Why sales proposals are critical selling documents to invest in

Ask any VP of Sales how they plan to move the needle on sales performance and the last word out of their mouth would be “proposals.” You’re much more likely to hear these phrases: sales pipeline, forecasting, close rates, objection handling, building the funnel—and, of course—sales enablement.

Yet recent research conducted by Strategic Proposals, 78% of buyers said written proposals are the most important part of their evaluation process.

Protecting your sales enablement investments

If you are the VP of Sales, there are 101 things you can do to improve the effectiveness of your team. There are at least twenty different disciplines that fall under the umbrella of sales enablement. And each discipline is a valuable investment. There is no doubt that investing in many of these areas will impact sales performance.

But, how do you get the right content and sales collateral in the hands of your sales team—at the right moment in the sales cycle? That has a lot to do with automation.

86% of sales teams said increasing productivity with automated technology was their primary goal in a recent RFPIO survey. Your investments in sales enablement technology are valuable, and in many cases, critically important.

Sales proposals, including formal RFP responses, are undervalued tools in the furthering of the sales process, treated almost as check-box items. By downplaying proposals in your process, you potentially undermine the impact of other sales enablement investments.

Sales proposals: A foundational part of the process

A sales proposal is like a resume. Even if you have the right experience and would present favorably in a job interview, if your resume is poorly written, there’s a fair chance you wouldn’t get invited to the interview in the first place.

A great proposal won’t win you the deal on the spot, but a poor proposal causes doubt in your buyer’s mind. That sales proposal might extend the sales cycle or even make you lose the deal, which jeopardizes the tremendous work you’ve done up to that point.

A good RFP response articulates how well you understand your clients’ underlying needs, how you will address their requirements and solve their business problems, how you will add value—and ultimately why they should choose to work with you.

Easing time constraints with proposal software

Even with the best intentions, the main constraint for any sales team is time. With tight submission deadlines and multiple RFPs being worked on simultaneously, you don’t always have the luxury of enough time to produce the best possible sales proposal.

Buyer expectations of sales proposals are at an all-time high. In the same Strategic Proposals study mentioned in the intro above, 74% of buyers said they read every proposal thoroughly, from cover to cover. Buyers are taking the time to read your proposal and they expect you to take the time to deliver a quality sales proposal.

RFP automation is key, because the sales proposal process is a classic time drain for a sales organization. The most direct benefit of proposal software like RFPIO is to buy you more time.

RFPIO reduces many of the manually intensive activities involved in creating sales proposals and we have a substantial library of proposal management blog resources that explain these benefits in greater detail.

Having time available to get the best possible proposal out the door is non-negotiable for today’s sales teams. A strong sales proposal reinforces the rest of the work carried out during your sales process.

Ease the sales proposal time constraint with automation. Find out how our proposal software supports your sales enablement goals.

David Blume

David is the VP of Customer Success at RFPIO. He has over 30 years of international sales management experience predominantly in the enterprise software space, while working and living in the UK, US, and Australia. Since 2001, David has been focused on sales effectiveness, specializing in RFP response and sales proposal automation. Connect with David on LinkedIn.

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