proposals

Best Practices for B2B Proposals

October 11, 2013

Coming up with a B2B proposal can take a lot of time and effort. In most cases over 50 percent of all B2B proposals that are sent online never receive any correspondence in return. With such a high rate of failure, many business owners simply give up on using this technique to gain new business. It is very likely that those proposals are missing some essential piece of information that caused it to be ignored. Here are some useful tips to creating a B2B business proposal that will help you to secure more clients and contracts.

Knowing your prospective client can go a long way in getting your B2B proposal accepted. You not only need to understand who your client is, you must identify what their wants and needs are. You get their needs by asking a lot of questions. Even though you ask questions that you think will zero in on their wants, the key to this process is you must be willing to listen to the answers. Do not simply assume because you heard the answer that you understand their needs, you have to really listen to how the question was answered and focus on addressing that want. Once you have gathered the information on the client and their particular needs and wants, you address the proposal in a unique way that gives them the sense that you really did pay close attention and have the ability to meet those needs.

No two prospective clients will be the same, so no two B2B proposals will be the same. You may have developed a template for creating a unique proposal, but unless you cater to their unique needs, your prospects will most likely ignore your proposal. Through back and forth correspondence with a particular company, you may have built a relationship with one particular staff member who sympathizes with your efforts. This internal advocate is where you should bounce ideas concerning prices or find out who the decision maker is within the company. Many times this advocate will give you important information on pricing that can help you to secure the deal had you simply chosen a price point that was much higher. By communicating with your prospective clients, you open the door to meet people who are in the best positions to present you B2B proposal on their behalf.

Companies receive a tremendous amount of proposals each month and while many are crafted perfectly, they simply wind up in the trash pile. The ability to personalize your content goes a long way in reaching the hands of the decision makers. Having sculpted your proposal around the feedback you received and by using the help of internal advocates, your proposal is in the best position to avoid the trash. You never want to simply create a B2B proposal from a template and add all the unique details you worked so hard to get. Your proposal will look identical to all the other template proposals despite it being of better quality.

Once way to gain valuable feedback is by asking the internal advocate how the proposal looks on paper. What, if anything, do they feel could cause it to be rejected? This information can be the tipping point in making sure your proposal is accepted. They can tell you information that you may have overlooked or simply did not even consider. Building a trusting relationship with an internal advocate of the company is an advantage you will have over all of the other business owners seeking to submit a proposal. You should respect and take the information you receive from the advocate very seriously and implement it immediately into your proposal.

The proposal should also be as clear and direct as possible. Highlight the positives like your accomplishment reports, your implementation plans and how your business will provide these services and products to the client. Realize that your proposal will most likely now be in the hands of the decision makers, and your professionalism can make or break the deal at this point. You found the way to get the proposal to stand out, and your advocate helped you get it on the desk of the decision maker, don\'t blow this opportunity with a presentation that lacks professionalism. Try to be in a position to make this proposal in person. Your hard work and dedication to understanding and addressing their needs will put you in the best position to close the deal at the end of the presentation.

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