6 principle features of a compelling B2B sales proposal
An outstanding sales proposal will affirm the investment the client is making in your product or services.
The sales proposal is a crucial component of the customer experience. The pitch is a key touchpoint with a brand – and in a competitive business environment, it has to be flawless. A winning presentation needs to be well-researched and persuasive, meeting the customer’s needs with nuance and refinement. As such, those presenting their product or service, need to place a customer at the center, ensuring they can anticipate any queries and objections. Ultimately, customers will always be autonomous – but it is the job of the pitch to steer them in the right direction.
Therefore, in a B2B sales proposal, there is no room for errors; even if a prospect has explicitly expressed interest, nothing should ever be a given. A team member presenting a proposal should always be composed, professional, and take initiative. After all, an agile, well-developed sales pitch is vital for securing a new business. Moreover, this ethos should apply to every aspect of the sales transaction. From presentation to contract, the sales team cannot afford for any part of the pitch to be generic. In this article, we discuss how to construct an effective sales proposal, from presentation to follow up.
1. Be concise
In the world of B2B sales, less is more. Some professionals will present exhaustive documents of metrics, data, and analysis in a bid to impress the client. Although thorough analysis and accurate metrics are extremely valuable, often, B2B clients have the same tendencies as B2C customers. Generally, like their consumer counterparts, B2B clients seek ease and convenience. Therefore, the hallmarks of an effective sales proposal are clarity and brevity. The presentation should only provide a client with relevant information. Occasionally, there is a temptation to flesh out the pitch with an excess of examples from other successful scenarios. However, this should be avoided at all costs – the clients will only want to know how your product or service is going to work for them.
2. Tell a story
When constructing your pitch, remember the power of narrative. The sales representative should relay the pitch in a relaxed, confident manner that outlines the benefits of a product or service through engaging storytelling. Every sales cycle starts with a problem and a client looking for a solution. The sales cycle should close with a supplier solving that problem. Therefore, an effective sales proposal will end with the sales representatives highlighting the reason why their product or service is the ideal solution to the client’s problem.
3. Fully personalize
Once again, principles from B2C markets should inform the approach to B2B proposals. As many marketing professionals are well aware, personalization is everything. Therefore, the sales team should customize every aspect of the pitch. This communicates that the business has an empathetic perspective and a genuine investment. Moreover, the pitch should not only be tailored to the client’s company but also his/her role within that business. Therefore, if the pitch is to an IT manager, then the presenter should focus on how it will benefit IT operations and infrastructure. Contrastingly, if the same product is pitched to an operations manager, an emphasis should be on how the product will benefit the overall company productivity.
4. Be honest, but flexible
Often, pitchers can get swept away in the thrill of the sale, however, it is vitally important for them to remain calm, composed, and most crucially, do not make any promises that cannot be kept. The presentation should always be honest about what can or cannot be delivered. Overextending can cause serious issues later down the line, damaging customer retention and reputation. Furthermore, during the pitching phase, it is extremely important that all costings and specifications are accurate. If the pitch appears to be concealing hidden costs, the client’s trust will instantly be lost. After all, trust is a foundation for a positive relationship.
However, as many professionals know, the B2B market can be turbulent. At one moment the sale is closed, but later on it might happen that customers are reconsidering their decision. Should this happen, it is important to be flexible, offering a client an opportunity to scale up or down. By offering customized packages and pricing, sales representatives can implement a contingency plan if it looks like the sale may fall through. In addition, this approach reinforces notions of empathy, trust, and personalization – ensuring that the customer feels authentically cared for.
5. A great start to a lasting relationship
The sales proposal is a key moment to demonstrate commitment to the client. A sales representative should show his/her concern about mutual successes and long-term goals. It is a time-honored strategy, but always conclude a proposal by thanking the clients for their time. It is also important to include a section about aftercare, which serves to reassure the client that the level of service will not decline once the deal closes. For example, a presenter should provide information about the business handles. Through sharing this information, the pitch will demonstrate the company's dedication to nurturing a mutually beneficial relationship.
6. Value feedback
During a pitch, a prospective client will give you feedback in real time. Not only it is extremely valuable to the direction and personalization of that presentation, but it can also build up a future strategy. Therefore, the question and answer phase of the presentation is one of the most valuable stages of the sales cycle. During this part of the pitch, sales representatives not only make sure they close the deal, but also develop their strategy for future sales proposals.
The key benefits of a structured sales process
A structured sales process is the key to success. Not only does it propel the pitch closer, but also enables the sales representative to steer the conversation. When representatives take control of the sales flow, they find themselves in a position of power leaving clients confident and content. Confidence suggests competency, and sales representatives should keep it at the forefront of their minds. Accompanied with honesty and flexibility, this approach will ensure that more leads are turned into sales.