— December 17, 2018
If you’re operating a growing PPC agency, you know that there are rarely enough hours in the day. Coordinating calls, launching new campaigns, pacing budgets – the list goes on. And on top of all you have to do just to maintain your current business, there’s the hurdle of prospecting and onboarding new clients.
Creating proposals from scratch can be a cumbersome process that can take up too many of your valuable work hours. Luckily for agencies, the market is littered with companies that provide tools to help make creating proposals a much simpler process so that you can focus on your pitch to win over new clients – and not have to worry about formatting and tracking your proposals. Here, I will you run through seven of the best tools for creating proposals for PPC clients.
Proposify is a SaaS-model platform that has become increasingly popular with those looking to streamline their proposal writing process. It provides tools that allow users to create custom-designed, reusable templates so that new proposals can be produced quickly without compromising quality. You can easily add text, images, and video within the platform’s editor, which is great for anyone lacking experience with complex design tools.
Proposify also offers team management tools for your proposals. You can set up roles and assign permissions, including what access team members have to each section. This feature is helpful if you have multiple parties involved in the process.
One of the more sophisticated features is Proposify’s integration capabilities with a number of platforms, including HubSpot, Stripe, Salesforce, QuickBooks, Pipedrive, FreshBooks, Xero, and Zapier. The idea behind this is to automatically update the status of a prospect within these platforms once they accept and sign the proposal. The usefulness of this feature depends on the rate at which your agency is growing. This integration is a lot more useful to companies sending out new proposals constantly. If you are a smaller agency, you may not be using a CRM to manage your clients anyway, and even if you do, it’s unlikely you would find this feature all that useful.
Like most SaaS companies, Proposify has a 3-tiered pricing model broken out to accommodate the spectrum of users that their product services:
- “Tall” – $ 25/month ($ 300 billed annually)
- “Grande” – $ 75 per month ($ 900 billed annually)
- “Venti” – $ 250/ month ($ 3,000 billed annually)
Aside from the obvious pandering to Starbucks-riddled tech professionals, the way the product is priced certainly adds a bunch of ice with extra room for cream as you move up tiers. The major difference when you pay more is how many active proposals you can have (active meaning sent but not signed), how many user accounts you are allowed, and which of the bells and whistles of the integrations you have access to.
For a small to medium-sized agency, I would suggest the “Tall” tier unless you are growing faster than five unsigned proposals at a time. Once a proposal is complete, that number resets. The rest of the features are really only beneficial to larger operations.
Key takeaways: Proposify is catered specifically for businesses like marketing agencies. The base price isn’t too unreasonable for a growing business and is relatively competitive with other companies on the list.
PandaDoc takes the simplified e-signature approach to a variety of client-facing documents. Similar to Proposify, this tool has a drag and drop document design interface coupled with a number of templates to choose from. One feature that I found particularly interesting was their “pricing tables and catalogs,” where users can “automate quote creation with product catalogs and dynamic pricing table, allowing customers to choose the right option and pricing for them.” If you’re an agency that has clearly defined their pricing model, this could be a useful tool to allow prospects to customize the services offered.
Like Proposify, PandaDoc offers team features with different user roles and assignment options as well as integrations with CRMs and payment systems. With PandaDoc, you also get insight into when your client opens the document, how much time they spent reading it, and when they sign. PandaDoc offers mobile apps for IOS and Android as well.
PandaDoc takes a slightly less trendy approach to their price plan naming conventions. It breaks the pricing tiers out by “individual,” “Team,” and “API.” The individual plan is priced at $ 15 per month per user. The benefits are as follows:
The limit of 50 documents per year equates to about four per month. If you are a relatively small agency, this may be enough; however, if you’re picking up speed, you may want to consider the team plan:
The standard “Business plan” starts at $ 49/month per user, which is rather pricey considering it’s per user. Then, of course, you have the old “Let’s talk!” pricing of the enterprise plan – this might work for you if you run a large, well-established marketing agency.
Key Takeaways: PandaDoc is sophisticated platform with all of the features you would want to streamline and manage the proposal process. However, it is on the expensive side. If you’re a smaller agency looking for a simple proposal tool, I would suggest another option. The added analytics features and integrations may not provide enough value to smaller agencies to offset the cost.
3. Better Proposals
Better Proposal’s features are nearly identical to the other platforms in that it provides you with a tool for quickly creating aesthetically pleasing proposals in addition to offering a variety of integrations for CRMs and payment systems.
With Better Proposals, though, you have a tool that is solely focused on allowing you to create clean proposals fast. The proposal designer appears to be robust with the ability to brand the templates from color to font, imagery, and logos that look great on all devices.
As far as pricing is concerned, Better Proposals allows you to either pay monthly or annually, with a 17% discount on the annual option:
From a pricing perspective, you get a lot for your dollar with Better Proposals. This tool offers a $ 24 per month “starter” plan that is catered towards freelancers and individuals. This plan allows you to send 10 proposals a month and is limited to a single user. If you are a small agency, this plan could easily work for you. If you’re a somewhat larger agency, the $ 49 per month premium plan is the way to go. With the premium plan, you get to send up to 50 proposals a month and are allowed up to five users.
Takeaway: Better Proposals has all of the functionality of the other products, with a pricing plan that is sensible.
Qwilr is to proposals what Squarespace is to web design. Not only are the proposals and templates easy to customize, they also look fantastic. Aside from the visual appeal of Qwilr, one thing that stood out to me was its interactive pricing feature:
Similar to PandaDoc’s price catalog feature, Qwil’s interactive pricing gives you the opportunity to present your prospective client with an interactive selection of services. You can set up your quote as a single select, multiple choice, or combined package options. This gives the client the option to choose the services or products they want – and it gives your business the opportunity to upsell.
Qwilr uses a three-tiered pricing model similar to some of the other platforms. This consists of Pro, Business, and Enterprise. Again, you have the option to choose between monthly and annual payments.
Unlike many of the others, I would suggest going with the “Business” plan here unless you are a very small agency looking to try out the tool. This is because a large number of features are stripped away from the “Pro” plan – many of which (electronic signatures, typekit fonts, and custom forms) are worth the added cost.
Key Takeaways: Given how impressive the platform is, it’s rather disappointing that so many features are stripped from the pro plan. But if you’re looking for a tool for a small team to use, the business plan is a great option, with the cost per seat at just $ 20 monthly.
Bidsketch offers the same features as most of the tools on this list: a simplified proposal builder, numerous templates, analytics, integrations, and upsell features. What stands out for Bidsketch is the ability to create “Client Landing Pages.” The feature gives your prospective clients a landing page where they can view, approve, export, and comment on their proposal quickly.
With Bidsketch, you can also automate next steps with approval messages. This is great for PPC clients, as it may give them a prompt or send them directions on how to give you access to the accounts you need.
Like many of the other tools on this list, Bidsketch offers monthly and annual price models. Another great feature is that the base “Solo” price model allows for unlimited proposals and unlimited clients. The only features that are left out of this model have to do with team management and collaboration.
Key Takeaways: Bidsketch’s features and price options are competitive with the other platforms on this list. The fact that you can create unlimited proposals on any plan is a huge plus for agencies of any size!
Proposable offers drag-and-drop design tools and analytics, as well as a variety of customizable templates and many of the same integrations as the other tools on this list. With Proposable, you can set up email and SMS notifications on what’s happening with your proposals after you send them – a nice time-saving feature for agencies with multiple pending proposals.
Proposable allows you to pay monthly or annually, with a 15% discount when you sign up for the annual option. It doesn’t appear to have an individual pricing model, and with a cost of $ 39 per user per month, it is one of the pricier options on this list.
Key Takeaways: Proposable offers many of the same features with the biggest difference being the price. This tool also has a more “sales team” angle, with performance tracking and automatic proposal notifications. If you’re an agency with a dedicated sales team, this could be a great option for you – otherwise, you should consider a less expensive tool.
7. WordStream Advisor for Agencies: Proposal Generator
It wouldn’t be a complete list of proposal tools for agencies without mentioning WordStream’s very own proposal generator. WordStream offers a robust platform for PPC agencies. The platform itself is equipped with white-labeled performance graders for presenting detailed audits of client accounts and their proposal generator tool provides you with a customizable, downloadable PDF that makes it easier for you to recommend a successful, full-funnel approach to your prospects.
What’s great about WordStream’s proposal generator is the fact that it entirely PPC-focused. While many of the others on this list provide robust design tools and templates, this generator allows you to quickly create a compelling paid search and social proposals. Some of the key features include the ability to input industry data, geographic points of interest, and business
metrics – like average conversion rate and selling price – along with a handful of related keywords to generate a cross-platform proposal in just a few seconds.
I found the proposed budget particularly helpful:
Unlike the other tools on this list, WordStream’s Proposal Generator is isn’t a stand-alone option. The Proposal Generator is included in WordStream’s New Business Center, a suite of tools created to help agencies pitch and win new clients. If you’re already using the WordStream software to manage PPC accounts, you can add the New Business Center for $ 49/month, a subscription that can be cancelled at any time.
Key Takeaways: It’s hard to beat WordStream’s robust PPC-focused features alongside its $ 49/month price point. Access to white-labeled account auditing tools and a persuasive full-funnel proposal generator could make the difference in your prospect-to-client conversion rates.
Choosing a Tool for Your Agency
Whether you’re a small agency starting out or a larger one looking to provide clients with a quick and visually impressive experience, there are tools out there to make creating proposals a lot easier. I suggest testing some of these with free trials and picking the one that is most suitable for you and your business. Make sure to consider these factors:
- The size of your agency
- The rate of your agency’s growth
- The number of team members involved in the proposal process
Keep in mind also that creating proposals that save you time are valuable, but ones that save you time and increase your close rate are the ones you should be looking to create.