Sales Proposal ChecklistOver the past five years, Geoffrey James has posted a series of thought-provoking items on the Sales Machine blog he writes for bnet.com.
A post I particularly liked because of my affection for checklists appeared on February 4. James shared a checklist for fine-tuning sales proposals that he developed based on a conversation with Tom Sant, an expert on the subject.
According to James and Sant, you should continue refining a sales proposal until you can answer Yes to all the following questions:
- Does the customer know who we are?
- Is the customer expecting us to bid on this?
- Does the executive summary address customer needs?
- Is the executive summary one page or less?
- Have we replaced all the jargon that’s meaningful only to us?
- Are we sure that another vendor doesn’t have the inside track?
- Does the proposal follow the customer’s specified format and outline?
- Have we removed all the meaningless marketing fluff (e.g. “state-of-the-art”)?
- Has someone edited out other customer names from boilerplate material?
- Is the writing clear and forceful rather than flat and technical?
- Has the proposal been edited so that it contains no glaring grammatical errors? [I would delete "glaring."]
- Can the proposal convince the customer that we can actually deliver?
- Does the proposal define how we’ll measure customer satisfaction?
- Is the proposal being submitted on time and to the right people?
- Does the proposal express a real need, want, and desire that the customer shared?
- Does the proposal mitigate enough risk so that the customer is in a comfort zone?
- Is there a deadline for the customer decision-making process?
- Does the proposal make sense within the context of the customer’s corporate culture?
- Can the customer actually afford your solution?
- Is the proposal getting to the real decision-makers, or just going to purchasing?
- Is the customer really able to release the money for your solution?
- Are you going to have a chance to present the proposal personally?