Our team has been putting the building blocks together for an automated sales and marketing machine. In the past, we spent 1000's USD on various tools, none of which incorporated our final goal. That goal was to provide for business intelligence within the sales system and to provide a consistent, predictable process.
We are a boutique firm, we are very selective of our customers and we need to WOW them from the moment they click on one of our ads.
Proposals are the first part of a new client relationship, but the real value comes later - in the form of information around what is being sold, who is selling it and how quickly. This information is critical in a value based selling environment, and we could not find it anywhere.
The value proposition behind our app is achieving higher win rates at more profitable selling prices and, ultimately, achieving the value based pricing model.
What it does
At the coal face, we prepare proposals whilst you pitch to the customer, and deliver pricing immediately - on a value based pricing model. We allow for complex calculations and complete control, right up to the eventual price and how it's presented to the customer.
We then leverage automation to bring the team up to speed and put the necessary gears in motion in popular CRMs and project management software. This allows us to take each customer through a predictable, repeatable business process.
How we built it
The team consists of a software architect, Developer, communication designer and an Entrepreneur. It all started with a rant "from me" to Peter, a friend who just happens to be a Software Architect. I was moaning about my project management and selling tools and, in that meeting, I decided to build my very own project management system. The question came: "But Michael, surely you need to start at the beginning - let the CRM pick up the marketing side, but start building the sales module?" In short, that's what we've done.
Challenges we ran into
Scope Creep, Scope Seep: these were daily challenges, even today (as we near production release). Every day, Peter had to reign me in, after my seeing the potential of the business intelligence I can farm: for example, time to close, win rates, controlling the invoicing to XERO... Every day, I have a debate - sometimes with myself - as to what's important, what's nice to have and what's the value add.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Being able to deliver V1, which is not polished but works well, is a huge achievement for me.
Creating something beautiful from a blank netbeans project is thrilling.
What we learned
Planning: Plan, Plan, Plan and then go back to the white board, sticky notes and even string or wool.
Before the first line of code is written, plan again.
What's next for Proposal +
Our vision is to deliver insights into the selling process for business owners in the form of Business Intelligence Dashboards. We want to achieve a fully automated, highly customisable, quote-to-cash process that will deliver bespoke proposals, reporting and management services to any service-based business. This will serve as a 'one-stop' planning, billing and marketing tool.
The ultimate goal of Proposal+ is to educate service practitioners worldwide about the power of value-based pricing compared to time-based billing and coaching the seasoned entrepreneur into selling more profitably.
We want to enable business owners to sell value instead of hours, avoiding the trap of selling cheap and buying cheaper, and encouraging an economy based on happy employees doing work which is appropriately valued not only by their clients, but by the entire team.
We plan to have commercial launch 1 October 2018, with V1.
We encourage you to use the login details below and demo the app yourself.