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James Kappen

James Kappen proposes an easier way for salespeople to manage their sales process with

Salespeople know the pain of managing and keeping track of each step of the sales process with potential sales leads. believes it has an answer.

Proposable, is a startup based in Bloomington, Indiana that offers a refreshing alternative to the traditional method of sending sales material to potential customers – you know, as file attachments of various formats via email, which can get lost or, worse, zapped by spam filters. It’s developed a web application that lets users create, deliver and analyze sales material online. With Proposable, users can create, edit and store all proposal templates, sections and attachments in an online library. It even has a team account, allowing sales teams to collaborate on proposals, as well as assign a Sales Manager role who can monitor and manage sales material created by a team.

But what’s so great about this?

With a shared online central library, a sales manager will never run into problems such as having an urgent proposal stuck in the laptop of a colleague who’s away on vacation. The system allows a sales lead to view, comment and pose questions alongside the proposal, and notifies the salesperson via text message and email when the a proposal is viewed or commented on. Also, an in-depth analytics page displays a sales lead’s viewing patterns and viewing history – allowing salespeople to effectively gauge interest and focus on the “low-hanging fruit”.

CEO of Proposable, James Kappen, puts it this way. “You’ll never have to again ask yourself questions like, “Did they open my proposal?”, “What sections did they look at?” or “Which of my leads is most interested?”.”

Check out how Proposable works with this video:

Proposable is a joint venture between business accelerator program Sproutbox and Kappen. Proposable, Kappen’s second venture since graduating from college in 2006, won a business plan competition organized by Sproutbox by beating a thousand other entries from all over the United States. Proposable also landed US$250,000 in seed money from Sproutbox.

“The inspiration for Proposable came out of my frustration with the sales proposal process,” says Kappen. “I ran a regional print magazine and I would be sending out sales material every day via email to potential advertisers. The trouble was that I never knew what was happening with any of it. I would spend much of my time following up with my leads attempting to figure out who saw what and which of them was genuinely interested. I knew that salespeople everywhere had this pain that comes from the lack of information around their outgoing sales material, so I set out to create a solution.”

Proposable launched in early February to a huge response, garnering some 300 sign-ups on its first day. The challenge now, James says, is to make the site as user-friendly and robust as possible for all kinds of users in a variety of selling environments. In order to fuel growth, James believes it is necessary for Proposable to get thousands of salespeople to try their product. The way to accomplish this, he says, is to partner with sales organizations and publications.

Views on Entrepreneurship

Kappen says entrepreneurship is for those who have the insatiable need to create something new, to innovate. But he cautions that while creating an excellent product is necessary, the real work only begins after the product is created.

“Execution is 90 percent of what makes any venture successful. That is the challenge,” he says.

Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.

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