6 ways to make sure you submit a professional sales proposal
Your business is unique, and so is the way you match your offers to your audience’s needs. Your sales proposals should reflect this.
However, there are some tips and strategies behind successful sales proposals that can be applied to all industries and sales cycles. Implement these tips to make your proposals professional and irresistible.
1. Analyze your prospects
Without deeply understanding what your prospect needs, your sales proposal will be a guessing game. You can look at top sales proposal examples and templates all day, but you’ll still need to conduct in-depth research to tailor your sales proposals to each client’s needs.
The key action here is research. Aim to uncover their:
Objectives. What are the tangible problems and challenges they want to solve?
Budget. Is there any room for negotiation or is it a fixed amount?
Stakeholders and decision-makers. Who do you have to tailor your message to, and how should you deliver it?
Urgency. Is this a burning issue or something they’re taking slowly?
As you gather these answers, take note of the exact words and phrases your potential customers are already using to describe their situation. Use these in your proposal to make them feel truly heard.
2. Do the same analysis on your most successful customers
You’ll gain the best insights by combining the above research with the data about your existing customers or clients. Even better, use data about your best customers.
Your best customers typically have…
Been with you the longest
Spent the most money with you
Made the most repeat purchases
Referred the most business to you
They usually have a mix of these traits or even all of them. Once identified, analyze their experience as your customer and how they communicated with your team. There’s likely tons of indicators in the conversations you had with them when they were still a prospect.
Recall their process as they evaluated, and ultimately picked, your solution as the best one. Look through customer service logs, sales call notes in your CRM and any other indicators of their objectives, budget, urgency and main pain points.
If you have old material or proposals from when you were first selling to them, use those as sale proposal examples with new clients. While you’ll still need to edit and tweak a bit, a quality proposal example is a good place to start.
3. Include your unique selling proposition (USP)
A unique selling proposition (USP for short) is how you describe what makes your business unique, as well as how your products or services benefit your target audience. It’s a statement that differentiates the products you sell, and your brand, from the competition, speaking directly to the problems you solve.
It’s not just a tagline on your website; it’s the backbone of all the communications you do, including branding, marketing, PR, customer service and, of course, sales conversations.
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s say you’re a real estate agent and you’re preparing a property proposal. By adding your unique selling proposition, you can stand out in a sea of other proposals.
Why is that? It’s because a USP shows some or all of the following:
Your unique advantage compared to other agents
A process or experience unique to you
Credibility based on extraordinary results you’ve achieved
This means that instead of a vague statement that anyone could copy, you could have a USP such as:
We help more first-time home buyers than any other real estate agency in [city/country]. More than X% of our clients are first-time buyers.
We use our bespoke X-step system to sell your house in [time period] at full market value.
Use a strong USP to infuse your future client or customer with confidence.
4. Use copywriting best practices
Websites, social media ads, billboards and any other form of marketing you can think of all rely on great copywriting. Without it, the marketing message could be unclear.
The same goes for your sales proposal. Use these copywriting principles to strengthen your proposal:
Use headings, bullet points and short paragraphs
Use storytelling principles in your sales pitch so each part leads naturally to the next
Only make it as long as it needs to be (avoid unnecessary words and filler text)
Use active voice to make your copy more engaging and immediate (e.g. “see the results” instead of “the results can be seen here”)
Use high-quality graphics if they can add value to your key messages
5. Build a sales proposal template
Instead of working from scratch every time you’re pitching a potential customer, build a sales proposal template you can customize to each new prospect.
This way, your sales team can save time in the pitching process while also making sure they're not forgetting any of the key elements of their proposal.
6. Make it easy to accept and move the deal forward
How does your prospect move forward and buy from you or hire you? Have you made it difficult for them to do so?
Remove as much friction from this crucial step as possible. If you have too many steps for your prospects to go through, a great business proposal might not be enough to make the sale. For example, if clients need to select one option and sign it, there are two very different ways they could do it:
They email or call you to pick an option, receive a contract from you, print it, sign it, scan it and wait for your confirmation
They click on their preferred option and e-sign your contract within minutes
We recommend the second option as it’s a lightweight, simple way to win a prospect over.
Smart Docs helps you make the proposal signing phase completely frictionless. Here are some of the key benefits:
You can set up sales document templates to include any Pipedrive fields, including custom fields, enabling you to send quotes faster with less effort, which effectively removes manual work from the process and reduces potential errors
Create quote tables within documents that will automatically pull in information related to the deal
Store quotes, proposals and contracts in Google Drive and Google Docs so they’re easy to find later
Track them against deals in Pipedrive or your chosen storage drive to evaluate their effectiveness and make improvements
Share new links with recipients when you update documents so you’re always on the same page
Get notified about document views so you know when prospects are keen and can strike when the deal is hot