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Top 8 Proposal Management Software Solutions

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Unfortunately, many professionals and businesses realize they need quality proposal management software after it’s too late. Whether you’re the founder of a startup, freelance and prep RFPs for government agencies, or just realized as an executive of a mid-sized company that your proposals aren’t as streamlined as they should be, there are solutions.

What are the top proposal management software solutions of 2017? From configure price quote (CPQ) options to quote to cash (Q2C) solutions, here’s your ultimate guide for getting proposal management in check for the New Year:

  1. Quote to cash (Q2C): A component of your CPQ (configure price quote) and integral part of your billing process, quote to cash is just what it sounds like—generate quotes quickly so they can translate into a cash deal. It’s a must for sales teams who can’t waste time crunching numbers and leaving customers waiting. With quote to cash, you get flawless quotes that are competitive without human error. Accurate quotes lead to better contracts and faster moving cash.
  2. Configure price quote (CPQ): CPQ and Q2C has a lot of overlap. CPQ is the number manipulation aspect of determining a price quote. The software is crafted for different sized businesses, dishing out complicated quotes in seconds. It’s a must-have tool in the Digital Era when customers also fancy themselves savvy negotiators. When putting together a proposal, you need instant, correct and tempting numbers to close the deal.
  3. Build-your-own apps: As of 2016, it became official—there are more North Americans using mobile devices rather than desktops/laptops for everything. When perusing proposals, granting agencies and companies want convenience and showcasing of tech savviness. Having a personalized app that highlights your proposal and business makes it easier for target audiences to make decisions (in your favor).
  4. EndeavorCPQ: CPQ software designed for proposal niches? That’s what EndeavorCPQ from SalesForce offers, created just for the branding, product information and marketing data used to generate proposals. Via a cloud-based software, the proposal is sent directly to the recipient without the need for emails. All necessary data is also integrated with your customer relationship management (CRM) software.
  5. E-signatures: Signing agreement electronically reduces paperwork, oversights, overhead and duplicate copies. The highest quality CPQ has e-signature capability built in, so everyone can sign off on quotes and agreements with DocuSign. Considered the go-to leader in electronic signatures, DocuSign integrates with all software solutions so all you need to do is “sign with a click.”
  6. Multi-organization quoting: Proposals can get complicated, especially when there are numerous parties involved. With multi-organizational quoting, you get a “one stop experience” to bundle all related products/services into a clean and manageable hub. Ensure the most up to date pricing, product/service information and compatibility with this software solution. Easily share product catalogs with key members via permission-based access that you control. This software also lets outside vendors quote your goods with up to date pricing guidelines.
  7. Workflow approval software: Sometimes it can seem like getting quote approvals are the most challenging part of any business proposal. Choose a software solution that has quote approval capabilities built in so all you have to do is create a rule to trigger the approval emails. Instantly, the right targets will get the information at exactly the right time. You can also manage alerts so you’re notified immediately of any competitor discounts or other items that might impact your proposal.
  8. Portal software solutions: Proposals mean integrating with a number of parties from distributors to sales reps and partners. When you create custom portals, you increase visibility for pipeline data, pricing and products/services. Top of the line CPQ portals don’t require CRM or ERP licenses. Instead, it’s one smooth process with minimal bumps.

What do you “propose” to do when it comes to enhancing business proposal solutions in the coming year? Take a look at the SalesForce options and discover ways to streamline your processes.

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Productivity

Finding the Right Project Management Software for Your Content Marketing Team

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A project management software is a must-have resource for business. There are hundreds of options for your project management software — all promising to do what the others can do, but better. While this may be true, the fact is that some features may not be necessary for your content marketing team. What works for some may not work for others. So, how do you choose the right project management software to suit the specific needs of your content management team, while not paying extra for features your team is never going to use?

The key to a good project management software is in the essentials. You’ll want to make sure that your software has the foundational capabilities to navigate every stage of your content marketing project from beginning to end successfully. Read below for features to look for, as well as some tips for finding the right project management software for your content marketing team.

Features of A Good Project Management Software

Communication

Without a proper way of communication, your team won’t work as a cohesive unit. Especially for groups working remotely, constant communication with coworkers is among the most vital of components when working as a team. It is critical that your software has a way for effective communication and maintaining adaptability when problems arise.

Trying to run a content marketing campaign without talking about the crafting, writing, and publishing of your content will be virtually impossible. Furthermore, how are you supposed to know who is handling what project and how far along they are? In any aspect of business, communication is vital, and emails will only get you so far. In many cases, a second form of communication is necessary for instant messaging for the clarification of instructions and problems in real-time.

Collaboration

The foundation of a functional content marketing team is the ability to collaborate. Creating and publishing content involves the hands and eyes of everyone on your team. So, it is imperative that your project management software has collaborative functions.

Content creation and marketing relies on the sharing of ideas, and this includes file sharing. Email cannot provide the pace in which a content marketing team needs to work on files and pass them back and forth between members. Additionally, email can come with some drawbacks — some people don’t check their email often, files can get lost in inboxes, and other email disasters can happen. In recognition of these drawbacks, your project management software must have the file-sharing capabilities at speeds that can keep up with your team members’ ideas and processes.

It is also recommended that you supplement your project management software with a collaborative tool such as Google Docs. Google Docs is an extremely cost-effective app that allows team members to work on the same document, in real-time. With these two tools combined, you can work on a document with a coworker on Google Docs, and send it to another employee through your project management software for them to work on or edit.

Project Management Duties

Other than the functions above, you’ll want to make sure that your project management software performs all of the duties that will keep your content marketing campaign running smoothly. Since there are different project management software, each one puts their flare on the user experience of the functions they provide. However, you’ll want to make sure that your software provides some crucial elements.

First and foremost, your project management software or tool needs to have a working calendar. In the process of content creation and marketing, there are deadlines to meet, and you don’t want projects to be constantly up in the air. The firm tracking of dates to remember is vital in any business operation, and your content marketing campaign is no different.

Marking the priority, and the ability to assign tasks to others is another part of a content marketing team’s processes. Facilitating effective time management, understanding the priority of upcoming tasks can keep your team members in the loop. During the creative process of content creation, it is good to know how much time you have to work on a project while acknowledging projects that you have to get started on shortly.

QuickBooks illustrates the importance and convenience of a project management software, saying that “with a project management tool, you won’t need to ask your employees for that one email or the status of that one project. All ongoing and completed work—along with all relevant information—will be instantly accessible.” So, make sure your software can let a team member work on a task, mark it as urgent, and notify the next team member that the project needs to be at the top of their list. This function will elevate time management and productivity levels while avoiding confusion.

Tips For Finding The Right Project Management Software

Calculating Cost

Deciding how much you want to spend on your project management software is tricky. Of course, you want to provide the best tools for your content management team, but you’d also like to be cost-efficient. Things to consider when calculating the cost of your software are how well it performs necessary duties, alternative software, and your team’s feedback on the software you’re considering to go with.

You don’t want to be paying for extra features that are going to be seldom used or little understood by your teammates. So, make sure you try out and  do your research on other project management software and listen to your team’s feedback.

Trying Alternatives

How else are you going to find out exactly what you need in a project management software than to try out all of your options? You wouldn’t blindly buy a car without doing your research first, would you? While a project management software is not as expensive as a car, it will save you time, money, and frustration to take the time to make sure you are going with the right one.

There are many options for a project management software, and all come with different ways to perform the same tasks or offer different functions entirely. Your object here is to see how well the user experience and services offered corresponds with your content marketing objectives and team member preferences.

Get Feedback From Your Team

Your team’s input on the project management software you are considering could ultimately make your decision for you. If your team doesn’t like or understand the software you are thinking of choosing, it is in everyone’s best interest to go with another software — rather than spending the time and money trying to learn and deal with software that no one likes or understands. User experience is subjective to the people using the software, as well as the tasks you will be performing. If the software you are considering doesn’t fit your content marketing team’s goals or preferences, don’t waste the money on buying it.

Additionally, listening to your team’s opinion will illuminate some function of a project management software that you will lean on heavily and some that you may not use at all. Why pay the extra money for things you won’t use, or waste the money on software that doesn’t carry out the functions you need it to? Your team’s feedback will be valuable during your decision to choose a project management software.  

Finding the right project management software is a decision that can make or break your content marketing campaign. Instead of wasting time and money, your team could be on its way to creating some very compelling content and marketing strategies. The information above will help you get started on your way to finding the perfect project management software for you and your team.

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Productivity

Scaling Up? Don’t Forget About Employee Retention

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There are a lot of important things a startup leader needs to keep track of when their business is scaling up. Sales, marketing, production and other operational processes are all crucial for rapid growth, but don’t forget about the element that drives everything else: your people.

If you don’t focus on retention while scaling up, you run the risk of losing the team members who helped you get to this point in the first place. The high cost of turnover, including the time it takes to hire, onboard and train new employees, will likely set you back and hinder your growth, so make sure your team sticks around.

We asked members of Young Entrepreneur Council what it takes to keep your top talent around as you become a bigger, better company.

1. Spend Quality Time With Them

As your company grows, it is easy to focus on the new people coming in, depriving your loyal employees of quality time. The typical thought here is: “Well, they know what they are doing already, so they don’t need me.” That may be true, but they still want you. The best way to retain employees while scaling your company is to carve out some one-on-one time every month with each of your employees.

Mike A. Podesto, Find My Profession

2. Listen And Implement

Find out what your employees like about working for your company and, more importantly, what they would like to see improved. Listen to them and actually implement their ideas. Keep up training — most industries evolve over time so your employees should be provided with the appropriate tools to keep up. Treat your employees with respect and show them that they are valued.

Kristy Knichel, Knichel Logistics

3. Offer Retention Bonuses

In industries where talent is in super high demand and job hopping is common, retention bonuses are an effective tool. These bonuses are paid for staying on board for a certain period of time and generally escalate for lengthier periods of time. For instance, offer $1,000 for one year, $2,000 on the second anniversary, etc.

Eric Mathews, Start Co.

4. Pay Special Attention to Those Who Have Been There Longer

Make sure to recognize the staff members who have been with you for a long time so they never feel unappreciated. People need to feel purpose about what they are doing. When management spends less time working with the veteran staff because they are too busy with new hires, you lose great employees. Spending time with your long-serving staff transfers their positive energy to your new employees.

Sarah Yeverovich, Empowered Staffing

5. Find Out Why They Stay

Make sure employees know what is expected of them and how they can grow as your company grows. Everyone is familiar with exit interviews, but few conduct stay interviews. Find out why employees who have been with you for awhile have stayed and use this information to improve employee retention. Losing employees on a regular basis costs you time and money, so get to the bottom of why people stay.

BlairThomas, eMerchantBroker

6. Reward the Best and Cut the Fat

When you see that your company is growing at a fast rate, you have to prepare your company for it. That means rewarding your best workers and letting go of the least productive. The money you’re paying the slacker will go further when given to the employee who’s already putting in 110%.

Codie Sanchez, Www.CodieSanchez.com

7. Set Very Clear Expectations

We have spent a great deal of time creating an employee handbook and fundamentals for our team members to follow. We set expectations upfront with our staff and make sure that they understand what our mission and vision is for the company.

Michael Hsu, DeepSky

8. Be Transparent And Provide Access to Support and Resources

As your company scales, it’s inevitable that you will face new challenges. It can be easy to lose sight of what’s really important: your team. To scale effectively, maintain a level of transparency and ensure your current employees have access to the support and resources required for achieving success.

Stephen Ufford, Trulioo

9. Promote Internally

Try to promote internally as much as is relevant for your company. Take the time to look at the internal people first and see who is ready for more challenge and responsibility. It will help grow overall morale for people to know that you’ve taken the time and that growth and potential are possible.

Nicole Munoz, Start Ranking Now

10. Improve Your Employee Benefits Package

As your company matures, both early and later stage employees will appreciate more robust benefits like a 401(k) match, generous vacation policies, etc., especially as they compare your benefits package to those at similarly sized companies. Benefits are easier and more equitable to apply to your whole company than individual raises and will have a positive impact on morale and company culture.

Roger Lee, Human Interest

11. Make Sure Your Vision Is Aligned With Theirs

The employees who are most likely to stay with you are the ones who share your values and vision for the business. Choosing the right people can help you grow faster and more smoothly as replacing key team members is time consuming. Take a little extra time in the screening and interview process so that you’re sure you find employees who are a perfect fit for your company.

Shawn Porat, Scorely

12. Give Employees New Opportunities and Challenges as You Grow

As your company scales, it’s so important to keep employees engaged by informing them of where they fit in with progress and what the overall vision is, and by showing gratitude for their place and role within the company. It’s also necessary to show employees that they have room to grow by keeping them excited and challenged with interesting projects that aid in growth.

Rachel Beider, Massage Greenpoint

13. Foster an Open Relationship Between Managers and Employees

While there isn’t a single solution for employee retention as you grow, one important key is fostering an open relationship between manager and employee, or the departmental manager and their team. Having regular time out of the office is a good way to foster that direct and open dialogue so you or your managers can have a good pulse on issues that may arise.

Douglas Baldasare, ChargeItSpot

If you enjoyed this round-up article and actionable tips from experts around the world, I recommend you also take a look at our latest how to start a blog article, with advice and tips from over 82 different experts around the world. Blogging is one of the most effective ways to create content and bring audiences back to your site. Make sure you have a quality blog representing your brand onli

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Productivity

Benefits of a Good Posture for Bloggers

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Good Posture

As bloggers, we are the influential marketers and a lot of depends on the content we publish. Being responsible for the content that is circulated throughout the world, we are among those who singlehandedly provide the much-needed information to the readers.

Apart from existing problems like increasing weight and poor eyesight, another recurrent problem we face is poor body posture. Sitting continuously for several hours a day on a chair affect their posture that could lead to numerous health problems, including bones and respiratory issues.

Maintaining a good posture is not just about keeping the spine as straight as possible. Doctors say that managing a good posture means dealing with the two curves at the back. One is maintaining the concave curve starting from the back to the bottom of the spine, and the other is keeping the similar curve from the bottom of the head to the starting of the spine.

The bad thing about us bloggers is that they do not pay attention to their body posture which results in numerous health issues.

To motivate such bloggers, I have listed some of the benefits of having a  good body posture.

#1 Prevent Health Issues

The primary problem that poor body posture causes is numerous health complications. Some of them being back pain, improper blood circulation, and slipped disc. One of the worst cases is of having a slipped risk where the back loses the capability of keeping it straight which is why people need to use the slouch to walk. Having a good posture will reduce the chances of suffering from all these diseases.

#2 Improves breathing

Breathing and posture are related to each other. Having back problems means that the person will be inclined towards the front to get relief from the pain it causes. In that scenario, the person may feel difficulty in breathing, and the airflow might not be as smooth as it was before. In addition to that, improper air intake could also result in reduced blood flow which can be increased with a healthy posture.

Good Posture

#3 Decreases Upper Body Strength

One of the highlighting features of the body is the upper body. Most of the people exercise in the gym just to make their top body strong. However, improper body posture will make the upper body weak as it distributes the body weight improperly. This situation leads to increased pressure on the lower body which makes the upper body a lot weaker than before. A good body posture will distribute that weight equally and will keep both the upper and the lower body in good shape.

#4 Boosts Thinking and Concentration

For a blogger, concentration is necessary to convert their thoughts into words. When a blogger is incapable of thinking, then there are very fewer chances that they can write good quality content. When it comes to creativity, the brain needs more oxygen to perform this task. As mentioned above, having good posture boosts the oxygen intake which means that the brain will have more oxygen to function properly.

#5 Decreases Self- Confidence

People with poor body posture are likely to feel less confident than the people with a good posture. The reason behind this could be that people with good posture look attractive than individuals with poor posture. People are allured towards attractive people and start avoiding lesser attractive people which decrease their confidence. One of the worst things that this could result in is giving depression. In a study by San Francisco State University, it was found that people with poor body posture are likely to end up with depression.

#6 Improper Sleeping

Back pain is one of the primary causes of improper sleeping habits among the young adults. Most of the bloggers sit continuously on their chairs without any proper posture which results in back pain. Hardly there will be any person who can sleep when they have any kind of pain in their body.

When bloggers are not able to sleep properly, then there are lesser chances that they can do their work effectively. A good posture reduces that chances of back pain and leads to better sleep. Bloggers could also opt for the Leesa mattress, which is amazingly comfortable, firm, and contours the back perfectly.

Endnote

A key to a successful blog is creating high quality and engaging content. If a blogger is incapable of concentrating, then there is no chance that they can create better content. A good posture will not only help you in concentrating but also in enhancing their overall personality.

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