Proposal Automation – Everything you Need to Know

Written by Vanja Maganjic


All successful proposals are alike in so many ways, while all unsuccessful proposals are unsuccessful for a variety of reasons. In our experience, the 2 biggest factors that lead to unsuccessful proposals are not sending them quick enough and making them confusing for your clients.

The quicker you send your proposal to your client, the better your chances of getting the job are. That’s why it’s important to streamline the process and figure out a way to create high-quality proposals very quickly. 

Furthermore, proposal automation brings you a variety of integrations and improves your conversion rates through electronic signatures and payment integrations. When you combine all the benefits our software brings you with your understanding of your client’s needs, you end up with a bullet-proof business proposal. 

What is proposal automation?

Proposal automation entails using technology to help you in your proposal writing and sending process. Since proposal creation takes a lot of time, it makes sense to automate a part of the process. 

These are the tasks the salesperson can leave to the software, instead of doing it manually:

  • The creation of the proposal
  • Correcting any possible mistakes with proposal AI 
  • Creating custom landing pages for clients to view your proposals
  • Make sure the proposals get signed and paid
  • Helping with the follow-up process
  • Tracking your proposals 
  • Monitoring all the changes in the proposals requested by clients

Better Proposals offer a large number of proposal templates, which makes your proposal process so much easier. The proposals are customized to specific situations and come with a structure, text, and pictures. 

That already speeds up the process so much and helps your creative process since you don’t have to worry about creating a proposal from scratch and forgetting any segments. The pricing section is already formatted in a way that follows the industry standard and the social proof leaves room for praise as well as numbers and ROI. 

social proof

Furthermore, once you’re in the finishing stages of your proposal, you can use the proposal AI to better your proposal (see what I did there?). 

Proposal AI compares your proposals to other successfully signed and paid proposals and gives you tips on what you should change in order to send out a more engaging proposal. 

All in all, proposal automation describes automating certain steps, instead of the whole process being done with a single click. The trick is knowing which segments to focus on and which ones you should leave to AI. 

What parts of the proposal can you automate?

If you’re new to Better Proposals, I’ll let you in on a little secret, let yourself fall in love with our content library. It’s going to save you so much time and effort. The content library lets you save pieces of content in order to use them in future proposals. 

This goes for whole blocks of content, which can include pricing sections, CTA, terms and conditions, social proof, and more. All you have to do is click on the + button and select the piece of content you want to include. 

proposal structure

In the process of proposal writing, an important thing to automate is the signature and the payment process. You don’t want to send your clients PDFs back and forth and wait for them to agree to everything and sign the agreement only to have them scan the proposal and send it back. 

Just typing all of that feels exhausting. Better Proposals found a better way for the agreement process and have digital signatures incorporated into all of our proposal templates. 

We didn’t stop there, because we automated the payment process as well. All you have to do is connect your payment option (PayPal, Stripe, or GoCardless) and have your clients pay the first fee as soon as they agree to your proposal. 

The last part we want to focus on is the follow-up process. With Better Proposals, you’ll get to use proposal analytics which lets you know when your client opened your proposal, how much time they spent on certain sections, did they forward the proposal to anyone, and such. 

That makes your follow-up process easier since you’ll know what to shift their attention to, depending on the problem they appear to have. 

What should NOT be automated

When you look at the whole proposal process, the first thing is the discovery session. You shouldn’t automate that step of the process no matter the circumstance. 

The discovery meeting helps you build a relationship with your client and lets you get access to all the information you need in order to prepare your proposal. Don’t think that you can automate that step by creating a Google form with generic questions you can send to all of your clients. 

All of your proposals need to be unique in some ways and clients usually have different budgets, not to mention stories, needs, and goals. That’s why you should approach them as individuals in the early stages of the proposal process. 

discovery meeting
Source

Once it comes to the proposal creation, you really want to write the introduction (executive summary). That part of the proposal needs to be written in your client’s words, which is why you need to write original content for that step. 

Don’t use the introduction to talk about yourself, your company, and your team. Make sure that you focus on your client and the problem they’re facing as well as the solution you’re proposing in your proposal. 

Another part of the proposal writing process you shouldn’t automate is the process and timescales. Although you can use past proposals for inspiration, make sure your process for every client is customized and focuses on their specific needs and short-term as well as long-term goals. 

Some of your projects may have similar timescales, but even if you use the same outline for every proposal, make sure to make some kind of changes in order to customize the content. 

The pros and cons of proposal automation

Proposal automation comes with a lot of benefits. It makes the process quicker, enhances efficiency, and comes with an easier way to analyze your proposals. Saving time means you get to answer more requests for proposals and focus on the other parts of the process that shouldn’t be automated. 

Automation brings a huge benefit in the shape of consistency. Better Proposals puts a lot of focus on branding, white-labeling, and making sure that your proposals are customized and reflect your values and professionalism. 

With that being said, let’s talk about the downsides of proposal automation. If you don’t choose the right software upfront, you may spend a lot of time and effort on a proposal just to end up with a watermark you can’t remove, having to send it as a PDF, or having trouble customizing the proposal to your needs. 

That’s why choosing the right software to help you automate your proposal creation process is so important. Otherwise, you’ll end up doing to job twice and spending too much time on your proposal. 

Even with the right software, the key is to not go overboard. 

You should still put the effort into your proposals and make sure that the contents are great and serve a purpose. Don’t think that once you choose the right template and customize it to your needs you can send the same proposal to all your clients with similar needs. 

ProsCons
Speeds up the process of creating your proposalsCan cost you money and time if not done through proper channels
Makes them easier for your clients to signCan lead to generic business proposals if not done correctly
Helps you keep track of all your proposals
Makes the follow-up process easier
Gives you insight that can help your conversion rate

Conclusion

Automating your proposal writing process will not just speed up the process, but make your proposals better, look more professional and help you out in the follow-up process. The only choice you have to make is which software to trust with your proposals. 

Better Proposals offer a free two-week trial that will help you see why it’s the best choice for all your proposal needs. Our editor is easy to use and doesn’t require any design experience. 

We don’t leave anything to chance, which is why we use the data from successful proposals to help you in your writing process and give you tips. Everything we do is backed by data, meaning all you have to do is focus on your client and follow our proposal templates. 

About Vanja Maganjic

Vanja Maganjić is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.
Categories: Proposal Writing Tips