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Is Your Better Proposals Dashboard Calling for Maintenance?

Imagine driving a car that turns on the check engine light every time you hit a bump. The first time it happens, you go to a mechanic who tells you there's nothing wrong with the engine.

The problem goes away for a while, only to reappear a few weeks later. As time passes, you get used to this quirk your car has and learn to ignore the warning sign. That is, until one day your car just won't start.

Much like a car dashboard, your Better Proposals Dashboard should give you an accurate overview of your sales performance. You should be able to rely on it for task prioritization, decision making, and tweaking your sales strategy.

And while no lights start flashing when maintenance is due, leaving incorrect information sit there still isn't a good idea. It keeps you in the dark about the state of your business and warps your pipeline projections. But how do you know your Better Proposals Dashboard needs a bit of maintenance?

Clue 1: Document history

Right at the top of your Better Proposals Dashboard, you'll see a visual representation of all your documents in the past six months. There are two values to compare:

  • Document Value Sent
  • Document Value Approved
better proposals dashboard document value overview

Since all the documents you send end up in this overview, the data can be skewed if you're not on top with the maintenance part. For example, you could be sending a product catalog with an option to buy embedded at the bottom.

Since you've added a pricing table, every time you send this product catalog, it goes right into your Document Value Sent view. More likely than not, not everyone you've sent it to will end up completing the transaction. However, if you don't tell the system it didn't go through, the document still counts towards Document Value Sent.

Over time, this can make your Document Value Sent much higher than Document Value Approved. What's more, this also skews other data, such as the conversion rate and pipeline projections coming up next.

Clue 2: Overview

On the right hand side, right under Recent activity, you'll find a section called Overview. This tells you how many documents have not been signed and what your conversion rate is.

The conversion rate is calculated on the basis of all documents sent vs documents signed. Now, let's say you had a big client who needed a proposal. In order to make sure everything was perfect, you sent the proposal draft to a friend to look it over.

After finalizing the details and implementing some of your friend's suggestions, you sent the proposal to your client. They signed, you started working on their project. This was your only client for the month, but your conversion rate says 50%.

Next, you see that you also have one document that wasn't signed, and then you remember. You haven't deleted the proposal version you've sent to your friend and now it's interfering with your data.

Or, you sent a proposal to a huge company that informed you they were accepting the proposal via email. They've also sent over their own contract and paid you directly without any of it going through Better Proposals.

However, you forgot to mark the proposal as accepted. Since your Dashboard can't know about what happened outside the system, it still displays the document as not signed.

Clue 3: Recent documents

To the left of your Overview section, you'll notice Recent documents. These are all the documents you've sent recently that haven't been accepted yet.

From here, you can go to View all outstanding documents to get a Pipeline projection that will tell you both the total and the monthly values.

outstanding documents in better proposals dashboard

For example, you might have sent two or three proposals that didn't get signed. Those clients have told you they won't be proceeding with your services, so you know for a fact the deals aren't happening.

However, you haven't marked them as lost, so they're still sitting there, counting towards your pipeline projections. You also might have sent two different proposals to the same client. Now, your Outstanding documents show the same client twice, so you're no longer sure which proposal is which because you haven't added a description.

Telling your Better Proposals Dashboard what's going on

Your Dashboard should be the place you go to for a quick overview of how your business is doing. That said, it can only work with the data it has. If the data isn't accurate, your overview won't be accurate either. Here's what you can do to help your Dashboard help you.

1) Add descriptions to documents

In cases when you're sending the same document type to the same client, it can be difficult to just glance at the list and know what's happening. This is especially true when it happens in a short period of time.

For example, an agency might offer web design and PPC, but send a different proposal for each. One client might need both at the same time, so, naturally, the agency sends both proposals in the span of a few minutes.

When looking at Outstanding Documents, the agency now sees the same client and two proposals with two different price tags. Now, nobody except the people sending those proposals knows what this is all about until they go into each document.

better proposals dashboard without notes

To make sure everyone's in the know, you can simply add a description to your documents. Click on the document on the list and you'll see a box at the top of the screen.

adding a description to better proposals documents

Once you've added a description, it will appear below the client's name in the main Outstanding Documents view. That way, you're making it easy on everyone, especially if it turns out you need to follow up on one of the proposals.

display document descriptions in better proposals

2) Mark documents as lost

Sometimes, clients will let you know their plans have changed or they simply no longer have the budget for your services. In those cases, you don't want the proposals to sit in the Outstanding column since you know the deal isn't happening.

What you can do is mark the document as lost. Simply click on the document in the Outstanding view, then go to Options and click on Mark as lost.

mark documents as lost in better proposals

This will both remove the document value from your pipeline projections and send it into the Lost tab. Your client will no longer have access to it, but the document won't disappear from your account. That way, you can go back through your Lost deals later and check in with the clients to see if things have changed.

3) Manually approve documents

If you're making deals with huge companies, they'll often send you their own contract to sign. In these cases, you're simply sending a proposal so they can see if it fits the budget.

After it gets approved, all the signing and payments happen outside of Better Proposals. The result? Your document keeps sitting there outstanding, even though it isn't.

What you can do to make your pipeline look correct is to manually approve the proposal. Click on the document in the Outstanding list, navigate to Options, and click on Manually approve.

manually approve a document in better proposals

Once you've done this, your document value view will correctly display the ratio of sent and approved documents. In addition to that, your conversion rate will now also include the document you've manually approved.

impact of manually approved documents on conversion rate

4) Delete documents

Sometimes, you'll have sent a proposal to a client, only for them to contact you and ask for changes or extra work added. There are cases when this significantly changes the proposal, to the point where it's simpler to just create a new one from a template.

Other times, you might also be dealing with a difficult client who keeps stringing you along. You keep making changes to your offer, but it's simply never good enough. Eventually, you just want to part ways and not have to deal with them again.

In these cases, you might want to delete the outstanding document from your account. With client number one, you will no longer need the outdated proposal since the requirements have changed completely. With client number two, you aren't interested in reaching out in the future, so there's no point in keeping the document in your Lost tab.

To delete a document, just click on it and navigate to Settings. From there, click on Delete and neither you nor your client will be able to see it anymore.

delete a document in better proposals

By deleting a document, your Dashboard reporting gets more realistic as it no longer counts towards your Document value sent. It also disappears from your Overview section, no longer counting towards:

  • Your conversion rate
  • Unsigned documents
  • Pipeline total
better proposals dashboard document value

So, is your Dashboard in need of some cleanup?

If you're having to do mental gymnastics to remember which of the sections should be higher or lower, the answer is yes. Your Better Proposals Dashboard should give you an instant overview of the state of your deals.

So, take a deep breath, log in, and get your Dashboard up to speed on what's happening in your business. After you've removed the clutter, the correct metrics will take center stage, allowing you to make informed decisions quickly.

Psst! Want to know all the secrets to writing winning proposals?

Take our interactive quiz and level up your proposal writing game. Real-time feedback and tips included!

Patricija Šobak's profile image
Patricija Šobak puts her talent in spotting questionable grammar and shady syntax to good use by writing about various business-related topics. Besides advocating the use of the Oxford comma, she also likes coffee, dogs, and video games. People find her ability to name classic rock songs only from the intro both shocking and impressive.