Catherine Beaulieu, Product Manager | Customer Success Manager

There are certain advantages of selling in person that selling in writing does not have the luxury of depending upon. However, the ability to sell in writing is vital to a positive proposal outcome and has a direct influence on your company’s ability to win business.

The proposal revenue pipeline is as important to an organization as the sales revenue pipeline. Proposals are sales tools that should be treated as part of the sales process. Learning how to write to influence and ‘sell’ your message are as important as learning how to be compliant. These two skills go hand-in-hand selling on paper + being compliant = greater chances you’ll win big.

The ability to sell in writing is vital and has a direct influence on your company’s ability to win business.


Think Before You Start

Think about what it will take to win before you start writing. Consider the content you will use and what edits may be required to achieve the highest evaluation score.

Research The Client

Research the client's website and find out what are their Core Values, Mission, Vision and Priority Statements. Find a way to weave these primary messages into your own content using keywords.

Meet With Sales

Meet with Sales to obtain client-specific information. Comb your internal CRM to identify client pain-points and address them in your proposal in your own services, value-adds, differentiators, etc.

Ask Your Self What and Why

Constantly ask yourself 'so what?' and 'why does this matter?' and 'what is the benefit to the client' with each piece of content you are crafting. If you can’t answer these questions (from your client’s perspective) you aren’t using the right content or you need to do more research.

Use Confident Language

Be bold without being abrasive by using confident language. Avoid ‘soft’ words that don’t add substance, like “some”, “can”, “might” — clients see right through these statements. To illustrate this tactic, we’ve provided examples of ‘Bad, Better, and Best’ messages below.
Message What is the Real Message?
“Some benefits of our solution could include…” Bad So what? The word “some” makes it looks like the solution has only one or two possible benefits. The word “could” is off-putting because it means that a client might or might not be able to take advantage of the benefits.
“What follows are the benefits of our solution…” Better Why does this matter? This message is too generic. It reads as a list of all the benefits, but maybe they don’t all matter. Don’t make the client read through an exhaustive list of generic benefits. Focus on what does matter and what will get their attention.
“Our solution benefits you the client because it delivers XYZ, which maps directly to your needs for ABC. We do this by delivering on XXX which helps you realize XXX quickly…” Best What is the benefit to the client? This message hits it on the head. It’s customized to the client so it answers the ‘so what’ and the ‘why does this matter’ questions by delivering the specific benefits that interest the client. The message isn’t that the solution “could” or “might” solve their business needs – it’s that it WILL and this is how.

Take advantage of opportunities to engage with the sales team.

Good sales teams know that RFPs are coming well before they are issued, so get Sales involved early. Once the RFP is out, take advantage of opportunities to engage with the sales team. There is a key proposal management stage between the Bid/No Bid meeting and proposal development the Kick-Off. The Kick-Off meeting is the most important opportunity for Sales to hand-off all the information about the client that they have gathered through their meetings leading up to the RFP being issued. Use the Sales resource to augment the notes in your internal CRM. Then use these notes to tailor the proposal content so it resonates with the client, transforming a generic bid into a winning one.

Need some inspiration, take a look at the following article “101 Win Themes For All Occasions” and get in touch with us. We can walk you through the art of selling in your proposal, and help you win those bids.