How Proposal Automation Software Can Enhance Sales

September 23, 2021 by Srikanth PV

Have you wondered if there is any correlation between the use of a proposal management software and your sales effectiveness?

Before getting into the specifics of business proposal automation software, let us ask a foundation question!

What does proposal management cover?

Wow, that is a lot of work, right?

Imagine your organization pursuing a multi-year customer deal worth five million dollars that includes design consulting, software/engineering development, and implementation across six global locations.  Assuming that this deal is a ‘qualified opportunity’, you would have teams from multiple business functions as well as locations collaborating to put together a ‘winnable proposal.’ 

Let us do a deep dive to understand the complexity involved.

  1. Forecasting revenue involves multiple external factors over which, your enterprise may have little control.  The forecasting model must consider different probabilities, sensitivity analysis, as well as new ‘unknowns’ that could creep at a later point in time. 

    Pain Point: Most teams rely on simple spreadsheets to perform complex analysis that is time-consuming, inefficient, prone to manual errors, and lack traceability for analyzing revisions.

  2. Estimating resources, costs, and margins is no different.  The customer deal may need global project teams with different skills & competencies and cost structures.  Further costs such as travel, specific tools/software, and general overheads are estimated in an inconsistent way by different teams.  Missed/inaccurate overheads could offer a sense of false deal profitability.

    Pain Point: Disconnected HR systems for resource identification and reliance on spreadsheets is akin to opening the Pandora’s Box of data integrity.

  3. Proposal creation is a herculean task with numerous sections incorporating RFP requirements such as company overview, products & solutions capabilities, comparison with competition, key differentiations, prior projects delivered, risks foreseen, customer testimonials, pricing, team structure, governance mechanism, and others – not to forget that these need to be revised based on sales team’s inputs.

    Pain Point: Creating the proposal must be meticulous, time-consuming (including formatting), and with multi-layered organizational reviews.  Most teams struggle with Word documents and rechecks/inspections – increasing the turnaround time for a single proposal.

What do the above aspects mean from a Sales perspective?

In general, the sales team are under pressure to close as many deals as possible and – at the earliest!  The sales professionals are expected to know the pulse of the potential customer and the competition triggers and be agile and swift enough to internally collaborate with the proposal teams to incorporate ‘relevant aspects’ to ensure a winnable deal.

Easier said than done!

Pain Point: Converting an opportunity to a successful deal involves tremendous level of collaboration between the sales and proposal management teams.  Unfortunately, use of emails and shared documentation not only delays the process but opens the window to avoidable conflicts and more importantly – lost deals and market share!

The bottom line is now crystal clear!

How does a top-class Business Proposal Automation Software enable enhanced Sales?

  1. Industries are unique as well as the way deals are pursued and won.  Excellent proposal management software is built specific to the needs of the industry and further finetuned to the organizational standards, workflows, and business processes.  With this, a business proposal automation software digitizes and automates the complete process

    Sales Implication:  A proposal management software significantly speeds up the execution from opportunity creation to contract closure.

  2. Organizations pursue numerous RFPs (Request for Proposal), that are spread across the diversity spectrum of size, value, complexity, geographies, uncertainty, risks, and duration.  In this backdrop, the meticulousness and granularity of the proposals vary significantly.  An immaculate proposal writing software offers RFP response automation via proposal builder templates linked to deal value and complexity – aiding enhanced speed of proposal creation and revision.

    Sales Implication:  A proposal writing software enhances the speed of proposal creation and revision via RFP response automation.

  3. A best-in-class Proposal Management Software offers the ability to convert a proposal into a ‘mini-project’ with capabilities of scheduling and resource management (planning, allocation, utilization, release, time & expense reporting, etc.).  Doing so would equip decision-makers with insights related to the ‘cost of proposal management’ – thereby unearth inefficiencies and lower productivity!

    Sales Implication:  Powered by a proposal management software, plan and deliver winning proposals with the rigor of project management principles.

  4. An ideal Proposal Management Software comes equipped with inbuilt collaboration capabilities such as (a) workflows for deliverable review, acceptance, and signoffs, (b) informal mechanisms akin to social media platforms (c) document sharing and collaboration (d) managing virtual meetings and (e) rules-based escalations.

    Sales Implication:  Backed by business proposal automation software, seamlessly collaborate for faster sales decision-making.

  5. A bespoke Proposal Management Software supports creation of diverse contract types such as fixed price, cost plus, and time & material in a seamless manner.

    Sales Implication:  With a proposal writing software, the process of contract creation becomes breezy.

  6. An excellent Proposal Management Software comes with the ability to seamlessly integrate systems such as HRMS, SAP, and Accounting.

    Sales Implication:  One version of proposal truth supports high-quality decisions and better proposal outcomes.

The future of Business Proposal Automation Software is calling!

Concluding Remarks

TouchBase Proposal Management Software is designed for organizations and leaders willing to look at what the future holds!

Srikanth PV comes with two decades of global corporate and consulting background across industries with diverse roles including Strategy, Leadership, and Management. Currently, Srikanth is Head, PPM Content Management at ProductDossier focused on content management strategy aimed to empower customers create and enhance value through its flagship digital solution - TouchBase. Srikanth is also a former member of the Board of Directors of PMI Bangalore Chapter.