Everybody has an opinion on how to make a winning proposal. So, today we’ve put together this informative post about how to create winning proposals, complete with valuable tips that the Applaudo Sales Team puts into practice whenever working on an important deal.
Before we get started, it is very important to fully understand what’s the purpose of the proposal. A proposal is not a pitch deck nor an information packet, a proposal should serve as a tool to make a compelling case that leads to a sale. Now that we have defined this, let’s get started!
1. Sync with your team and brainstorm a tailored approach
Every client is its own world, and it is most likely that you’ll need to work with additional team members in order to create a tailored approach for your proposal. Of course, these actors may vary depending on the service or product you offer. Have a meeting with the team that has been involved through the lifecycle of the negotiation to collect their insights and delegate specific deliverables for your proposal.
If you’re using a boilerplate for your proposal, make sure you thoroughly review what can be reused and what needs to be created from scratch and customize it to match the client’s own situation you’re presenting to.
2. Is my proposal good enough and compliant with what my client needs?
Every time you’re creating and presenting a new proposal, ask yourself the following questions:
- What does this client know about our company product/services?
This will lay the foundations to the approach you should take in your proposal if it should be informative about your services or if you can just throw out there your solution right off the bat.
- Is there a specific format or template to present my proposal?
This is important when working with RFPs, if you’re not abiding to the guidelines laid out by the procurement team, your proposal is definitely going to be rejected.
- Does the proposed solution make sense and provide value?
You can probably miss one item from the list above, but if your proposal does not present a reasonable way to solve your customer need, then you have a problem.
3. Understand your audience decision-making power
Is this proposal going to be delivered and reviewed by an executive assistant, a C-level executive, or the end-user of the product/service you offer?
Keep in mind that this group of people is the one who will determine if your proposal is rejected or approved. Having stakeholders with different backgrounds in the audience can become a bit challenging, that’s why you gotta do your homework and understand what their areas of interest are and more importantly describe in a clear way within the proposal how your product/service solves their specific problems for each of the areas they represent.
4. Don’t underestimate the power of visuals
An important chunk of our learning comes through visual aids, regardless of which of the 4 different types of learners you are (Yes! There are 4 types: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Reading/Writing learner). And while trying to make an impact with your stakeholders, visuals can be a great asset because of the following:
- Visuals help store information longer
- Aid for better comprehension
- Drive motivation
- Act as stimulators for emotions and drive decisions (This is my favorite)
So next time you’re afraid your proposal has too many letters and long paragraphs, take a few minutes to digest that information into a cool infographic, presentation, or a nice diagram.
5. Transform into a rigorous editor
Appearance is truly important, so even though this is obvious, there should be no grammatical errors and little to no typographical errors. I’ll tie up this with tip #1 stated above. If you’re using a boilerplate, be extremely careful to edit any passages that may contain the names of previous clients for which the template was used in the past. Trust me, I’ve seen proposals thrown away and being disqualified from a purchasing process because of this.
Make sure your Sales Manager or an experienced peer can review the proposal in order to minimize errors and as well to collect their feedback in order to improve the content of your proposal. I’ve found it very helpful to have an extra pair of eyes going through the proposal before firing it up to your client.
And that’s it! I hope these tips are helpful for future negotiations and proposals presentations. There’s no secret poison that will make you create world-class proposals from one day to another, it will require a lot of practice, dedication and, why not, a couple of mistakes.
As Applaudo Sales Team, we’re always looking forward to more tips on how to create winning proposals. If you’ve got something to add, please do share it with us. Just send it to email@example.com, I would love to hear your thoughts!
About the author
Andrés has over +9 years of experience in Sales and has worked in B2B and B2C Sales for different industries. He’s currently an Account Executive at Applaudo Studios.