Throwing this one out there for my brothers in arms, my colleagues, my friends.. you know who you are. We are the third party meeting planners, the AV Vendors, the DMCs and destinations. All of the companies and people that serve the meeting and event industry in all of our shapes and forms. The Speakers, the sponsors, and everyone in between.
This post is for anyone that has to create the document that goes by many names. Some call it a bid, some refer to it as a quote, and others call it a proposal. Many different names, one important outcome. This document is the lifeblood of your company.
Me, I like to call it a proposal and it can make or break my day, my week, and even my year. Because the proposal is so important to success, I sometimes wonder why so many companies send out crappy looking things that look like they were cooked up by a fourth grader high on candy and caffeine.
I know how bad some proposals are because I am forced to read through them many times a month. While these little gems might get the job done, the reality is that they suck egg noodles, they look like garbage, and that is where most of them end up.
Why Most Proposals Terrible
I am not here to throw stones, I am here to fix a problem that many of us have. I will be the first to admit that our proposals were bad going on worse for a long time. We can go way back to when I first got into the biz, back then I used Microsoft Word. Then we moved to Word converted to PDF. Later, we moved to creating proposals with our accounting program but I hated that so much I took a step back to Word and even dabbled in PowerPoint (shudder). Finally I found a couple of online proposal tools that were a massive leap in the right direction but they never got us to where I knew we could to be.
I love the internet. The web has given us easy ways to communicate, easy ways to collaborate, and easy ways to transmit information. The web is also a fickle partner that has raised client expectations. Clients expect proposals to be easy to read and understand, they expect them to be creative, and on top of all that, they expect them to look like a million bucks and have a technology edge.
This is where BidSketch comes in.
Here is what BidSketch says about BidSketch:
Better Proposals in Half the Time
- Easily mix and match content, fees, and designs to create persuasive proposals in minutes.
Fast Turnaround With Electronic Signatures
- Get your proposals signed faster by capturing client signatures online when they approve.
Proposals That Clients Love
- You’ll impress clients with a custom client landing page and beautiful templates.
50% Less Time Writing With Reusable Content
- Quickly create proposals by reusing content, fees, and designs. Example proposal content is provided to help you get started quickly. You can even embed images and video for online viewing by your clients.
Look Professional With Design Templates
- Use your own custom HTML/CSS designs, or the built in templates. Bidsketch provides you with several professional looking templates. Each template is available in different colors and exports to PDF for extra portability.
32% More Profit With Optional Fees
- Up-selling additional services or items is one of the best ways to grow revenue fast. Bidsketch makes it easy by letting you mark specific fees as optional and giving clients the option to accept them when viewing a proposal.
Automate Your New Client Workflow
- You can set special messages that get shown once your client approves their proposal. Using approval messages you can prompt for a deposit, give them a new client guide, or let them know what to do next.
All Your Client Details in One Place
- Bidsketch provides an easy way to keep track of all current and prospective clients. Add client contact information as well as private notes to each client to ensure you never forget what you talked about last time.
60% Faster Approvals With Online Signatures
- As soon as your client accepts a proposal, you can have them electronically sign their proposal online. Our research shows the average proposal is approved 60% faster online. Optionally they can export to PDF, print, and sign instead.
Make Your Proposals Legally Binding
- Bidsketch is compliant with U.S. and international e-signature laws. We capture the email address, IP address and other information to create an audit log of the electronic signature. Signed proposals are archived and protected from further changes; they’re as legally valid as pen-and-paper documents.
No More Wondering If They’ve Seen Your Proposal
- Automatically get a notification when your client views their proposal so you’re always in the loop. You’ll also get notified of every comment and proposal status change they make.
Find Out How Interested Clients Really Are
- See how long a client viewed their proposal, which email they came from, and whether they exported it to PDF.
Have Clients Visit Your Own Domain
- With Bidsketch you can use your own company domain (example: proposals.mycompany.com) so that clients always see your URL and everything stays consistent with your brand.
Other Key Features
One of the key features for me was integration with other products that we use with our clients.
- Basecamp – I have 4 clients that use this as a project management tool
- FreshBooks – This is my invoicing software
- Harvest – Tracks time
- Highrise – Small Biz CRM from the makers of Basecamp
- Salesforce – Big giant company that I do not use
- RightSignature – electronic signatures
My First BidSketch Experience
During my first experience with BidSketch, I was under the gun. A potential client needed a proposal for a content marketing / social media program for their upcoming conference that was only a few weeks away. I knew that the proposal had to kick ass and take names because although the main contact was good to go, others in the organization needed to review the document and I would not have the luxury of speaking with them directly. It was up to the proposal to sell the services based on the main contact’s recommendation.
I sat down in front of my computer and two hours later, the proposal was out the door. I started with our standard proposal language that explained our services and why content marketing was critical to their conference’s long term success. I took it to the next level by adding images of past client conferences where we had social media strike teams tweeting on the show floor and in the session rooms. To top it off, I added videos of attendee testimonials and speaker interviews that we had created.
Using BidSketch, I was not creating a proposal, I was telling a story.
Anyone who looked at the document would be able to grasp and envision our methods at their own event. Needless to say, we got the job and were able to help make the client’s conference an online success while at the same time, creating a library of content for the client to use for promoting next year.
There is no way this was going to happen in a PDF or a Word document.
Sure, there are other proposal tools out there. Some are more expensive, some are cheaper. This is not about cost. What sets BidSketch apart from their competitors is the ease of use, the feature set, and the UI (User Interface). Anyone who has ever opened a web browser will be able to use BidSketch with little or no trouble. I am able to jam out proposals so fast that clients wonder how we do it….
Give BidSketch a go, they have a 14 day trial which should be more than enough to crank out a few proposals.