An Essential Checklist For Writing Sales Proposals That Actually Win Deals

In this article, you’ll learn how to write a sales proposal, along with a pre-meeting checklist to follow in order to maximize your chances of closing the deal.

Simple Sales Proposal Evaluation Checklist

  • Is it organized?
  • Is it readable?
  • Does it address the prospect’s pain?
  • Does it address pricing and timeline?

Is it organized?

Often, when we spend weeks working on a proposal, we know our way around the document just as well as our own home. But, is it organized well enough so that an important decision maker can easily search through it and find what is needed? Are all your sections organized logically?

Is it readable?

Your proposal should be professionally written, but easy to absorb. Too much jargon and too many technicalities will turn the reader away. Your ability to break down the complexities and make the problem and solution easy to understand will win you brownie points. If your proposal seems hard to read, then your prospects will assume you may be hard to work with.

Does it address the prospect’s pain?

Your proposal should address the prospect’s pain directly. The solution you have in mind and the execution are part of this, not the core. Your proposal should articulate what the problem is and why it is detrimental to the prospect’s business. Your proposed solution is the means to getting rid of this problem

Does it address pricing and timeline?

We don’t condone using outdated frameworks like BANT, but no prospects like ambiguity, especially when it comes to how much they need to pay and how long things will take. Be upfront and let them know your estimates.

If you work in sales, you’re probably already aware that your customers expect a quick and easy buying experience. But today’s salespeople are over-burdened, expected to provide a highly-personalized, attentive buying experience.

What does a winning sales proposal look like?

To create an ideal buying experience for your prospect that leads to a close, you need to be extremely responsive while providing the most practical, relevant content.

Defining a sales proposal can be tricky, as the actual format of the proposal varies depending on who is sending it. Ultimately, though, the sales proposal is a tool you can use to convince a prospect to purchase your solution to their problem.

Your goal is to create a winning proposal that is ready to share the moment your prospect enters the decision-making phase of the deal.

5 steps for writing a winning sales proposal:

  1. It has a personalized cover letter.
  2. It focuses on the “why.”
  3. It includes customer testimonials.
  4. It makes it easy for prospects to do business with you.
  5. It’s accessible via mobile.

1. It has a personalized cover letter.

Too many salespeople underestimate the value of a good cover letter. Your proposal’s cover letter is the page that will receive the most views, so it needs to capture your prospect’s attention and create an emotional connection.

Place relevant, differentiating information about your company and solution in the most valuable real estate on the page–”above the fold,” or the space before your prospect will need to scroll.

2. It focuses on the “why.”

Don’t just talk about what your solution is in the sales proposal, but rather why it will solve your prospect’s problem. Use the sales proposal as an opportunity to emphasize your unique selling propositions, and demonstrate its proven ROI.

3. It includes customer testimonials.

Buyers love to read reviews, so why not include them in your sales proposal? Demonstrate what you can accomplish for your prospect by showing exactly how you have done so for others with similar use cases.

Choose customer testimonials from similar/relevant industries, that align with the value props important to your current prospect. This is your chance to showcase your past work to establish credibility in a way that says, “We’ve done this in your industry, and we can do it for you, too.”

4. Your proposal makes it easy for prospects to do business with you.

Remember that part about prospects wanting an easy buying experience?

Make sure your sales proposal contains all of the relevant information needed to make a buying decision, including accurate pricing details. The recipient of your proposal might not be the final signer, but even the signer will most likely need to receive buy-ins from other stakeholders or influencers, so you want to arm them with all of the necessary information.

Terms and conditions are often an important piece of content at this stage, as lawyers or other legal individuals may be reviewing and evaluating the risk involved in the deal.

Package all of this information with an appropriate call-to-action. If your prospect is ready to move forward, they will most likely want to do so as quickly as possible. Including an electronic signature call-to-action to close the deal, or to accept a letter of intent will help to move the process along straight from the proposal.

5. It’s accessible via mobile.

Finally, ensure your sales proposal can be viewed and interacted with on a mobile device. With the shifting sales landscape, more people are doing business on-the-go, and you want to be sure your documents are compatible with mobile prospects.

Need help with your sales proposals? Learn how Octiv can help.

Adam Becker is the Sr. Director of Account Management at Octiv, an experienced leader in account management with demonstrated history of working in the computer software industry. He is skilled in Digital Strategy, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Negotiation, Customer Acquisition, and Sales. Adam is a strong sales professional with a BS focused in Graphic Design, Physics from Taylor University.

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