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Naturally, the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of acquiring a new proposal management software is: “How much does proposal management software cost?”. The truth is software can range in monetary cost from low to very high depending on the type of software, its features and solutions, and its purpose. Yet, it goes without saying that no matter the initial monetary cost, the cost of replacement and repair is always higher. In this blog, we are going to help you think about the overall cost of proposal management software as a solution for your business rather than as an add on.
Proposal management software costs you money, time, and success – it only makes sense to help you understand how to evaluate the benefit of proposal management software before choosing the right one. Before we go further into detail, let’s take a second for story time:
It’s the busiest week of the season so far. Government requests for proposal (RFP) are ramping up and every writer and subject matter expert on your team is swamped.
Shared documents are being overhauled with edits from people who have a vendetta against the oxford comma and proper capitalization. Some SMEs haven’t bothered to open the many emails sent to them, let alone provide update on their task for the proposal.
Your proposal manager is out sick. Three more RFPs are in the pipeline, and two have due dates on the same day within the next two weeks. No one knows where the capture manager has gone, and SharePoint is starting to glitch.
Whew! Good thing your team is filled with people who have years of experience.
A proposal management software that adds value would be critical in moments like this to scale ease from low volume to high volume periods. Your solutions must reach from the top down. So how much proposal management software costs are really about what is the benefit for every stakeholder and the business.
How to Evaluate Proposal Management Software
The first thing to do is to talk with your sales team and proposal manager to understand the state of proposal wins for your organization, the challenges your writers are facing, and the business goals for the next two quarters. Once you have a good idea of the goals and challenges that need to be addressed, write those down for a clear visualization.
Proposal management software offer a unique variety of features, solutions, and integrations that vary per industry and software type. With your visualization tool or chart written down, map those areas of focus with potential solutions. Ideally, you should be able to realize those solutions into one full solution or at least have the bulk of your needs taken care of with your software selection.
Here are areas to consider when evaluating the best proposal management software:
Features and Solutions. What features and solutions does the software provide?
Flashy features and solution claims are all well and good – if they are useful. The proposal management software industry is growing, and most proposal management software have standard features like templates and a content library. Your goal is to understand how the proposed solutions offer your business the best benefit.
Some questions to consider are:
ROI. Is there visible return on investment in the immediate and long-term future?
Software that save your business money upfront and in the long run are the right investment. Fluid software that map to the way you do business will accomplish this goal. A software firm that encourages customer feedback and customization reinforce long-term ROI.
In addition to cost savings, determine whether the software can provide immediate benefits like team efficiency or an increase in productivity. What is the payback period between initial investment and ROI? Do you have to worry about price increases? Will you be able to use the tool to target new markets and achieve business growth?
Usability. Will the software require a lot of employee training?
Let’s avoid delay in business with software that is easy to onboard for your whole team. Ease of use is a heavily thrown around phrase for many software companies. The reality is that people require convenience and ease for most experiences these days. Likewise, businesses seek ease in even robust software and tools to minimize delay in operations. Even if a tool is robust, ease of use is still applicable if the company offers vendor assistance, training tutorials, and online resources for new and existing users. Determine the time it will take to migrate data with your new software and to acclimate your team.
Technical Support. Is customer support on-demand or do you require a dedicated support specialist?
Customer support will always be needed for every service. You may as well ensure that you have access to a good option. While most software companies offer customer support, not all offer 24/7 service or the opportunity to speak with a representative. Customer support for proposal management software is critical for successful user experience.
Pricing. Do you have to contact vendor or is the pricing transparent?
Vendor pricing may certainly be the deciding factor for your purchase. It would be nice to know what it is then, right? Many software companies don’t want prospective customers to know the pricing upfront or that the pricing comes with additional add-ons that add to the original price point. Phrases like “contact vendor” or “available upon request” are a tell-tale sign that high prices are afoot. Transparent pricing helps make your decision easier and quicker with an instant point of comparison.
Like we said up top, you want a proposal management software that offers one full solution to overcome the biggest challenges and achieve your business goals.
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