Our guide to proposals your prospects won’t be able to forget.
A far too common epidemic plaguing B2B sales today is when sales teams forget this is the buyer’s journey, not the seller’s journey. There’s a reason for this, yet B2B companies continue selling how sellers want to sell, instead of how buyers want to buy. At its core, sales is a simple role with only a few required skills that define a successful sales rep. It is, in fact, buyers that are complicated, or rather, buyer’s process that is complex. It is sales’ responsibility to help buyers navigate the common pitfalls of this complex process. One area where sales needs to play a more impactful role is in how we deliver and orchestrate the proposal process with our buyers (or champions).
Proposals aren’t just for obtaining the signature: they’re among your earliest opportunities to demonstrate to the buyer that you understand their business and challenges and are capable of helping them navigate the pitfalls of their buying journey. This is why sales needs to stop thinking about proposals as a static means to obtain a signature, and start thinking of it as an interactive map to guide your buyer’s process. The most successful proposals act as a journey map that illuminates your alignment with their milestones and communicates your ability to help them arrive at the destination of value realization. Used correctly, this can help build confidence in the partnership before the deal is ever closed.
Here are six proven tips to help you build impactful buyer proposals that will most certainly close more deals.
1. Know your customer.
Before you even begin your proposal, you need to understand your potential clients. What problems are they trying to solve? What factors are they weighing as they look for a solution? Learn their challenges, their mission, and their criteria for a solution so that you can help solve their problem in the best way possible
2. Highlight places where your potential client’s needs, goals, and values align with your own.
Show your customer how well you understand their brand, and help them understand yours. This will help build trust and establish a relationship on common ground. Give a brief bio of your company to remind them how you fit together.
3. Give your customer a roadmap for mutual success.
With your proposal, lay out the plan for your relationship. Start with your solution plan and include your proposed services, a timeline of your deliverables, and their contact points at your company.
4. Understand their decision-making process.
Whether you’re selling to businesses or consumers, it’s important to think about the stakeholders involved and what their questions may be when creating your proposal. Maybe your contact will have to pass the proposal around a buying group, so you’ll need to make sure to answer questions from multiple potential angles and convey information your champion may already know.
5. Make it stand out.
Your client might be entertaining other proposals. Yours needs to be the most memorable to make sure it’s the one they come back to. Create a visual document to communicate your brand and theirs and easily display all key information. This will make reviewing much simpler (and more interesting) than dense pages of text.
6. Of course, include the logistical stuff.
Pricing, terms and conditions, and other fees, dates, and policies all make up the backbone of your proposal. Make sure to display these in the most simple and straightforward way possible. This makes things easier on your customers, opens the door for future questions and conversations, and establishes a basis of trust and transparency for your future relationship.
We use microapps for all our proposals: they give us a way to visually showcase our brand and our potential customer’s, our process, and our abilities. Plus, we can see how they’re used, when they’re opened, and where time is spent. This helps us engage relevant stakeholders and see what questions we might be able to answer for potential customers.