Writing a good proposal isn’t easy — it needs to be transparent, well-written, neatly designed, and represent your company in the best possible way.
More importantly, your sales and marketing teams need a reliable way to create proposals quickly, without sacrificing quality.
That’s where proposal tools come in. With features that facilitate proposal creation, these software solutions can empower your marketing and sales teams to write proposals, send them to clients, and even get eSignatures.
In this article, we will be going over our top choices for the best business proposal software available right now.
How did we collect our data?
The contents of this article were sourced from a total of 1.92 million page views of data, as of June 2021.
The sources were grouped into five cohorts:
- <5.000 page views;
- 5.000 – 25.000 page views;
- 25.000 – 100.000 page views;
- 100.000 – 1.000.000 page views;
- over 1.000.000 page views.
The websites we used as resources include SaaS review blogs, comparison articles, and specialized user review websites that rely on user input. Most of the ratings and user reviews presented were sourced from the G2 website.
For information on pricing, features, and company data, we relied on the commercial websites and social media pages of the featured tools’ developers.
How did we rank these tools?
To adequately compare these tools, we chose five criteria that we believe are the most important:
- Pricing: While we can make a case that good proposal management software is almost invaluable, it comes a point when spending too much on automation tools can put a strain on your budget. You want to get the best mix of value and cost-effectiveness.
- Reviews: All of these tools are present on user review websites where you can take a look at what other users have to say about their experience using the product. We looked at these websites and identified patterns and common complaints/praises.
- User experience (UX): Since your proposal writing tools will be used by entire teams, you want them to be as intuitive as possible. Some of your sales or marketing people might not be that tech-savvy so having a tool that’s quick to learn can be priceless.
- User interface (UI): If your team is going to be working with a tool almost every day, that tool better be pleasing to the eye. Bright colors, cool fonts, satisfying buttons — all of these things can be underrated when talking about using software in our daily work.
- Advanced features: All of the software solutions on this list enable you to send professional proposals but some of them go the extra mile. You might be interested in features like breathtaking proposal templates, large content libraries, workflow automation, and other things that can make your life easier and your proposals more interesting.
So, let’s check out our top choices and see what makes them special!
Pricing: Free eSign (free for as many documents as you like), Essentials ($19 month/user), Business ($49 month/user), Enterprise (custom price).
G2 Rating: 4.6/5
Advanced features: Library of more than 450 proposal templates, real-time notifications, document analytics
User review: Pete M. on G2: “I love being able to create a beautifully styled proposal in less than a minute. The platform is straightforward to use and saves me and my team hundreds of hours a month. One of the best features is the recipient’s ability to tailor the pricing to suit their needs by editing quantities or adding/removing optional extras. It reduces the time my salespeople are waiting for information and instead makes our engagement with the client much richer.”
Free trial: 14 days
We might be biased here but, after working for years on creating a cost-effective solution to facilitate proposal writing, we truly believe we have something special to offer!
PandaDoc is a software solution that allows you to automate the entire process of creating and sending proposals, client contracts, quotes, and other documents that may require an electronic signature.
With PandaDoc, you can streamline everything — from document creation to receiving document analytics once your proposal is sent to the client.
In other words, you can see how much time the client spent viewing your proposal, whether they downloaded the PDF, whether they click links, etc. This can give your sales and marketing teams valuable information they can act on.
PandaDoc features an intuitive drag-and-drop interface that allows you or your team to easily create sales proposals that follow your brand book and impress your clients.
You can do this by leveraging the template library — an elaborate collection of proposals for various use cases. Simply edit the template in a few minutes and you’ll end up with a beautifully designed proposal ready for sending.
Best of all, PandaDoc allows for document collaboration so your entire team can work on creating the proposal.
This will empower your team to make decisions together and improve your overall team collaboration, not to mention that it can help minimize human error!
2. Better Proposals
Pricing: Starter ($19/user), Premium ($29/user), and Enterprise ($49/user)
G2 Rating: 4.3/5
Advanced features: Library of more than 100 proposal templates, proposal AI, instant notifications
User review: Sara K. on G2: “Create beautiful proposals, track them, use templates, add-in options, embed videos. It’s a great software! I’m a software consultant and it’s helped me not only save time on proposals but deliver a really great, simple experience to the client. Read, choose your options, sign, and all the admin is out of the way, we can dive straight in.”
Free trial: 14 days
Better Proposals is all about simplicity — with this online proposal software, you can edit proposal templates pretty much the same way you would edit an email. Simply click, edit, save, and send, all in a matter of minutes.
The template library isn’t as impressive as PandaDoc’s when it comes to the number of templates you have at your disposal but they all feature a modern design.
Additionally, if you create your own template that you’re particularly proud of, you can save it to the library for later use. On a long enough timeline, you can enrich your library with dozens of useful templates.
Like most proposal automation tools, Better Proposals allows you to customize your proposal and add branding elements like your company logo, font, colors, and other. Like PandaDoc, Better Proposals also provides document analytics that give your team valuable information they can use to follow up with the clients.
While Better Proposals makes the proposal process easier, it isn’t without its downsides, particularly in the UX department.
The tool features three editor menus that allow you to add elements, add content within a section, and edit the design. This multiple-menu approach can feel a little clunky and it might take some time to get used to.
Better Proposals also comes with a unique feature called “Proposal AI” which gives you an automated review of your proposal.
A good idea initially, it feels like the proposal AI was an afterthought and it needs work.
Pricing: Free (for one user), Team Plan ($49/user/month), and Business Plan ($590/month)
G2 Rating: 4.7/5
Advanced features: Sort and filter proposals, document analytics, translation into 15 languages
User review: Jake S. on G2: “Proposify has saved me so much time writing traditional proposals in a document. I can fill in the client’s details and the project scope & pricing and Proposify does the rest. No more customizing a word template! The digital signing part is a game-changer, we had to use a combination of different platforms to send proposals, sign T&Cs whereas Proposify combines these. It also integrates with our CRM system Pipedrive which will send a customer an automated email when the proposal is signed.”
Free trial: 14 days
Proposify pays special attention to the admin side. It’s a proposal software solution like all others: you get your templates, a simple drag-and-drop editor, user-friendly functionalities, and valuable integrations.
But, with Roles, Proposify provides additional safety you need to ensure no proposal goes out with costly mistakes.
Roles allow you to keep your reps productive by only providing them access to what is needed. You can also set up approval permissions and largely reduce the element of human error, knowing that not everybody can tamper with important documents all the time.
Like other entries on this list, Proposify gives you client-side metrics to help you track how your proposal is doing.
However, this tool also allows you to monitor your reps’ progress from the initial proposal creation stage to sign-off. This way, you can rest assured that you have accountability throughout the whole process.
All of this comes at a price, though. Even the cheapest plan can end up straining your budget if you have a large sales or marketing team.
You might think that the Free plan might be a solution but, not only does this plan only allow for one user, it also limits you to five active proposals at a time.
Pricing: Solo ($19/user/month), Team ($39/user/month), and Enterprise ($500+/month)
G2 Rating: 4.3/5
Advanced features: Manager approval, real-time notifications
User review: Josh R. on G2: “I love the constant updates in real-time that it gives you. As a salesperson, there are few things better than knowing a potential client is viewing your proposal.[…] The template options when creating a new proposal aren’t the best, obviously, every business is different and you can’t create a template that will work for everyone, but I wish that it came with more prebuilt options for proposals.”
Free trial: 14 days
Proposable is a proposal automation software solution that allows you to easily create and send proposals, as well as collect payments and eSignatures.
In many ways, Proposable is nothing to get too excited about since you get all the standard things you get with any proposal software: templates, document analytics, a simple editor, and payment collection features.
But, perhaps Proposable’s greatest strength is in its simplicity.
When you take a look at the interface, everything is super convenient and stripped down.
There are no fancy colors, complicated tabs, or confusing menus. You can edit templates easily and save everything you need for later use, including your pricing catalog.
For additional safety, you can use the “Require approval” feature which is a simple box you check if you want the senior manager to approve the proposal and eliminate error.
Proposable also integrates with most CRM software, including but not limited to Salesforce, Pipedrive, HubSpot, and others.
Pricing: Solo ($29/month for a single user), Team ($79/month for up to 3 users), Business ($149/month for up to 8 users)
G2 Rating: 4.0/5
Advanced features: Automated next steps, landing pages
User review: User in Printing on G2: “Bidsketch made it really easy to create proposals and send them on your behalf. The process to create a fully customized quote is quite fast and easy, and you can easily customize each one to be most relevant to your products and pricing structures. […] Bidsketch has no method for exporting the data you input into it. You are essentially forced to use a secondary product to keep track of the proposals you’ve sent if you’re a company that sends several proposals per day.”
Free trial: 14 days
Bidsketch is a proposal management tool that promises to cut your proposal time in half with its templates and an interactive interface. You can reuse everything from pricing tables to content and design.
And, if you want to create a highly visual proposal, the tool allows you to embed all the images and videos you need, as well as provide links for any additional material.
One thing that might separate Bidsketch from some other entries on the list is the Landing pages feature. You can give your potential clients an entire landing page to view, comment on, and approve their proposal in a few moments.
Bidsketch also adds another element to your proposal process: the next steps. With Bidsketch, your clients can see an instant message outlining the exact next steps they need to take as soon as they sign the proposal.
One area where Bidsketch falls short is integrations. The pre-built integrations available within the app are a little limited and if you want to use some of the apps outside of their list, you’ll need to set everything up manually via their API.
Pricing: Business ($75/month for up to 3 users) and Enterprise ($490/month for up to 10 users)
G2 Rating: 4.5/5
Advanced features: Innovative proposals, interactive pricing
User review: Desmond Richard Lewis on G2: “The functionality is ultra-intuitive, guidance is readily available within the product and from the very responsive QWILR team. The product is well thought out and constructed and impressive when clients see that it is being used. […] The adaptability of the documents to more complex layouts and patterns – mosaic dropdowns on images and more options for the display of text, together with a better method of PDF conversion without losing Constantina text would be great.”
Free trial: 14 days
Qwilr takes a slightly different approach when it comes to creating and sending proposals and other sales documents.
While you can still use their templates and building blocks, the end product of Qwilr isn’t a PDF document or some other static format but a mini interactive web page.
You can create an immersive experience for your future clients and embed almost any kind of content on the page – Google Maps, calendars, Typeform, etc.
Pricing models are also interactive so your prospects can choose the pricing plan that fits their expectations.
However, this innovative approach to proposals comes at a price. Some clients have been asking for a hassle-free PDF version of Qwilr but, apparently, the design doesn’t translate so well to PDF because of formatting issues.
Unfortunately, a lot of small businesses will just need a simple PDF solution rather than sending an immersive web experience to each client.
That’s why with PandaDoc, the PDF mode is the default easy option for everyone!
Pricing: Freelancer ($29/month for a single user), Agency ($49/month), Business($129/month)
G2 Rating: 4.8/5
Advanced features: Variables, interactive pricing
User review: Terry M. on G2: “From the time you first log in, you find an easy-to-use solution to create effective proposals. I add new sections almost every time I create a proposal and they are very easy to use over and over. My one knock is that there is not a lot of text editing ability. For example, adding bullet points has to be done outside the program and pasted in.”
Free trial: 14 days
Nusii is a simple proposal solution that takes care of the basics really well. You don’t have a lot of advanced analytics or dashboards to enjoy but their templates are impressive and the user interface is fairly modern.
When you first start using Nusii, you’ll notice that the templates are possibly its standout feature. They’re unique, immersive, and they let you not only add elements like pricing tables and videos but also tell your brand’s story.
With Nusii, you can also use variables that ensure you never send a proposal with another client’s info buried somewhere in the text.
Simply insert a variable (name, business name, address, etc.) and rest assured, knowing that it’s all correct.
A big knock against Nusii, on the other hand, is the lack of editing capabilities, especially when it comes to text editing.
Pricing: Monthly ($8/month), Yearly ($5/month)
G2 Rating: 4.8/5
Advanced features: Proposal wizard
User review: David N. on Capterra: “Prospero has brought generation time down to less than 15 minutes most of the time, and the proposals are super sleek, effective, and to the point. […]There are some updates that I would like to see like pricing flexibility and asset library management.”
Free trial: 21 days
Right off the bat, Prospero is obviously the most cost-effective entry on this list. There is only one pricing plan and it includes all the features available.
And, what you get for this price is nothing to scoff at — you get access to lots of well-designed templates, everything is customizable, and the platform even supports many languages and currencies, which is great news for non-U.S. clients.
You can also integrate the tool with many popular services including Stripe, Zapier, Intercom, Crisp, etc.
However, Prospero might be a little too simple, especially for larger enterprises. You don’t get detailed analytics, multiple user seats, or pricing flexibility.
Pricing: Upland has not made pricing information public.
G2 Rating: 4.1/5
Advanced features: advanced analytics, document collaboration, questionnaires
User review: Bonney M. on G2: “Its comprehensive features include comprehensive banking transactions that are safe and quick and also it has invoicing and quotation services and this makes it among the best software of this generation. For the people with less knowledge of computer software and procurement, it may become hard for them to fully utilize it.”
Free trial: Upland has not made pricing information public.
Qvidian is an all-in-one proposal management and RFP response software owned by Upland Software — a company that specializes in enterprise software solutions in various fields.
It offers robust features: it adapts to Microsoft Word and Excel questionnaires, performs a reliable and quick auto search, and saves all formatted images and text in a native content database.
You can also collaborate with your team members on documents with message threads and coordination, as well as make use of an elaborate analytics dashboard.
All of these features may be overwhelming for small to medium businesses and the platform has been consistently criticized for being too cumbersome, especially for less tech-savvy users.
Final word: The best proposal software in 2021
The best proposal writing software of your choice will likely depend on your company’s specific needs.
So, if you’re a small business looking to just streamline the sales process with a simple CPQ tool, you might not be excited by spending hundreds of dollars on sales proposal software.
On the other hand, project managers at large enterprises will be looking for complex solutions with CRM integrations, mobile apps, and many advanced features.
Whatever you choose, make sure to compare all the pricing plans and features. You’ll want to know exactly what you’re paying for!
If you’re looking for that perfect combination of convenience, features, and affordability — we suggest you take a look at PandaDoc.
Our template library will give you everything you’re looking for plus you’ll enjoy navigating through our intuitive interface.
Sign up for a free trial of PandaDoc and try it out!
Originally published October 4, 2019, updated June 29, 2021