It just occurred to me that we hadn’t thrown any product reviews your way in a little while, and we’ve stumbled on two that you been using two for a little bit and thought we’d tell you about them.
First up is Proposify. It is supposed to help you win business by making the act of creating, sending, tracking and following up on your proposals faster and easier. Which it does and it doesn’t.
Let’s start with what I love:
1. The origin story:
You know I loves me a good origin story and yup, as far as they go, this one isn’t bad. Here the founders are in Time Magazine talking about how Proposify essentially rose out of the ashes of everything going wrong. It’s also Canadian.
I want to love this product and the guys behind it even if, in practice, they don’t always make it easy. More on that later.
2. The layout:
When clients get the proposal, all of your sections are laid out on the side, making it really easy for them to immediately go to what they want. You’ll know that one of the things we say around here a lot is “people trust what they don’t have to think about” and this layout means people don’t have to peck and hunt to find what they need. Because it’s so easy from their side, it helps you subtly send signals their way that you’ll be easy to work with too.
3. If you really can’t write:
If you have no clue on how to write a proposal, it at least gives you the bare bones of what you should include, even if the writing isn’t reflective if your brand. Of course, it’s not particularly useful, I don’t think, to send in anything to anyone with any kind of stock writing in it; you’ll just look like an idiot if they get another similarly worded proposal. But if you’re completely hopeless, perhaps that’s useful.
You know when your audience has read your proposal and how much time they spent with it. It also lets you schedule automatic reminders if it hasn’t been read and includes various other follow up autoresponders. Impressive.
Let’s get to what I don’t love:
1. Very limited Design options:
Really, there just aren’t that many great designs to choose from; options range from bordering on cheesy to kinda crass.
2. Not easy to customize:
But don’t worry! It’s customizable! As long as you don’t mind navigating a REALLY clunky design interface. My designer is top drawer and a whiz with online options like this, and she claimed it was on of the clunkiest platforms she’d ever worked on. I gave up on it.
3. Customer Service:
Owner sends out heartfelt invitation to get real feedback from customers. I oblige, setting up a meeting in his calendar. He misses the meeting and sends out a “how can I make it up to you” email. So far so good, but he misses the make up meeting too, leaving me on the call for 15 minutes. I write him and he writes back saying he didn’t forget, he knew it was happening, he just had an emergency. No apology, no offer to follow up, just washed his hands of the whole thing. It’s not like I have tons of time to fling around but apparently, his time is more important than mine.
In truth, we don’t do most of our proposals via Proposify — too clunky. And if you did, unless you wrote very few, it starts to add up. First one is free, up to 5 is $25 US and up to 25 is $50 US, but that incliudes drafts and any proposal that isn’t archived.
The other service that’s intrigued us recently is VISME. We’re still playing with this one, so we’ll try and report back when we have a better sense of the tool, but I have to say, we’re digging what we’re seeing. Visme is a tool that lets you design infographics, proposals, presentations, even memes, quickly and easily. They reached out to me and asked if we’d try it out and gave me an account so we could play around with it.
I’m not a designer but I’ve been able to put together a couple of relatively decent pieces in there. I can’t wait to see what my designer does. Meanwhile, it has great art (Proposify, for the most part, does not). Typing dog into the search bar returns more than 75,000 options, and they’re better shots than your average stock photo service offers. It also exports easily and, from everything I’ve done so far, seems relatively intuitive.
I have some presentations I’ll be working on for too long and expect to really put VISME through its paces. If I have anything to add to this post after then, I’ll update. Until then, it’s definitely worth something trying out, and there’s a free trial so you can see what you think without making a commitment.
But enough about the new tools we’ve stumbled over the last little while. What tools have you discovered and what can’t you just live without?