Squad Talk

Quick Tips for Writing a Winning Proposal

Often, proposals are the bridge between Marketing and Sales. Unfortunately, for many small business owners, writing a proposal and responding to RFPs (Request for Proposals) can be daunting and overwhelming. Often, B2B contracts are signed only following submittal of a winning proposal. Although who you know matters, what you know and how you present this knowledge is just as important.

If you’re new to the world of proposals and bids, the quick tips outlined below are focused on helping you ensure your final proposal is as strong as possible.

Quick Tip #1: Superior Executive Summary

Blow them away on the first page. Depending on how long and detailed your full proposal is, including a one-page summary up front that provides a comprehensive overview of your submittal, highlighting your strengths, benefits to the client for choosing you, etc. will set the stage for the remainder of your proposal.

Quick Tip #2: Be Concise and Leave out the Fluff

Don’t fill your proposal with “fluff” marketing information. Be concise and to the point, focusing on providing quality content that fulfills a need of the potential client. They care less about what you can do than they do how you’re going to do it for them and the benefit of choosing you over the competition.

Quick Tip #3: Be Responsive

If an RFP is detailed and outlines what the client wants, GIVE IT TO THEM. When evaluating the responses, they will be looking to see who answered their questions and gave them what they asked for. However, if you feel that you have a solution that offers more advantages, include an alternative approach and pricing with your proposal. But, be sure to write to and provide a price for the requested approach or you will be deemed non-responsive and immediately disqualified. This is especially true for government contracts.

Quick Tip #4: Pass the “So What” Test

When writing and/or reviewing your text, ask yourself “So what?”. This goes back to focusing on how your approach, service, or product will benefit the client. Consider your audience. If you include a few sentences on the importance of quality to your company, so what? How, specifically, does that translate to a benefit to your potential client. Be specific and focus on their needs.

Quick Tip #5: Provide Examples

The best way to demonstrate that you are capable of successfully conducting the proposed project is to provide examples of relevant projects you’ve previously conducted. These should be similar in scope and size to the proposed project and address comparable challenges. If possible, provide links (as appropriate), images, client references, specific outcomes, and lessons learned as part of the project description. In addition to wanting to understand how you’re going to complete the project, they want assurances that you’ve successfully done so in the past.

At Growth Squad, we understand that writing winning proposals is a learned science—and we’re here to help you.

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