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Law & Disorder: Investigating Inadequate Sales Templates

December 19, 2019

Dun dun

In the document management system, ugly templates are considered especially heinous. These are their stories.

Inadequate sales templates 

Join us as we investigate how inadequate sales templates can make or break a deal. 

Suspect #1: The Perverse Proposal

Tuesday, 1:34 PM: A perverse proposal template attempted to burglarize the inbox of an unsuspecting prospect. Bloated with small-font text and without any semblance of design, it remains unclear as to if the information contained within this 3-page template would have been of any value to the recipient.

Fortunately, our team responded quickly to the scene and caught the perp moments before it could infiltrate the victim’s Gmail. They charged the perverse proposal template with an attempted crime of design in the first degree.

We invited our would-be victim to identify the template in a lineup last week, which proved to be a near-impossible task. This proposal template was basically identical to thousands of other templates, free of any distinguishing elements of design that would make it stand out in a crowd of competitors offering similar products or services.

The systemic ugliness of proposal templates must not be taken lightly. If your proposal template is difficult to customize, limits the type of media you can embed, and doesn’t allow you to display information in a clear path of visual hierarchy it’s your duty to turn them in. They threaten your close rate, your company’s bottom line, and your professional reputation.

Further investigation: what your proposal template should look like

Put on your trench coat, get out that magnifying glass, and begin your search for a reusable proposal template. Put out an APB on templates that’ll streamline your creation process, present information in an aesthetically pleasing way, and close deals faster.

As a sales professional, your job isn’t to spend hours meticulously designing proposal templates. Your job is to get deals signed and meet revenue quotas. But just because you’re focused on the green doesn’t mean you can’t add some color to conversations with the creatives at your company to close more deals in the process.

A perfect example of this would be a reusable template that has a plug-n-play functionality. They’ll most likely feature a custom content library filled with stunning, ready-to-use content that will cut the ugliness out of your old templates by 100% and your proposal creation time by 65%.

Your proposal templates will be guilty of looking flawless and professional after you incorporate structural elements like a table of contents and cover letter, as well as design elements like style, theme, and custom CSS. Take your level of personalization a step further by embedding videos and images that speak directly to your prospects.

Optimize your proposal’s page structure by displaying content through a visual hierarchy. You’ll bring the focus of your customers to the larger, more relevant content and influence what they will look at first and last.

Your customers are the judge and jury of your proposal, don’t make them deliberate longer than they need to. Space out sections of your proposal evenly and according to shape and color so their brains can kick back and relax while taking it all in. Do this through visual dominance; manipulate the color contrast and white space in your proposal template to draw your customer's eye directly to the value proposition you want them to notice.

Suspect #2: The Questionable Quote

Wednesday, 2:42 PM: Ain’t no rest for the wicked.

Only one day after we caught the perverse proposal, talk of a questionable quote was all over the scanners. All reports said that this template was highly-dangerous and hides in plain sight. It would appear to present transparent pricing tables and then BAM! The innocent decision-maker would get hit with the bill and exclaim, “Zut Alors, I’ve been swindled!”

With no reason to question the quote’s validity, they didn’t realize that the pricing information was inaccurate and that totals failed to take taxes into account and were calculated with bad math.

This template’s M.O.? The long-con. And it doesn’t work alone.

Its partner, a proposal template, gives a convincing (enough) first-impression to make the prospect confidently accelerate the deal. By the time the questionable quote was sent, there was an established mutual connection of trust and the prospect’s guard was down.

But not for long.

One of the template’s victims wised-up and turned them into the authorities. The template was put on trial and found guilty of ruining the close rate of sales professionals and making it extremely difficult to create accurate, intuitive pricing tables for customers.

Further investigation: what your quote template should look like

To mitigate the problem of static, inaccurate pricing tables, look for a template that includes a product catalog. Protect your good name by cataloging the price of the products/services you frequently add to your pricing tables and generate custom,error-free quotes in minutes. Design your quote template to be anything but questionable by specifying quantities, names of products, unique descriptions, and adding images to items within your catalog.

Then, use the items from your catalog to create truly transparent pricing tables that practically do the selling for you. Continue to build a relationship of trust with your prospects by bestowing them with the power of choice.

Provide optional items like line item discounts, editable quantities, and multiple-choice selection so they can experiment with a variety of pricing and package options and find one that comfortably fits their business needs and budget.

Chances are, if your template includes this type of pricing functionality, it will auto-calculate totals, percentage discounts, and taxes, too. No more bad math. 

No need to be a desk jockey when you integrate the quoting software in your template with your CRM. When you automate your busy work, you’ll be able to spend more time on what matters: selling. This integration minimizes the potential for human error by using a built-in approval process that ensures no quote is sent without a second pair of eyes on it.

You’ll boost your team’s sales productivity, dramatically shorten sales cycles, and address workflow inefficiencies when your quote templates are this easy to build. As soon as a quote hits your customer’s inbox, it can be accepted and paid immediately.

Justice = served.

Suspect #3: The Criminal Contract

Thursday, 3:33 PM: After complaints of hindering many-a-closing-process, our team finally busted the infamous, criminal contract template.

The template was tried and convicted of soliciting manual signatures with an additional charge of disorderly payment collection. It was one of the worst crime scenes our detectives had ever seen; tens of printed pages with handwritten signatures littered with mysterious red stains. The stain culprit is presumed to be a pepperoni pizza from a company-wide birthday celebration earlier that day.

There was no payment gateway present in the template and no integrations were implicated. The result: months and months of backlogged payments. We took the statements of customers who fell prey to the ways of the criminal contract, and all of them said the same thing: “The check is in the mail.” This is certainly a phrase no one likes to hear, but alas, it is the burden the criminal contract template must bear. Eternal follow-ups. 

Let us mourn in a moment of silence for the trees who were carelessly slaughtered to print out a contract that could’ve been signed online. Have we regressed as an industry so much so that we are forced to resort to lowly pen and paper?

With this criminal contract off the streets, we can only hope to move forward and join our clients in the digital age; all templates indivisible, with liberty, and e-signature functionality for all. 

Further investigation: what your contract template should look like

Pairing the words “criminal” and “contract” together has the power to raise the hair on anyone’s neck. And if there is anything your contract template should avoid being, it’s hair raising. 

Involving the legal minds on your team in the creation of your contract template will allow you to establish approved terms and conditions ahead of time. You’ll never have to question whether or not your contract is criminal after it has your team’s seal of approval. Legal can even advise you on the language to include in your contract that will increase your response rate, reduce the back-and-forth of negotiations and redlining later in the sales cycle.

When you provide a streamlined, secure buying experience for your customers, it allows them to pay in seconds without ever having to leave your contract. You’ll eliminate the stress of collecting late payments and keep your cash flow...well, flowing. Restore order to the way clients pay and make it easier than ever by integrating your preferred payment gateways like PayPal, Stripe ACH, PayPal, Square, and others. 

It is critical to find a contract template that includes e-signature functionality. If it does, your clients will be able to sign, seal, and deliver the deal for free from any device directly within the contract. Ensure that the e-signature software you choose is legally-binding, ESIGN, and UETA compliant.

Sales rep by day, vigilante template-designer by night

Though we can’t all be Olivia Benson, you can give your clients probable cause to seal the deal by using a top-notch proposal template.

Better yet, using the right graphic design software to ensure your proposals not only contain the proper information, but look their best, will guarantee more closed deals – all thanks to an eye-catching sales template. 

Find the best Graphic Design software on the market. Explore Now, Free →

Law & Disorder: Investigating Inadequate Sales Templates Learn exactly how to avoid using inadequate sales templates and how to make ones that close more deals.
Emily Roberts Emily Roberts is a Content Associate at PandaDoc. If she's not busy creating content in the office, she’s getting creative in the kitchen to the sound of her favorite true-crime podcast.

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