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How to Write a Killer B2B Proposal: A Straightforward Guide

Cartoon man and woman inspecting a B2B proposal with magnifying glass

In B2B sales, while websites serve as valuable platforms to showcase your company and services, direct sales still reign supreme, especially when dealing with higher-priced offerings. To effectively sell at this level, presenting a well-crafted proposal is critical. Today, we’ll walk you through the components of a winning bid and explain why it is an essential tool in B2B selling.

What is a Proposal?

A proposal is a document sent to clients in B2B selling, offering a comprehensive understanding of your business and the specific services you provide. A successful proposal should be customized, addressing the client’s unique challenges and providing tailored solutions. It serves as a roadmap for your collaboration, encapsulating all the necessary details about the project.

When to Use a Proposal?

Proposals are particularly useful when dealing with projects that exceed a certain financial threshold or require a commitment spanning months or even years. In the B2B world, direct purchases from websites are rare. Prospective clients typically prefer to engage in a conversation, whether in person or over the phone, before committing to a significant investment. This is especially true if your offerings are highly customized or if your website doesn’t effectively convey the value of your services. In such cases, a well-crafted proposal becomes crucial to secure the client’s interest and agreement.

The Sales Sequence and Proposal Components

Lead Research and Cold Emails

Begin the sales process with thorough lead research and effective cold emails. These initial steps aim to generate interest and prompt prospects to schedule a call.

Call #1: Gather information and establish an agreement

During the first call, focus on collecting essential details about the client’s challenges while also discussing your background and expertise. At the end of this call, aim to secure the client’s agreement to receive a proposal and schedule a second call.

Creating the Proposal

After the first call, sit down and draft a compelling proposal. Let’s dive into the seven main sections that every effective proposal should include:

  1. The Opportunity: This is a very important section because it shows your understanding of your client’s business and pain points. Also, it is an introduction to the company and why they’re talking to you.
  2. The Solution: Present how your services can address the client’s specific problems. Keep this section concise but ensure it reflects your deep understanding of their needs and clearly articulates your proposed solutions.
  3. Project Goals: Outline the expected outcomes once your solution is implemented. It is essential to include Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that align with specific goals, enabling future measurement of success.
  4. Deliverables: Provide a detailed list of the specific outcomes and benefits the client can expect from your work. Be explicit and highlight how your deliverables will address their pain points and contribute to their success.
  5. Timeline and Budget: Clearly define the projected timeline for the project and specify the associated costs. Consider offering package options and potential discounts to accommodate different client preferences.
  6. Payment Schedule: Outline the payment structure, specifying the amounts and milestones at which payments are due. The most transparent and equitable approach is to align payments with deliverables, but some companies may opt for time-based billing using an hourly rate.
  7. Signature Box: Include a signature box at the end of the proposal, enabling the client to provide immediate acceptance and proceed with the collaboration.

These are the main components of a standard proposal. If your client asks you to add something extra, you also put that in. Remember, a well-crafted proposal demonstrates your understanding of your client’s challenges and allows you to present tailored solutions.