, Whitney says sales processes should incorporate split testing methodologies to similar categories of prospects to see what messaging sticks better.
“We’re split testing our messaging in Proposal Builder to see what wording, phrasing, and the way we present our value proposition in the ‘about us’ section to similar businesses in similar industries resonates more,” he says.
“Before Proposal Builder, I wouldn’t have had time to do that kind of stuff.”
Steps for creating proposals with Proposal Builder
Proposal Builder is available to all of our Channel Partners in the Sales and Success Center (SSC). Follow the steps below to generate a proposal within minutes.
1. Log in to Sales & Success Center
Simply log in to SSC from the Partner Center via the Sales tab > Salespeople > Click on the “impersonate” button under a specific salesperson.
Once in SSC > navigate to the Proposal tab.
2. Pick a template from our library or build your own
You can use one of Vendasta’s many proposal templates or build your own. Our template library is continuously expanding to provide proposal formats and content tailored to specific applications, solution types, and business verticals.
Additionally, any page or widget can be saved to your content library for future use, meaning you'll have customized templates and components at your fingertips in no time.
That means you can eliminate the need to create and design manual documents within your sales process for every individual lead!
3. Automatically populate a prospect’s details
Select a recipient with a single click, and watch their details (and yours) auto-populate. Want to add more variables to further personalize your proposals or calibrate your proposal templates? Click the variables icon to find more options.
4. Add packages from the Vendasta Marketplace
Add products and packages directly from the Vendasta Marketplace to save time and ensure accuracy. Available information includes:
- Retail pricing: Display the selected products with their retail pricing set in your Marketplace. Edit prices within the proposal to provide custom rates.
- Flexible display: Edit everything from quantity and pricing to the brief description below product names, and show or hide the products included within a package to present your solutions as desired.
- Marketing content: Let the pros explain the value of the recommended solutions for you. Simply pull in templated marketing content from ActiveCampaign, CalendarHero, and other best-in-class solutions in the Vendasta Marketplace.
The integration of the Vendasta Marketplace with Proposal Builder helps to maintain a single source of truth for product details. When you update your offering in the Vendasta Marketplace, you can rest assured the details included in our sales proposal software will be accurate.
5. Send the proposal for internal review
For large or growing teams that require an internal review of a proposal as part of the sales process, Proposal Builder comes with review management functionality.
When a proposal is ready, simply select "Internal Review" when pressing "Send for" and select the desired reviewer from the dropdown presented. The reviewer will be notified by email and will be able to view, edit, and approve the proposal before you send it to the prospect.
6. Send and track the proposal
Before sending a proposal, view the order draft to fill in form details ahead of time and make it easier for your prospect to complete the purchase.
You will know when your prospect is ready to commit with Proposal Builder’s tracking and notification software, which lets you:
- See when and how many times a proposal has been viewed
- Get notified when comments have been left on the proposal
- Know when a proposal has been approved
7. Use in-app communication
Proposal Builder's comment window makes it easy for your prospects to ask questions or request revisions as they review a proposal. Real-time notifications of any new comments ensures you never miss an opportunity to impress future clients with a prompt response.
You can also use the "Private" chat to collect feedback and discuss details with your teammates separately from the correspondence with your prospect in the "Public" chat.
8. Issue an invoice after approval
An approved proposal is an approved order. Once products are added to a proposal's pricing table, an order is drafted.
The order remains in draft status and updates automatically to reflect any changes to products in the proposal right up to the moment it is approved by the recipient.
Once approved, you have an approved order in hand, ready for you to sell, bill, and fulfill in one place!
What are you waiting for? Start using Vendasta’s Proposal Builder today!
Ready to create and send better proposals that don’t take hours to write? Login to Partner Center and head over to Sales & Success Center to start using Vendasta's Proposal Builder today.