Proposal software

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Proposal software also known as proposal management software, proposal writing software,[1] or proposal automation software is a computer program designed to help users develop proposals, presentations, and responses to RFPs.[2] Proposal management software is becoming increasingly popular in companies that manage frequent and extensive proposal writing projects. Such software allows businesses to automate the more routine tasks while easily tracking multiple versions.[3]

Proposal software allows users to create and manage all important sales and marketing documentation such as business proposals, welcome letters, contracts, quotes, and marketing collateral.[4] Often available as a web-based cloud service, proposal software helps sales, marketing, and legal teams both administer the proposal creation process and communicate their needs through a digital document.[5] Many software applications integrate with CRM software, content management solutions, accounting platforms, and electronic signature providers. Some integrate with Microsoft Office and Office 365.

Proposal management software is considered to be a sales efficiency tool as it helps maximize every cross-sell and upsell opportunity by spending less time on creating and management sales documents and delivering timely and relevant information, when it's appropriate in the sales cycle of an opportunity. This means brand-compliant materials with the latest information on new products, on demand, based on the unique selling situation. In some cases, it’s argued that this software solution bleeds into an up-and-coming “sales enablement” software genre. However, proposal management software addresses inefficiencies and lack of visibility in the sales cycle, rather than “sales enablement” efforts defined as sales coaching and guiding the sale. [6] Forrester, a reputable sales, marketing, and business technology analyst firm, views sales enablement and efficiency tools, such as proposal management software, as the key linchpin required to help a B2B company bridge the gap between their business strategies and how they execute in the field. [7] Using sales enablement tools helps companies align their sales and marketing goals and provides a strategic plan for how the business should operate.[8]

Main features[edit]

The core features of proposal management software vary widely between systems. Many simpler programs have only basic features, while others, especially enterprise systems, are more complex and powerful. Proposal management software is a set of automated processes that may support the following features.[9]

  • Allow for a large number of people to share and contribute to both stored proposal templates and data;
  • Control access to proposals based on defined user roles (i.e., define information that users or user groups can view, edit, publish, etc.);
  • Provides multi-tier approval;
  • Facilitates storage and retrieval of proposals;
  • Control over data validity;
  • Simplify proposal writing;
  • Improve communication and collaboration among users;
  • Management of specific sections of a document;
  • Increased content and brand compliance;
  • Decrease in time to final assembly;
  • Track the time spent by various contributors, enabling management to calculate ROI of each document;
  • Provides the ability to electronically sign contracts, tax documents, and legal materials that are included in the proposal [10]

Data types and usage[edit]

Proposal software is frequently used for storing, controlling, revising, semantically enriching, and publishing documentation. Serving as a central repository, the proposal software increases the version level of new updates to an already existing file.[11]

A standard requirement for salespeople is to have a standard proposal that you can modify to meet the specific requirements of your customer or prospect. Simple cutting and pasting of boilerplate materials can make it easy to create good proposals.[12]

The software enables users to assemble individual components into a document structure. Some solutions offer uses a 'shopping cart' experience, where salespeople are able to select which content components to include in the final document.These components are then reused (rather than copied and pasted) within a document or across multiple documents. Data tags and smart content sections allow for automatic tailoring by client name, region or product selection. This ensures that content is consistent across the entire document set.[13]

"Proposal Generation" and "Sales Content Management" will reach mainstream adoption in less than 2 years, and that "Sales Performance Management" and "Sales Contract Management" will reach mainstream adoption in 5 to 10 years.[14]

Web-Based Proposal Management Software[edit]

SaaS or Web-based proposal management software require content to be imported into the system. However, once content is imported, the software acts like a search engine so users can find what they are looking for faster. The html format allows for better application of search capabilities such as full-text searching and stemming.[15]

Small Business system[edit]

Simpler proposal software tend to cater to entrepreneurs and small businesses looking for a one size fits all solution.[16]

Enterprise system[edit]

Enterprise software tend to offer more customized solutions intended to improve the enterprise’s productivity and sales efficiency by providing advanced functionality, robust business logic, and support functionality.[17]

Native File Format Proposal Management Software[edit]

Some proposal management software store documents in their native file format (Microsoft Word or Excel, PDF) while other web-based proposal management software are beginning to store content in the form of html.

Existing software are:

  • REQTIFY: works with documents, includes impacts analysis, intended for big projects for system engineering.
  • REQCHECKER: works with documents, intended for little/medium-sized projects, exists in free version.
  • QuoteWerks: works with documents, CRM and Accounting integrations, intended for SMBs, exists in free version.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ London, Jonathan; Lucas, Martin (2012-08-15). "Using Technology to Sell: Tactics to Ratchet Up Results" (Kindle Location 3451). Apress. Kindle Edition.
  2. ^ Canton, Michael. "Testing Out Proposal Automation Suites." EWEEK, 24 Apr. 2006. Web. 16 Aug. 2012. <>.
  3. ^ Brusaw, Charles T., Gerald J. Alred, and Walter E. Oliu. The Business Writer's Handbook. New York: St. Martin's, 1976. Print <>.
  4. ^ Sant, Tom. Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print., pg. 132-173
  5. ^ Murray, Jean Wilson. The Complete Guide to Writing Effective and Award Winning Business Proposals: Step-by-step Instructions. Ocala, FL: Atlantic Pub. Group, 2008. Print, pg. 14
  6. ^ Andersen, Kurt. "Why Sales Enablement Matters - CRM Magazine." CRM Magazine. N.p., 30 Apr. 2012. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.<>
  7. ^ Santucci, Scott. “What Is "Sales Enablement" And How Did Forrester Go About Defining It?, 14 Aug. 2010. Web. 01 Mar. 2013.<>
  8. ^ Lester, Amanda. "Closing the Gap Between Sales and Marketing Through Sales Enablement." TinderBox, 21 Feb. 2013. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.<>
  9. ^ Sant, Tom. Persuasive Business Proposals: Writing to Win More Customers, Clients, and Contracts. New York: AMACOM, 2004. Print., pg. 159-160
  10. ^ Lester, Amanda. "What Is Proposal Management Software" TinderBox, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. <>
  11. ^ Lester, Amanda. "What Is Proposal Management Software" TinderBox, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. <>
  12. ^ London, Jonathan; Lucas, Martin (2012-08-15). Using Technology to Sell: Tactics to Ratchet Up Results (Kindle Locations 3451-3454). Apress. Kindle Edition.
  13. ^ "Crash Course for Content Management: What is content management?". Vasont Systems.
  14. ^ Columbus, Louis. "Gartner Hype Cycle for CRM Sales, 2012: Sales Turns to the Cloud for Quick Relief." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 27 July 2012. Web. 18 Aug. 2012. <>.
  15. ^ Lester, Amanda. "What Is Management Software" TinderBox, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. <>
  16. ^ Lester, Amanda. "What Is Proposal Management Software" TinderBox, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. <>
  17. ^ Lester, Amanda. "What Is Proposal Management Software" TinderBox, 7 Aug. 2013. Web. <>