Today, in an effort to increase efficiencies, businesses turn to a variety of software covering everything from marketing automation to social-media-scheduling tools and CRMs—that’s how we GSD (get shit done) at New Breed. Let me tell you, these types of tools are crucial in helping us attract prospects, close customers and increase revenue and profitability.But back in December, as 2014 was coming to a close, I sat back and pondered where there was room for improvement in our sales process; where could I save time and be more productive? I thought about this as I was patiently awaiting an email from a new customer with his signed proposal (which had to be printed out, physically signed, scanned and emailed back). Then it hit me: sales-proposal software.
In this post, I’ll take you through my journey to finding the perfect sales-proposal software that was simple to implement and cost-effective, helping us increase productivity and provide additional insight to our sales process.
Why our sales team needed sales-proposal software
To be frank, our sales-proposal process was stuck in the 1800s. Well, maybe not the 1800s, but you get what I’m saying. It was outdated.
The proposal process was a back-and-forth wild goose chase. Our sales team would draft a proposal and send it over to our opportunities. They’d then have to print it out, physically sign it, scan it and email the proposal back to us. Then I’d have to track down Patrick, our CEO, to sign the proposal. Next, I’d have to scan it and email it back to the customer. It was wasting a lot of precious time for both the customer and us.
What we were looking for in sales-proposal software
These clearly defined pain points were the initial requirements we determined were needed of our proposal-software solution:
- Ability to sign documents online
- Proposal templates
- Integration with the Salesforce CRM
- Analytics based on viewer
- Easy to operate/implement
With all this in mind, I began my research.
My research began on G2 Crowd, an independent software-review platform. If you haven’t checked out G2 Crowd yet and you’re in the market for any kind of new software for your business, this site can definitely help.
On G2 Crowd, I was shown a variety of proposal software that I could compare based on:
- G2 Score
- Number of ratings
- Market presence
Based on high ratings in a combination of the categories, I choose a handful of solutions to pursue in greater depth.
In addition to G2 Crowd, I also used social media. Social-media presence is extremely important to me, regardless of the product or service I’m seeking. A company that is involved and engaged with its community typically signifies how much its staff cares about its customers. I checked out different tools, Twitter accounts and LinkedIn activity to see how responsive each company was and what type of content it shared (promotional vs. helpful). I wanted to be sure we were signing on with a company that cared about its customer experience and support.
Here is when I began to really dive in to the individual features and elements of each platform as well as scheduled demos. It was time to get a feel for what we'd receive.
Each software included a multitude of features and capabilities in streamlining the sales process. Below, I’ve outlined what I found to be the most notable elements of each.TinderBox Propose
- Sales-productivity tools that track data-driven proposals
- Ability to create personalized proposals
- Allows viewers to sign documents electronically anywhere in the world
- Embed documents into proposals
- Receive activity alerts when particular individuals are reviewing or signing a document
- Brand-specific themes and logos for proposals
- Content library to store and easily access sales documents
- Alter permissions and functionality based on roles
- Email delivery and tracking
- Drag-and-drop proposal builder
- Track proposal activity with email and SMS notification
- Sales-intelligence tools including a sales dashboard and proposal analytics
- Virtual signatures on any device
- Create estimate forecasts (including foreign currency)
- Organize content in your library, including proposal templates
- Manage your team by setting up workflows and segments
- Integrates with a number of CRMs (Salesforce, Highrise, Capsule, Insightly)
- A cloud-based proposal presentation and tracking software for sales, management and marketing
- Allows you to produce a high volume of personalized sales proposals
- E-signatures (using DocuSign)
- Integrates directly with your CRM (Salesforce CRM and NetSuite CRM)
- Tracking analytics that allow you to see who is viewing the proposal and how much time they spent looking at it
- Real-time sales reports
- Use of multimedia proposals
- Templates integrated with Google Docs
Why we chose TinderBox
From the beginning, I had my eye on TinderBox. Once I researched the software, I quickly learned that it had everything we needed and more. If the software hadn't (essentially) sold itself, then the attention and persistence of the sales rep would have. He showed a genuine interest in winning our business—something the other companies did not.
In terms of features, the Salesforce CRM integration was crucial and something in which TinderBox excelled. Our sales team has spent a lot of time building out our Salesforce. Additionally, pricing is automatically generated in proposals based on our pricing book in Salesforce. Not only is it Salesforce-friendly, it lives in Salesforce. No more switching between tabs.
At New Breed, we're extremely reliant on data. That being said, we yearned for a proposal tool that did more than make the sales process easier, also adding insight to our process. TinderBox has the ability to capture unique analytics for each individual the proposal touches. While the other software options included analytics, they were aggregated instead of individualized. With TinderBox, I'll be able to see exactly what the CEO and director of marketing are looking at rather than just "2 People."
When it came to the physical proposals and how they looked, TinderBox was the only software that allowed us to completely customize our templates. We were able to brand them with our logo and brand colors. Not only that, they built our templates for us based on our current proposals!
Overall, TinderBox was the most sophisticated option. It was invested and serious in making us a new customer. The software included all of the features we needed and then some. Most importantly, it didn't make our lives more difficult, even throughout implementation. Rather, TinderBox integrated seamlessly into our day-to-day responsibilities, simplified the proposal process and increased our productivity.