Lessons We Learn from You: Business Proposal Best Practices

As you may have heard, for the last two months, we’ve been holding an ongoing Design a Great Proposal Contest. The goal was purely selfish, as you make us look good every day and we thought we’d take advantage of your mad skillz to inspire other Quote Roller users of how to take advantage of our sales solution to not only save time, but to put their businesses’ best face forward.

First click on and check out the three winning proposals to see what we’re talking about…

…and then read on to learn all the simple tricks to make sure your next business proposal screams ACCEPT.

Some Quick Business Proposal Success Tips

  • Don’t overload with text. Split into consumable–and trackable!–sections
  • Pay closest attention to the first section–if that’s boring, no one’s going to click on through
  • Use images more–a picture is worth a thousand words
  • ALWAYS customize your experience and list of services to clients’ needs
  • Offer them options in your pricing table
  • Size your photos correctly–higher-res for web-based and lower for PDF
  • Build and reuse your best content, saved in your Content Library
  • Don’t forget to review your PDF proposal version–if you cannot make a good PDF, turn the option off!

Now, let’s jump right into the good stuff with lessons and tips we’ve learned from you, the folks actually using our business proposal app every day to close more deals! Thank you!

How to Prioritize Your PDF Proposal

While PDF proposals are super old school, we believe that, in our paperless dream, you should plan for the worst and hope for the best, which, in this case, means always enabling the PDF versions of your proposals. Of course, that means you have to prep your PDF too. When deciding among the heavy competition for our design a great proposal contest, it actually came down to the impression left by the PDF.

One of the most common mistakes is that folks forget to preview the PDF version before sending it. Of course, the web-based version is going to be different than the PDF, which is why we continue to make previsions so you can enhance the PDF version.

DC Building had the winning proposal because of how sleek both the web-based and PDF versions both looked. As you can see by taking a gander at our winner’s PDF version: DCBuilding_ContestProposal, they paid attention to detail by doing things like:

Adding PDF Page Breaks

PDF-Page-Break

The pages of your PDF will all squish together, unless you add Page Breaks. This is definitely logical to add at the end of each section, plus anywhere else you might like to see a page. But don’t add one at the end of the final section, lest you want to waste a blank page.

Add a Table of Contents

proposal-table-of-contents

On Step 4: Finalize, you will find a new Proposal Option: Table of Contents, which will convert the Block Titles and Sections from your web-based version into a Table of Contents with Page Numbers on Page 2 of your PDF version. While it’s automatically ticked OFF, if you turn Generate PDF version ON, then we’d recommend you turn Table of contents ON. If you want to preview what this looks like, click Save as Draft and then Download the PDF.

Quote-Roller-table-of-contents

Introduce Your Team: With Smiling Faces!

Leadership-bios

Photos and other Media Content increase your chances of acceptance by making your proposal more memorable. Like one of our RunnersUp, Steadfast Creative did in their winning proposal, you need to take the time to show off your staff, as friendly faces with applicable experience.

Some more Quote Roller Best Practices

Send your email from your address (not No-Reply@quoteroller.com)

You want your proposals to be personal and from you, and one way to do this is by having the business proposal come directly from you. By default, your proposals are sent from the email No-reply@quoteroller.com.

To change that, go to Settings > Company. Scroll down and click Use original email address to send notifications to client. Hit Save.

If you have multiple team members in your account, it will use the registered email address for each team member.

Settings-Company-Use-Original-email

Make sure you explain how your client can interact with your proposal

If they are returning clients, they probably know how to use your proposal, but new clients need a hand held through their first time with Quote Roller. Either in the email you should edit in Step 4: Finalize or simply add a Section of your Proposal with Instructions on how your client can:

  • view your proposal
  • download your proposal
  • accept your proposal

As you know, Quote Roller is all about making it easier for your prospects to accept your proposals.

Use the right sized photos

The general rule is:

  • 3-4MB high-def images for web-only Gallery Blocks
  • keep it under 1MB for PDF-friendly text blocks

However, we find that people use the Web-only Gallery Block too often, forgetting they then won’t have images in the PDF version. (Notice a theme about forgetting about the PDF version?) Use a Text Block to upload smaller images and position them along with descriptive text. Much of the time, you don’t even need a the Gallery Block.

How to customize Labels & Emails

You may want to customize what your prospects see inside the Quote Roller app and when they receive emails. This could be changing the language — we currently have it all set up for Spanish and Russian, but you are free to offer your translation services for other languages — or you can use it to customize the messaging, like changing the “Accept” button to say “Sign.” Note: when you change your Labels & Emails, you change it for each and every proposal.

Go to Settings > Labels & Emails.

Settings-Labels-and-Emails-change-language1

Here you can click on English, standard in the drop-down Currently used labels box to choose the new language and Apply. Or you can go ahead and change any of the individual labels, always hitting Save labels. Again, this will now change what your clients see when viewing any proposal.

How to remove borders from tables

You can create or copy-paste an existing table into a Text Box. Right-click on the table > Table Properties.

Templates-Edit-Content-Add-A-text-block-title-and-content-edit-Table

Write “no-border” and click OK. Voila! Border has disappeared, but all your ducks are still in neat little rows.

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Based in Barcelona, also loves writing about businesses in Spain

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  • James Arthur

    Looks like the Glide Marketing Proposal’s been archived, nice work and info on the other proposals!

    • http://www.quoteroller.com Jennifer Riggins

      Changed!

    • http://QuoteRoller.com/ Jennifer

      We’ve fixed it above if you want to check out Glide’s too!

  • Marc Avila

    You have a typo in “Size your photos correctly–higher-res for web-based and lower for PDF” It should be the opposite, high res is for PDF and low res is for web.

    • http://QuoteRoller.com/ Jennifer

      Hi there Marc. Thanks for catching the broken link. But as for the other, I double-checked with our support and, for Quote Roller, it really is, higher-res for web-based and lower for PDF.

      • Marc Avila

        Oh ok. For some reason I always figured printed collateral would benefit from high-res imagery, especially since as a web developer we always reduce image resolution for websites. Do you happen to know the logic behind that?

        • http://QuoteRoller.com/ Jennifer

          I can’t speak for any other apps, but that is how it works for Quote Roller. If you have any other questions about formatting images or anything else, go ahead and log into your account and click on Help/Support. Thanks!

  • Marc Avila

    Also your link to “DC Building” is broken. Missing the “http://” :)

  • Alhov Alexander

    most useless article I’ve ever read. It is not completely associated with the title

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