We live in a competitive business environment, it has become more competitive than ever seen before. You can’t get lucky everytime and do better than others. You need to identify precisely what is working right, wrong. Once you know what is working, what is not, you can do the course correction and measure results again: with this approach no one can stop you from growing your business.
To know precisely ‘what is working right/ wrong’ in your sales, you need to measure your sales numbers, processes on various parameters. As they say,
What gets measured, gets done.
Identifying the set of key metrics and using the right tools, you can enhance clear visibility into your sales performance.
While there are multiple solutions to help you with sales, none is good enough to help you analyse sales proposal performance. You need a thoughtfully designed sales dashboard that clearly shows useful, key metrics.
What is a proposals dashboard?
A proposals dashboard organizes, standardizes and visually presents sales proposal data using a centrally accessible platform. It provides transparency and accuracy into your sales proposal data.
With key metrics, KPIs in the proposals dashboard presented as easily understandable visual graphics, enables you to know what is working correctly and what is not; you can act on the data. Sales teams and managers can assess the sales performance against the goals set in real-time.
Such unfiltered, clear visibility empowers managers to set accurate sales plans, use correct data to implement sales strategies to offer unique sales proposals, and better client engagement to close more deals. Not only does the proposals dashboard save your time but also eliminates the possibility of human error.
Sales dashboards cover your most critical sales KPIs, such as:
Critical sales proposals KPIs
- Winning rate
- Average deal size
- Sales proposal velocity
- Average proposal cycle length
Why are sales proposal Dashboards must-have for Success?
If I have to put this in one line?
“Without a proposal dashboard, it’s hard to measure your sales growth and optimize your sales efforts in creating, sending proposals, following-up with prospects or closing deals.”
You can be successful in sales if you are lucky.
Are you always lucky?
If yes, you don’t need to read this article any further.
But let’s accept that most of us are not that lucky. Business growth will not come our way easily or served on a platter. We have to earn sales growth the hard way. Success in sales (or anywhere for that matter) when a thoughtfully designed process is followed correctly. It involves better communication, empathy, psychology, monitoring behavior, leveraging data, etc.
You may have the best product or services to offer but it is not going to help you grow profits unless you know what you are doing right or where you need to correct the course. Every company needs a structured way to understand how they are performing while prospecting, selling.
As I said above, what gets measured, gets done. Unless you start measuring, you have no way of knowing how you are doing? You need to measure your sales number and sales process to determine if you are doing good, okay or bad.
For businesses offering professional services or selling products/ solutions, deals happen when prospective clients accept your business proposals.
You need to know how your proposals are doing in order to succeed. The proposals dashboard is exactly what you need to understand what is happening with your sales proposal process, right from the proposal creation to closing the deal.
Proposals dashboards organize and present key sales metrics so you can take out the guesswork and make decisions based on the data. When the row sales proposal data is organized into easy-to-view & easy- to-understand graphics, you can tweak your sales proposal process. You can also measure whether your changes have positive results.
Proposal dashboards also give you a view of your sales proposal history to see the trends and patterns. You can compare past and current sales figures at a click. This helps you get a better understanding of whether/which techniques are working and how you can further improve your sales in the future.
What are the benefits of a proposals dashboard?
Proposals dashboard provides accurate performance metrics which in turn is very effective and useful for making informed decisions. You can streamline your proposal process when everyone involved has access to easily understandable results-based metrics.
Proposal dashboards offers many advantages that enable you to refine your sales proposal process, but, most importantly, they enables you to:
Gain a complete overview of key sales proposal data
A proposals dashboard analyzes proposals data and presents you a high-level, comprehensive view of all the relevant data to help you assess your sales proposal process, evaluating sales team performance, and more. A macro perspective helps managers to easily break down every aspect of your proposal process including proposal activities, client-interactions, email follow up sequences, and overall performance. Basically you get a clear view of what’s working and what is not.
Free up time to focus on conversion and selling
Having a central proposals dashboard saves your significant amounts of time and effort for your team. You do not have to keep taking notes or manually exporting proposal data from a CRM or emails to spreadsheets.
It can eliminate the hassle of manual data entry, reporting, searching account information, etc. When you/team have all the information you need at their fingertips, you have more time to do what you are supposed to do: sell & convert.
It is a widely known fact that inefficient processes force sales teams to spend more than 60% of their time on non-revenue generating, administrative activities.
The right proposal dashboards can free up your time to perform more impactful tasks, honing skills to close more deals.
Use a centralized place for proposal status and insights
In a way, this point is covered above but let me highlight the way online proposal dashboard work. It automatically pulls proposals related data from respective tools and builds the proposals dashboard.
It is one central place for your proposal data; no need to keep making notes in Google Doc, Word files or spreadsheet; no need to keep emailing information to your colleagues to compile or re-enter elsewhere.
With the online proposals dashboards, you can access sales, proposal KPIs from anywhere and at any time. Your team can access to – clean , reliable data and insights..
Create data-driven strategies for driving profits
Proposal dashboards empower you to view the team as well as individual performance metrics in real time. Both managers and individual sales reps can collectively and transparently measure performance by referring to the same set of underlying data.
It is important to refer to clear and transparent sales data in order to assess team performance. It also enables you to identify, not only what kind of training/coaching your sales reps/team need, but also whether managers should give recognition for high-performers. Managers and sales reps can collaborate and make better use of proposal insights to encourage others to achieve individual and collective goals.
Get a solid competitive advantage
Above all, with the proposals dashboard you get a solid competitive advantage.
You have deeper insights to how your prospects are engaging with your proposals. You can leverage these insights to outperform your competition.
Using real time status updates and insights in the proposal dashboard, you can refine your proposal process to close deals better, faster than your competition. Such an advantage is hard to imitate.
Examples of Helpful Sales Proposal Dashboards
Proposal Performance Dashboard
How do you evaluate your sales process, especially proposal sales process is working correctly or not? Most likely you set sales targets and track deal closure for your company, department as well as team members. Similarly, proposal performance dashboard provides a comprehensive view of overall performance of a company, its sales proposal team members/ sales reps considering sales proposals sent. You can get visibility into sent proposals, won proposals/ completed deals, monthly deal closure rate, number of proposals sent, number of proposals viewed, conversion rates.
This dashboard is useful for proposal managers and reps to understand, identify what’s working, what is not, and what they should change, adjust for success.
Proposal Pipeline Dashboard
Just the way you see, a prospect moving through sales pipeline, proposal pipeline dashboard shows how a sales proposal is moving through the pipeline of proposal stages like create, sent, client view, signing, accept, reject, payment, etc. A proposal pipeline dashboard is an interactive tool wherein you can drill down through proposals data.
You can easily evaluate the proposal process as a whole and also a stage-by-stage basis. It can act like a scanner for your sales pipeline by highlighting proposal stages where sales deals are getting stuck, closing out, etc. It helps you track, evaluate and update your proposal pipeline using a data-driven, objective decision-making process.
Proposal Conversion or Win/Loss Dashboard
Proposal conversion is a critical sales KPI. A good proposal conversion rate is an indication of healthy, growing business. Proposals Conversion Dashboard tracks win/loss rate for the proposals you send to your clients/ prospects. The reports clearly shows you effectiveness of your sales team and proposals + engagement activities they perform. It can be very helpful to understand, assess why certain proposals are converted, closed as deals while others could not.
Proposal Conversion Trends Dashboard
This dashboard presents historical data of proposal conversion rate on month-on-month basis or year on year basis. Most companies do not track proposal conversion trend for a given period because they do not have the right data set available.
e.g. the trends can be about sent proposals vs won proposals every month; sent proposal value vs won proposal value every month, average value of own proposal for a specific duration, number of proposal views by client before deal happens.
Proposal Funnel Dashboard
As the name suggests, proposals funnel dashboard presents sales proposals flowing through the sales funnel stages like Draft, sent, viewed by client, signed, paid. Remember, proposal pipeline and proposal funnel dashboard are different presentations of the same data.
Proposal funnel dashboard is pretty quick to understand and informative for business owners or sales leaders. It helps them quickly track the number of proposals in different stages of the sales process and if something is odd, they can jump in to intervene.
Proposal Engagement Dashboard
Proposal engagement dashboard provides a set of clear indicators about how clients have engaged with the proposals your company has sent. Considering fierce competition, knowing engagement indicators gives you a solid advantage over your competition. Previously it used to be nearly impossible to monitor/ understand client’s interaction/engagement with proposals. Online proposals can make it easier to understand your clients – their interest, their intentions, actions better so as to serve them better. Gone are the days when you would not know whether a prospect has seen your proposal or not.
With this dashboard, not only you get the ability to know whether the proposals have been viewed by your clients/ prospects, you also know how many times they have viewed, how much time have they spent (as a whole), how much time they have sent per visit, how different it is for won proposals, at which hour of the day your proposals are viewed the most, which day of the week your proposals are viewed the most, how many times prospects are returning to view your proposals, etc.
This serves as incredible insights to know and refine your sales process to optimize time, day of sending proposals, evaluating the chances of converting a given proposal given its engagement numbers vis-a-viz average numbers for converted/won proposals.
There are other set of dashboard which are frequently referred such as
Proposal Activities Dashboard
It breaks down the activities your proposal team members are completing on a daily basis; it also enlist important events when client views, signs, rejects proposal. More often these activities are updated on a real time basis; and it is useful to decide what set of proposal activities deliver the best results while tracking the utilization of your team.
Live Proposals Dashboard
This dashboards tells you what is at stake at the moment. How many of your proposals are out for client-review and waiting for their decision. You can also monitor, whether/how many of those live proposals are actively being considered by clients/prospects and what is the estimated deal size.
Proposal Content Dashboard
Sales proposals content dashboard is not any regular dashboard you will come across. Most likely, it is introduced for the first time for business users.
This dashboard helps you monitor usage patterns of sections used in your proposals/ regularly used proposals (i.e. templates) and it generates insights to most popular sections, engagement rate, visit duration, exit rate, etc. You get a clear understanding of the most viewed sections, how repeatedly those are viewed,
One can use the information reported in this dashboard to improve section content, use insights to rearrange the order of sections in a proposal.
Client-Proposal Interaction Dashboard
Every sales person is looking for signals, if s/he can receive from prospects. S/he wants to know whether clients/prospects have viewed proposals s/he sends. But it is far more interesting and useful (to convert proposals) to know how prospects/clients have interacted with your proposals.
With client-proposal interaction dashboard, you get qualified data/insights to what extent prospects have engaged with your proposals.
With this dashboard, you certainly understand the interest levels of your prospect/client in your proposal but it goes beyond to help you qualify the interest level. You can leverage these insights to have a specific/focused and highly impactful conversion with your clients/prospects.
Team Performance Dashboard
How do you know who is the top performer and who is struggling in your proposal team? Team performance dashboard provides a complete view of the performance of each sales rep member involved in writing, sending proposals. It offers visibility into proposals written, sent, viewed by clients, signed by clients or paid by them. You can monitor proposal-viewing rate as well as conversion rate for each one of them. Managers and reps can identify what’s working, what isn’t, for whom things are working well for whom it isn’t, and what they’ll need to adjust for success.
Please check more proposals dashboard examples.
Proposal dashboard Vs CRM dashboard?
It is wrong to portray a proposal dashboard is better than a CRM dashboard or vice-versa. At best, one should think of a proposal dashboard complementing your sales process, to make the deal conversion process more efficient. For businesses (B2B) deals, sales proposals are an integral part of the sales process.
Why is it important to have a separate proposal dashboard than a usual CRM dashboard?
Let me set the context and make the smart people understand the answer quickly with just one line
Won in a battle but lost in treaty
Most businesses invest in their sales efforts to prospect new clients. It involves identifying prospects, researching about them, emailing, cold-calling, follow-up, etc. It takes gruelling efforts to turn the cold prospect positive and get him interested in your products/services.
Once you observe that prospect is interested and your offer will work well for him/her, you write a customized proposal, send it, follow up to ensure it has reviewed your proposal, answer questions, address concerns, etc.
Remember, unless you are operating in a monopolistic market (i.e. you are the only product/service provider), your prospects certainly receive offers and review proposals from your competitors too.
Congratulations! You have made it to the list of product/service providers prospective clients are considering.
All the efforts, energies you have aligned to make it to the list will be wasted, if you drop the ball now and lose focus on converting a proposal to a deal. This is exactly what I meant by ‘Won in a battle but lost in treaty’
Prospecting will help you to get your prospect interested in you but convincing proposals, coupled with engaging conversation will convert your prospect and convince him to select you, pay for your products/services. This is exactly what proposal software helps you do.
- Write convincing copy of proposals
- Understand prospects interaction with your proposal, deep interest level
- Drive meaningful conversation based on the proposal content, analytics-data
- Make it easier for him to understand your offer, select yourself pricing packages
- Close the deal by eSigning the proposal
- Enable client to make advance payment to kick-off the engagement
Proposals Dashboard as a Part of Sales Dashboard
There are many CRM tools which offer sales dashboard. However most sales dashboard available today, are missing insights to the most critical aspect: Proposals.
Most sales dashboard identify only two data points for proposals
- Proposal sent
- Proposal accepted/rejected
Everything between these two crucial conversion-states is done manually; even quite a few sales activities before/after sending a proposal or after it is accepted are done manually. It not only undervalues prospecting outcomes but also hampers business growth, lowers team morale.
- Proposal creation – done manually
- Proposal editing – done manually
- Proposal follow up – done manually
- Proposal signing – done manually
- Deal advance payment – done manually
Clarification: I mentioned writing a convincing copy of a proposal which can not happen unless the proposal is personalized, thoughtfully crafted for a given prospect. This part is hard to automate. In the above list by ‘Proposal editing – done manually’, I am referring to other aspects of writing a proposal which can eliminate typical errors and cut down time by automating it. For example, entering the client details in the cover page, addressing the client in a cover letter and other places where it can be easily automated with a proposal software.
Checklist for Using a Sales Proposal Dashboard
Normally such a checklist for proposals is inherited from the company’s approach towards an overall sales process.
Here are few essentials questions you will need to answer and you have your checklist
- Who will use the proposal dashboard, how frequently they will use it
- Identify & prioritize the sales proposal dashboard KPIs
- Use right proposal software, CRM tool for your sales team, leaders
- Gather proposal data and prepare report, presentable as dashboard
- Review reports, dashboard data for appropriate monitoring & usage
Use Proposals Dashboards for Greater Insights
Proposal dashboards are highly useful tools that you can use to monitor, improve your sales proposal process. You get a centralized proposal data which presents analysis based on the historical data and also presents real-time data to help you make data-driven decisions.
Sales proposal dashboards are very effective when you refer to the right set of metrics, and correctly understand ways to improve your proposal process so that KPIs reflect such improvements. Perfecting your sales proposals process is possible with the use of right technology and process reviews. Fresh Proposals emperors you to check dashboards to help your sales managers and proposal writers, sales reps get actionable insights.