Bidsketch. Automating business proposals. Is it Worth It?
Proposals are part of business life. As an owner of an SME Office 365 consultancy we have streamlined most of our business and operations using technology. Our business is helping our clients to do the same using Office 365 and SharePoint technologies. Part of my role involves writing proposals, so I wanted to see if I could automate our client proposal process. It takes time, a lot of admin time sometimes to ensure you get everything correct to meet the clients needs. Don’t get me wrong, we are always complimented on the proposals we produce, we take a lot of time to get them right, and spend hours compiling strong and detailed work which are backed up with experience and case studies. but time in a busy consultancy is something we are quite short of. Our job is to help make our clients lives easier so we don’t believe in reinventing the wheel, especially when there are so many great apps out there.
So when a friend recommended a tool which helped in the proposal creation process and it was all hosted online, I took the opportunity to take a free trial. That product was Bidsketch.
So What is Bidsketch?
Bidsketch gives you access to tools to create, edit, submit and get proposal approval all online. It’s really quite simple. It has boilerplate text which can help you to quickly get started and also great tips sent via email to help you get started with the process. It also accommodates visual proposals and you can embed as many images and videos as you need. You can also link to other files and resources from within your proposal content.
So How Did Bidsketch Help Me?
Prior to using Bidsketch, we used a basic template we designed in-house and customized it to fit the unique needs of our clients. Over time, we developed various Word documents for different services. However, with Bidsketch, this is not a problem. I can still use various sections to keep our commonly used wording and services saved, but only use them when it is appropriate for the client and/or contract. The old method also required a number of proofs and due to the size of the documents this could be difficult at times.
I had a proposal I wanted to issue so in this seemed a good test of the system and so I signed up for a free trial. In under 5 minutes I was logged in, had my own customized domain and had my initial structure in place. There are a variety of templates you can choose from and customize. Each has a recommended sections structure in place to help guide you and take you through step by step. I also love how you can move back and fore between each section. This is great if you want to update, edit or remove sections as your proposal takes shape.
Boilerplate text is also included however, I’m not a fan of scripted responses so choose to set up the language that I use and is most appropriate to my customers. This is really useful however, if you are new to proposal creation and aren’t sure how best to structure your document.
What I really loved was the ease of sending the proposal to my client within the Bidsketch system and the analytics that come as part of that process which gives valuable data to follow up with the client and check in if they have any questions, rather than not knowing if they have even viewed it.
My business is all about making life easier using automation so the fact that there is electronic signatures built in is a priority. This functionality really helps to make it easy for the customer to get started. The client can also request changes/revisions easily.
Although still an early adopter, to date, I am extremely happy with Bidsketch and the email tips to help fine-tune our process have been extremely helpful. If you regularly prepare proposals, estimates, or bids for your clients, check out Bidsketch. The time saved on each sales proposal easily out-weighs the cost.
Some things I would love to see:
1. The ability to use our brand colours and font styles
2. Despite having different sectors for templates it still seems very marketing orientated and is perhaps best suited to businesses that deal with design, social media, web, marketing etc. I would love to see this further developed so it does become more applicable to my industry for example.