How to dramatically reduce the time it takes to create proposals

Do you feel like you’re spending too many hours creating and sending proposals?

If you do, it’s likely an even bigger issue than you think. Not only can it be unexciting, repetitive work, but it typically isn’t billable, so you’re actually losing money doing it.

To help you out, we’ve highlighted 5 different ways you can speed up your proposal creation process and get more time back to focus on billable work.

 

5 ways to reduce the time it takes to create proposals

 

Start with a template

A quick Google search for proposal templates reveals there are literally hundreds of them out there, for every conceivable use case. From more generic business proposal templates to specific social media marketing proposal templates and graphic design proposal templates

Templates like these can be really useful in reducing the time it takes to create a proposal. They offer a pre-built structure that you can simply fill in the blanks for, they often come with imagery and graphics you can reuse, and are usually formatted professionally.

So before you open a blank document in Microsoft Word or Google Docs and start typing, do a quick Google search to see what templates might exist that could save you some time.

Alternatively, if you’re a Qwilr user, you can use one of our 100+ pre-built templates that include pre-written content, images & layouts as a starting point, and customise it to your requirements from there.

Use good stock imagery

Images & graphics are big part of effective communication. According to research, big walls of unbroken text are difficult for people to read and comprehend and usually get skipped over (it’s why we often chunk our phone numbers into sections like 415-988-0778 rather than 4159880778).

Unfortunately though, it can be hard to find good images and graphics to use in your proposals. Most stock images on the web are awful and are not something you’d like want to include your proposals.

If you know where to look though, There are a number of websites out there that offer really beautiful stock images for free, including:

By using the images found on these sites, you can speed up the process of creating great proposals by simply downloading the photos and dropping them into your Word Doc and Google Doc.

Alternatively, if you’re a Qwilr user, you can use the library of thousands of beautiful stock images we’ve curated, and simply add them to your proposals and documents in just 1 click. You can easily use them as standalone images, background images and more.

Save your best proposals as custom templates

If you’ve created a few proposals already, it’s likely that you’ve got a bit of a flow. You probably have a way of structuring them that you regularly use, and you likely have a bit of content already written (About Us, Previous Work, Meet The Team, etc) that you can reuse as well.

If that’s the case, you can save this baseline proposal as a Custom Template and then use it as a starting point for all your proposals.

Tools like Microsoft Word allow you to save documents as templates pretty easily, and then come back and reuse them whenever you need.

Alternatively, if you’re a Qwilr user, simply click the ‘Save As Template’ button in any of your documents to save your favourite proposal as a Custom Template, then you or any member of your team can use it as a starting point.

Save your regularly used content as Saved Blocks

As mentioned earlier, it’s likely you have a few sections of content you reuse across different proposals. Sections like About Us, Previous Work and Meet The Team are good examples of sections that are often reused across different proposals without being changed much.

If that’s the case for you, one way to speed up proposal creation is to save those individual pieces of content and then simply reuse them in your proposals. This is a great approach if you typically customise certain sections of your proposals a lot (like pricing, timelines, deliverables, etc) but then have a number of sections that stay the same (About Us, Team, etc).

If you’re a Qwilr user, you can simply click the ‘Save Block’ button on any section of content you want to save and reuse, and once you give it a name it will be added to your content library. To reuse it, simply select it from the Saved Content tab.

Save your regularly used pricing items

If you’re like most businesses, you likely sell the same thing (or very similar things) over and over again. Whether it be products like signs, or services like website design, it’s likely that most of your clients purchase roughly the same thing from you.

If that’s the case for you, one way to speed up proposal creation is to save those individual items and their associated prices into some sort of items library. That way, when you’re creating a proposal and adding the pricing in, you don’t have to start from scratch. You simply select the items (your products and services) from a list, add the quantity, and everything is automatically calculated for you (including the unit price, taxes, and total costs).

If you’re a Qwilr user, simply click ‘Add Copy to Library’ from the drop down menu next to any of the items in your pricing table, and it will be added to your Item Library. To reuse it, simply select it from Saved Items Library and it will be added with just 1 click.

By saving your products & services as items, you can make it very quick and easy to build a pricing table/quote within your proposal.

 

Automatically generate them

You might not have thought about this, but often all the information you need to create a proposal lives in your existing systems. Information like the prospect’s name, the company name, address, etc. all likely live in your CRM or internal tools.

Imagine if you could integrate those systems with the tool you use to create your proposals, so that the proposal tool could pull in the data from the CRM and create a personalised proposal automatically?

Dedicated proposal tools like Qwilr integrate with popular CRM’s like Salesforce and Hubspot to allow you to do exactly this.

From within your chosen CRM, you can simply click the ‘Create Proposal’ button, select the template you want to use, and the proposal is automatically created complete with your prospect’s information. If you want you can edit it further, or you can send it off as is.

Similarly, Qwilr users can also upload CSV files with prospect information, and create hundreds of personalised proposals in minutes.

If you create a high-volume of proposals (one Qwilr custom, a removalist company, does thousands per month), this can be a great way to save you and your team hundreds of hours of work.

 

In conclusion

Unfortunately, spending time creating and sending proposals is time that you can’t be billing out, or can’t be managing your team and improving your business.

But by implementing a few of the tips mentioned above, you can dramatically reduce the amount of time it takes to create a proposal and free up your time to focus on some of the other, more important aspects of growing your business.

Janine Saunders
Janine Saunders is a Wordsmith at Qwilr