Sales proposals are one of the key drivers for winning business deals. After all, a compelling sales proposal addresses the challenges your prospects face and outlines your approach to providing solutions for them.
No matter your niche or industry, if you want to win deals faster, you need a way to quickly create sales proposals that make a lasting impression on your prospects – and ultimately convince them to close the deal.
As with most things in life that are worth achieving, there’s no definitive answer to what makes a successful sales proposal. But there are a number of steps you can take to improve your sales proposal and the chances of getting it accepted.
Today, we’ll explore some of the ways you can create a winning sales proposal that communicates your value proposition to your clients. Plus, we’ll share some sales proposal templates that are carefully designed with the right visual elements you can use to easily create high-converting sales proposals that entice your clients.
Table of Contents
What Is a Sales Proposal?
How To Write a Sales Proposal Clients Will Love
10 Sales Proposal Templates
What is a Sales Proposal?
A sales proposal is a formal document a person or a business uses to outline the prospect’s challenges and how their products and services can help address these pain points. It should highlight the deliverables, benefits, fees and cost of all services and products to be used during the agreement.
Sales proposals can be used by individuals, consultants, sales teams, agencies and anyone who actively works with clients to show their offerings.
In today’s increasing competition – whether it’s for B2B SaaS products or freelancing – if you can’t create a winning sales presentation that captures prospects’ interest, then you’ll never get them to sign the deal. And, if you can’t explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job quickly and easily, you might lose a hot lead with a great business offer.
A successful sales proposal should make a convincing case that you truly understand your client’s problem and why your company is the best choice to offer them a solution. For starters, you might want to create a user persona to define the targeted audience you want to sell to. This way, you can narrow down your pool of potential clients and increase the chances of conversions.
Another key element of a winning sales proposal is storytelling. Think of it this way: you need to create a narrative that links your potential clients’ challenges directly with your services or products. As a result, your prospect can imagine a future where their problems have been taken care of thanks to your service or product.
But how do you write a high-performing sales proposal that convinces the client?
Read on to learn about the best practices for writing a sales proposal you can immediately put to use in your next sales proposal.
How To Write a Sales Proposal Clients Will Love
No matter what industry or niche you’re in, there are certain key elements that make up an excellent sales proposal. And although every proposal needs to be unique and personalized, there are some proven best practices that you can keep as a quick checklist to apply to any proposal.
Here are seven key elements of a sales proposal that will have a big impact on your customer’s perspective and help them nudge towards a “Yes”:
1. Know Your Buyer’s Problem
The first step to a convincing sales proposal is to make sure your customers feel you understand their needs. Most people aren’t super excited to spend time in their research and often lose out on opportunities because they only scratch the surface of their prospect’s challenges.
Gone are the days of transactional sales. Today, there are more vendors, competitors and even better offerings in the market. To differentiate yourself and your company, you need to adopt a consultative sales approach from the get-go.
A consultative sales approach will help you enable best practices among your sales team, making sure that they truly understand a prospect’s problem and then demonstrate how your solution is the best way to address those problems.
A good starting point is to create a customer journey map showing how your customers move through the different stages of interaction with your brand, as in the example below.
Here are some more key pointers that will help you know your potential buyers better:
To start with, research your prospect’s direct competitors, their market and anything else that affects your offerings. Consider looking up previous vendors or solutions the buyer used previously and what were its positive and negative impacts.
Condense this research into a brief summary. This will show the buyer that your sales proposal isn’t run-of-the-mill and you have invested a significant amount of time and effort into putting it together.
Communicate Early and Often
Ask questions that focus on your customer instead of your brand. For example, you might ask, “What are your goals for the coming year? How can we help you reach those goals?” versus, “What other services or packages could we offer?”
Understand their experience with your offerings and conduct excellent follow-up feedback or interviews to narrow down on their exact needs.
Find Ways To Increase Value
The easier and more convenient you make it for your customers to work with you, the higher the chances they’ll accept your sales proposal. Find ways you can add more value to your offerings.
For example, a B2B company that has just started with marketing automation might need more help and maybe even a dedicated customer service rep to ease their learning curve to effectively adopt your tool.
In a consultative sales approach, you need to map out the stakeholders and decision-makers in this deal. Identify the purchasing responsibility and influence on the final decision for each individual on the buying team. This way, you’ll know exactly what to pitch and whom to pitch.
2. Write a Killer Executive Summary
The introduction is where you will either win or lose most of your prospects. If you’re able to hook prospects instantly, they are much more likely to continue reading the rest of your sales proposal with great interest. If not, they’ll quickly bounce off.
This is why you need to write a killer executive summary. It gives the potential customer a good idea of who you are and how you’ll be able to help them.
Keep it short, crisp and more tightly focused on their problem. Discuss how you plan to implement your solution and include details like timelines, resources, milestones and more.
Here’s an example of a brief executive summary:
“Visme is a one-stop destination for all your graphic design needs, allowing individuals and brands to create unique visual storytelling elements with pre-designed templates. We’ve been catering to customers since 2013 with smart, personalized design elements and templates that they can use across their branding and marketing initiatives.
In this proposal, we will outline our plan of action with [client name] in the next [time period]. After analyzing your business’s needs, our strategy and customer success team were able to prepare a plan from scratch that’ll help you understand how we plan to help you in [the specific goal of the customer].
We’ll also give a pricing breakdown, deliverables, expectations and milestones.”
3. Clearly Outline Your Value Proposition
A compelling value proposition is crucial for a sales proposal. With the right message that tailors to your potential customers’ needs, your sales proposal will hook them into a sale.
As you’re writing your value proposition you need to address these three key things:
Your value proposition should be clear and concise
It should use the language your customers use and clearly explain how your service/product can help them. Avoid using marketing buzzwords and industry jargon to make your product sound revolutionary, rather highlight exactly what makes you perfect for the job.
Focus on how your value proposition is the underlying element that can help them achieve their goals
For example, if you’re sending a sales proposal to a company looking to grow their email list, mention how powerful your email marketing automation platform is and what it can do for them.
Create a compelling case study that showcases how you’ve helped similar companies like your prospect solve a problem.
Establish your product differentiator and include it in your sales proposal
A simple yet effective example is to write “Create visually appealing graphics in seconds with pre-designed templates” instead of saying “Create visually appealing graphics with our tool.”
The differentiator here comes in the form of the “in seconds” part because there are tons of tools that allow you to create visually appealing graphics, only if you have the time and knowledge to design one. However, your product is easy to use and fast, so the customer can quickly create beautiful visuals, regardless of whether they have any design experience or not.
4. Offer the Solution
You’ve set the foundation of your sales proposal right by showing your commitment to solving their problem with your research, executive summary and value proposition. But the part they’re looking forward to the most is the solution itself.
In this part of the sales proposal, show them how you plan to solve their problem with specific solutions. It’s worth pointing out that you may want to share a lot of information about your offerings with your potential customers, but they might not need all of it.
The rule is simple: keep your solution value-focused and actionable.
In our case, we’ll go into detail regarding our content creation platform, Visme. We’ll tell them:
- Exactly how our software comes with beautiful pre-designed templates
- The different types of content assets they can create
- How much time they will save every week
- What they can expect when the project is done
This is where you show them you’re managing similar work and driving results with your customers. You could also include customer success stories, highlight stats and specify the outcome of the collaboration.
Here’s an example of how you can highlight the outcomes of your offerings:
“Our content creation platform can help you to create designs at scale, reduce the cost of marketing spend, increase employee productivity and offer better customer service.”
“With Visme’s software, you can focus on creating compelling visuals for your brand at a much easier and faster pace than X tool.”
“Our software can help reduce manual designing efforts by 60% and enable your team with a powerful suite of features that ensures they stay on brand always without having to worry about adding different visual elements every time they create a graphic.
5. Identify the Deliverables
This is another meaty section of your sales proposal along with the solutions, as this is where you will lay out the deliverables.
You want to present a realistic list of deliverables within a specific time period that gets your customers’ results. This is where you outline the quantity, frequency and other details of your products or services.
If you’re a freelancer writing a copywriting proposal, here’s a good example of deliverables:
- 4 blog posts every week which will consist of ideation, brief writing, article writing, fact-checking, imagery and publishing on your website.
- 15 social media posts delivered on the 25th of the current month for each following month at the latest.
- 3-4 email campaigns every quarter that will focus on cart abandonment and cross-sells covering different types of your product or solution.
See how every statement ties together and paints a picture of what your prospects can expect once they close the deal. You can either create a bullet list of deliverables, format them in a table, or share a visual representation of them.
6. Provide a Simple Pricing Model
Once you’ve laid out the suggested plan of action for your customer, it’s time to move to pricing. Most sales proposals either introduce pricing too early or too late. Pricing is a delicate subject in sales and it could make you win or lose the entire sales at once, if not done correctly.
Before you consider handing out a discount on the pricing itself, consider changing the way you position and frame your pricing model. This could have a massive impact on sales outcomes.
Consider offering a variety of packages and a flexible approach so the client understands that it can be discussed further. Break down the cost so your prospect can clearly see the deliverables and know exactly how much they will cost.
We recommend using interactive pricing tables so you can lay out the costs with an easy-to-understand pricing breakdown for your solution. An interactive pricing table will allow prospects to edit item quantities, frequency, select the products or services from a catalog, allowing them to customize their solution.
As far as the placement of your pricing table is concerned, we’ve observed the best sales proposals include the pricing directly following the benefits.
7. Mention a Single Call-to-Action
The point of a sales proposal is to win a deal. To do that, you need a clear call to action (CTA) to get them to click.
A call to action (CTA) is a button or link prompting the reader to click. A good CTA will help you bring the prospect closer to the sales by telling your client what their next step should be if they’re interested. In a sales proposal, this could take prospects directly to your calendar to schedule a meeting or even a digital agreement that confirms the deal.
Here are some best practices when it comes to creating the best CTA:
- Keep it short: The CTA should have a short copy that prompts action. We recommend using two or three words, but no more than five or six.
- Use action-oriented words: Make sure to use actionable text to draw prospects in. Skip boring words like submit, enter, learn more, or even click. Rather use strong words like get, try, schedule, claim and redeem, then couple those with your specific offer.
- Make it visual: Believe it or not, visuals play a big role in influencing a purchase decision. For an engaging CTA, you want something that’s eye-catching without being too distracting. One way of doing this is by using contrasting colors depending on your brand style. The idea is to make your call to action stand out from the rest of the sales proposal copy so it’s clear what you want your potential customers to do next.
10 Sales Proposal Templates
The entire process of creating a sales proposal can be easily streamlined by using templates. Sales teams at Visme and our customers have used these sales proposal templates to accelerate and close deals. Here are some of the most popular sales proposal templates you can use.
1. Social Media Management Sales Proposal
This sales proposal template by Visme can be used by freelancers and agencies alike to sell social media management services. The key to a winning social media sales proposal is that you give you a clear scope of work, timelines and tools needed to execute that strategy.
Here are the key elements of a social media sales proposal:
- An executive summary
- Current analysis
- Competitor analysis
- Proposed social media strategy
- Implementation plan
- Costs and conditions
2. Modern Business Sales Proposal
If you offer a comprehensive set of services or products like marketing, it’s important that you clearly communicate them to your client. You can easily create a sales proposal of your own using Visme’s proposal maker, which offers a rich library of visual elements, fonts, interactive elements, stock images and more.
The key elements of a marketing sales proposal are:
- List of services
- A visual representation of a roadmap
- Responsibilities of your agency
- Expectations from the client with regard to providing necessary and timely input
- Price and conditions
3. Web Development Sales Proposal
If you’re a website developer, you already know website agreements can be tricky. With the client’s constantly changing needs and preferences, you may find yourself reworking the code pretty often if you fail to set the expectations and some ground rules in the beginning.
This website development sales proposal template outlines all the necessary things to consider when discussing a web designing project with potential clients.
The key elements of a website development sales proposal include:
- A project overview
- Hosting details
- List of features to be developed
- Reporting milestones
- Expected timeline
4. Photography Sales Proposal
Let’s say you’re a professional photographer and often work with brands to create stunning photographs for their online marketing campaigns. But, how do you present your portfolio in a streamlined manner so your customers can see your best work at a glance? And, learn more about your background and experience?
When using a proposal maker like Visme, you have the flexibility to add images. You can also add your own video content or simply browse Visme’s stock video collection to create your own promo video to showcase your portfolio.
The key elements of a photography sales proposal include:
- A brief overview
5. Advertising Sales Proposal
If you’re into advertising, you know all too well how important it is to present a sales proposal that reflects your creativity and results. Using this sales proposal template, you can show your potential customers how your advertising strategies go above and beyond for your customers.
You can change text, add or subtract slides, apply a custom color scheme or add new design elements like elegant fonts, exclusive icons and free stock photos to visually represent your services.
Check out the key elements of an advertising sales proposal:
- Brief overview
- List of services
- Customer testimonials
- Price and conditions
6. Sponsorship Sales Proposal
If you’re hosting events, it’s likely that you’ll want to get sponsors to support your upcoming event. Using this Visme template, you can browse through a large collection of high-quality stock images and complementary visuals to add to your sponsorship proposal.
Here are the key elements of a sponsorship sales proposal
- Brief overview
- Previous events
- Proposed plan
- Event details
7. Interior Design Sales Proposal
Looking to work on an exciting new interior design project? Use this beautifully designed sales proposal from Visme that’ll help you create an engaging and visually appealing proposal that captures the attention of your prospects instantly.
Play around with a range of bold and classy fonts to showcase your work and create a lasting impression.
The key elements of an interior design sales proposal are
- Our story – value proposition
- Samples of work
- Proposed plan
- Pricing and payment conditions
8. Lease Proposal
There are plenty of benefits of leasing your property such as balanced cash outflow, better usage of capital, tax benefit and low capital expenditure. If work from home means traveling for you, or you’re shifting to a new house you recently built, leasing your property is a great way to make sure your property is rented. It generates additional income for you.
This template comes with vibrant designs and fonts to show all your properties to prospective clients. Add a personal touch to your content by sharing a brief introduction and background about yourself. Continue to build interest and engage buyers with pictures of your properties, reviews (if any), location specifications and more.
The key elements of a lease sales proposal include:
- About me
- Available properties
- Reason for lease
- Proposed pricing
- Contact details
9. Course Sales Proposal
It’s the era of creators! Whether it’s Instagram influencers, YouTubers, LinkedIn experts, or Twitter moguls, many creators leverage their audience by creating and selling courses online.
If you’ve been on the fence about deciding the structure of your course proposal, this template is a great option for you. Start with your story – talk about your experience, challenges, mistakes and how you overcame them.
Then, give a glimpse into your course by sharing the learning modules or key topics the course covers. You can also use interactive elements in Visme to show previous results by students and how exactly your course helped them achieve their goals. This builds trust and authenticity.
Here are the key elements of a course proposal:
- Learning modules
- Course delivery details
10. Software Development Proposal
Software development proposals can be tricky since they can get very technical. They often need in-depth details to communicate the value proposition.
This template helps you outline all the important details in a short and engaging manner, without the risk of losing your potential client’s interest.
Here are the key elements of a software development sales proposal:
- Potential roadmap
- Budget and pricing
The steady growth in competition across verticals and a decline in human attention span means that creating great sales proposals for your products or services is key to the success of your business. This is true regardless of the size of your company – it could be a one-person freelance business or a 20-person agency.
If you’re ready to create an engaging sales proposal, we recommend using an intuitive platform like Visme.
Potential clients and consumers are more aware and well-informed. Plus, they have more options than ever before.
So it ultimately depends on how you capture people’s interest and get them to sign a proposal with you. Moreover, if you can’t explain your offer quickly and easily, you run the risk of losing significant business and might struggle to increase conversions in the long run.
Next time you’re creating a sales proposal to win a potential deal, use the best practices and templates we shared above. They’ll help you create winning sales proposals that get converted and drive sales and revenue for your business.