Are you reactive or proactive? You need to possess both qualities to succeed in achieving your revenue objectives. Responding to a request for proposal (RFP) leans on the reactive side, while proactive proposals are obviously the latter.
When you’re selling in a highly competitive industry, you’ve gotta make time to be proactive. You already know this—you’re diligent about outreach, follow-ups, and relationship selling.
Proactive proposals are another key step in the sales cycle. Sales teams know they “should” do them, but they frequently miss out on the opportunity because they lack time to create these sales proposals.
Here are some ways to save time with proactive proposals, so you can really focus your efforts and get a headstart early in the sales cycle.
Proactive sales and marketing…strongly consider it
“I like to encourage people to realize that any action is a good action if it’s proactive and there is positive intent behind it.” Remember Michael J. Fox? Well, he was onto something here.
If you feel like your organization is a good fit for another, why not be proactive? A proactive proposal gives you a competitive advantage…assuming you create quality content. The reason we stress quality content around here is that quality often takes a backseat when busy teams are rushing.
Presentation is everything with a proactive proposal. Besides your website or other content assets, this type of sales proposal happens early in the sales cycle. As always, you want to make a good impression by presenting your organization professionally.
Source: Strategic Proposals
Graham Ablett, Director of Strategic Proposals, shared some great articles about proactive proposals best practices on LinkedIn. Part 1 is here and Part 2 is here. Pictured above is an Executive Brochure that doubles as a proactive proposal example. Be sure to check that document out as well if you need guidance.
What to include in your proactive proposal
When it comes to laying out your proactive proposal, the components are pretty similar to a regular sales proposal or SOW (statement of work). To name a few, you have: an introduction, executive summary, solutions overview, and why clients should use your solution.
The difference is that you obviously will not include tons of project details, like scope and timeline. Instead, you will focus on a few compelling extras.
This might include bios and headshots of your team to help your prospect see the face of your brand. Or, case studies—maybe a featured case study or teasers that link to the full content. Also, a proactive proposal tends to be a little flashier so use proposal graphics generously.
Think of your proactive proposal as a puzzle. You decide which piece fits where, with the goal of delivering a customized sales proposal to your prospect before they have the chance to ask.
Hyper-efficient proactive proposals with RFPIO
A response management platform like RFPIO makes proactive proposal creation hyper-efficient. Let’s say you’re pulling together a proposal and you have no time. Happens all the time, right? Within these individual sections, you may have differentiators that are variable content which change based on the product, industry, or vertical.
The proposal builder literally gives you a checklist to help you quickly create proactive proposals. You see everything you need to include, then decide on the order. To capture the look and feel you’re going for, simply set up the template. Once your template is ready for action within RFPIO, you select from a pick list:
- What kind of project do you want to create?
- What sections do you need for this particular prospect?
- What are the differentiators for variable content?
Now you group everything together in a way that is most impactful for your prospect. You insert the differentiators into each section, then export the document after you’re happy with the flow of your content. Ultimately, you decide and click a few times then send off your customized proactive proposal.