Writing sales proposals can be a pain in the “ask” (as that’s what a proposal is: an ask for someone’s business). But it doesn’t have to be.
Here are two simple writing tips and a one essential technology (CPQ tools) that help make every proposal more effective.
Writing tip #1
Focus on quantifiable results, not products and/or services
Don’t waste your future customer’s time on your features and deliverables. They likely know them already, else you wouldn’t have gotten the RFP in the first place. Focus instead on results.
The reason is simple: focusing on products/deliverables means you’re talking about what you do; focusing on results means you’re sharing what you’ll do for your prospect.
(All they care about is their end-result, and if they could get to that result by magic spells for half the cost, you can bet they’d be sending RFPs to Harry Potter and Gandalf instead of you.)
A key word in this tip is “quantifiable”. Likely, this isn’t the first RFP you’ve replied to, so use data from previous customers’ results (“reduced costs by $X, increased sales by Y%, etc.”) in your sales proposal. That’ll enable your prospect to better predict ROI, and that means an easier sell of your sales quote to your prospect and his boss (and his boss’s boss).
Writing tip #2
Compare and contrast
Ideally, your proposal includes some info on the competition, showing how you succeed where they fail. (If it doesn’t, get going on your research post haste, because you can be sure that your prospect — and your competition — has done theirs.)
You should also compare/contrast your own products and pricing, giving a prospect options. This is made easier with the product and pricing configuration engine found in most CPQ tools (that’s configure, price, quote) — but we’re getting ahead of ourselves.
Being able to compare and contrast your solution with the competition’s demonstrates a deeper understanding of both the market and the prospect’s problem, and allows you to introduce unique positioning to the results (don’t forget to focus on results!) you’ll deliver.
Being able to compare and contrast your products and pricing with other products and pricing in your catalog demonstrates you have a depth and breadth of offerings to ensure maximum flexibility for your customers. I.e., you don’t have a “one size fits all” kind of solution. It also empowers your prospect with the freedom to choose, giving them more control over the final deliverable. And every customer wants to be in control.
Creating a repeatable process for the best sales proposals
A proposal that focuses on outcomes rather than products/services? ✔️ Check.
A proposal that compares your offer to the competition and gives your customer both options and control? ✔️ Check.
A software solution that has sales proposal templates, centralized product and pricing configuration, granular sales quote tracking, and essentially automates the entire sales proposal process? ✔️ Check (if you’re using CPQ tools).
The two sales proposal writing tips above are centered on the content of your proposal, and content is — and always will be — king. And when that content lives in a configure, price, quote solution (like iQuoteXpress), you are:
Able to get each proposal into the hands of each prospect quicker
Assured that each proposal is professional in its look and feel (no matter which rep creates, sends, and tracks it)
Empowered with a scalable solution built on repeatable processes that ensures no matter how many proposals you have in circulation, you are bringing your A-game to each one
With CPQ solutions as a cornerstone of your sales proposal process, and a focus on results and flexibility in each quote you write, every ask you make will be a pleasure for your customer and not a pain for you.