The Best 8 Free and Open Source Proposal Management Software
Proposals are decisive factors in the long-term sustainability of businesses. Well-structured proposals can gain you huge business opportunities, add new clients to your business portfolio, defend you against management criticisms, and can persuade the management to act on current issues.
Making a proposal is a daunting task that requires you to collect information from multiple departments, create and curate images, send emails to vendors, suppliers, IT people asking for the availability of assets or supplies before you commit anything in the proposal. It requires a lot of patience, time, and effort to respond to every RFP (Request for Proposal). You may also have to curate the proposal for every client who asks for variations and customized services. Manually Creating all timelines, curating information, formatting documents, attaching quotes, may take your valuable time, and certainly, you cannot bill the prospects for your proposal making efforts.
All proposal managers feel the need for an efficient process to create and manage proposals in a simpler, easier, and speedier way. Thankfully, technology has a solution to streamline your proposal management process. With the assistance of proposal management software, businesses can create, deliver, and manage proposals efficiently.
What is a Proposal Management Software?
Proposal management software is an application that manages the entire proposal process ranging from creating to signing the proposal for the final deal. It enables users to create proposals in minutes, and with the integration of digital signature tools, it also allows secure signing to close the deal. Proposal management software has an extensive library of eye-catching proposal templates, drag-and-drop editor, making it easy to create stunning proposals embedded with interactive video content, maps, and images. With a Proposal management system, you can:
- Create client questionnaires
- Build an RFP response library
- Update and customize Proposal
- Set reminders for proposal follow-ups
- Edit proposal in real-time while presenting it to client
It can integrate with existing systems, CRM modules, document management tools, etc. to offer more insights and additional features for your proposals. With manual override capabilities, it ensures an error-free proposal that doesn't let you down. Its collaboration space allows employees from all departments to share and edit files, thereby allowing companies to deploy the necessary expertise of all departments before submitting the proposal.
Why is it critical to have a successful business proposal?
Approved proposals provide you the license to act. Not only businesses, even in research, grants are awarded based on the value in the submitted proposal. While business proposals are written keeping the prospective client at the center, they help the seller by breaking the complex sale process into manageable tasks. Furthermore, the proposals are designed to favor your own services and products in the light of buyer's requirements.
- Proposals help businesses to visualize the plan and projections realistically
- For startups and small businesses, proposals can source investments
- Proposals help in monitoring work with clearly defined timelines
- Signed and approved proposals are legally valid and legally bind the parties to fulfill the commitments. Clearly written proposals prevent any future misunderstanding between the parties
- Proposals provide a checklist of the standard processes that makes workflow easy
While all businesses have their own specific requirements, guidelines, formats, and procedure of making proposals, the below sample provides a sample table of content to give you an idea about what content is included in the proposals.
Why do businesses need Proposal Management software?
- Make exceptional proposals: Proposal management software equips you and your team with vital skills to voice your projects in exemplary proposal designs.
- Formally solicited proposals allow you to respond to a query or official request. Businesses often have to turn the rough input provided by the clients into meaningful and quantifiable project information. The proposal automation tool has templates to direct you for preparing the response.
- Informally solicited project proposals are the outcome of clients' needs discussed in an informal meet, conversation with suppliers/vendors, or feedback. Informally solicited proposals reflect a customer's interest in a product. Sometimes marketers and distributors may come to know about some products and services that interest their clients from external sources (such as the informal chats between the dealers and the clients). The clients have given no specifications, details, or set goals about what exactly they need but may have informally conveyed that certain types of products or services might interest them. Now it is the responsibility of the businesses to put some extra legwork to formulate the informally solicited proposals based on the clients’ inclinations. Proposal management software can provide you with industry-wise free templates to design informally solicited proposals.
- Unsolicited project proposals are self-sourced proposals that businesses make to persuade clients to buy something that was not asked by them. Though based on some market research, they don't address the personalized needs of clients but are rather based on generic business approaches to market products and services. Free and open source proposal management software can equip businesses with tools to design the best possible unsolicited proposals aligned with the standard formats in your specific industry.
- To store proposal information in easy-to-access locations: Businesses cannot afford to design completely new proposals every time. Proposal management software can save the previous versions of proposals, attached case studies, images, quotation sheets, and other sales collaterals so that businesses are not required to reinvent a proposal every time.
- Gain prospect insights: Once businesses have sent the proposal, they need to know how their clients are reacting to the proposal. Proposals sent through proposal software can track the clients' interaction metrics with the proposal. Metrics such as whether the proposal was opened, at what time, what sections were read the most, how much time was spent on each section are notified to businesses. Advanced prospect insights can help businesses to keep themselves ready for cross-questions.
- For making proposals in a short time: Users can make proposals within minutes with the help of a proposal automation software.
Benefits of Using Proposal Management software: Industry-wise
In the real estate and construction industry, proposals have to be renewed once the current phase of work is over, and approval is sought for allocating funds to start the next phase. Proposal management software can help this industry formulate the projects, set reminders for ongoing projects.
Many times in government projects, extra resources are required than the initially anticipated one. One government agency can request the other fund allocating government bodies for extra funds by compiling a supplemental proposal with the assistance of proposal management software.
Catering companies, hotel venues, event businesses are often required to make bids to their clients for their services. Proposal management software can provide them all tools required to make, deliver, and monitor their proposals until the deal is closed successfully.
Finance companies such as Investment banks, loan financing companies, Accounting firms, etc. have to often make proposals quoting their services to prospective clients. With free templates and monitoring tools, these companies can send proposals to clients in a secure way and allow their clients to sign the proposals in a green way by the inbuilt e-sign tools.
The corporate world goes through a lot of activities that require perfectly engineered proposals. Mergers, acquisitions, bidding for contracts, buying and selling assets, etc. require them to make proposals. Proposal management software can be invaluable to corporate businesses in drafting error-free proposals. For instance, Proposal management software has below features that increase the chance of the proposal's approval:
- Pricing consultation (a feature of artificial intelligence-enabled proposal management systems) to check if they have overpriced, or underpriced their products and services, or overestimated or underestimated the supply capabilities
- Unique multi-tier approval capabilities (a feature that lets businesses to include multiple plans in a proposal and clients can choose the one that they need with a single-click)
Banking boards often have to issue tenders to sell their bad loans, confiscated properties, attached assets of defaulted loans, etc. for the loan recovery process. Selling these loan assets at the highest price is the only chance that the banks get to recover their already defaulted loans. With collaboration tools such as live chat, activity feed, and teamwork and drafting tools such as free templates, chart mode, embedded tools, etc. bankers can draft appealing proposals that increase the chance of more parties lining up to buy these assets.
Insurance providers can use the inbuilt templates and editing tools to draft fitting proposals directed towards the corporate or commercial organizations. Proposal software can assist insurance companies in delivering the best insurance quotes for insurance for assets, liability insurance, reputation insurance for brands, employee insurance, etc.
Who knows the value of a good proposal more than a startup? For startups, a good proposal is their chance of growth, a measure to raise survival capital, and a tool to impress their venture capitalists. The success of startups depends upon their ability to raise required funds in the initial phases; therefore, writing winning proposals is crucial to their success. Built-in content generator, automation, analytics, and tracking tools of open source proposal management software can help startups to ensure an approval mark on their proposals.
What are the features of Proposal Management Software?
Metrics and Notifications
Proposal management software can track how the clients are dealing with your proposals. It can send reminders and notifications to you and your clients about unopened proposals. It also tracks the number of times the proposal was opened and seen by the prospects.
Proposal management software lets users input multiple customized pricing options, discounts offered, taxes, etc. with the proposals. Prospects can tick the one they agree upon to initiate the deal.
Proposal management software lets users manage and organize templates, proposal bodies, descriptions, case studies, images, videos, etc. in a secure content library from where it can be fetched easily whenever required.
This feature pf proposal designing software allows users to create and save professionally designed branded templates and proposals for reuse.
Proposal management software lets clients and users attach legally binding e-signature to digitally sign proposals right in the browser itself.
Users can request payment from prospects directly with a payment option attached to the proposal itself.
Mapping of contact details and custom fields from CRM software/excel sheets to auto-populate proposals with error-free precise data is possible with the proposal management software.
Prospect Information Form
Client input forms allow prospects to fill their necessary fields to close the deal.
Proposal automation tools let users recreate their brand across proposal documents to provide them an extra marketing benefit.
Users can Include a product video demo, images, from your website or directly from YouTube, for impressive buyer experience with the proposal maker software.
Proposal management software Integrates with prominent CRM software and document managers to sync proposal data and fill custom fields automatically.
Multilingual and Multi-currency Features
Most of the proposal management systems allow multi-language and multi-currency support for a holistic business approach.
Live Chat with Prospective Clients
Chat live with prospects to solve queries and doubts of your prospects with proposal management software.
Reminders and notifications
Proposal management software sends automated reminder emails if prospects haven’t viewed the proposals even after a specific amount of time.
Roles and Permissions
Assigning permissions to manage access can prevent any chance of misuse of the software. The manager or admin approval is a must before sending a proposal to customers.
Tracking available on Mobile apps with some proposal management software
The list of 8 best free and open source proposal management software:
Comparison Chart of 8 Best Free and Open Source Proposal Management Software
Bupros is a versatile free and open source proposal management software that adapts to the bidding requirements automatically and can be used to create proposal designs for simple and complex contracts, all types of industries, general or legal documents, informal or professional documents, and many more.
- Manage sourcing mechanisms such as Request for Proposal (RFP), Request for Information (RFI), and E-Auctions.
- Create RFPs easily by using template features
- Store proposals for reuse
- Status management tools to control the proposal process
- Multiple-product proposals
- Client management features
- The centralized location of organization-wide proposals
- Provides alerts for proposal creation or renewal dates
- Search and retrieve proposal details
- Reporting tools for performance analysis of proposals
- Templates can easily be created and shared
- Different levels of authorization
Proposify is a proposal automation software for creating error-free sales documents quickly, and to eliminate unnecessary bottlenecks by getting rid of repetitive tasks by automation. This software reduces costly errors by prefilling new proposals with accurate details about client and company names. Proposify comes with salesforce integration, the ability to e-sign proposals, and real-time notifications about the prospect's interaction with your proposal.
- Free templates
- Secure electronic signature
- Workflow automation
- Metrics and Notifications
- Interactive quoting
- Content Library
- Branded Templates
- E-signature tools
- Online payment options directly from the proposal
- Custom Fields and auto-populate feature
- Allows the use of embedded videos in your proposals
- 15 Languages supported
And.co is a free proposal management software used by over 300000 people around the world. It offers a pro plan also if you require more robust features. It has a dedicated mobile application also, and it integrates with popular third-party software such as Zapier, Shopify, Slack, PayPal, Stripe, and Mailchimp. Its customer service was awarded Silver in the 2019 Stevie Awards for Customer Service.
- Create customizable proposals
- Add branding, custom slides, images
- Accept payment from the proposal
- Automatically sends an invoice to clients after payment
- Send embedded contract along with the proposal
- Sends automatic reminders to clients for pending approvals
- Sends users alerts when the proposal is opened
- Option to attach other required documents along with the proposal
Bidsketch is a proposal management software that lets you design professional proposals within minutes. It integrates with Zapier, Harvest, Docsketch, Base Camp 3, Freshbooks, and Salesforce to provide added functionalities. It is a South Florida based company with over 2k active clients. Bidsketch grants you complete branding control by allowing you to use your own custom domain along with the sent proposal. For example, the online link for your proposal will be proposal.mycompany.com. It makes you look more professional.
- Allows the use of Custom HTML/CSS designs for making templates
- Built-in templates
- Templates can be exported into PDF formats
- Reuse content
- Embed videos, images
- Upselling feature to add additional services with optional fees
- Clients can add a comment to your proposals
- Users can add automated messages that are visible to the client when he or she approves the proposal
- Metrics and notifications
Privia is a time-saving proposal management software that provides secure document collaboration and an easy to use the platform to build winning proposals. With over 10000 users, CIO Review Magazine named Privia in the Top Most Promising Workflow Solution Provider category. It is a web-based software application that integrates with Salesforce, SugarCRM, GovWIn, and more to offer better functionalities and import opportunities.
- Centralized workspaces for managing content, tasks, and reviews
- Content library
- Automatically manage version control.
- Automate design and reuse proposals
- Allows real-time reviewing, and editing by team members with centralized control of the proposal manager
- Quickly search and filter content
- Track real-time status and proposal approval metrics
- Multi-tier security
- Manage access controls and permissions to keep data safe
- Reuse effective proposals
Proposable is a proposal management software that lets you create, deliver, and streamline your proposals and e-sign it. It offers a huge resource of editable templates that makes proposable designing easy for your sales teams and proposal manager. This proposal generator is easy to use and gas a very intuitive interface.
- Drag & Drop Proposal Builder
- Catalog of Free Proposal Templates
- Collaborate on Proposals
- Built-in e-Signatures
- Set the amount on the proposal and collect payments online
- Quickly build estimates, bids, and quotes with their flexible estimate block
- Monitor all proposal activity across all departments
- Only approved proposals go to customers with the manager approval feature
- Content Library
- Proposal Analytics
- Real-time Notifications
Nusii is a proposal management software that assists project managers to craft simple and beautiful professional proposals and provides features for proposal tracking, automation, online signatures, personal branding, and many more. It integrates with powerful software such as Zapier, Pipedrive, Hubspot, Salesforce, Slack, Trello, Freshbooks, and Basecamp.
- Create and send beautifully formatted proposals
- Get a notification for opened proposal
- Sends reminder to follow up on unopened proposals
- Nusii provides users a custom domain and email address and branding control
- Nusii lets you save and insert your previous content
- It is a GDPR compliant software
- It provides several free online proposal templates.
Trusted by 200K+ freelancers and agencies, Bonsai is a Proposal management software that ensures a seamless client experience through high-quality professional proposals with a high acceptance rate. Marketed primarily for freelancers, it helps freelancers to manage multiple projects at one time and has additional features such as invoicing and
- Templates & Branding
- Use flexible proposal templates
- Allows clients to choose from multiple proposal package
- Get notified when your proposal is viewed
- Allows clients to accept the proposal on any device
- Upsell service packages graphic
- 180 currencies supported
- Content Library
You can choose from the above list of 8 best free and open source proposal management software for making professional project proposals. If you were not satisfied with the above list or are looking for more advanced proposal management software, then you can add Pandadoc to your list. Pandadoc is one of the most popular and interactive proposal management software solutions available in the market. Let us see its features in detail:
Used by over 16000 businesses to prepare stunning proposals in a matter of minutes with its template library of over 450 prebuilt proposal templates, Pandadoc is a leader in the proposal management software industry. Businesses can create professional, error-free documents with a drag & drop library of content. Pandadoc integrates with the CRM software to fetch data at faster speeds directly from the CRM storage. Pandadoc increases your sales efficiency by providing you with real-time notifications of the prospect’s activity with the sent proposal.
- Free templates and reusable templates
- Content Library
- Real-time prospect metrics
- Receive notification with a link to download the finalized contract in PDF form
- Provides actionable insights
- Notifications for unread emails
- Embed Media (photos or videos)
- CRM integrations,
- Sign electronically
- Advanced analytics
- Payment integration
Regardless of the industry or business one is in, sending proposals, is something that is there for everyone. With the advent of computer-aided and software-based proposals, the speed, accuracy, and utility of making and managing proposals have increased considerably. A modern proposal management software takes away the hassle involved with creating time taking proposals.
The global proposal management software market size is expected to grow from USD 1.5 billion in 2019 to USD 3.1 billion by 2024, at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 14.9% during the forecast period.
Businesses can choose from any of the free and open source proposal management software discussed in this article. Apart from the discussed free proposal management software are some other proposal management software that you may choose for your business. We will be glad to hear your views about the article in the comments section below. If you have utilized any of the free and open source proposal management software mentioned above, then do share your feedback with us.