10 Tips for Great B2B Sales Proposals
Having a great business proposal is essential for any business looking to make a sale. After building trust and credibility in the earlier phases of the sales cycle, a well-crafted sales proposal can help you stand out from the competition and demonstrate your value to potential customers. B2B sales proposals should be tailored to the customer's needs, outlining how your product or service can solve their problem or meet their needs.
The executive summary should provide an overview of the key points of the proposal, and it should be persuasive enough to motivate potential buyers to take action.
But before we go any further, what is a sales proposal?
What Makes a Great B2B Sales Proposal?
To create a great B2B sales proposal, your proposal must be clear, captivating and compelling. Writing a great B2B sales proposal means addressing the customer's needs and engaging them with content that is easy to understand and relevant to their current situation. It should be well organized, coherent, and specific enough to demonstrate your knowledge of their product or service.
Great sales proposals also make the decision obvious and the next step apparent for the customers, eliminating any possible confusion. And, most importantly, each proposal should be personalized for the specific customer.
Today I am going to be sharing with you 10 tips, along with 2 bonus tips, on how to create a great sales proposal that closes deals and leaves both you and the prospective clients satisfied.
In this article...
- Make The Customer The ‘Hero’
- Research Your Customer In Depth
- Create and Send Out The Proposal Quickly
- Personalize the Experience for Each Customer
- Accurately and Clearly State Pricing
- Present the Customer Benefits Clearly
- Provide Visuals
- Keep the Proposal Short and Sweet
- Proofread Your Proposal BEFORE You Send It
- Follow Up Quickly After You Send the Proposal
- Bonus Tips
1. Make The Customer The ‘Hero’
“If you use the wrong words to talk about your product, nobody will buy it.” - Donald Miller
I know, this is a pessimistic start, but it’s the truth.
From his bestselling book, Building A StoryBrand, Donal Miller shows us that by creating a story, and making the customer the hero of that story, customers will respond dramatically more acceptive of your product than otherwise.
Instead of framing you and your product as the hero that will come defeat all the problems that your customers might have, consider following this framework:
- A character has a problem.
- Then they meet a guide who gives them a plan.
- The guide calls them to action that ends in success and helps them avoid failure.
Now, let’s replace the framework above with a hypothetical B2B buyer of Saleslion.
- Joe Blink, the CEO of a tech company has a problem: hundreds of prospects are being lost every single year because of his company’s chaotic and disorganized discovery process.
- Suddenly, Joe learns about a company called Saleslion who gives him a plan: instead of relying on several different systems to manage communication and information during the discovery process, use a sales enablement platform to streamline the process.
- Saleslion then calls Joe Blink to action - purchase the Salslion enablement platform - which results in a thriving tech company for Joe and avoids the company having to close because of too many lost prospects.
Before you do anything else, shift your mindset to see your customer as the hero of the story. By doing this, you will signal humility and authenticity, both of which can be powerful tools of persuasion and influence.
2. Research Your Customer In Depth
Most B2B sales teams conduct research on their early on in the sales cycle or as soon as that prospect became recognized as a SQL (sales-qualified lead). But if that initial research did not take place before you create a B2B sales proposal, you need to learn more about exactly who you are offering to serve.
While not every single piece of information about your customer will be available, you should always research the company in depth before you write up and send out a proposal.
An article by Market Research states that in-depth research will allow you to personalize the proposal and create a unique connection with the customer. By doing prior research, you also demonstrate the willingness to go above and beyond to serve your customer’s specific problems. But even more important than just grabbing your customer’s attention with your hard work and dedication, research will also give you insights into whether or not a prospect will is truly pursuable.
3. Create and Send Out The Proposal Quickly
Now that you have thoroughly researched the prospect and you know what problems they have and how you can assist them in solving them, it is time to create and send out your proposal. It is vitally important to send out a sales proposal quickly in order to increase the chances of success.
By sending a proposal as soon as possible, you're making sure that the customer has all the information they need right away and can make an informed decision in a timely manner. Additionally, it will demonstrate that you are organized and have taken the time to understand their needs, instilling both confidence and trust in the customer.
While your primary aim should be to serve the customer, a convenient bonus is that by sending out a sales proposal quickly, you beat out any of your competition who may not be as quick to respond.
4. Personalize the Experience for Each Customer
While writing and sending your B2B proposal, it is important to keep in mind that your customers do NOT want a spray-and-pray proposal document.
They want it to be personalized
In a recent study by LinkedIn, they found that around three-fourths of all B2B executives agree that customers expect more personalization than they did a few years ago.
Because of these changing appetites around the sales process, it is vital to the success of your proposal that you match what your customers want by providing them with an experience that meets their specific problems and is tailored to their specific goals.
5. Accurately and Clearly State Pricing
One of the worst things you could do in a B2B sale proposal is to provide vague or unclear pricing.
Pricing is a vital element of a sales proposal because it helps to ensure that both parties are on the same page. With transparency and a detailed description, accurate pricing options can effectively show the customer how your services can fit into their budget and if your company is a good fit.
Following this simple formula can help make clarity unavoidable: This is the solution. And this is the cost.
Using a tangible, albeit simple, example from real life, let’s look at Mcdonald's, the most popular chain in the world. On their menu, they have Big Mac Meal and next to that, they have $8.99.
The solution is the Big Mac Meal. The cost is $8.99.
For B2B companies this might look like various levels of subscription plans for customers. Or perhaps more long-term retainers.
And while McDonald’s is a B2C company, your B2B proposal should still strive to be as simple, compelling, and straightforward as a McDonald’s. Whatever the method of pricing, accuracy makes a world of difference when it comes to communicating to your prospects a clear understanding of what is being offered and what it will cost them. To assist you further, here are two excellent resources to help you with the pricing phase of building your proposal:
6. Present the Customer Benefits Clearly
Now, coming back to the example above, imagine how confusing it would be if sales reps at McDonald's had decided to put on their menu a vague statement of the solution and cost:
One relatively tasty lunch for a subjectively cheap price.
How confusing would that be? Customers would wonder, what exactly am I going to get out if this? How do I know that it will be tasty for me?
Just like with pricing, it is extremely important to make it clear exactly what the customers will be getting and exactly how it will benefit them. This helps to create a positive relationship between the customer and the business while also avoiding any potential conflicts in the future.
7. Provide Visuals
Humans are very visual creatures.
We rely heavily on visual cues to satisfy many of our needs, including finding security and processing important information. Studies have also shown that humans process visual information 60,000 times faster than text
Because of this, it is only understandable that your business proposals should include visuals.
Writing a sales proposal can be a daunting task for B2B sales teams, but it doesn't have to be. Including visuals in your proposal can help make your message more impactful and memorable for potential clients. Visuals can help illustrate complex concepts and make them easier to understand. They also provide an opportunity to show off your creativity and demonstrate how you can solve the customer's problem in a unique way.
By using visuals to illustrate your points, you can create a more powerful and persuasive argument that will leave a lasting impression on potential customers.
8. Keep the Proposal Short and Sweet
Humans only have about an 8-second attention span. This means that in order to capture their attention and keep them engaged throughout the entire B2B sales proposal, your proposal has to be concise.
A helpful tool to remember the importance of having a concise proposal is the KISS Principle.
And while succinctness can be beneficial for your customer’s attention, it can also help improve the quality of your proposal. Being direct and limiting the number of words used, helpful at every stage of the sales cycle, can help eliminate any obscurity and vagueness within your proposal.
9. Proofread Your Proposal BEFORE You Send It
Nothing is more disengaging than sentences or paragraphs with grammar poor, spellin or punctuation?
See what I did there?
Jokes aside, always make sure your proposal is proofread before it is sent. Poor grammar, spelling, and punctuation can give your company an unwanted impression of being unqualified and incapable.
Having a proposal that grammatically matches the sophistication of your product or service is a great way to ensure trust with the potential buyer.
10. Follow Up Quickly After You Send the Proposal
Similarly to the 3rd tip of this article, following up promptly can do wonders for your company.
After submitting your B2B sales proposal, follow up with the customer as soon as possible to ensure they received it and answer any questions they may have about it in a timely manner.
This shows that you are engaged, genuinely interested in serving them, and to be trusted. And again, a convenient bonus to sending out a follow-up to the proposal is that you can edge out your competitors who have a longer response time.
Since the onset of COVID-19, our world has become increasingly reliant on digital technologies to complete tasks, satisfy our needs, and find information. Because of this, a great tip for constructing an effective sales process is to send your proposal electronically. This both speeds up the communication process and shows them that you are committed to making their lives as easy as possible.
Include a Signature
Although intuitive, including a signature with the proposal can help show your customers that you are ready to serve and help push them toward a decision. And for digital proposals, electronic signatures are a sure way to maintain your sophistication.
As one of the last stages of the sales cycle, having an effective sales proposal is the foundation of any successful business. With a well-crafted sales proposal, businesses are able to demonstrate value, stand out among competitors, and ultimately drive success. Sales teams will know that it isn’t always easy to create a top-notch and successful sales proposal, but it’s essential for closing deals and scaling a business.
If you are interested in scaling up your close rates even further and need help learning how to craft perfect proposals – then reach out to us today!
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