7 Deadly Sins of Sales Proposals

Proposals, Sales Process, Sales Proposals
October 2, 2017

Only 60% of sales professionals make their sales quotas. There are a lot of roadblocks when it comes to achieving sales goals, but one of the biggest issues is the lack of effective sales proposals. The strength of your proposal makes all the difference when it comes to closing more sales faster. But if your proposals are skimmed instead of read, if they’re collecting dust, or if they’re simply not inspiring your prospect to take action, you may be committing…

The 7 Deadly Sins of Sales Proposals

Sin 1: You Fail to Address This Common problems with sales proposals

The most important thing you can do in a sales proposal is answer these questions:

  • What are the business problems they’re facing?
  • What is the answer to their problem?
  • What benefits do they gain?

These are the key questions you need to answer to make your sales proposals customer-centric and effective. You may not have gathered enough information to answer these questions due to a lack of a defined qualification process. This common issue prevents sales proposals from effectively persuading your prospect to act, and take it with you.

Do This Instead

Have a well-defined process in place that ensures you understand and address all the customer pain points as you develop your proposal. This is accomplished through CorsPro’s SalesDoc Architect’s Qualification module.  It forces you to ask the right questions during your initial meetings and automatically include that information in the proposal, ensuring important information doesn’t fall through the cracks.

 

Sin 2: You’re Missing This Key Component

One of the most important aspects of a proposal that is frequently overlooked is the persuasive structure. Your proposal may be too text heavy, it may focus too much on the technology, or it may be missing simple key components, such as a table of contents. Any of these issues will reduce the efficacy of your proposal. The bottom line is that you need to have a persuasive structure that encourages your prospect to read, absorb, and act based on the solution you are recommending.

Do This Instead

Make sure your proposal follows a structure that propels the reader to take action. This means including a table of contents, opening with a knockout executive summary, and constantly tying your solution back to the expected outcomes and business problems you’re addressing. Better yet, implement a quoting tool that will automate your formatting to ensure your proposal is laid out in a way that compels the prospect to read all the way through.

 

Sin 3: You’re Not Explaining This

Let’s face it: you can get every piece of technology perfect. You can address the customer pain points and hit the nail on the head with expected outcomes tied to those pain points. You can even stick the landing with an executive summary in a way that grabs the prospect’s attention and makes them want to learn more. But if you don’t differentiate your organization from the other companies your prospect is considering, you’re running the risk of losing that sale. A truly great proposal will not only show a prospect what you can do for their organization, but why you can do it differently (and better).

Do This Instead:

Decide as an organization emotion-driven, data-backed examples of how your company is different and how that difference positively impacts your customers. Make sure to include this in all of your sales proposals.

Watch our recent webinar to learn the secret to writing Proposals that Win!

Sin 4: You’ve Omitted a Key Component

Many proposals forget to answer one of the most important questions that they need to answer: the “so what?” Without this information, you aren’t giving your prospect a reason to act. Your “so what?” should tie back to business problems while showing your audience why they should implement the technology you’re recommending. Bonus tip: it’s more effective to come from the angle of preventing loss instead of achieving gain.

Do This Instead:

Make sure you include a compelling value prop that explains to the reader why they need your solution, and that they need it from you. Clearly outline what your prospect stands to gain (or stop losing) by implementing your technology.

 

Sin 5: You’ve Used a Shovel

…to bury all of your key points. There’s a pretty good chance that they’re buried between pricing, technical speak, and generic text. That’s bad news. You’re missing deals because you have too much text and your key persuasive points don’t stand out and grab your prospect’s attention the way they should.

Do This Instead:

Use formatting and careful planning to ensure that the most important parts of the proposal stand out, and that they’re right where the reader looks first. This includes implementing a table of contents, the right layout, and limited text to ensure the most important points stand out. This is another area where having the right tools and software can take the guesswork out of the process for you and create a uniform proposal that works every time.

 

Sin 6: You Use Too Much of This

In the battle for attention, you want to make your proposal as easy to read and digest as possible for success. This means not cramming your proposal with too much technical speak or jargon. While you definitely want to include the information your technical team needs to ensure the solution will fit with the systems you already have in place, you don’t want to make it technical to the point that the executives working on the solution will glaze over and miss all your compelling and persuasive information.

Do This Instead:

Balance your need for technical information and terms with business problem centric information. Make sure you include tables, bullets, graphics, and diagrams to tell your story. These dynamic components can be auto-generated with SDA to ensure that you pinpoint the solution to the customer’s exact requirements.

Sin 7: You’ve Completely Forgotten About This

Remember: the entire exercise of creating persuasive sales proposals is not just to have a good proposal. It’s to close a sale. You can’t do that if you don’t create a sense of urgency. You need to be sure to give your customer a compelling reason to move forward with you and create a sense of urgency so they want to do it immediately.

Do This Instead

Use great closing content that that provides a solid deadline and compels your reader to make a move and continue further in the sales process.

One of the biggest reasons sales reps commit one (or more) of the 7 deadly sins is the lack of a system in place that can complete all of the auto-generated “guts” in the proposal, which would allow them to spend more time on the important parts of your proposal, like the value proposition, key differentiators, and call to action. You need a tool that can generate pictures, descriptions, and specs around pricing, in addition to a scope of work.

Secrets to sales proposals that win