!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1.0 Strict//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"> Streamline Training & Documentation: Sales Proposal Checklist

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Sales Proposal Checklist

Over 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?
In true Web 2.0 style, James invited further ideas from readers, and then presented the following additional suggestions in a subsequent post:
  • 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?

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