Writing and submitting proposals effectively is crucial if you want to win more sales. But proposal development is a multi-phase process with many discrete components, each of which requires your attention if you’re going to improve.
Areas Of Consideration
Ultimately, a better proposal creation system is going to require your attention in three main areas:
. Creation And Sending.
First, you need to think about how you’re creating and sending these proposals. How much time are you spending on each new proposal? Are you able to send these proposals quickly in response to new queries?
. Value And Potential.
How persuasive are your proposals? What kind of close rates are you seeing from these documents?
. Consistency And Improvement.
Is every member of your team following the same process? Can you verify this? And most importantly, what measures can you take to improve this consistent approach over time?
How to Streamline Your Proposal Strategy
These strategies can help you streamline your proposal creation strategy:
. Rely On Templates.
If you aren’t already, rely on proposal templates to provide the foundation of your strategy. Templates can be rapidly updated with new information, reducing the time it takes to create a proposal and increasing your sales team’s responsiveness to customers. Additionally, your core template will keep most of your information consistent, meaning once you have a formula that works, you can repeat it for the majority of your new customers. Consider looking for an online template that already offers most of what you need, but if you can’t find a template that works, don’t be afraid to start one from scratch.
. Get Used To Personalizing Those Templates.
A good template will do most of the proposal creation work for you—but it won’t do your entire job for you. If you want to be persuasive and make a specific appeal to a company or individual within that company, you’ll need to personalize that template. Speak directly to your target and update your template with information specific to that target. If you don’t, your prospects will feel like your proposal is overly generic or unengaging.
. Document Best Practices For Proposal Creation.
Each salesperson on your team will be responsible for adjusting and updating your templates, so make sure they’re following the same best practices—and following them consistently. Take the time to document your proposal creation processes, from how to choose the right template, to how to update that template properly. This way, all your salespeople will have a document they can reference as they put together proposals in the future.
. Train Your Salespeople.
Documentation provides a reliable resource, but it’s also important to train your salespeople on how to create effective proposals. Training is a major differentiator in your sales department, giving your salespeople the education and practice they need to sell effectively. It will cost time and money to get your team up to speed, but it’s worth the investment.
. Utilize A Shared Digital Creation System.
Ideally, all your salespeople will be working within the context of the same digital content creation system. This may be tied to your proposal template generation tool, or may operate independently. Either way, all new proposals and template versions will be stored for everyone to access—making sharing much easier, and enabling all team members to learn from each other.
. Make It Easy To Send Proposals Once Created.
Part of proposal streamlining is making it easier to send a proposal once it’s created. Ideally, your proposal creation system will provide salespeople with a clear path to sending the proposal digitally—like a convenient button to send the proposal once it’s finished.
. Follow Up With Your Proposals.
Countless sales are lost by businesses each year simply because their sales team doesn’t follow up. Have a clear system in place for when and how to follow up with customers, and make sure your salespeople are following that system.
. Track Results.
How can you know if your proposals are successful if you aren’t tracking them? A good strategy has a built-in mechanism to track your proposals from creation to the final deal—whether it’s closed or lost.
. Find New Ways To Improve.
Plan to spend time analyzing your results after they come in. Which proposals were most successful? Which ones seemed to suffer? What are the differences, and what changes can you make to improve your results in the future?
Your proposals won’t go from “totally ineffective” to “perfectly streamlined” overnight. It’s going to take some trial and error, some major strategic changes, and the full commitment of your entire team to be successful. But once you have the right tools, the right templates, and the right attitude, your sales team will have the power to close far more deals.