Published On: October 1, 2019Categories: Expert Tips

Sales Strategy: The Sales Proposal Checklist

Just like any good marriage, a sales proposal kicks off your relationship with a new client. But delivering and closing that sales proposal is important—you don’t want to muck things up. 

If you’re up to your neck managing sales proposals, we’ve got you. Our sales proposal checklist will help you:

  • Accelerate your sales velocity
  • Get larger and more meaningful deals
  • Sell something you haven’t sold before

Keep your head screwed on straight during the sales proposal process (you’re probably busy and stretched thin as it is). Take your sales proposals from “blah” to “oh-my-gah” by following a simple checklist. 

The Sales Proposal Checklist

Let’s dive right in, guys. Follow this 3-step sales proposal checklist to find profitable clients. 

1. Track Your Sales Proposals in a System of Record.

It doesn’t matter if you use Salesforce or Google Sheets, but you need a system of record to log, track, and understand your customers and your sales pipeline.

In whichever system of record you choose, you need to track:

  • Sales proposals
  • Responses
  • Margins
  • Final outcomes
  • Deliverables

… for every customer. 

Implementing these standard operating procedures allows you to train your team, empower others to sell, and to standardize the communications with your customers.

Most importantly, having a reliable system of record allows you and your team to gain invaluable intelligence on your customers.

2. Remember That Your Prospects Don’t Work for You.

You know this, but we’ve got to say it: your prospects don’t work for you. You’re working for them. 

If you need an update on a sales proposal, don’t demand it like they’re your entry-level slave. And don’t let your exasperation come through in an email asking for updates (even if you’re Very Annoyed). 

Like any relationship, if you spend all your time asking your partner to do things for you, or for updates on things you’ve already asked them to do, that’s nagging—and nobody wants to be hen-pecked.

Never ask your customer or prospect to give you an update on the status of the sales proposal. Instead, add value throughout the process and try to get their agreement before you submit the sales proposal.

3. Set Sales Proposal Expectations and Align with Your Prospects Ahead of Time.

You date someone before you marry them. It’s a try-before-you-buy sort of situation, and it’s not unlike the sales proposal process. 

This is your time to make sure the project is a fit for your business as well as your client. During the proposal period, ask your prospects these four questions. 

  1. How does your company typically buy solutions like ours? Meaning, who is involved, what are the ROI metrics that we will be graded on?
  2. What information (references, case studies, success data, etc.) can I provide in the sales proposal or statement of work that will help you make a more informed decision?
  3. Are you required to bring in competitors for what’s been proposed? How many alternatives (internal or external) will your committee consider? How do we rank based on what you know so far? What would make us stand out?
  4. As part of building sales proposals, we like to get a sense of timing for our team and critical resources. How long do you expect this process to take? What are the steps in your process? How should my team and I communicate with you so that you know you are supported but don’t feel we’re following up too much? If we don’t hear from you, what should we assume?

Some of these questions take cajones to ask, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to win contracts when you ask for a prospect’s insights.

The bottom line

Sales proposals don’t have to drain you. Follow this 3-step sales proposal checklist to make better proposals, optimize your time, and win high-paying client accounts without the headaches. 

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