Delivering and closing on a successful sales proposal is one of the most crucial stages in the sales process. In this blog, our anonymous and incredibly successful content contributor (sales leader/entrepreneur/growth warrior) dives into how to better manage sales proposals. If you’re reading this and you’re already rich and crushing your numbers, awesome, I have some land in Florida I’d like to sell you. However, It’s more likely that you’re reading this because you want to do one of three things:
- Accelerate your sales velocity
- Get larger and more meaningful deals
- Sell something you haven’t sold before
Let’s get started. Here are the three steps you need to take before you even think about closing a deal.
The Sales Proposal Checklist
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 and 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 about your customers.
2. Remember that Your Prospects Don’t Work for You.
Your prospects do not work for you. You work for them. If you need an update on a sales proposal, don’t just ask for it. 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, your perceived proactivity will quickly turn to nagging, and then the battle is lost. 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.
Dating experts talk about this all of the time — many things that become issues in marriage could have been discussed or resolved while dating. During the proposal, or statement of work, period, ask your prospects these four questions. You’ll be surprised how much easier it is to close the deal.
- How does your company typically buy solutions like ours? Meaning, who is involved, what are the ROI metrics that we will be graded on?
- 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?
- 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 the standout?
- 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?
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