Cinching that next big deal can be a matter of life or death. Ok, agreed, that’s quite the hyperbole. But if you work in sales, you know there is some truth to it. Your life simply tends to revolve around leads and their conversion, since we exist in the age of product abundance where customers tend to be picky and product differentiation is a challenge. According to research by RAIN Group, only 47% of proposals result in a sale. This is why you need to make sure that your sales proposal impresses from the get-go and guarantees win after win.
Why do you need a great sales proposal?
A sales proposal is the document used to pitch your services or products to potential clients or leads. It's also one of the first formal documents that your prospective client or lead receives from your end.
Therefore, it needs to wow and demonstrate to your prospective customers:
- Your understanding of their needs - objectives, budget, key stakeholders & timeline
- The USPs of your products
- The pedigree of your business and employees
- Your ability to solve problems faced by the potential client
- How the solution offered by your business is a perfect fit to their requirement - the clear benefit your solution offers to the client to solve their pain points.
Sales conversions literally depend on how well you cover these pointers in the sales proposal. Yet, you will agree that crafting a water-tight proposal still doesn't rank high on your team’s sales enablement priorities.
If you have just received a request for proposal (RFP) from a potential client that you have been eyeing for a while, read on to find out what your winning proposal needs to have.
- Eye-catching cover page design - While it doesn’t need to be snazzy, the sales proposal’s cover page must be visually striking enough to catch the prospect’s eye and make them want to read through the document. Its aesthetic appearance should also reflect the brand’s identity. For instance a brand that is all about trust and transparency could use shades of blue on the cover (and across the template), with lots of white space, while a quirky brand can play around more with the bright colors and kitschy designs.
- Meet the team - This section can be populated with images, names and designations of the core members who are involved in the new business outreach efforts. This will help them put a face to the otherwise remote deal, especially in the age of remote work. Also be sure to link out to the LinkedIn pages of these individuals so that prospects can understand how respected they are in the industry. This page is especially critical if you are selling a product or service where the human interaction is high
- Business overview - Here, you showcase the might of your brand and sum up its worth. Don't forget to include mention of the regions that your company has presence in, the number of clients it has serviced, the count of staff members and so on.
Also, add mention of the overarching benefits that your brand offers.
- Scope of work - Based on your analysis of the RFP, list out all the problem areas that the client is seeking to solve and corresponding goals. The solution that you will be proposing to the prospect in the sales proposal can help achieve these goals.
Also, good proposals are based on sound research of the client’s industry and vertical. So, do your due diligence and add a section that shines light on key insights that would help your prospect understand why you are recommending a certain product (in the next section). For example, if a brand is pitching touchless technologies to universities, it should present a data-backed insight about how schools need more tech interventions to continue functioning in a post-COVID world.
- Present the solution: Here, you talk about the best options for your prospective customer, from your bouquet of products/service, to overcome their hurdles with the least effort. Also make mention of the unique features of each product that the customer can only secure from your brand.
- Pricing - This section, arguably, is one of the most critical. Here, you describe in detail, how much you will charge for the product. Also mention whether you charge per month or per product or if there are any add-on features. Finally, be sure to offer-up multiple bundles so that the prospect gets to more options to pick based on their needs and budget.
- Processes and timelines: Offer a step-by-step timeline and explanation of how the product will get included into the prospect’s business processes, once the payment is complete.
- Case studies & testimonials: According to research from Nielsen, 70% of buyers trust testimonials even if they’re from somebody they don’t know. Now imagine how much more effective a sales tool it would be if you could get recommendations from players in the same industry as your prospect! Also, case studies with quantifiable ROI can also be super helpful in converting the lead into a sale.
- Attach a sales contract. This is required to formally convert the prospect into a customer. Use a simple sales contract like this one at the end of the sales proposal template, or a more elaborate one like this. In most cases both parties will be remotely situated so be sure to use an eSignature solution such as Signeasy to get both parties to sign the sales proposal template.
*Note: To accept this proposal, the seller and the prospect need to sign-off on the simple sales contract that comes attached with the service proposal. We’re not legal professionals, but this is a great template to get you started. Make sure you get a legal professional to read it over to ensure that it conforms with local laws.
How to avoid common sales proposal mistakes
The difference between a sale and a fail is oftentimes a missed focus on the detailing of the sales proposal template. Such rookie mistakes can actually cost you a sale. So, here are a few steps to take that will help you create a sales proposal template that is engaging and error-free:
- Keep the content simple, short and to the point. It should be easy enough for a 6th grader to understand. This would also mean keeping industry-specific jargon to a minimum.You could use a tool like Hemingway app to assess the reader-friendliness of the proposal.
- Say no to grammatical mistakes and typos. Hastily written content that is not proofread reflects poorly on your brand. So, cross your ts and dot your is, when it comes to spelling and grammar of your sales proposal template copy. Apps such as Grammarly can really come to your rescue here.
- Add imagery. Large chunks of text, typically cannot sustain the prospect’s interest as their attention span tends to be less than 8 seconds. So, if you think an image can say what a couple of lines of text could in the proposal, always choose the more visually engaging option.
- Avoid boring copy. There are many ways of saying the same thing. But if you want to get the prospect to read through the entire proposal then you would be well advised to weave a meaningful narrative/story around your brand and how it fits in with the prospect’s pain-points.
- Don't use passive voice. Instead use active voice, as it is the punchier and less wordy alternative - perfect to reel in those elusive prospects.
- Don't simply copy the sales proposal template. While the intent of the sales proposal template was to help you avoid rewriting sales proposals every time, you must try to avoid simply copying and pasting it and changing the client names. A one-size-fits-all approach with the sales proposal template will just not stick. Be sure to customize the proposal to every single new lead and their industry so that it resonates better with them.
How Signeasy can help
Already downloaded the sales proposal template? Now, if you want further productivity savings, here is how an eSignature solution like Signeasy can help:
- Stay up to date. With notifications that can be received via email, you'll know when your client has opened, viewed and interacted with your sales proposal and contract.
- Encrypt proposals. Especially if your proposal has sensitive or confidential information (pricing, technical spec etc), you can set a password to control who can view the document.
- Save on admin work with templates. Every minute saved on drafting sales proposals from scratch can be spent on nurturing leads and growing revenue. Time is literally money when it comes to sales. This is why Signeasy allows you to save proposals and contract templates, onto the cloud, and reuse it with new prospects.
- Allow flexibility in document format. Your clients can download the sales proposal in whatever format they prefer - PDF, MS-Office (DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PPT), Open-Office, Text, HTML, RTF, CSV, images (JPG, BMP, PNG, TIFF) and Apple Pages.
- Enable signing in the flow of work. Signeasy can integrate with your existing software like Outlook, G-Suite and Microsoft Office to help you sign and share contracts within your existing workflow. It also integrates with automation software Zapier to automatically store signed sales proposals and agreements in your cloud storage and send notifications on Slack or other productivity tools whenever a document is approved. Just imagine the time saved with this functionality!
- Sign from anywhere: Your prospects don't need a Signeasy account to sign sales contracts and they can sign from any device and at any time. These features will make closing of deals so much faster!
Go ahead and share your first sales proposal and contract online for free – just subscribe to Signeasy’s complimentary trial today!