If you work for a creative agency, you don’t just know about the importance of proposals—you live proposals.
The average company spends 24 hours on a single proposal, with top-performing companies spending two hours more than that. When you translate those hours to staffing costs … well, let’s just say proposals aren’t cheap to produce.
When you’re putting so much time and money into your proposals and statements of work, you want to achieve three things:
- Showcase your creative abilities
- Protect your brilliant ideas
- Win business effortlessly
The thing is, some technology can make viewing a proposal more difficult than it needs to be, which can lead to dead end business deals. Creatives also need to be extra careful to ensure design concepts don’t get into the hands of competitor firms. Here we’ll talk about how to use technology the right way for sending proposals, to make your potential clients’ lives easier, keep your ideas safe, and give you the data you need to win more business.
1. Showcase your creative work with audio, image, and video sharing in DocSend
A common saying among effective storytellers is show, don’t tell. The same idea goes for creatives. Sometimes, it might resonate more with a potential customer to demonstrate what you’re capable of, rather than simply listing your services. People often want to see examples of your designs before they agree to work with you. But more frequently than not, it’s tricky to send large sketches or recordings over email, which come with file limitations. Even more of a hurdle for creatives, files can be easily distributed with anyone once they are out there. As mentioned earlier, protecting intellectual property is critical for any agency out there who cares about the integrity of final products.
We know that protecting your intellectual property is top of mind. Own and secure your creative process from start to finish with DocSend’s rich media formats – from client sourcing, proposal management, and deal execution. DocSend lets you speed up deals by giving you both insights and security over your different creative file types:
Creative Image Formats: Protect Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator designs using DocSend’s advanced controls, all while sourcing potential new business opportunities.
Video Files: Determine which version of your showreel performs best with new clients and centralize all videos in one place.
Audio Files: Swap out long email proposals for short audio recordings, along with direct upload capabilities, access controls, and advanced engagement analytics.
2. Protect your intellectual property
Virtual pitching opens your agency to a lot more opportunities, but it’s also introduced some new challenges with secure file sharing and proposal content management.
For example, Brian Mast, Managing Partner at 104 West PR firm, frequently needs to protect embargoed stories from getting into the wrong hands. “With DocSend, we can protect the security of our embargoed pitches by requiring an email in order to view it,” he says. “Even if that link is forwarded to someone else, we are notified of that and they also can’t view it without providing their email. This not only gives us a great peace of mind that a story can’t leak but also provides us insight into the media’s interaction and consumption of our timely pitch.”
Brian uses DocSend’s Secure Client Portal (the gold standard for secure file sharing), which lets you send multiple files in a single link and customize advanced protections on an individual file basis:
- Dynamic watermarks—to automatically display your viewer’s information like email, IP address, date, and time, so you don’t need to generate separate watermarks for every proposal
- One-click agreements—to protect intellectual property and other sensitive business information, signed in a built-in experience
- Email verification —which limits recipient access to authorized decision makers and tracks who can see your proposal or contract
Safeguarding ideas can be make or break for preventing a new client from going with another firm. Let’s say your concept for a design gets forwarded over to a competitor agency, who can not only recreate the same visuals in less time, but also offer their services at a more compelling price. Winning new business is no longer about getting your name out there. You’ve got to lock in your ideas by adding protections like watermarks, passwords, and built-in agreements.
3. Make it easy to work with you by using streamlined client portals
It seems almost too simple, but you’d be surprised how many clients choose agencies that are just … easy to work with. And part of being easy to work with is communicating in a way that respects the client’s inbox.
Digital file sharing has been around for decades, yet somehow we still struggle to quickly find the latest versions of the documents we need. Tara Mallen, Senior Creative Strategist at Quartz, says, “Prior to DocSend, we used a variety of tools in order to share our creative briefs and proposals. But with these proposals there are often last minute changes made, leading us then to have to send a whole new email and link to the client. DocSend allows us to be more streamlined and organized in our client communication.”
What Tara is describing is a personalized client portal, which is a custom digital space carved out just for your prospect or client’s files. To access every file involved in your interaction, the client just needs to click on one link. No more searching for email attachments. Gone are the days of wondering if the latest version of a proposal is really the most up-to-date one. And even better, you can maintain complete control over all of your files in each client portal. Whether you’re watermarking individualized proposals, or applying an email authentication on a specific design sample, your work stays your own. Client portals strip out the confusion, so clients can access everything they need in one dedicated place.
4. Record voiceover videos to bring proposals to life
Decks sent via email don’t always pop the way you need them to. That’s why some creative agencies are sending more personalized video recordings to stand out.
Asynchronous video pitches are quickly becoming a must, with 26% of deals closing faster with proposals driven by video. When you send an asynchronous video pitch, you’re allowing someone to view your pitch when they want—which, again, respects their time and their inbox.
When you record a video pitch, you’re usually recording your screen and your face, so you can strike the right tone with your audience and get your message across. DocSend’s integration with Dropbox Capture lets you create short video voice-over recordings directly from your personalized client portals, so that all your content is centralized in one space.
5. Collect analytics on your video proposals and audio recordings
When you’re experimenting with video proposals, you’ll likely want to know if they’re worth it. While it’s true that video pitches don’t take a ton of extra time to create when you’ve done a few, you’ll still want to make sure you’re using your resources efficiently to win new business.
DocSend video analytics can help you test and refine your video pitch strategy. Even more, you can now also collect detailed analytics on audio files. DocSend will also give you a Visit Engagement Score, which can show you whether your visitor could see and hear the file, as well as how fast they played back the file. Here’s just a few insights you can collect when you start sending videos and audio files to prospects:
- Playback time percentage—to find out how far viewers are making it through your pitch or mp3. Test 30, 60, and 90 second versions and see the difference.
- Skipping—to gauge whether some sections need reworking.
- Rewinding—to see which sections are either the most interesting or need some expansion.
- Backgrounding—to see whether you’ve truly captured someone’s attention or whether they’re playing your video in the background while looking at something else.
6. Execute custom contracts with DocSend’s built-in eSignature
Winning new business is the most exciting part of prospecting, but it also comes with some admin work: drafting and approving the contract.
Getting a contract over the finish line comes with a lot of back and forth, especially when there are a ton of decision makers involved. Avoid approval delays with DocSend’s eSignature, which allows you to create drag-and-drop custom signature fields or enable one-click signing for up to 10 different signers.
Overall, one-click signing is a game changer for shortening your sales cycle. You’ll like it not only because your client will sign the contract faster, but also all your client needs to do is click once to create a legally binding signature.
Ready to see how DocSend works in real-time? Start your free trial now.