Proposal Automation: The 5 Unexpected Outcomes That Help Increase Sales

When we think of proposal automation, we generally think of benefits such as time savings, improved proposal presentation, etc., but there are some unexpected bonuses which users have found arise. Below, we share with you those 5 unexpected outcomes that users have found have had a real positive impact upon sales.

1. Increased sales productivity releases more time to spend selling

The Industrial Performance Group’s worldwide survey of 1,500 sales people across 17 industries found that the average sales person spent just 38% of their time on sales related activities. The remainder and majority of their time was spent on administration and questionable activities.

Users of proposal automation systems reported that they were bucking that trend. For example, Q-Matic, a world leader in queuing systems who operate in 70 countries, reported a 116% increase in sales appointments following the introduction of their proposal automation. They found that their time spent on productive sales activity soared once sales personnel were freed from the time consuming activity of proposal writing.

This outcome is supported my other users, who also cite the energising effect upon their sales force upon the removal of proposal writing – a much disliked task.

2. Sales force motivation

For most sales people there isn’t a much more loathed task than writing sales proposals. Michael Gerber, in his book E-Myth Revisited, cite a Microsoft conference for sales people where out of 800 attendees, asked whether they liked writing proposals, only 5% responded positively. That left 95% saying they disliked the task.

Guess what the reward is for the sales person who gets out there and makes more appointments and visits more prospects. You guessed it, more proposal writing. No wonder sales people get de-motivated and so many remain trapped in the ‘average performer’ bracket.

But, when given a tool which removes 90% of the drudgery of producing a proposal, and results in high quality, personalised proposals being created in 20% of the time, sales force motivation soared.

Simply removing the shackles imposed by proposal writing motivates personnel to go out and see more prospects, with greater chances of success

3. Improved structuring the sales process

Daisho Marketing’s survey of 800 sales managers and 1,800 sales people revealed that of 1.2 million sales people in the USA, 92% have no formal sales training.

Proudfoot Consulting, in their Productivity Report on Sales Effectiveness found that the biggest barriers to sales effectiveness was:

  • Lack of managerial feedback or help for their sales team
  • Training that was seldom reinforced or properly coached in the field

It’s no surprise that, with the lack of skills and coaching by managers that CSO Insights, in their 2009 Sales Performance Optimisation Report, based on a worldwide survey of 1,800 companies, report that the percentage of sales people failing to hit their targets rose to 41.2%.

This contrasted sharply with experience of users or proposal automation, who saw their sales soar. One of the reasons given is that to complete the proposal document, the user is obliged to follow a best-practice structure. To accomplish this, they have first to follow a structured selling process with the prospect, this has had the benefit of instilling in sales people the right sales approach which, together with a well-presented proposal, has resulted in increased sales.

4. New hires productive earlier

Following on from the previous outcome, users of proposal automation report that new hires, by following the structured sales process required to create a proposal, were productive within two months and making a positive contribution to sales.

This contrasted with the average time of 10 months to full productivity, as revealed by CSO Insights, and given as the reason why turnover of personnel has such an adverse effect on sales attainment.

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