If there’s one thing that I dislike most in this journey of being a human, it’s wasting time on tedious tasks that don’t bring me any joy or earn me any money.
Now hear me out, proposals are an excellent sales tool for many different freelance gig types and businesses models. In fact, i’ve used them successfully for years now.
That being said, if they aren’t used effectively or created efficiently, they can be a huge time suck and not even get read by your customer. If you’ve been freelancing for awhile now you already know what i’m talking about.
You’ll get ghosted.
I’ve always liked the process of learning about my prospective clients, researching ways I can improve their business, and presenting them with campaign options tailored to their unique needs.
That’s what a great proposal should do, map out the future and set a vision for a better future.
But it took up a lot of time to build those out, and so inevitably I started looking for a better way to improve my processes.
My search came down to one thing…
Finding the right proposal tool. As soon as I started researching templates, language to use, automation tools, etc, it became clear that this was the way forward.
So with that in mind, let’s dive right in.
So, what is proposal software?
Proposal software, or proposal management software, is a set of tools designed to help you create, design, send, and sign proposals and contract documents.
All in one simple interface that can even connect with other tools like your accounting software or CRM (customer relations management).
It takes away the tedious aspects of sending proposals and frees up your time to focus more on doing what you enjoy and growing your business.
A good proposal tool can help you grow your freelancing business in a number of different ways.
The many benefits of proposal tools For Your Freelance Business
There are multiple headaches that come along with creating a proposal for each and every prospective client that comes across your desk (or kitchen, shout out to those of you on that WFH grind).
At first, these might seem exciting or easily manageable when you only have a few prospects per week or a few clients per month. But as time goes on and you become more desirable in the marketplace, you might get to the point where you’re talking to 5-10 prospects per week and a manual process just isn’t feasible.
That’s exactly why getting a head start on figuring out a solid system with the right tool is so crucial. You not only spare yourself the future burnout, but you can focus on being more effective from the start.
Here are the main benefits and top ways that freelance proposal software makes life easier when you’re a freelancer:
1. No more copying and pasting
One of the quickest paths to burnout involves death by copying and pasting.
No official randomized controlled studies have been done on this topic, but I’m convinced that it kills more hopes and dreams than most other aspects of freelancing.
At Least if you’re anything like me and hate busywork…but I digress.
No matter who you are and how much you enjoy busywork, time is money when you start freelancing. Spending 1/20th of your time copying and pasting information into a template to send to someone who might not even become a paying client, is time you could have spent on billable hours or closing new deals.
One of the best parts about freelance gig proposal software is that you get to enter in a few details about your prospect and it will automatically populate those variables into the correct parts of the contract for you.
This is not only more efficient in the long run, it prevents human errors like forgetting to swap out a previous client’s name from your template and looking extremely unprofessional.
2. Securely sign and edit directly in the software
Have you ever tried to explain over email about how to get a client to e sign a pdf, had them call you to explain your emails, and then end up in a frustrating situation where you’re faxing physically signed contracts back and forth?
Me neither, but I know you can imagine that scenario happening to someone, and the point is that you don’t want it to happen to you.
The business world is slowly but surely aligning itself with digital tools and experiences, which is good, but ultimately their are some people who prefer to do things “the old way”.
So simply sending someone a pdf to sign and edit directly in the document can be a challenge that often takes a lot of back and forth.
Proposal tools eliminate the need for your prospects to use multiple different technologies that they may or may not understand, and instead, gives them one link and one simple interface to read, make edits, and sign your proposals.
Once you both have signed the document, they also ensure that it’s legally binding by abiding by the E-sign act standards so you and your client can rest easily.
3. Professional and attractive templates built and tested for you
If you’re a designer then perhaps you’re already amazing at designing the perfect proposal template to wow your prospective clients.
However, for the rest of us that’s an uphill and losing battle.
When it comes to attractive templates, proposal softwares has already put in the time and effort to not only design different professional looking proposal templates for the situation, they have also researched what elements make for an effective template.
Aka, they know how to use the proposals to help you win more deals.
You can’t beat that.
4. Automate workflows into other tools
If making your proposal creation and contract signature process ridiculously simple wasn’t enough, most proposal softwares also integrate with other common tools you’ll want to use on your freelance journey.
Here are few:
- CRM (customer relations management). Once a contract is signed, the name and information of your client can be synced directly with your CRM so you don’t have to manually reenter the information.
- Bookkeeping or accounting. After the proposal has been won, you’ve got to send out invoices and record the transaction in your accounting software (if you’re smart). Look for a proposal software that will automatically share the contact info and deal type with the accounting software to auto generate an invoice for you.
- Payment processing. That’s right, not only can you sync proposal information with your CRM and accounting software, you can also get paid directly within most of these softwares as well. It’s a one stop shop for the contract process.
- Marketing. Picture this, you close the deal, get paid by the client, and then instantly get put into your new client email automation sequence in your favorite email marketing tool. It’s a much better client experience for them, and literally no extra work for you.
- Project management. After you’ve closed the deal, it’s time to get to work. If you’ve got only a handful of clients, then that’s a straightforward transition. But once you have 10,20,50 clients then you’ll likely need a project management tool to keep track of things. With the right integration, you can connect the project type to automatically create tasks with due dates for you within your PM app to keep yourself on schedule.
A great proposal and contract management software should do much more than allow you to make proposals.
When you take advantage of these integration and automation capabilities, the amount of work you have to do goes way down, and your results go way up.
5. Help close deals through automatic reminders and prospect view tracking
This is one of my personal favorite features of these kinds of tools.
You will have the ability to close deals more easily through two main functions:
- View tracking. You can see which page of the proposal your prospective client is on in real time, when they view the proposal, how many times they’ve viewed the proposal, and even how long they spend in each section. This not only helps you know if you’ve been “ghosted”, but more importantly, helps you optimize the proposal experience for future clients.
- Automatic follow ups. Nobody likes to bother other human beings because all of us hate being bothered. Yet in business, there will 100% come a time when you have to follow up on a proposal, invoice, client request, etc. Any good freelance proposal software worth their salt is going to include a follow up sequence option to notify or remind your prospects of the proposal automatically. It can be extremely effective.
Part of being a freelancer means getting good at selling yourself.
Having a good offer and creating an enticing proposal are part of the equation, but so are the other aspects of sales like developing a better closing process and following up regularly.
Do the smart thing and get some help from a tool to make your life easier.
Best proposal software for freelancers
We finally made it.
Here is a breakdown of the 4 best proposal tools best suited for the needs of freelancers like you.
Each was chosen based on one unique area of specialty that outshined the others. This was to help you be able to quickly and easily choose the option right for you.
Bonsai – best overall freelance proposal software
Best for: Most freelancers. This platform was designed specifically for freelancers and you get access to all of their other tools with your subscription.
Better Proposals – freelance proposal software with the best integrations and advanced functionality
Best for: Freelancers who are looking to automate their business and take their proposal, contract, and sales workflow to the next level. The features of Better Proposals can’t be beat.
Quoters – cheapest good freelance proposal software
Best for: Side hustlers who are budget conscious but have gotten to the point where they can spend to get back their time. Quoters won’t wow you with hundreds of integrations, but it does work and has exactly what you need for less than a cup of coffee.
Fiverr Workspace – best free and bare bones freelance proposal software
Best for: Someone who doesn’t need anything fancy and is sending out their first proposal that’s due soon. This tool is completely the essentials for a proposal but it gets the job done if you don’t have the money to pay for a software just yet.
Freelance proposal software will give you your time back by removing the manual creation of proposals, help you close deals more effectively, and automate tedious workflows behind the contract process.
If you haven’t used one and are on the fence, I highly recommend you give one a try today. Especially since they all come with free trials.
You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain.