A Proposal Format that Wins Business

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By Jonathan Raney Founder, hubPitch

In most sales cycles, your proposal is your only shot at winning someone’s business. Decision makers are busy, they often times don’t have enough time to meet with you or your sales team. So how do you convince them that your product is the best fit for them? Unless your company name is Salesforce, IBM, or some other household name you probably don’t stand out in the crowd just by your name. Your product should do the selling… but what happens when you can’t get your product in front of the person who makes the decisions?

A typical proposal will have a canned cover page with your logo, a brief summary of your features, a list of some customers, and then a pricing page. Is that enough though? If you are reviewing 5 different proposals how do you pick a winner?

I am going to tell you exactly what you need to include in your proposals to win more business and put your customers in a better position to see value the second they open up your proposal.

If you want to skip the reading, and watch a video template / request a template click here.


Here is your list:


Cover Video

It’s time to scrap the traditional cover page. A well written summary of your company can only go so far. Data shows that the typical human has an attention span of 8-12 seconds. Buyers are 70% more engaged in a video than a document.

Record a short 30-60 second video explaining your product/service and how it will be valuable to them as a customer. Additionally, you can include a written summary for those who are old school and like to read as well, but seeing is believing.


Product Description… Video

Your product and it’s value cannot be transcribed into words and be fully understood. Think about Salesforce’s newest product: Einstein. If your read a summary of what it does you would probably be bored out of your mind, or confused as to what the value is. Artificial intelligence that provides probabilities of deals closing… that sounds like a vanity product. Watch the video. Holy S#!+ that is one VERY cool product! It makes total sense and can be applied to pretty much any company who wants to boost their sales.

If you could somehow add a product video to your proposal it would definitely boost your odds of winning more business. If only there was a way…

Wait, there is. Check this product out: https://www.hubpitch.com/product-demo



Validation

So now that you have convinced a prospect and their buying team that you have a functional and valuable product that fits their needs there may still be some skepticism. You must include customer validation. Your proposal should include a list of customers and use cases.

Customer validation should follow your product overview videos and be in the very next section of your proposal. That does not mean a link to a page on your website which includes all of the Fortune 500 companies that use your product. This will cause 2 issues.

  1. You have navigated the buyer away from your proposal, thus they are more likely to become distracted and begin googling your customers. This creates a slippery slope of searching and googling and never returning to your proposal.

  2. A Fortune 500 company has completely different needs and use cases than your prospect. Cater your customer validation to your prospect. Create a customer validation page that includes similar businesses that have similar needs to the one you are sending a proposal to.


Pricing

Often times a pricing page can be confusing. Be precise and transparent about the pricing and offering within your proposal. Less is more.

Gone are the days of showing every service level that you offer and every perk or benefit. Pick a service level, show the pricing, and then advise that they move forward for specific reasons.

A sales rep who advises a product for specific reasons that have been discussed during your meetings has a much higher chance of winning business than one who just lists features. A recent study shows that only 13% of customers believe that a sales rep understands their needs.

A successful proposal includes pricing, and a short summary of why this pricing and product is the right fit for their business.


If you or your sales team want to see a boost in proposal acceptance you can check out a free proposal template here. Additionally, request a demo to see how our proposal software can help your team close more deals starting today

 
Jonathan Raney