The sales proposal is essential paperwork. If you are a salesperson, you know how much hours you put together in creating one and in many cases they’re never even read by the prospect.
A strong, neat and clean business proposals gives a possibility of winning new deals. A well-done sales proposal will not only sell your business but also help you win more deals.
So, what makes an outstanding proposal?
- A checklist? Yes
- A Structure? Yes
- The Content? Yes
Is that all? Of course not. One must not forget that your proposal is a marketing tool, not a thesis. So you have to make this proposal easier on the reader’s eyes. I have listed out a few challenges that you face in designing and formatting while writing a sales proposal.
Challenges In Designing And Formatting Sales Proposal
1. Graphics And Designing
Now the look and feel of the sales proposal is equally important as the content and quality of it. In the digital world, you obviously need a glamorous sales proposal to dazzle your prospect. And graphics can help you make a kickass first impression.
A typical proposal filled with lots and lots of words doesn’t influence the prospect to read furthermore. Graphics can make the readers experience more memorable.
Imagine you have an animated video of your product and you want to include that in your sales proposal, but you can’t, why? Because you have created your proposal template is in PDF format. Too bad, isn’t it?
We live in a world where it has become more possible than ever before to turn an idea into reality. But tools such as Adobe acrobat gives a full stop to your amazing ideas because it comes with its own set of rules.
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.
You can find a solution to it with the help of a graphic designer, you may find a solution to it but as a salesperson, you have a lot many ideas going on in your head. So instead of spending countless hours with a graphic designer discussing those ideas, you can let proposal software take care of the design.
Do you know that the next big thing in the marketing industry is the interactive sales proposal?
a. Headings And Subheadings
Just by changing the font size and making the text bold doesn’t mean you have created a heading structure. Headings and subheadings play a major role in the readability of the user. It provides context and a path to navigate throughout the document. It helps the reader to visually scan the document. They basically allow your audience to quickly find what they need.
If you look at the above image, a complete makeover is given to the concept of headings and subheadings. Let me explain how?
i. Image in The Background
With a proposal tool, you can change the face of your sales proposal entirely. You can add the images in the background and write a text on it which you definitely can’t do it if you create a proposal in word document, can you?
ii. Contain Box with Certain Color
Who would love reading just a block of text? Nobody! People’s attraction on text over colors makes sense. So instead of a plain text box, you can add a content box over the image and then add text into it. I am sure this entire process becomes very challenging when you create a sales proposal in a word document,
iii. Text Styling on Top of The Box and Image
Text is much more readable if you present it in style. When you use a proposal writing tools you can adjust the font of headings and subheadings and give your text a new style.
It’s time to go one step ahead and set headings and subheadings in style.
b. White Space
When a text forms a solid block, it directly affects the readability. The reader feels negative about it even before they begin to read. White space is about letting your reader breath.
Why do you need a white space?
- White space is a treat to the eye.
- It helps document looks less crowded.
- It drives attention to the right elements.
Think about textbooks, they generally have long paragraphs with a very little white space between.
Do you get the same vibe while reading a PDF file? Because at least I do. If you’ve forgotten let me remind you. (Ohh! That rhymed)
Then why do you want to torture your clients to death with a block of texts using PDF proposals?
c. Pricing Table
In MS-Word, all you can do is add pricing options in an excel and import that excel sheet into your proposal but this method may harm your attempt to close the deal.
Also, you won’t be able to create an interactive pricing table in Word or in PDF where customers can edit the quantities, select products or services that best fit their needs 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 sales proposal.
You can’t even add product catalog when you create a proposal in a Word document.
Your proposal should have an ability to communicate pricing with your prospect.
d. Document Signing
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 digital signature is one of the digital transformation that you need to implement in your sales proposal.
- It saves prospect’s time
- Makes overall signing procedure convenient to them.
You can add digital signatures in MS- Word but again you will have to install DocuSign add-in and follow the lengthy steps to complete the process. You can add a digital signature using Adobe Acrobat, but then as I said earlier PDF has its own set of challenges to overcome.
Aligning a document is one of the most frustrating challenges we face while writing a sales proposal. Alignment determines the position of the text, images or videos. It’s so important to give your document a basic structure.
As you can see in the above image the list of deliverables is left aligned and the timeline is right-aligned. Well, I know you can somehow adjust this alignment in MS-Word by creating a table but then again you have to invest a lot of time + manual efforts in hiding that table, merging and splitting table cells.
4. Collaboration Challenges
a. It Should Be Sharable And Accessible
Do you feel the same struggle reading a PDF file as me? Like
- Wait for the PDF file to download
- Zoom in to read the comment
- Swipe left-right to read
- Again zoom out
Now imagine your sales proposal goes in your prospective client’s hand. Clearly, you missed your chance. As they say first impression is the last.
Most of the deals are discussed and decided in a group. Because each person will read the proposal on different devices. That’s why you need to make sure your proposal is easily accessible.
b. Ctrl F + Replace All
When one uses the same proposal for multiple clients, one has to do ‘Control+F’ and ‘Replace All’ to change client company name, contact person name, etc. This is a total time waster. The grave mistake is, if there is a typo, Control+F, Replace All doesn’t work; and the client sees wrong/inapplicable information.
c. Comment Challenges
Imagine you will be notified when the prospect views your proposal, or you could know the time that person spends on reading it, or which part of the proposal held the attention for the maximum time? And also you will be able to see the comments inside the proposal without the constant back and forth emails.
Amazing, isn’t it?
But unfortunately, you won’t be able to implement all these things if you send a proposal in PDF form.
The Bottom Line:
Instead of facing and trying to overcome all of the above formatting and designing challenges, why not use technology to do all these things exclusively for you.
Is it possible?
Of course, it is.
Learn about how business proposals should look like in 2020 here.