13 awesome things you can do when you create your proposals as webpages

Have you viewed a PDF on a mobile or tablet recently? Chances are, you have, as the PDF has been the default document format since its invention in the 90s.

It’s also highly likely you have had to wait for the file to download, zoom in to view the content, swipe across to read it, and zoom out to continue navigating through the PDF.

Now imagine if that was what your prospective clients had to do to view your PDF proposal. It’s not going to close the deal.

In this post, we’ll explore 13 awesome things you can do when creating your proposals and sales documents as web pages.

13 awesome things you can do when creating proposals as web pages

1. View them on any device

These days, more and more emails are being opened and responded to on mobile devices. In fact, according to Litmus, over 50% of emails are being opened on mobile devices.

This is important to note if you’re still sending your proposals as PDF’s or Word Docs, as these file formats do not scale up and down to different screen sizes, and as a result are difficult to read.

However, if you create your proposals and other sales & marketing documents as web pages, they will adapt to whatever screen size your prospective client is using, making it easy for them to read and allowing them to better comprehend your proposal and the products & services you offer.

2. Include video in the proposal

Product videos, case study videos, demo videos, etc are all great things to include in your proposals, but linking out of a PDF to a video on YouTube is a dangerous practice. Your prospective clients will get bombarded with ads & other videos designed to keep them on YouTube’s site, and will result in fewer closed deals and longer cycle times.

However, when you create your proposal as a web page you can embed videos directly in the document, and your prospective clients can view them right there in the proposal without being redirected to a 3rd party site.

This means you can still get the awesome benefits of using video to get your message across, without the risk of losing potential clients down a viral video rabbit hole.

3. Include interactive pricing tables

The static nature of PDFs means you can’t add elements like interactive pricing tables. With a PDF, you simply add a price and that’s it. This limits your ability to offer additional products & services and prevents you from generating extra revenue through upsells.

However, when you create your proposals as web pages, you can add interactive pricing tables that allow clients to select additional services.

For instance, if you’re sending a proposal for a new website to a client, you could add extra optional services such as search engine submission, social media account setup, email marketing account setup and more. The prospective client could then select whether they want these services or not, and the pricing would be updated in real time.

This allows you to generate additional revenue from your clients, and helps you grow your business in ways PDF proposals can’t.

4. Lock them down

Sharing a PDF with a prospect gives them access to your document forever, and there’s no telling what they’ll do with it. They could send it to your competitors to get them to price match, and it could result in you losing the job.

However, if you create your proposals and other sales documents as web pages then you can lock them down in a wide variety of ways, including:

  • Passwords – Add password protection to your document that ensures only people with the password can view it.
  • Time Limits – Add time limits to your document, so that it is only viewable for a certain amount of time. This is particularly useful in scenarios where your proposal or price offering is only available for a limited time (I.e. Up until the end of the month).
  • View Limits – Add view limits so that the proposal can only be viewed a certain number of times.
  • User Authentication – Make prospects sign in with their Google or LinkedIn accounts before viewing the proposal, and then see a list of people who have viewed it. You can even allow only people from certain email domains (i.e. @yourclientsdomain.com) to access the document.

By creating your proposals and sales documents as web pages, you can add extra layers of security that ultimately give you control of who views it and when.

5. Get notified when they’re viewed

When you send off a proposal to a client, do you know when it’s viewed? If not, how do you time your follow up?

There are a number of tools out there like Sidekick, Yesware & MixMax that can help you track email opens, but none of these track whether the PDF proposal you sent was viewed.

However, if you create your proposal as a web page, you’ll get notified the moment someone opens the proposal, allowing you to time your follow up perfectly and increase the chance you’ll win the job.

If you’re a Qwilr user, you can get these notifications through email or Slack, or connect to Zapier to get the notifications in Salesforce Chatter, Yammer, HipChat, Microsoft Teams and more.

6. Get analytics on how they’re viewed

If you’re sending your proposals as PDF documents, do you know what part of the proposal your prospect is reading & engaging with? And if you don’t, how do you tailor your follow up to speak to their interests? Or how do you tweak and refine your proposals over time to increase the chances of winning business?

The short answer is you probably don’t, as PDF’s and Word document don’t have any ability to track content engagement or any other analytics data.

But if you’re creating your proposals as web pages, then there’s a whole world of information available to you. Tools like Qwilr can tell you how long they viewed your proposal for, where they viewed it from, what devices they were using, what content they engaged with most, etc.

You can use this information to refine your proposals over time, and ultimately improve their win rate and grow your business.

7. Edit them after they’ve been sent off

What happens when you notice a typo in your PDF proposal, but you have already sent it off to your prospect? Panic strikes! There’s nothing you can do except apologise and hope it doesn’t make you look unprofessional.

However, unlike a PDF, web pages can be edited at any time, even after you’ve sent it to the prospect, so you don’t need apologise and draw unnecessary attention to your mistake; you can quickly go in and change it before anyone notices.

8. Chat to prospects as they view the proposal

If you’re like most businesses, you probably spend a few days after you send the initial proposal sending back-and-forth emails clarifying things, answering questions, etc.

Whilst it seems innocent enough, this back and forth means it takes longer to get the proposal signed, and costs you more time and money getting it over the line.

However, when you create your proposal as a web page, you have the option to add live chat functionality to the proposal so your prospects can ask you questions as they are reviewing it, and you can respond to them in real-time.

By answering your prospects questions faster, you reduce the amount of time it takes to get the proposal approved, and get on with the work and ultimately get paid faster.

9. Allow prospects to accept and sign online

Forcing your prospects to print out your proposal, sign it, scan it and send it back is highly inefficient, and increases the time it takes to get the proposal approved.

However, by creating your document as a web page, you can allow your prospects to accept and sign the proposal on their desktop, tablet or mobile devices, meaning you get the proposal accepted and signed faster. In fact, one study found that offering digital signatures can improve turnaround times by more than 80%.

And tools like Qwilr produce a full audit trail of the interaction so that it’s fully compliant with eSignature laws, ultimately meaning it’s as legally binding as a paper contract.

10. Allow prospects to pay online

According to research by our friends at cloud accounting company Xero, businesses who offer online payments get paid 30% faster.

So if you generally take full or part payment upfront, and your PDF proposals and quotes simply contain your bank account details, then chances are you’re getting paid a lot slower, and this is having a negative effect on your businesses cash flow.

However, if you’re sending your proposals and quotes as web pages then it’s super easy to allow prospects to pay online.

If you’re a Qwilr user, you can take payments straight from within the proposal with 1 click. Simply turn on the payment feature and when people accept your proposal they’ll be asked to enter their credit card details to make a payment (you decide whether it’s the full amount, part payment, etc). The money is then deposited into a bank account of your choosing.

Qwilr uses the same payment infrastructure the likes of Facebook, Salesforce & Unicef use, so you can trust that it’s safe for everyone.

11. Automatically generate them from your CRM

If you’re like most business, each proposal you do for a client is probably pretty similar. There might be a few differences like pricing, names, etc. but most of the sections are pretty much the same (like About Us, Previous Work, Our Team, etc).

If you’re still creating all your proposals as PDF or Word documents, then creating each one is likely very manual. You might start from scratch each time, or at best you might reuse a previous one and then go through manually changing the client’s name, company name, address, etc.

However, if you’re creating your proposals as web pages using a tool like Qwilr, you can actually automatically generate them in 1 click right from within your CRM.

When you create a new proposal from within CRM tools like Hubspot and Salesforce, all the information about the lead is pulled in (like their name, company name, address, etc) and the proposal is created automatically. You can then send it off straight away, or edit it further if need be.

This saves hours of work spent creating proposals, and lets you get on with the real, billable work.

12. Reuse them quickly

Creating beautiful, on brand proposals can take a lot of time, especially if you want to go the extra mile to add graphics and different elements that will truly reflect the quality and professionalism of your company.

And if you have to do that a few times per month for potential new clients, you can easily spend upwards of 8-10 hours per month just creating proposals.

However, if you’re using tools like Qwilr to create your proposals as web pages, there are a number of different options that can help reduce the time it takes to create a proposal by simply re-using content you already have. These options include:

  • Pre-Built Templates – You can start with one of the 100+ beautifully designed templates inside Qwilr which will make it easier for you to create something you can be proud of.
  • Save your own templates – Created a proposal your particularly happy with? Then you can save it as a Custom Template and use it again and again with just 1 click.
  • Saved Blocks – If you have certain sections of your proposal that always stay the same (like an About Us section, or perhaps a Previous Work section that showcases some of your past successes), then you can save these sections as ‘Saved Blocks’ and reuse those sections over and over again anywhere within your proposals and documents.
  • Saved Pricing Items – If you have a series of products or services you sell for set prices over and over again, you can them save them as ‘Items’ with an associated cost. Then, each time you’re creating a proposal you can simply add those items with 1 click (and then update them if need be).

By saving some of your more frequently used content inside a tool like Qwilr, you can easily reuse it and save yourself a ton of time when creating proposals.

In conclusion

With the vast majority of people using their mobile devices to open emails every day, PDFs are becoming more and more redundant in today’s society. They hinder the users ability to view documents with ease, they consume your downloads, and they are not dynamic in any way shape or form.

If you’re still using PDF, then it might be a good idea to consider updating the way you share your proposals documents with prospects and with clients. By creating your documents as a web page, you not only save yourself a heap of time and energy, you make the entire user experience a memorable one. Which in turn, leads to more sales and more business.

Janine Saunders
Janine Saunders is a Wordsmith at Qwilr