5 tips to perfect your technology sales quote and proposal

Posted:
02/19/2020
| By:
Parker Trojanowski

A comprehensive sales quote contains more than just a list of products and services. Expert quotes carefully balance content and design elements, presenting your organization as polished, professional, and prepared.

It’s vital to account for even the smallest of details, like the consistent placement of logos. But while attention to design detail is important, your top priorities are simple; making sure the quote is:

  1. Easy to read and understand
  2. Compelling enough to drive prospects to take action by addressing their needs
  3. Accurate and typo-free without taking too much time to get it out the door

If any sales proposal doesn’t live up to these standards, it shouldn’t be put in front of prospects. To ensure you send the right message to every potential client, here are some tips to help you master the art of the sales quote and proposal.

1. Make an exceptional first impression

When we think of first impressions, we often imagine them as face-to-face interactions. When it comes to new business relationships, however, the first impression prospects have of you is usually shaped by your sales quote.

Ensuring that your sales quote and all other proposal materials are unified and precise is integral to showing your professionalism and instilling trust. The trouble is, human error can get in the way and complicate your chances of achieving your goal—getting a sale into your customer relationship management (CRM) or professional services automation (PSA) platform.

An automated quoting tool allows you to minimize human error, generate efficiency, and create the best possible first impression, building the client’s trust from the get-go. The right tool can also help you nail down the design aspects of your proposal. Connectwise Sell®, for example, gives your business access to ready-to-use quoting templates that can be completely customized to your brand—even allowing you to create your own videos and images for a personalized, interactive experience.

Don’t underestimate the power of style to make a winning first impression. According to a 3M-sponsored study at the University of Minnesota School of Management, professional, visually appealing graphics increase your likelihood of success by 43%. If you can master both presentation and accuracy, your proposals will be irresistible.

2. Be quick to respond: the early bird gets the worm

When it comes to securing leads, speed matters. Unfortunately, this is something many organizations struggle with.

According to a study by InsideSales, the median first call response time to an inbound sales lead is three hours and eight minutes. It gets worse: the average time is approximately 61 hours—and 47% of companies don’t respond at all.

The researchers also found that 50% of buyers choose the vendor that responds first, which begs the question: why are so many companies letting opportunities slip through their fingers by taking forever to respond?

The truth is, even with so much technology on the market, many companies still rely on manual processes for sales proposals that harm their efficiency and bog down their lead response times. And manual doesn’t necessarily mean pen and paper. Even if you’re using error-prone spreadsheets to log sales data, you still need to start from scratch every time you create a new quote or proposal. That’s just not efficient—and it may be costing you sales.

Leveraging sales quote automation can make all the difference. These tools eliminate time spent manually pulling, compiling, and entering information from disparate sources and systems, bringing all the data you need to your fingertips, ready to be dropped into your template. This can save employees from spending hours on tedious and frustrating tasks, while allowing for much more timely and promising lead responses.

3. Include a personalized touch: people buy from people

At the end of the day, we’re all human. Emotion plays a large role in driving purchasing behavior, so appealing to the human on the other end of the business transaction will always be important.

In a world where virtual interactions are increasingly the norm, personalization can be a big differentiator for your quotes and proposals. The addition of a professional headshot, personalized video, recorded bio, or even just your direct contact information can nudge prospects further down the path to purchase.

Contrary to what you might think, automation and personalization aren’t mutually exclusive. In fact, humanizing your brand and adding personal touches is easier when you’ve freed up time by automating the logistical legwork. By leaving the repetitive work to the machines, you empower your staff to focus on building the human connection—helping you foster even stronger relationships with clients in the long run.

4. Leverage the psychology of choice

Once you’ve mastered timeliness and added the human touch, it’s also important to think carefully about what your prospects are looking for. Understanding client needs and even anticipating them before they arise is an invaluable strength—one that allows you to build on a foundation of trust and mutual understanding.

Rather than glancing over your requests, take a deep dive, considering other needs a lead might have based on your insights, intuition, and past experiences. You can then use that knowledge to inform your add-ons and upgrade recommendations. By reading between the lines, you don’t just secure better business—you help your client feel valued and understood.

When you make recommendations in your sales proposals, it’s worth offering varying levels of additions, even if you think a client will opt for the one that comes at the lowest cost. We suggest providing three options: good, better, and best. This way, your customer understands all of their upgrade options and can feel empowered to make an informed decision.

By building these options into your automatically generated sales quotes, customers enjoy a speedy and interactive process. This frees up your sales reps to produce more quotes instead of fielding upgrade inquiries, waiting on responses, and manually re-quoting clients. And when clients are presented with a meaningful choice, it feels less like they’re being sold to—increasing the likelihood that they’ll upsell themselves.

5. Leave manual processes behind

Mastering sales quote and proposal creation starts with leaving manual processes at the door. By removing the potential for human error, you can be confident that the right information is included, your pricing is set correctly, and every lead is responded to in a timely manner. As a result, you’ll close more sales, and your team can spend more time on the thing that matters most: selling.

ConnectWise Sell can help. This intuitive tool integrates with your existing technology, allowing you to create more compelling, professional sales quotes and proposals in just a few clicks—saving your team up to two hours per quote.

“ConnectWise Sell has been a game changer for us,” said Chad Paalman, CEO of NuWave Technology Partners. “I’m almost embarrassed to talk about how we did it before ConnectWise Sell. It has allowed us to automate so many functions within the quoting and the pricing and the sale of the things that we offer to our clients."