Winning deals is the ultimate destination
“I don’t care about winning deals as long as my sales team is happy and has a steady flow of leads to work,” said no good sales executive, ever. All roads lead to winning deals—which translates into income, commissions, and job security for sales people.
There’s no question that investing in top and middle funnel sales solutions can help build and grow the pipeline, but when there isn’t a balance of investment in bottom-funnel tech, bottlenecks emerge, efficiencies fly out of the window, and deal velocity hits the brakes.
Would you run a marathon and stop short of the finish line? That’s the equivalent of building out a robust tech stack, but leaving proposal management software out of the mix.
According to a recent proposal management survey conducted by QorusDocs, 63% of respondents reported increases in their win rates from 2020-2021.
Sales capacity is not a bottomless pit
In a study cited by Forbes, sales reps are spending on average, only 36% of their time on revenue-generating activities. The most common time killers are chasing unqualified leads, going back-and-forth with prospects and internal staff for information, meetings, travel and a daunting amount of administrative tasks.
According to a recent sales productivity survey, sales reps are spending as little as 30% of their time selling:
- 32% spend 6-10% of their time in meetings to close business
- 37% spend 6-10% of their time in internal meetings
- 32% spend 11-20% of their time doing paperwork
- 31% spend 11-20% of their time servicing current customers
- 31% spend 20-25% of their time in discovery meetings
- 41% spend 6-10% of their time in sales training
Anyone who’s ever been involved in a proposal or RFP response knows that they can be a massive time suck for sales reps and their supporting team, taking almost 7 days to complete and up to 33% of a sales person’s time.
This sizeable time commitment is no surprise since proposal production involves a number of the biggest productivity killers including time searching for information, time attending meetings, and time spent on peer-to-peer interruptions and necessary collaboration.
Recent proposal management survey respondents decreased the time spent on proposal production by a shocking 53%, which means that teams could double their output capacity just by adding proposal management software to their tech stack.
Sales and proposal teams are drowning in documentation
From boilerplates to product descriptions, slide decks to system architectures, sales teams have to juggle a mountain of documentation to engage with prospects and ultimately close deals.
According to McKinsey & Company, people spend 19% of their time searching for and gathering information. And when it comes time to put it all together into a single customer-centric proposal, the content hunt and creation process can slow things down to a crawl when deadlines are looming.
68% of proposal management software users stated a core benefit was having faster access to the right content, and 92% of recent survey respondents believe that they deliver higher quality responses overall.
Proposal management software solutions serve as a repository of information and provide a way to categorize and organize content. Having deal-winning information at your fingertips not only saves time for everyone involved, but it provides easy access to current, branded, pre-approved materials proven to win deals.
That which gets measured, improves
Do you know how many people it takes to complete a proposal? How long it takes to turn a response around? How many revisions are involved? What percentage of RFPs your team is winning? How many RFPs you respond to in any given timeframe? How much capacity your team has? What content customers really read and interact with?
If it isn’t getting measured, odds are it isn’t getting better.
If the name of the game is to close more deals, you need to know what’s working and what isn’t in order to improve. Modern proposal management software comes with a host of insights from efficiency metrics to customer engagement activities, and everything in between.
Time is money
It’s pretty straight forward: streamlining proposal generation accelerates sales. Whether by monitoring the process to make sure team members stay on task, reducing errors, accessing up-to-date information, or having fully branded templates readily available, proposal management software leads to faster delivery.
Add artificial intelligence into the mix and you’ve got a solution that suggests content with higher win rates while slashing the time it takes to produce a response in half, if not more.
In a recent survey of proposal management software users, 76% of respondents believed that the software helped them decrease time spent on completing a response with an average improvement to deal velocity of 50%.
Integration is power
One of the most common complaints from salespeople is the lack of integration and connectivity between the different sales tools they use every day. At the best of times, this just creates tedious inefficiencies throughout the work day, but when it’s time to merge all your sales efforts into a single, high-value proposal intended to land “the big deal”, connectivity is mission critical.
In a recent survey, some of the biggest problems proposal teams cited were:
- locating content
- collaborating on and sharing with others
- redeveloping content they were unable to find
- getting the right inputs, approvals and signatures
Creating winning proposals is all about connections. From CRM to CMS systems, to analytics software and communication tools, proposal management software seamlessly integrates with your everyday applications, helping teams be more productive.
Cue the killer proposal
As cliche as it is, you only get one chance to make a first impression. If your team has done their job well, odds are they’ve developed a good relationship with prospects, and have methodically moved their deals through the sales process before you put a proposal in front of a would-be client. But all of a sudden, there are four new people on the receiving end and no one has nurtured those relationships before now. Cue the killer proposal.
According to Gartner, “The typical buying group for a complex B2B solution involves six to 10 decision makers, each armed with four or five pieces of information they’ve gathered independently and must de-conflict with the group.” The last thing you want to do is give someone a reason to eliminate you from the running.
A well designed and presented proposal makes a better first impression, period. Even if every reader is “on your side”, badly articulated value props wrapped in a boring, low-impact shell of a proposal will surely add friction to your late stage opportunities.
Accurate, on-brand, content-rich and engaging proposals are what win deals in today’s market and proposal management software is your secret weapon.
Tear down those walls!
How many people does it take to write a winning proposal? Like most things, the answer is it depends. Typically, the larger your organization, the more people who get involved in proposal production.
Some organizations have bid teams, while others manage the process within the sales organization. Either way, there are usually a minimum of 5 people involved, with an average of 28 people for enterprise organizations.
From sales to marketing to product teams, there are different contributors with competing priorities. SMEs, designers, copywriters, and approvers all have a hand in getting a proposal out the door and without a well-organized process that is closely monitored, it’s easy for the proposal production train to quickly go off the rails. Many liken the process to “herding cats”.
Not only does proposal management software hold people accountable and enable cross-functional teams to work in harmony, but the collaboration leads to a more customer-centered and solution-oriented output.