Admittedly this image is a humorous way to make a proposal. When it comes to Sales Proposals, no one likes a sloppy proposal! Even if it includes a pizza, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get the job!

We talk to business owners, managers and sales teams daily about sales process improvement. One of the largest uncertainties and source of greatest frustrations often surrounds the proposal document. People regularly ask us to show samples, provide ideas – even asking “can we just use the proposal from your demo?” I get it – it’s easier to push aside the task of creating the fresh document you and your team need than facing the tedious and subjective process. But it’s important, really important. The ultimate success of a great proposal document is that it assists in the win of sales.

Some of the most common, high risk concerns:

  • Stretched, inconsistent, low quality company logos
  • Lack of company branding
  • Individual interpretation – images, poorly written content, reused information from previous employers
  • Need shorter or longer presentation options
  • Pricing presentations
  • Editing of terms and conditions
  • Signed proposals illegible

So what do you do when your document is stale – same old, same old? Or you realize it isn’t tailored to the Prospect’s needs? Remember, it’s all about them! You need something different, but the thought of making it happen keeps you stuck where you’re at.

Here are 5 tips from what we’ve learned:

  1. Two words: Graphic Artist. Hands down, documents from Clients who hire professional graphic artists stand out as unique and promote a consistent brand message. Your customers will recognize this as well. A reinvented logo and branding re-fresh presents your company as modern, relevant, invested and professional. Bonus: Include social media, blog and website information – as long as all are updated regularly. A great way to drive traffic in your direction.
  2. Content is King: Most people are not great writers so why are they writing proposal content? This practice translates to missing numerous opportunities to present your company, products, services, customer testimonials, market verticals, etc. in a consistent, concise and “approved” manner. Develop company written and approved content for use by team members.
  3. Presentation of Information Matters: Make it easy for your team to understand the presentation of information, order and format. Provide the pages to include, with specific areas such as: the scope of work as the only area(s) to be written by individual representatives.
  4. Make signing easy: Proposals are often scanned and copied multiple times prior to final signature, making executed copies illegible. Present pricing in an organized manner and adopt use of electronic signing.
  5. Terms & Conditions: Include “Ts & Cs” versus signing separate agreements if possible. If you allow changes to your Ts & Cs, incorporate working with your legal team as part of the sales process – finish before presenting the agreement, so that customers signs once. Avoiding changes is probably best, remember, you have to track and monitor the changes made.

Improving your proposal documents can improve your bottom line. Automating proposal and contract generation through sales process software can dramatically reduce room for error, provide clarity in document presentation, makes e-signature easy and disallows changes by sales team members and customers.

A great proposal document backed by a solid, Prospect focused sales process, ensures Prospects of your focus on them and their needs, from the start of their relationship with you. What better way to get hitched?