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Sneha J

May 13, 2020

How a Business Proposal Should Look Like in 2020?

Business proposals are the necessary part of every sales process but they’re also the hardest documents to write. A strong, well-written proposal can help your business thrive but a poorly-written proposal can send your qualified lead packing. Let’s face it, this is one document you don’t want to mess up. And for that, not only you need to know how to write a proposal but you also need to learn about what really goes into a winning proposal.

So how do you create one then? In this post, we are going to address all the important factors of a business proposal that can help you close more deals with your prospects in 2020.

Let’s go!!!

1. The Length of Your Business Proposal

For me a business proposal is,

  • A job interview on paper. You need to explain why you are the best person (or a company) for this job and actually sell yourself or a business.
  • It’s a key document to present your game plan to solve their obstacles and achieve your prospective client’s desired goal.
  • The pricing because everyone decides to buy products or services only after knowing the price.
  • Basically it’s a commercial that is long enough to prove that you’ve diagnosed the problem and have the solution

So, while drafting business proposals, there is one thing you need to keep in mind that they should be lengthy enough to get to the key points such as who is offering what and how they will overcome the pain point. Simultaneously, they should be concise enough to hold their attention.

However, the length also depends on who is reviewing it.

One decision-maker:

If your business proposal is being reviewed by one decision-maker with whom you’ve had the discussion before and built a personal relationship then you can keep it short.

Group of decision-makers: 

If your business proposal is being reviewed by a group of decision-makers and you haven’t got the opportunity to communicate with each and everyone then you must invest a little more time in your proposal and explain each section in detail.

2. Format of your Business Proposal

All business proposals should include certain details in order to be clear and effective. Even though the exact format of sales proposals varies depending on the company and the project, the typical sections you should include in your proposal are these:

1. Cover Page

You only get one chance to make a first impression and the cover page of your proposal is your only chance. A cover page of your business proposal should look neat and should be easy to read. A good cover page typically includes,

  • Name of applying organization and logo
  • Project title
  • Date
  • Contact Information (personal contact name, address, country, phone, email, website)
  • Name of the client you are applying to

2. Cover Letter

The cover letter in your proposal sets the tone for the rest. The best practice of writing an impressive pitch is using your prospective client’s words to them. This means simply describe the problem they are facing. Your cover letter should include,

  • Opening paragraph
  • Reason for the pitch
  • Showing you understand the problem
  • Baseline metrics ( before and after)
  • Goals

3. Scope of Services

This section should include the details about your approach. However, the details should only be about the approach and not about the solution.

  • The key here is to give a rough sketch of the method you will use for the execution.
  • Include the list of the specific services that are being offered.
  • You should be ultra-careful about not going into detail.

4. Implementation Timeline

You must break down all the key steps and the timeline for your client. Providing an accurate timeline with deliverables allows you to set the client’s expectations early.

  • A detailed timeline showing responsibilities

5. Your Investment

Keep things short and to the point and use a pricing table with a range of options that let your prospect or customer edit the quantities, select the services that best fit their needs, and allow them to customize your solution.

  • Standard package (includes all the services mentioned)
  • Less expensive package (where a client can choose the services)
  • Deluxe package (with extra services)

6. Why Work With Us

You can fill out this section with the expertise you have, the awards you won, the big list of your happy clients.

  • Introduction 
  • Name, faces and credentials of the people who will be working on the campaign
  • Client benefits

7. Case Study/Testimonials

In this section, you can make your clients visualize themselves working with you by telling the past clients success stories with similar issues.

  • Project goal
  • Solution
  • Result

8. Terms of Services

  • Payment
  • Warranty
  • Termination 
  • Agreement

3. The Role Design in Growing Sales

Selling and design always go hand in hand.

For example, when you roam around in a supermarket, you usually notice only those products that show some creativity in the design. Just like that only those business proposals dazzles potential clients that shines with the design.

A messy and unattractive sales proposal can be a real turn off to your prospective clients. It sends a message that you didn’t care enough to make your proposal look good.

In this day and age, you can’t have a general sales proposal approach; they have to be cutting edge to impress your potential clients. It doesn’t have to be a crazy formal document, as long as you are presenting it to the bank or the investor. So, make sure you include the following elements in your business proposal,

Table of Contents

  • It is sometimes overlooked but is still a major part of a proposal design.
  • All business proposals must include a table of contents as it gives readers a route map to go directly to a particular section.

Visuals

  • Visuals such as maps, graphs, infographics, screenshots, and photos complement your business proposal to another level.
  • You can also include the video testimonials of your other happy clients.

Brand Logo

  • A logo is a most-suitable representation for any product or company.
  • It’s not just a simple image. But it creates recognition and identification. Therefore you must include a logo in your proposal design.

4. Interactive Pricing to Upsell your Business

Have you ever wondered why your proposals are not hitting the right mark with your prospects? Have you given it a thought that the problem might be with the pricing section of your business proposal?

Providing interactive pricing is the one important factor of a successful business proposal.

You need to incorporate interactive price tables with a variety of pricing options where customers can modify the quantity, select products or services that suit their needs. In short, they should be able to create a customized version of your product or service for them.

An interactive pricing table also allows clients to select additional services and at the end can check the updated pricing in real-time. Unless you use any sophisticated tool you can not create an interactive pricing table in your business proposal.

This is how your interactive pricing table should look, interactive pricing table

4. Electronic Signatures to Close Proposals Faster

You need to keep up with the trend if you want to be successful in the marketing industry. Innovations are meant for

  • making certain processes easier
  • saving time
  • boosting efficiency

And e-signature is one of the digital transformations that you need to implement in your sales proposal.

  • It saves prospect’s time
  • Makes overall signing procedure convenient to them.

Just make sure you let your prospect know that they can sign the business proposal digitally if they want!

5. Proposals Comments

After sending a proposal to your client, they should be able to add comments, feedback, notes, questions, or clarifications while reviewing it. Here are a few features related to commenting you can add in your business proposals,

  • You should be able to bring anyone into the conversation with mentions.
  • You should be able to receive an email notification when anyone comments on the file you’ve shared.
  • You should be able to manage private comments that your clients can’t see or public comments that they can see.

And this all can be done with the help of any online proposal software.

Conclusion

In 2020, submitting a business proposal as a PDF will not work for you. It’s time to break the pattern, make a fresh start, and create something exciting.

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