What is BidSketch?

BidSketch is a 'cloud hosted' web application that lets you put together proposals within minutes. The website states that proposals could be cut down from 3 hours to 45 minutes, but in our play with this product they take even less time. We were able to generate a proposal in as little as 10 minutes!

Creating great proposals isn't the end of BidSketch it also manages the sign-off/approval of the proposal by the client and offers integration with SalesForce for larger clients making integration with your existing sales workflow quick, simple and easy. 

You can sign-up at

How it works

When you sign-up, you're given your own web address for use with bidsketch, ours is for example. Through this address you and your staff can login to your own portal to create new proposals, print/save/share existing proposals and monitor their status if you've decided to make use of BidSketch's built-in approval mechanism to gain approval from your customer.

When you create a new proposal you first need to create a client, a good feature of BidSketch is that is manages the value of a proposal, and tracks the total against each client across all proposals so if your client has been a long-term customer, you can see just how valuable they've been to you, which helps you to identify what you've been doing right.

Once you've created your client, you can go ahead and create a new proposal with the client selected you begin creating your proposal following a simple and easy to use wizard.


You start by choosing from a template a design, and giving a name to your project/proposal. As you select a template, the system intelligently prompts you with some sections to include in your proposal, you can quickly choose which you do and don't want to include and away you go. 

Default text is initially inserted into each section for you to edit if you want to. What isn't immediately apparent (to us) is that the text includes placeholders {client_name}, for example, which are replaced automatically by the system with information that you've already entered for you, or your client, when the proposal is completed. We'd assumed that we had to make these changes ourselves, which even still wouldn't have been that hard to do, but with the system doing it for us it's a doddle!

All of the default text is editable in the system so that any future proposals use your own text, and it's certainly worth reviewing the language used. We're a UK-based IT consultancy, and the language felt a little 'American' to us. That said, the the content is valuable and therefore gives you a good guide as to what should be said, so it's easy to replace the text with something (UK) English.

The default system is clearly tailored for IT companies, but you can easily add your own templates for your business sector. In a previous job I described this exact system as being invaluable for our business development team as it felt that they were regularly asking various individuals, teams and departments for the same pieces of information for their proposals. Using BidSketch though pieces could be put into the initial template and then included/excluded using the checkboxes when each proposal is generated.

Once the shell of the proposal has been created, you have the ability to complete the 'fees' section of your proposal. From here you can add products and services that you've already stored in the system, putting them into one-off (Project fees), monthly and annual fees.

Once your fees are added, in the same manner that you started the proposal, you are presented with your closing sections to review and amend as necessary before reviewing the overall proposal's design.

Once you're happy with the proposal you can save it where you can generate a PDF, create a new proposal based on this one, or you can send your proposal to your client.

If you do decide to send your proposal using BidSketch rather than downloading a copy to e-mail over your self, BidSketch allows you and your clients to add signature as well as allowing comments to be added to your proposal by your client, and for your response as well. You're notified about everything that's taking place by e-mail notification. 

The benefits

Very fast generation of proposals

Highly customisable

Bank of proposal components to allow inclusion/exclusion at a click

Ability to add fees categorised by types

Ability to tag created reports allowing you to quickly and easily find them again in future to create another based on this one. 

It's limitations

Adding fees could be a little more intuititve, the use is left a little unsure which button they should be clicking to add the fees to the proposal and add more. After a few goes, you quickly get to grips with this though.

Price, depending on the size of your company, the cost of this tool may be off putting, but if you're not already putting effort into creating proposals, the return on this investment will pay for itself allowing you to target better quality, higher value project.

Posted: 23/05/2013 07:56:06 by Kurt Farrar | with 0 comments

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