Business proposals are documents that describe the terms of a sale for potential buyers. They’re typically used by B2B businesses to provide detailed explanations of their products and services, pricing, and scope of work. They can be custom, but they typically follow a business proposal template, which is why using a repeatable process is important for success.
Free Business Proposal Template (PPT/PDF)
To help you streamline your sales process, we have created a business proposal template in PowerPoint and Google Slides you can download for free. Simply download the templates and customize them for your business proposal needs. You can then adjust the branding to reflect your company image.
How to Improve Your Business Proposal Win Rate
Using a high-quality business proposal template is an excellent way to provide a good framework to start with and make the process more efficient. There are a few important steps to help ensure that your proposal is seriously considered. We’ll walk through the entire proposal process, including must-have proposal features and tips for following up with your potential clients.
Here are seven steps to improve your business proposal win rate:
1. Start With a Discovery Meeting
To maximize your chances of closing any deal, we strongly recommend conducting a discovery meeting before you deliver your initial sales pitch and create a proposal. You should schedule this meeting before you create the proposal in order to make sure both you and your customer are on the same page. If you don’t show you understand their main pain points and address their potential objections, your proposal may be rejected or not taken seriously.
2. Customize & Complete Your Proposal
Whether you choose to use our template or create your own, the next step is to complete your business proposal with basic details, such as giving it a title and adding the name of your customer. In addition, you will want to add custom data, images, and charts so your proposal addresses the prospect’s needs, wants, and objections that you gleaned from the initial discovery meeting.
3. Send Your Proposal to Decision-makers
Once your business proposal is complete, you should send it to your primary point of contact and primary decision-maker. If you’re unsure exactly who should receive it, don’t be afraid to ask. This makes sure that all of the key people have the information and can provide feedback or gain buy-in. It also prevents delays later in the process that occurs when the right people don’t have the information they need to make a decision.
4. Monitor Your Business Proposal Engagement
Once you send your proposal, there are many tools you can use to monitor its engagement with your prospects. For example, if you send your proposal through PandaDoc, you can see who opens the document, how long they spend on certain sections, and view any comments they might leave for you.
You can also use G Suite’s Google Docs or Slides for your proposal and have the ability to monitor your prospective customer’s engagement with your proposal. When you communicate with your potential customer, encourage customers to make comments on the proposal. You can also view who has viewed the document and when they last accessed it. These comments will allow you to address any potential objections and further adjust the proposal.
5. Follow Up at Strategic Intervals
After sending the proposal and tracking their email and proposal engagement activity, follow up with your potential customer to discuss any issues. For example, many email tracking software programs will send you a push notification or email when a prospect opens your email.
If you notice that only one of them has opened your email, follow up with that one person, ideally within 24 hours, and request feedback. Then follow up with other team members as a gentle reminder to review your proposal and ask if there are any issues that need to be addressed.
6. Close the Deal
Once you’ve followed up with your prospective customer, addressed any objections, and have gotten them all on board with your business proposal, it’s time to close the deal. Either schedule another meeting or simply follow up via a call to secure an agreement and either a signed contract or purchase order so that the deal is closed. Once the deal is closed, send an invoice to the appropriate person in accounts payable.
7. Welcome Your New Customer
It’s also very important to remember that while this may be the end of your new customer sales process, it’s also the beginning of a new customer relationship. When I was at a business-to-business (B2B) software startup, we sent videos that had the sales rep introduce the onboarding team member who explained what would happen next to get them started. You can also send a welcome packet, or make a phone call welcoming them as your newest client and go over any questions.
Pro tip: Keeping track of your new customer information can be overwhelming without the right tools in place. Using a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Salesforce Essentials can help you stay in touch with the customers you convert. This will put you in a great position to sell additional products and services and to get referrals from them in the future.
How to Make Your Own Business Proposal Template
While every business proposal is different, if you want to make your own template, there are seven main components it should have, including a cover page, table of contents, product information, pricing, and terms and conditions. Having these sections of a business proposal template ensures you communicate the most important information about your product or service that your prospects need to make a decision.
Here’s more information about what each section should entail:
The cover page sets the tone of your proposal. This is your first opportunity to express your brand and the nature of your proposal. Some cover pages are graphic or image-heavy. Others take a minimalist approach, with very few graphics and little more than the title and date of the proposal. The approach taken on the cover page should be reflected throughout the proposal.
Table of Contents
A table of contents makes the job of the reader much easier, especially when proposals are over 10 pages. It helps them quickly locate sections of the business proposal without having to search through all of the pages. Electronic business proposals that link tables of contents with their respective sections make this particularly easy.
Summary of the Problem or Opportunity
Including a section that describes the prospective customer’s problem or opportunity reminds both you and the customer of the purpose of the proposal. It keeps you focused on what they need and it reminds them of what they told you their needs were. This section is a great precursor to your solution and how it solves your customer’s problem.
Your proposed solution should solve your prospective customer’s problem. In this section, you demonstrate how your product offering is the answer they need to either make a problem in their business go away or become less painful. This section should clearly demonstrate why they should buy your proposed solution.
Cost Pricing Table
The cost section outlines how much money your proposed solution will cost. It gives your prospective customers an idea of how much money they will need to spend or invest to make their pain points go away or become more tolerable. The previous sections of your proposal, along with your selling activities up to this point, should have addressed their concerns and objections, making the costs justifiable. Here’s an example form TemplateLab.
Terms & Conditions
Many B2B sales come with terms and conditions. They add more detail around who does what and what products and services are included in the sale. Most often, they are outlined in a contract, but a good business proposal outlines them to ensure both you and your prospective customer are on the same page and understand what’s included and what is not.
Excellent business proposals clearly establish the next steps for all parties. This section tells your prospective customer what they need to do now that they have all the information they need to finalize their buying decision. This section serves as a call to action where their next step should be signing a contract and paying for your proposed solution.
Where to Find Other Business Proposal Templates
Besides using our free template, there are other ways to create your own business proposals and business proposal templates. The two ways we suggest include using a cloud-based business proposal creation software to create business proposals and business proposal templates.
Cloud-based Business Proposal Template Tools & Software
If you’re looking for a more professional business proposal solution, there are several easy-to-use alternatives on the market, including Better Proposals, Proposify, Qwilr, and Canva. The advantage of using proposal solutions like these is that they will save you time and potential headaches. They also have features like tracking, e-signatures, and interactive pricing that can help you close your deals.
Better Proposals’ proposal software is affordably priced, starting at $19 for up to 10 proposals per month. They offer professionally designed templates along with analytics, notifications, digital signatures, and custom domains. Plus, you can try it free for 14 days.
Proposify proposal software is cost-effective starting at $19 per user, per month for up to three users. They offer beautiful designs and an extensive business proposal template library. Features include interactive quoting, notifications, metrics, and online signatures.
Qwilr’s marketing documents and proposal creation software is affordable for small businesses, with pricing starting at $12, per user, per month for up to three users. They offer beautiful designs, a template library, the ability to create unlimited proposals, and tools to approve and accept payments.
Canva is an online design tool that allows those with no design skills to make their own business proposals with drag-and-drop images and editable text boxes. If you decide to use Canva, we suggest selecting a design you like and using the business proposal components we’ve outlined to customize your template. Pricing depends on the number and type of images selected, but they offer an excellent free version for small businesses.
A business proposal template can be a great way to quickly generate proposals so you can better focus your time and efforts on the tasks needed to increase your conversion rates. While we’ve provided a free proposal template, there are also several tools out there to help your proposals stand out from the crowd.
The business proposal is only one step in building a successful customer relationship. Using a CRM like Salesforce Essentials can help you manage your sales process from start to finish, including efficiently building relationships with the right people and increasing the number of deals you close. Sign up for a 14-day free trial today.