Structuring a proposal for your hot leads may sound like a daunting task. You may be an expert on the field or in terms of technicality, but could you be 100 percent sure about the content and structure of your sales proposal?
What should I include? How long should the proposal be? How and where should you start? Oh yes, it’s a stressful situation and this is where the simple process of ‘breaking-down’ can make the task look less overwhelming.
Yes, you read that right!
Breaking down your proposal into sections can help you easily come up with the content. So, grab your coffee and let’s get rolling.
There are 10 important sections in a proposal outline.
The first thing your prospect sees is the proposal cover. So you need to make a good impression here. Don’t make the cover too flashy, keep it simple, to the point, and designed well.
The proposal cover must include the following details:
The other thing that’s inserted in your proposal covers are the logos. It totally depends on you if you want to have your company’s logo, or the prospect company’s logo, or both. In any case, make sure that the logos are of high definition, and look sharp on the cover.
The second most important portion of your proposal layout is the summary. Here, you do not summarize the history of your organization, instead; you list the summary of why your solutions are better than the others. It needs to convince your reader on why they should opt to do business with you.
The executive summary should be focussed on highlighting why your organization is the right option for your prospects. Avoid explaining about your organization’s features. You dive deeper about the features in the later sections of your proposal.
The executive summary must contain the following points in the proposal structure:
This is the section where you can define your company and the team in detail. Explain what you do as a company, what are your expertise as a company, what is the unique selling proposition of your company. Touch on all the services and products that you offer. You can have a chance to upsell your product/services here.
Explain more about your team. Highlight their strengths and core values. Make your prospect feel confident about you and your team. Let them meet the team virtually. Include pictures, bios, and past projects for your prospect to see.
Give your prospect the idea of who is going to work for them. Show them who their team is. Let them do some research if needed.
This is the entire section where you clearly explain your approach to resolving the prospect’s issues. It is very important to be very specific in this section. Don’t send them approaches or solutions that are generic in nature. Work around for some time to layout a plan that you will follow along with your team to resolve the issues. When you know that your plan is set, pen it down under this section.
Pro tip: Customize the approach/solutions part depending on the prospect’s issues. Don't keep this section generic.
In this part of your proposal outline template, you need to include the services you will provide for the project and what the prospect can expect from you. Example:
It is important that you provide detailed descriptions for all your services. This will help the prospect be clear and avoid any misunderstanding about expectations later.
What is needed for a proposal is to break the project into milestones. Outline events and the deliverables along with the time duration. Include details such as which team member would work on which milestone, what will be the accomplishment from the milestone, etc.
This is the section where you define the project fees and descriptions. Try to give prospect’s multiple pricing options to choose from. This way they will have the flexibility to add or subtract services that they need and don’t.
Usually you can give them 3 options depending on the situations below:
Give your prospect the flexibility to choose from the options, so they are comfortable in hiring your company.
After you have completely elaborated on your strengths, it’s time you give your prospect some testimonials or case studies to support your strengths. Include examples of your past projects describing the problems you have solved, and what were the results.
Include these 4 elements in this section to highlight the content better:
This section is optional, but you can choose to provide your prospect’s list, their phone numbers, and emails for reference. Even if your existing prospect might not get in touch with your previous prospects, but having this section improves your chances of converting the lead and building trust.
This is the last section of your sales proposal, so make sure you include call to actions that can be a statement of work, contract sign off, or even just filling in their name and contact details.
Above is a proposal outline example that more or less remains the same depending on your business. You can always change the format or add or delete a few points. You may at first have to write the proposal content from scratch, but after a few proposals, you can reuse the template for your future prospects. This way you can save time, pitch more, prospect more, but still deliver a persuasive sales proposal.
Hope this article clearly answers the 2 biggest questions of every sales person before creating a new sales proposal: what does a proposal look like and what is needed for a proposal!