Persuading people to do business with you isn’t always easy. But it’s made harder still if your sales proposals aren’t measuring up. Though you can’t always guarantee a prospect will accept your proposal, you can give yourself the best chance of success by ensuring your prospects get all the information they need upfront and fast—knowing that 30-50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first.
To help you create proposals that are both exhaustive and speedy, we’ve created a checklist that outlines everything you need to include.
Your sales proposal checklist:
- Identify prospect pain points and aspirations
- Sell your experience, skill, and processes
- Outline your unique approach
- Explain the delivery timeline
- Provide pricing options
- Put together key personnel profiles
- Show off your customer references
- Create a statement of work and get it signed fast
Let’s break these down in more detail
1. Prospect pain points, goals, and aspirations
A good sales proposal should show you understand your prospect’s challenges and pain points before you offer a solution.
Kick things off by showcasing your in-depth understanding of the prospect’s needs. Remind them why they’ve come to you in the first place and make them feel assured and confident in your ability to solve their problems.
Spend this section focusing solely on your prospect, their problems, what they’re looking to get out of the partnership, and any long-term goals they may have. Then, later, you can link your prospect’s challenges with the solutions that you can offer.
2. Your experience, skills, and processes
Here’s where you get into the nitty-gritty of your proposal. It’s your best chance to really sell your services, expertise, and skills to your prospects:
- What are you bringing to the table?
- Are you the best business to solve the prospect’s problems?
- Can you demonstrate where you’ve been successful before?
- Why should they choose you over a competitor?
This section should answer these questions and showcase the experience, skills, and value you’ll bring to your prospect’s organization.
3. Your approach
How do you plan on delivering the wow factor?
The last section was your opportunity to convince the prospect of your experience and skillset. Now, it’s time to sell them your idea.
Detail your planned approach and outline the method for executing the project. This section should clearly explain how you plan to meet the customer’s needs and fulfill the objective at hand. Take some time to explain what you’d do and why you’d do it. What differentiates your offering from a competitors’? How will your chosen approach deliver results?
Align your method with the key deliverables of the project. Keep it simple, but actionable. Specific details will come later, but ensure that anyone reading this section can quickly understand your approach, the reasons why you think it’ll be effective, and how you’ll achieve it.
4. Delivery timeline
Your proposal should go into detail about the project timeline. Often, timing can make or break your proposal, so think hard about what you can realistically achieve.
Start by outlining the scope of the project and describing what you expect to accomplish. Then, you’ll need to give a timeline of the key deliverables. Use information from past conversations with the prospect to guide you. Do they have an urgent deadline coming up? A special event on the horizon? Make sure your timeline matches your prospect’s expectations.
Ideally, you should know your prospect’s budget before writing your proposal. Otherwise, you might shoot too high or offer a less-than-ideal price. There’s no point quoting $10,000 if your prospect can only afford $5,000.
Once you know roughly what they can afford, set out the budget for your project in a clear, easily-digestible format. And include a full cost breakdown for the project. If you can, anchor your pricing with a range of options that can suit a higher- or lower-cost commitment, you open the floor to negotiation and decrease your chances of a hard no.
A pricing table, for example, lets the customer select the solutions they want, pick and choose higher quantities, or tweak your service package so it's a better fit for their needs.
6. Personnel profiles
Your prospects often want to know who they’ll be working with. That’s why it helps to shine a light shine the spotlight on the team that will be spearheading the project—especially on lager deals where people will be interacting closely on technical details or for long periods of time.
Adding short bios of key personnel that explain who they are, what skills they bring, and how they help deliver results can reassure potential customers and demonstrate that your employees are invested in the project and are proud to be involved.
Your personnel profiles should include:
- Title/position in the company
- Any relevant experience
- Duties and tasks they’ll be performing
7. Testimonials and customer references
Buyers crave assurance they’re making a good decision, so you should include your past reviews and accomplishments in your sales proposal. Customer references instill confidence, demonstrate satisfaction with your services, and make it easier for your prospects to see how working with you will benefit them and get results.
We recommend using testimonials from similar industries that align with your target prospect’s goals. That way, you can showcase your success in a way that’s relevant to them, while also establishing credibility in solving particular industry pain points.
8. Create a statement of work and get it signed fast
Once you’ve drafted and sent a sales proposal, your statement of work (SOW) will usually follow close behind.
A statement of work is a separate document that boils down to a concise, no-nonsense version of your proposal. It’s a formal document that sets out the terms of your relationship, the expected timelines, and the exact scope of the project as simple and direct as possible. And once it’s signed, it sets the basis of your future partnership with a client—so you need to make it easy to seal the deal.
One of the best ways to do this is by adding an eSignature solution to your workflows. eSignatures let your prospects complete contracts, forms, and agreements in seconds. So no more pesky printing or awkward editing, they can simply digitally sign on the dotted line and return it to you, straight away. Your productivity hinges on how fast you can get your sales proposals signed, so consider streamlining your sales process with eSignatures.
…And you’re done!
Now you’ve got everything you need to craft a foolproof sales proposal, fast.
Interesting in learning more? See how Dropbox Sign can help salespeople close more deals, and close them faster.