The SalesEdge Advantage

The “Hot Potato” of RFP Response Ownership

Posted by Lisa Plourde on Nov 10, 2015 11:00:00 AM

When a request for proposal—RFP, RFI, or other detailed questionnaire is presented to your organization, is collaborative teamwork in place to answer the questionnaire, or is it passed around like a hot potato?

Too often, the sales rep tosses the RFP to the proposal manager to answer the questions against a tight deadline, with minimal help from others in the organization. When the proposal manager reaches out to subject matter experts (SMEs) for assistance, SMEs sometimes respond that they are too busy with "other priorities." It becomes a case of the “that’s not my job” syndrome.

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Topics: RFP Response, RFP and Proposal Automation, Proposal Writing

Why Your Proposal Format Must Support Your Brand!

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Sep 17, 2015 6:00:00 PM

Your colleague hands you a cup of coffee in a generic paper cup – and you’re told it comes from your favorite, well-known barista. Do you have confidence that the coffee came from your favorite source? Will your tasting experience be tainted by being uncertain of the brand? The same uncertainty can occur with the proposals we serve our clients.

Before sales proposals are delivered, clients navigate your website, download fact sheets and infographics, view video clips and attend webinars – potentially all with branding controlled by your marketing team. Clients experience your organization and its solutions through a defined brand.

When the proposal disconnects from the brand

Finally, you deliver the important sales proposal. But the team has used a "creative" or unique proposal format – that is not consistent with the client’s previous experience with your brand. There can be negative consequences of this "creative" proposal branding.

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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, RFP and Proposal Automation, Proposal Writing

5 Ways to Write a Winning Solution Description for Sales Proposals

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Aug 4, 2015 10:15:00 AM

When delivering a sales proposal, the right solution description will ensure that your client receives the right information needed to understand your value proposition—and to select you as their vendor.

Take a Critical Look ... from the Client's Perspective

Clear your calendar for an hour—and take a critical look at the solution description your team last submitted within a sales proposal. Review the description from the client’s perspective.

  • What could the client learn from this solution description?
  • Did it strengthen the proposal?
  • Did it effectively demonstrate how you can help the client achieve its goals or solve their stated problems?
  • Did the description bring all of your solution components together with clarity for the client?

Write a Winning Solution Description

Here are 5 best practices to ensure the delivery of a winning solution description in your next sales proposal.

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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

Replace the Product Description with a Tailored Solution Description

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Jul 13, 2015 11:00:00 AM

To give your proposal a competitive edge, be compliant and responsive in answering your client’s RFP and proposal questions — and then include a SOLUTION DESCRIPTION THAT WINS!

How many times has someone on your team directed you to just include your product description or fact sheet? Your client will know that it is just the standard product description. They might read it again. Remember, they probably downloaded the PDF from your web site, or sales delivered it as an email attachment. Since the client has already reviewed it, the standard product description does not add value to your proposal.

When responding to RFPs or delivering a sales proposal, a customer-focused solution description is the right way to provide your client with the information that they need to select your offering.

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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

Executive Summary Format for Clarity & Appeal (Part 3)

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Apr 28, 2015 9:32:00 AM

The proposal executive summary may be your client’s first experience with your proposal—and one that hopefully inspires them to read on.  A well-organized and visually appealing executive summary format makes it easy for your client to read and understand your solution and its’ benefits to them.

Looking for an easy-to-follow executive summary format?  Read on.  We’ve outlined a format that makes it easy for you to implement—and more importantly, easy for your client’s proposal reviewers to read and understand the value that your proposal offers.

A Well-Organized Format

Once you have identified the critical sales strategy and defined the customer focused messaging for your proposal—we recommend that you start to draft the executive summary with an outline.  Your 2 to 3 page executive summary should follow a well-organized format.  For example, you may incorporate the following sections:
  1. Introduction. Open with an introduction that summarizes your client’s goals and introduces your solution.
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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

How to Write an Executive Summary (Part 2)

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Apr 2, 2015 5:06:00 PM

We understand. You want to learn how to write an executive summary that sets your proposal apart from the competition's. To be successful, you must first gather critical sales intelligence. Do your homework and understand:

  • The client's business drivers. What does your client seek to accomplish? What are the client's business drivers, their requirements, their painand the solution that they are seeking?
  • Your sales strategy for customer success. What customer success vision have you, or the sales team, shared with the client throughout their buying process?
  • How your organization complements the client's vision. You need to understand how your organization's resources, people, product and services, complement the client's business needs and how your resources will contribute to the client's success.
  • Your competitive strengths and value opportunity to the client.  Why should the client select your offering over a competitor's solution?
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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

Why We Love The Proposal Executive Summary — And You Should Too! (Part 1)

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Mar 23, 2015 4:41:00 PM

Write a compelling executive summary that introduces your proposal or RFP (request for proposal) responseand you will set your proposal apart from the competition!

The executive summary is your proposal’s powerhouse! With the right messaging and visual experience, it provides an opportunity to make a great first impression, encourage your client's proposal reviewers to explore the detailed proposal content, and gain executive attention.

Still not convinced you should invest the time? Consider this about the proposal executive summary. Executive summaries:

  • Help the client's proposal reviewers recommend your solution to their executive team. This may be the only section of your proposal, along with pricing and delivery information, that is submitted to the executives for final approval.
  • Usually read by all members of your client’s proposal review team—including the executive decision makers.
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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

Write a Proposal Cover Letter that Captivates!

Posted by Jeanne Schulze on Mar 9, 2015 2:48:00 PM

Your proposal cover letter serves as your most cordial handshake when delivering RFP (Request for Proposal) responses and sales proposals.

It may seem like a superficial addition to your well-crafted proposal, but if you deliver a proposal without a cover letter you are missing a valuable opportunity to connect with your client.  

Specifically, the proposal cover letter enables you to:

  • Succinctly restate your client's goals to demonstrate that you understand their needs.
  • Summarize the two-or-three compelling reasons why the client should select your offer. Deliver the repeatable elevator pitch for your proposal! 
  • Identify the timing of the next steps for follow up and review of the proposal.
  • Demonstrate that you care enough about this opportunity to invest the time to write a cover letter!

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Topics: RFP Response, Sales Proposals, Proposal Writing

The SalesEdge Advantage

SalesEdge is passionate about helping our clients win more business! Contact SalesEdge when you need to:

  • Accelerate your RFP response time
  • Deliver persuasive sales proposals every time
  • Ensure content accuracy and consistency

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