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Sales Practice Guide: Proposal




  [Your Company’s
       Name]
                                  [Title]
                                  A Proposal to
                                  [Client Name]

                                  Presented on
                                  [Date]

      [You can include a
  proprietary notice that sets
   conditions for the sharing
      and copying of this
          document.]




                                 Page 1 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal


Table of Contents
[Readers almost always look first at the table of contents to see how the proposal is structured.
Make sure that all headings are easy to read, intuitive, and in a logical order.]


1 Current Situation.........................................................................................................3
2 Solution........................................................................................................................3
     2.1 Objectives...........................................................................................................................3
     2.2 Approach............................................................................................................................3
     2.3 Benefits..............................................................................................................................3
3 Implementation Plan...................................................................................................4
     3.1 Methodology.......................................................................................................................4
     3.2 Schedule............................................................................................................................4
     3.3 Resources..........................................................................................................................5
     3.4 Qualifications......................................................................................................................5
4 Costs............................................................................................................................5
5 Conclusion..................................................................................................................6
Appendix A: Examples of Appendices........................................................................7
Appendix B: Terms and Conditions............................................................................9




                                                              Page 2 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal



  Introduction
                              [This section formally introduces your company and its proposed
                              solution to the client. Include a brief summary of your company’s
                              background, capabilities, and strategy in delivering value to the
                              client. If you have a strong value proposition, you can include it here
                              and note what it means to the client.]

[This column can be used
to highlight key              1 Current Situation
statements, quotes,
statistics, or graphics. It   [Use this section to clearly re-state the client’s primary business
also provides space for       needs, problems, or opportunities. Try to add additional insights that
the client to write           prove your understanding of the industry and the unique challenges
comments on a printed         being faced by the client. Then explain the benefits of effectively
version of the document.]     addressing these needs or opportunities and why your company is
                              well positioned to deliver the desired benefits. Keep this section brief
                              and to the point.]


                              2 Solution
                              [This section is used to outline your company’s proposed solution.
                              The key here is to stay focused on the client’s requirements and
                              show why your approach should be selected over other available
                              options, including an in-house solution. Use statistics, if available, to
                              further strengthen your message.]

                              2.1 Objectives
                              [Clearly describe the most important business objectives that will
                              help solve the client needs or problems (three to five is optimal).
                              Emphasize how your company has the experience and insights to
                              address these objectives based on your expertise and past client
                              successes.
                                 Objective 1
                                 Objective 2
                                 Objective 3]

                              2.2 Approach
                              [Use this section to describe the proposed solution strategy and the
                              management approach your company will take in supporting the
                              strategy. Explain this in words that the client can easily understand
                              without being too technical or overlapping your implementation plan,
                              covered in the next section of this document. Provide enough detail
                              to distinguish your approach from other competitors without revealing
                              everything up front.]

                              2.3 Benefits
                              [Describe the client benefits that will be realized as a result of your
                              solution and your company’s expertise in implementing that solution.
                              Wherever possible, try to quantify the benefits in terms of time, cost,



                                             Page 3 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal

                              or resources. If you can cite return on investment (ROI) findings for
                              this type of solution, definitely do, but be prepared to verify any
                              metrics if challenged by the client. As for the more intangible
                              benefits, try to keep the client’s perspective in mind and stay focused
                              on business value.
                                 Benefit 1
[When making a key               Benefit 2
statement in the proposal,       Benefit 3]
consider highlighting it as
a stand-alone sentence or
quote in this column.]        3 Implementation Plan
                              [While the previous section was primarily strategic, this section
                              focuses on tactics and execution. Your goal is to build the client's
                              confidence that you can deliver the desired solution and benefits as
                              promised.]

                              3.1 Methodology
                              [Briefly discuss the methodology your company will use to implement
                              the proposed solution. The methodology could relate to project
                              management, systems development, or any relevant lifecycle used
                              to ensure consistency and repeatability of your solutions (and still
                              cater to the unique needs of the client). If you have additional
                              information or graphics on this subject that will help distinguish you
                              from your competitors, consider attaching them as an appendix.]

                              3.2 Schedule
                              [Never underestimate the importance of project management to the
                              client. It can be a key differentiator when competitors are evenly
                              matched. Emphasis here should be on timing and sequencing of
                              major activities, deliverables, and milestones.
                              An effective way of tying all of these pieces together is to display a
                              high-level project plan using Microsoft Office Project or some other
                              project management tool. This helps the client to visualize your
                              solution, while reinforcing your company’s expertise in project
                              management. The trick is showing enough to educate the client
                              without revealing your entire game plan.]




                                               Page 4 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal




  [Figure 1. Solution Project Plan. A Microsoft Office Project screen print provides the client with
  a high-level overview of the solution and conveys timing, sequencing, and dependencies of key
  activities.]

                               3.3 Resources
                               [Depending on the nature of the proposal, you may want to identify
                               key resources that will be involved in the solution implementation.
                               These can include people, materials, and facilities. Provide only the
                               information that will be helpful to the client in evaluating your
                               proposal. One option is to include a one-paragraph summary of the
                               background of key managers, consultants, technical experts, and so
[Use graphics that make        on. Full resumes can always be attached as an appendix, if desired.]
the proposal more visually
interesting. The photos in
this template come from
                               3.4 Qualifications
the Microsoft Media            [This is an opportunity to tell why your organization is uniquely
Gallery, available on the      qualified to deliver the solution as promised. Some considerations
Microsoft Web site.]           include: (1) your company’s track record in successfully
                               implementing similar solutions; (2) formal industry or quality
                               certifications such as ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and Six Sigma; and (3)
                               individual certifications of key staff. Include only enough information
                               to validate your capabilities. Use an appendix if you want to highlight
                               your qualifications.]


                               4 Costs
                               [Now that the client understands your solution strategy and
                               capabilities, you can describe your solution costs. How much detail
                               you provide depends on your pricing strategy—whether it is a fixed
                               price contract, cost plus, or some other approach. In any event, you
                               want to include enough information so that the client can weigh your
                               costs against the value being delivered by you or other competitors.
                               Common expense items include resource hours and rates;
                               hardware, software, and other material costs; subcontractor fees;



                                              Page 5 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal

                           invoicing instructions; legal disclaimers; travel; and other
                           reimbursable costs. A more formal description of terms and
                           conditions can be covered in an appendix.]


   Cost Schedule               [Title 2]                  [Title 3]                 [Title 4]

[Row Title]
[Row Title]
[Row Title]
Total

[Table 2. Name of Table. When adding or embedding tables, you can use the full column width
without affecting the surrounding text.]


                           5 Conclusion
                           [This is an opportunity to briefly summarize the key points of your
                           proposal (such as value proposition, solution strategy, and benefits).
                           Every conclusion should have a strong call to action. What is the
                           desired response by the client after reading your proposal? The tone
                           should be confident and assertive without being overly aggressive,
                           while opening the door for a mutually rewarding relationship. Even if
                           you lose this particular opportunity, you want to position yourself as a
                           future ally who can be counted on to deliver a high-value solution.
                           You may also want to personalize this final section with signature
                           blocks (names and titles) of most senior person sponsoring the
                           proposal and an executive.]




                                           Page 6 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal



                                                               Appendix A: Examples of
                                                               Appendices
                                                    [Appendices provide supporting information that is helpful, but not
                                                    critical, to the client’s evaluation of your proposal. This includes
                                                    material that might otherwise be disruptive to the flow and
                                                    momentum of the main proposal. The volume of material in the
                                                    appendices should not be so much as to overwhelm the main body
                                                    of the proposal, however. As a safety measure, you should never
                                                    assume that every client decision maker or influencer will read the
                                                    appendices. Ask yourself: If a key client evaluator did not read any of
                                                    the appendices, would it leave a hole in my proposal strategy?]


                                                         Opportunity Analysis Process Flow


                            Discover                    Define                  Develop                 Solution                  Close                        Deliver
   Customer Need,
      Pain, or               Identify               Qualify Sales            Validate Needs&         Propose Solution            Negotiate                  Deliver and/or
    Opportunity          Prequalified Lead           Prospect                     Make                with Business            Agreement &               Follow Up Approved
                                                                               Presentation            Justification         Customer Approval                 Solution




                                                                                Determine            Customer Review                                           Wrap Up
                         Perform Research          Qualify Lead with                                                         Finalize the Sales
                                                                             Sponsor Access            of Proposed                                           Deployment &
                         & Sales/Marketing           a Prospect                                                                 Contract &
                                             Yes                       Yes   to Key Decision   Yes   Solution & Value   No                        Yes       Any Unresolved
                             Activities               Sponsor                                                                Process the Order
                                                                                 Makers                Proposition                                              Issues



                    No                                                                                                                                                             No




                           Pre-qualified             Qualified                  Can We                  Proposal              Terms Mutually                   Customer
                              Lead?                 Opportunity?                 Win?                   Rejected?              Acceptable?                     Sign-off?




                                No                        No                       No                      Yes                      No
                                                                                                                                                                  Yes


                                                                              Reevaluate or
                                                                               Disengage
                                                                                                                                                        Transition to Operations
                                                                                                                                                           Management as ,
                                                                                                                                                              Appropriate




[Figure 2. Description of Graphic. The above exemplifies that graphics can be inserted into an
appendix to visually convey an important concept.]

                                                    [Likely candidates for an appendix:
                                                          Reprints of news articles, press releases, and corporate
                                                           announcements
                                                          Relevant client case studies, success stories, references, and
                                                           testimonials



                                                                             Page 7 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal

                           Company or individual certifications (referenced in the main
                            proposal)
                           Resumes or biographies of key players (referenced in the main
                            proposal)
                           Organizational charts
                           Description of your formal solution methodology
                           Company history and accomplishments
                           Design specifications or diagrams
                           Supporting financial spreadsheets
                           Terms and conditions (see Appendix B)]




                                      Page 8 of 9
Sales Practice Guide: Proposal



                             Appendix B: Terms and Conditions
                        [The amount of attention you give to formal terms and conditions
                        depends on the size, complexity, and nature of the sales proposal. In
                        some cases, you may include a brief summary under the “Costs”
                        section of the main proposal. However, a high-stakes proposal might
                        justify a separate appendix for this topic. Typical examples of terms
                        and conditions are:
                           Copyright and limitations on use.
                           Warranties.
                           Limitation of liability.
                           Termination.
                           Dispute resolution.
                           Amendment to terms and conditions.
                           Third-party rights.
                           Applicable law.
                           Disclaimer.]




                                        Page 9 of 9

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ms_word_2007_winxp

  • 1. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal [Your Company’s Name] [Title] A Proposal to [Client Name] Presented on [Date] [You can include a proprietary notice that sets conditions for the sharing and copying of this document.] Page 1 of 9
  • 2. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal Table of Contents [Readers almost always look first at the table of contents to see how the proposal is structured. Make sure that all headings are easy to read, intuitive, and in a logical order.] 1 Current Situation.........................................................................................................3 2 Solution........................................................................................................................3 2.1 Objectives...........................................................................................................................3 2.2 Approach............................................................................................................................3 2.3 Benefits..............................................................................................................................3 3 Implementation Plan...................................................................................................4 3.1 Methodology.......................................................................................................................4 3.2 Schedule............................................................................................................................4 3.3 Resources..........................................................................................................................5 3.4 Qualifications......................................................................................................................5 4 Costs............................................................................................................................5 5 Conclusion..................................................................................................................6 Appendix A: Examples of Appendices........................................................................7 Appendix B: Terms and Conditions............................................................................9 Page 2 of 9
  • 3. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal Introduction [This section formally introduces your company and its proposed solution to the client. Include a brief summary of your company’s background, capabilities, and strategy in delivering value to the client. If you have a strong value proposition, you can include it here and note what it means to the client.] [This column can be used to highlight key 1 Current Situation statements, quotes, statistics, or graphics. It [Use this section to clearly re-state the client’s primary business also provides space for needs, problems, or opportunities. Try to add additional insights that the client to write prove your understanding of the industry and the unique challenges comments on a printed being faced by the client. Then explain the benefits of effectively version of the document.] addressing these needs or opportunities and why your company is well positioned to deliver the desired benefits. Keep this section brief and to the point.] 2 Solution [This section is used to outline your company’s proposed solution. The key here is to stay focused on the client’s requirements and show why your approach should be selected over other available options, including an in-house solution. Use statistics, if available, to further strengthen your message.] 2.1 Objectives [Clearly describe the most important business objectives that will help solve the client needs or problems (three to five is optimal). Emphasize how your company has the experience and insights to address these objectives based on your expertise and past client successes.  Objective 1  Objective 2  Objective 3] 2.2 Approach [Use this section to describe the proposed solution strategy and the management approach your company will take in supporting the strategy. Explain this in words that the client can easily understand without being too technical or overlapping your implementation plan, covered in the next section of this document. Provide enough detail to distinguish your approach from other competitors without revealing everything up front.] 2.3 Benefits [Describe the client benefits that will be realized as a result of your solution and your company’s expertise in implementing that solution. Wherever possible, try to quantify the benefits in terms of time, cost, Page 3 of 9
  • 4. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal or resources. If you can cite return on investment (ROI) findings for this type of solution, definitely do, but be prepared to verify any metrics if challenged by the client. As for the more intangible benefits, try to keep the client’s perspective in mind and stay focused on business value.  Benefit 1 [When making a key  Benefit 2 statement in the proposal,  Benefit 3] consider highlighting it as a stand-alone sentence or quote in this column.] 3 Implementation Plan [While the previous section was primarily strategic, this section focuses on tactics and execution. Your goal is to build the client's confidence that you can deliver the desired solution and benefits as promised.] 3.1 Methodology [Briefly discuss the methodology your company will use to implement the proposed solution. The methodology could relate to project management, systems development, or any relevant lifecycle used to ensure consistency and repeatability of your solutions (and still cater to the unique needs of the client). If you have additional information or graphics on this subject that will help distinguish you from your competitors, consider attaching them as an appendix.] 3.2 Schedule [Never underestimate the importance of project management to the client. It can be a key differentiator when competitors are evenly matched. Emphasis here should be on timing and sequencing of major activities, deliverables, and milestones. An effective way of tying all of these pieces together is to display a high-level project plan using Microsoft Office Project or some other project management tool. This helps the client to visualize your solution, while reinforcing your company’s expertise in project management. The trick is showing enough to educate the client without revealing your entire game plan.] Page 4 of 9
  • 5. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal [Figure 1. Solution Project Plan. A Microsoft Office Project screen print provides the client with a high-level overview of the solution and conveys timing, sequencing, and dependencies of key activities.] 3.3 Resources [Depending on the nature of the proposal, you may want to identify key resources that will be involved in the solution implementation. These can include people, materials, and facilities. Provide only the information that will be helpful to the client in evaluating your proposal. One option is to include a one-paragraph summary of the background of key managers, consultants, technical experts, and so [Use graphics that make on. Full resumes can always be attached as an appendix, if desired.] the proposal more visually interesting. The photos in this template come from 3.4 Qualifications the Microsoft Media [This is an opportunity to tell why your organization is uniquely Gallery, available on the qualified to deliver the solution as promised. Some considerations Microsoft Web site.] include: (1) your company’s track record in successfully implementing similar solutions; (2) formal industry or quality certifications such as ISO 9000, ISO 9001, and Six Sigma; and (3) individual certifications of key staff. Include only enough information to validate your capabilities. Use an appendix if you want to highlight your qualifications.] 4 Costs [Now that the client understands your solution strategy and capabilities, you can describe your solution costs. How much detail you provide depends on your pricing strategy—whether it is a fixed price contract, cost plus, or some other approach. In any event, you want to include enough information so that the client can weigh your costs against the value being delivered by you or other competitors. Common expense items include resource hours and rates; hardware, software, and other material costs; subcontractor fees; Page 5 of 9
  • 6. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal invoicing instructions; legal disclaimers; travel; and other reimbursable costs. A more formal description of terms and conditions can be covered in an appendix.] Cost Schedule [Title 2] [Title 3] [Title 4] [Row Title] [Row Title] [Row Title] Total [Table 2. Name of Table. When adding or embedding tables, you can use the full column width without affecting the surrounding text.] 5 Conclusion [This is an opportunity to briefly summarize the key points of your proposal (such as value proposition, solution strategy, and benefits). Every conclusion should have a strong call to action. What is the desired response by the client after reading your proposal? The tone should be confident and assertive without being overly aggressive, while opening the door for a mutually rewarding relationship. Even if you lose this particular opportunity, you want to position yourself as a future ally who can be counted on to deliver a high-value solution. You may also want to personalize this final section with signature blocks (names and titles) of most senior person sponsoring the proposal and an executive.] Page 6 of 9
  • 7. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal Appendix A: Examples of Appendices [Appendices provide supporting information that is helpful, but not critical, to the client’s evaluation of your proposal. This includes material that might otherwise be disruptive to the flow and momentum of the main proposal. The volume of material in the appendices should not be so much as to overwhelm the main body of the proposal, however. As a safety measure, you should never assume that every client decision maker or influencer will read the appendices. Ask yourself: If a key client evaluator did not read any of the appendices, would it leave a hole in my proposal strategy?] Opportunity Analysis Process Flow Discover Define Develop Solution Close Deliver Customer Need, Pain, or Identify Qualify Sales Validate Needs& Propose Solution Negotiate Deliver and/or Opportunity Prequalified Lead Prospect Make with Business Agreement & Follow Up Approved Presentation Justification Customer Approval Solution Determine Customer Review Wrap Up Perform Research Qualify Lead with Finalize the Sales Sponsor Access of Proposed Deployment & & Sales/Marketing a Prospect Contract & Yes Yes to Key Decision Yes Solution & Value No Yes Any Unresolved Activities Sponsor Process the Order Makers Proposition Issues No No Pre-qualified Qualified Can We Proposal Terms Mutually Customer Lead? Opportunity? Win? Rejected? Acceptable? Sign-off? No No No Yes No Yes Reevaluate or Disengage Transition to Operations Management as , Appropriate [Figure 2. Description of Graphic. The above exemplifies that graphics can be inserted into an appendix to visually convey an important concept.] [Likely candidates for an appendix:  Reprints of news articles, press releases, and corporate announcements  Relevant client case studies, success stories, references, and testimonials Page 7 of 9
  • 8. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal  Company or individual certifications (referenced in the main proposal)  Resumes or biographies of key players (referenced in the main proposal)  Organizational charts  Description of your formal solution methodology  Company history and accomplishments  Design specifications or diagrams  Supporting financial spreadsheets  Terms and conditions (see Appendix B)] Page 8 of 9
  • 9. Sales Practice Guide: Proposal Appendix B: Terms and Conditions [The amount of attention you give to formal terms and conditions depends on the size, complexity, and nature of the sales proposal. In some cases, you may include a brief summary under the “Costs” section of the main proposal. However, a high-stakes proposal might justify a separate appendix for this topic. Typical examples of terms and conditions are:  Copyright and limitations on use.  Warranties.  Limitation of liability.  Termination.  Dispute resolution.  Amendment to terms and conditions.  Third-party rights.  Applicable law.  Disclaimer.] Page 9 of 9