In the world of B2B sales there is no rest for the weary, even after a prospect has indicated purchase intent and a commitment to close the deal. At the last mile, a well-developed sales proposal can be your secret weapon to securing new business while a generic contract can sabotage all the hard work you have done to date.
A great sales proposal should serve to affirm the investment your client is about to make in purchasing your product or engaging your services. Sales proposals may be formalities in some ways (most of the information presented in them should have been conveyed to the client previously), but they are still an integral component of the overall customer experience, and the best examples get the buyer excited about what you and your company can do for them.
1. Keep it short but sweet
More is not always better when it comes to writing sales proposals. Some reps believe that long documents filled with reams of data will impress the client and demonstrate how much work has been put into this partnership, but this sale is not about how much work you have done; it is about making the customer’s life easier. Be clear and concise, and give them just the relevant information they need to complete the deal. There is no need to include specs and details that are not germane to your buyer’s situation just because they sound impressive.
The entirety of the sales journey is a form of storytelling, and the proposal should present that story in a clear narrative. The story starts with the customer having a problem and searching for a solution, and it ends with your presentation aligning with their desired outcomes. After reading the proposal they should be reminded again of why they are choosing your solution to service their needs.
2. Personalize every aspect of the proposal
Each buyer has a specific way of looking at their problem and they understand it from a unique perspective. If you are selling software to an IT manager and an operations manager, they are going to think about your product and what it is intended to solve in very different ways. Make sure your proposal utilizes language that your specific client is familiar with.
Just as your sales strategy should be customer-focused instead of product-focused, so too should the proposal accentuate this philosophy.
3. Ensure accuracy, honesty and flexibility
It is imperative that all information about specifications and pricing are presented accurately during this phase, and that you are always honest about the capabilities of your product. If the customer senses that you are trying to sneak hidden fees into the proposal you could lose their trust in an instant. Dishonesty is the quickest way to disrupt an otherwise solid sale.
B2B buyers also have a tendency to be impulsive creatures, and they may remember some piece of information after reading the proposal that causes them to rethink their buying needs. Offer flexibility in scaling up or down their demands by presenting them with several packages with customized pricing information. This way, you have an easy contingency plan in the event that they decide they want to modify their purchase. Additionally, it will reinforce the idea that you have taken the time to create a personalized experience for them.
4. Validate a strong start to a long-lasting relationship
Use the sales proposal as an opportunity to further demonstrate that you value your professional relationship with the client, and that you are concerned about the success of their business in the long term. Conclude your proposal by thanking them for their time and including information about how their account will be handled following the sale. Thus, you validate the idea that you and your company are dedicated to growing this mutually beneficial relationship.