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The Difference between a Proposal and a Presentation

(This article originally appeared on Deb Calvert’s blog )

In selling, these two words are often used interchangeably as if they have the same meaning. They don’t. This is more than a matter of semantics. Many sellers truly don’t understand the difference between a proposal and a presentation. Not knowing can leads to a lot of wasted time and wasted opportunities.

Maybe it will help to consider the dictionary definition of both words. They do have distinct meanings, and the words themselves set up a certain expectation for the buyer. Expecting a proposal and then getting a presentation often leaves buyers feeling disappointed.

A presentation is “an introduction, exhibition, display, demonstration or performance.” The word suggests that something will be shown or made known.

By contrast, a proposal is “a suggestion, recommendation or plan.” The word implies a certain level of personalization – after all, it is the word we use when an offer of marriage is made.

Sellers seem to get confused when they have a lot of materials and pitch elements available to them – collateral materials, sell sheets, pre-fabricated slideshows, product demos and samples, videotaped customer testimonials, etc. All this stuff, usually quite professional and eye-appealing, lacks the substance needed to be a proposal. Pre-made materials, produced by the marketing department, will always be the stuff of presentations, not proposals.

Of course, there is a right time, right place and right way to use presentation materials. But they don’t belong in proposals. I’ve worked with many sales professionals who have never drafted a proposal. But they think they are delivering proposals every time they take out marketing materials and a price quote. A presentation plus a price quote still does not equal a proposal.

First things first. The right time, place and way to make a presentation is when you are introducing, exhibiting, displaying, demonstrating or performing. All these actions require you to talk about and provide information related to the product or service you sell. That’s what they are for, and that’s all that they do.

Presentations ought to be made when you are speaking to group of people or are required to talk to many people briefly and as quickly as possible. Trade show and exhibition sellers, telemarketers and guest speakers at meetings make presentations. They do “show and tell” to describe what’s interesting about what they are selling.

A presentation is used to generate buyer awareness and interest. It might even trigger some buyer desire. But presentations seldom cause a buyer to take the final step in their process which is action. The act of buying isn’t the natural or typical response to a presentation.

That’s why sellers need to do more than make presentations. They need to make proposals. When a buyer sees or hears a specific suggestion, recommendation or plan, they will have more to consider and will be more likely to take action. The more specific the suggestion, recommendation or plan is, the better. Better yet is when that specific suggestion, recommendation or plan is linked directly to the needs or problems that this buyer is experiencing right now.

You can think of this as the difference between what the sales department does and what the marketing department does. Marketing provide product information to the masses. They have a generic message that is meant to appeal to a lot of people. But they aren’t closing sales. That’s why a sales team is needed, too. It’s the job of sellers to build on the buzz created by marketing and see the sale all the way through to the close. Marketing, through its presentation materials (distributed in various media and formats), can connect with the buyer early in the buyer’s process to generate awareness and stimulate interest, perhaps even desire.

Sellers can’t over-rely on the very same materials to advance the sale to a close. Those materials are not intended to build desire or prompt action. That’s because doing something for the masses is inherently limited. People buy when something is personalized for them. They need to have a suggestion, a recommendation or a plan that includes them.

Here’s an example we can all relate to. Marketing presentations like television commercials and online tools and magazine articles cause us to become aware of and perhaps even interested in new car models. You may become highly interested in a car you see at an auto show, and your desire may build up as you research the car and learn more about it. That’s why you stop by the dealership one Saturday.

What happens next is up to the sale team. If they hand you a brochure (produced by marketing) and start listing all the features you already know as if they are demonstrating or exhibiting the product, it’s unlikely that your desire will build. On the other hand, if a seller learns a little bit about your needs and makes some suggestions for the features you would like to have, your desire will build. You might even take the action of buying if the sales proposal (i.e. payment plan, recommendation of how to get behind the wheel and take ownership, etc.) is compelling enough.

Proposals pick up where presentations leave off, and when a seller stops short of personalizing and putting together a plan that seller often misses the opportunity to close a sale.

So remember, proposals are about the customer but presentations are all about your product. Make proposals in order to make more sales.

cropped-logo-1-1.png

Common Sense In Selling: Difference Between Proposal and Presentation

In selling, these two words are often used interchangeably as if they have the same meaning. They don’t. This is more than a matter of semantics. Many sellers truly don’t understand the difference between a proposal and a presentation. Not knowing can lead to a lot of wasted time and squandered opportunities.

Maybe it will help to consider the dictionary definition of both words. They do have distinct meanings, and the words themselves set up a certain expectation for the buyer. Expecting a proposal and then getting a presentation often leaves buyers feeling disappointed.

A presentation is “an introduction, exhibition, display, demonstration or performance.” The word suggests that something will be shown or made known.

By contrast, a proposal is “a suggestion, recommendation or plan.” The word implies a certain level of personalization – after all, it is the word we use when an offer of marriage is made.

Sellers seem to get confused when they have a wealth of presentation components and pitch elements available to them – collateral materials, sell sheets, pre-fabricated slideshows, product demos and samples, videotaped customer testimonials, etc. All this stuff, usually quite professional and eye-appealing, lacks the substance needed to stand alone as a proposal. Pre-made materials, produced by the marketing department, will always be the stuff of presentations, not proposals.

Of course, there is a right time, right place and right way to use presentation materials. But they don’t belong in proposals. I’ve worked with many sales professionals who have never drafted a proposal. But they think they are delivering proposals every time they take out marketing materials and a price quote. A presentation plus a price quote still does not equal a proposal.

First things first. The right time, place and way to make a presentation is when you are introducing, exhibiting, displaying, demonstrating or performing. All these actions require you to talk about and provide information related to the product or service you sell. That’s what they are for, and that’s all they do.

Presentations ought to be made when you are speaking to group of people or are required to talk to many people briefly and as quickly as possible. Trade show and exhibition sellers, telemarketers and guest speakers at meetings make presentations. They do “show and tell” to describe what’s interesting about what they are selling.

A presentation is used to generate buyer awareness and interest. It might even trigger some buyer desire. But presentations seldom cause a buyer to take the final step in their process which is action. The act of buying isn’t the natural or typical response to a presentation.

That’s why sellers need to do more than make presentations. They need to make proposals. When a buyer sees or hears a specific suggestion, recommendation or plan, they will have more to consider and will be more likely to take action. The more specific the suggestion, recommendation or plan is, the better. Better yet is when that specific suggestion, recommendation or plan is linked directly to the needs or problems that this buyer is experiencing right now.

You can think of this as the difference between what the sales department does and what the marketing department does. Marketing provide product information to the masses. They have a generic message that is intended to appeal to a lot of people. But they aren’t closing sales. That’s why a sales team is needed, too. It’s the job of sellers to build on the buzz created by marketing and see the sale all the way through to the close. Marketing, through its presentation materials (distributed in various media and formats), can connect with the buyer early in the buyer’s process to generate awareness and stimulate interest, perhaps even desire.

Sellers can’t over-rely on the very same materials to advance the sale to a close. Those materials are not designed to build desire or prompt action. That’s because doing something for the masses is inherently limited. People buy when something is personalized for them. They need to have a suggestion, a recommendation or a plan that includes them.

Here’s an example we can all relate to. Marketing presentations like television commercials and online tools and magazine articles cause us to become aware of and perhaps even interested in new car models. You may become highly interested in a car you see at an auto show, and your desire may build up as you research the car and learn more about it. That’s why you stop by the dealership one Saturday.

What happens next is up to the sales team. If they hand you a brochure (produced by marketing) and start listing all the features you already know as if they are demonstrating or exhibiting the product, it’s unlikely that your desire will build. On the other hand, if a seller learns a little bit about your needs and makes some suggestions for the features you would like to have, your desire will grow. You might even take the action of buying if the sales proposal (i.e. payment plan, recommendation of how to get behind the wheel and take ownership, etc.) is compelling enough.

Proposals pick up where presentations leave off. When a seller stops short of personalizing and putting together a plan that seller often misses the opportunity to close a sale.

So remember, proposals are about the customer but presentations are all about your product. Make proposals in order to make more sales.

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How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal [Templates + Examples]

How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal [Templates + Examples]

Casey O'Connor

What Is a Sales Proposal?

How to create a sales proposal, best practices for writing a winning proposal, sales proposal templates and examples, what to do after you send your proposal.

Although each stage of the sales cycle is important, the sales proposal is perhaps the most consequential component of the process for most prospective buyers.

A sales proposal is essentially a sales pitch structured into a formalized document. Sales reps write sales proposals to communicate the value they can provide to prospects, as well as outline offer specifics.

The sales proposal is a make-or-break moment for most sales opportunities, and it’s important that sales reps master the art of writing them effectively. In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about sales proposals, including best practices, templates, a process for writing your own, and several examples. 

Here’s what we’ll cover:

A sales proposal is a structured, formalized document that sales reps use during the sales cycle that demonstrates to the buyer: 

  • A deep understanding of their pain points , and how your solution will solve them
  • The value and potential ROI of the offer
  • Costs, fees, and other terms related to the offer
  • Alignment between their brand values and yours

Sales proposals — also sometimes known as business proposals, project proposals, or executive summaries — outline for prospects the timeline, deliverables, intended outcomes, and costs involved with buying your product. 

A great sales proposal is about much more than just the logistics of the product or offer. It also needs to include bigger-picture content that gives the buyer confidence in your solution.

Effective sales proposals are incredibly important to the sales process. In fact, more than half ( 54% ) of managers report sales proposals as being one of the important sales proposals to track. They help shorten the sales cycle, increase win rates, and boost customer loyalty and referrals.

The best sales proposals are highly individualized. A generic sales proposal is almost surely going to be rejected — buyers today are increasingly frustrated by sales efforts that neglect their unique needs and expect personalization in the process.

sales proposal personalization

That being said, there is a basic four-step framework that most sales reps can follow in order to create a basic sales proposal. It should, of course, be filled in with details about the prospect and their product needs.  

The process is pretty straightforward, but adhering to it faithfully will help ensure that your proposals are more consistently likely to win over prospects.

1. Conduct Market Research

The most important step in creating any winning sales proposal is your research. Sales reps should leave no stone unturned when it comes to market and prospect research.

Sales reps should learn the ins and outs of their ideal customer profile, their competitors, and the overall state of the market. They need to be very familiar with the prospect’s deepest pain points and most dire needs.

Some prospects will provide these kinds of details in a request for proposal (RFP), but others will rely on the sales rep to figure them out for themselves through sales conversations . 

You’ll also want to use what you know about the prospect from other stages of the sales process. Some sales software can help sales reps track which kind of content resonates most with individual buyers.

Look for relevant information about your prospect’s company in places that aren’t readily advertised during the sales process.

A prospect’s business social media profiles ( LinkedIn , Facebook, Twitter, etc.), for example, can shed a lot of light on subtle-but-meaningful pieces of information that can come in handy when creating a personalized sales proposal.

sales proposal: use LinkedIn for prospect research

You can also do a quick search to see if their organization’s name has come up in the news lately. Watch or listen to interviews they’ve participated in, and take note of any recent trade shows they’ve attended.

All of these supplemental facts will help build a stronger customer profile that will, in turn, shape the sales proposal.

2. Outline the Specifics of Your Sales Proposal

Following is a non-exhaustive list of sections you might consider including in your sales proposal. 

Many of them, like Proposed Solutions and Cost/Fees, should be non-negotiable parts of your document. Others, like Client Testimonials and Case Studies, may or may not be included as part of the actual proposal (but may be used in other places in the sale process ). The different components you ultimately include will depend on your unique buyer.

  • Cover Letter
  • About Us/Company Background
  • Market Research
  • Challenges 
  • Goals/Intended Outcomes
  • Proposed Solutions
  • Deliverables
  • Case Studies
  • Client Testimonials
  • Terms/Stipulations

Opinions vary regarding the appropriate length of a sales proposal. Some say that eight to twenty pages is generally acceptable, while others argue that anything over two to three is ineffective. 

Again, there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sales proposals. Some industries, organizations, or proposed solutions are quite complex, and sellers should be careful to avoid eliminating important — or adding irrelevant — information for the sake of a somewhat arbitrary length requirement.

3. Draft the Sales Proposal 

Once you’ve solidified the specific components you need to include to demonstrate your value to the prospect, it’s time to fill in the details. Build out each component of the proposal using what you learned through your research. 

If you can, put the draft away for a day or two before moving on to the next step. This can help bring a bit more clarity to the editing process.

4. Edit and Proofread

The last step before presenting your sales proposal is to make final revisions and proofread. Remember, this is a professional document. It should be engaging, polished, and error-free. 

Sales proposals take a good amount of planning and consideration. It may seem tedious, but try to stick to the process. Many sales reps inadvertently treat sales proposals as an afterthought, and unfortunately, that deprioritization shows in the data: only 47% of sales proposals result in a deal.

Put the work into the proposal ahead of time, and you’ll see results.

Keep in mind the following best practices while writing your sales proposals.

Know Your Prospect

While this is a best practice for sales in general, it’s especially relevant for sales proposals: know your prospects inside and out. 

Before you create sales proposals, sales and marketing should align to create a detailed ideal customer profile (ICP) and buyer personas .

sales proposal: ideal customer profile and buyer persona

Your intel should include, at a minimum, the prospect’s: budget, goals, decision-makers , and timeline. Without those, your sales proposal will be incomplete. 

Refine Your USP 

Part of what will make your sales proposal so impactful is how well you’re able to set yourself apart from the competition. Sales and marketing should align to clearly define how your teams will position the product and highlight your USP .

It’s important to emphasize that the word “unique” is really crucial to this aspect of your sales proposal — it will end up in that risky yellow zone shown below without a strong USP.

sales proposal: unique selling proposition

Find a way to stand out that resonates with your prospect’s needs and use that to guide your sales proposal.

Tip: 10 unique selling proposition examples here .

Use Writing Best Practices

A sales proposal is a written document. While most salespeople aren’t necessarily trained writers, that’s not an excuse to neglect the writing best practices that will help the proposal shine. 

Everything from structure — headings, bullet points, and short paragraphs are key — to the actual writing itself needs to be carefully crafted in a sales proposal. 

If you find yourself with writer’s block, try keeping storytelling in mind. Storytelling is a very effective copywriting tactic because it makes it easy for the reader to connect. 

sales proposal: storytelling

Remember, though, that sales proposals should be succinct. Don’t stray off-topic for the sake of telling a story. But some storytelling principles woven throughout — especially in areas like your company background or proposed solutions — can make the proposal more engaging.

You can also use images in your sales proposal to help paint a more complete picture. Just make sure that they’re high-quality images, and that they add to the proposal rather than distract from it or create unnecessary length.

Tip: Grab psychology-backed tips for writing copy that resonates with prospects.

Psychology Principles + 13 Power Words for Winning Sales

Build a Template

Just because all sales proposals are unique doesn’t mean you don’t have to start completely from scratch each time.

It’s okay to create a template (or a few) to help expedite the process of creating new proposals for each prospect. Just remember to adapt as much as needed depending on the prospects’ needs. 

There’s a sales proposal template included in the next section of this article that can be used as-is or tweaked to fit the needs of your organization.

Provide Social Proof 

sales proposal: types of social proof

Make It Easy to Say Yes

Wherever you can, remove friction from the prospect’s experience of going through your sales proposal.

For example: if there’s a document to sign, deliver it via an e-sign platform instead of asking them to print, sign, scan, and return.

Another way to remove friction is to maintain structure throughout your document, include:

  • a table of contents
  • number your pages
  • and put headers on each.

These may seem like insignificant details, but they all amount to a more enjoyable process for the prospect. These can add up, and make it more likely that they’ll easily say yes to your offer.

Be Detailed and Transparent With Pricing

The sales proposal is not the place to be coy about what kind of investment a prospect will make if they agree to your offer. 

In fact, choosing to omit details about cost can backfire; prospects are likely to feel manipulated without a clear outline of price, fee, and payment scenarios this far along in the sales process. 

That being said, it’s okay to also offer information about the potential ROI your prospect stands to achieve by signing on with you. Don’t omit any information about price, but it’s okay to frame it in a positive light if you’re able to offer figures on average ROI and/or competitive pricing.

Give Options if Possible

If your product or service has multiple tiers that could be a good fit for your prospect, include them all in your sales proposal.

Giving prospects a choice helps them feel like they have control over the process. Even if your product or service has only one offer or tier, try to incorporate choices where you can.

Such as: can the prospect choose a color or a size? Can they control when the product is delivered? Can they choose their own customer service plan?

Anywhere that you can offer choice will help prospects feel a sense of control that will, in turn, make them more likely to say yes.

If your prospect doesn’t agree to your sales proposal on the spot — and chances are, they won’t, because they’ll probably need to further evaluate your offer behind closed doors — the next most imperative thing a sales rep can do is to get a follow-up on the calendar. 

Up to 80% of sales require five follow-ups, yet only 8% of sales reps follow up that far.

sales proposal: follow-up

An ambiguous response is not a rejection. Be persistent in the follow-up to increase your chances of securing the deal.

There are two general types of sales proposals: solicited and unsolicited. 

Solicited sales proposals are ones that were requested by the prospect. They either sent an RFP to you, or requested a proposal during another sales conversation. 

Solicited proposals are usually easier to put together than unsolicited ones, because specifics about needs and budget are more readily available.

Unsolicited sales proposals are those that were not requested by the prospect. These are basically “cold” proposals. 

Unsolicited proposals can be a bit challenging because you may not have all of the information you need to give a complete picture of your offer. For example, you may not know specifics about their budget constraints. 

Regardless of the type of proposal you’re creating, there are templates you can follow to get the process started. 

Following is a basic outline that sales teams can use as they create customized sales proposals for prospects. Note: included here are both a content template to be added to or edited as needed, as well as a few visual options to help you generate ideas.

Most sales proposals include at least some of the following components:

  • Pain Points
  • Goals/Outcomes
  • Pricing Tiers
  • Qualifications and Expertise
  • Customer Data
  • Market Trends and Information 

Remember to optimize each section for length and conciseness. Depending on your industry and target market, a thorough sales proposal may be anywhere from two to twenty pages. Instead of focusing on length, work to ensure the proposal is not a word too long or a word too short.

Just like the content inside, a sales proposal’s design is also entirely unique. Some have graphically-designed cover pages, and some cut right to the chase with an introduction directly on the first page. 

How you design your sales proposal is entirely up to your team, the content you need to include, and the buyer’s preference. 

The sales proposal template below launches into the company background and history right on the cover page.

sales proposal template

This next one goes as far as putting price on the cover page .

sales proposal template

This one utilizes the cover page to display branding, making the sales proposal look like a legitimate book. 

sales proposal example

Below is a one-page proposal for sellers that need to be ultra-succinct.

sales proposal example

Finally, here’s one that offers a balance between visual impact and important information on the front page.

sales proposal template

There is no right or wrong way to create your sales proposal template. The important part is that your sales and marketing team align to design a document that is most likely to resonate with your target market.

There are three potential outcomes after you send your sales proposal:

  • The prospect responds and accepts your proposal
  • The prospect rejects your proposal
  • And the prospect doesn’t respond at all

If your proposal is accepted — fantastic! No need for any further action on your part, other than getting the prospect (now customer!) set up with your customer success team so that they can start the onboarding process. Don’t forget to occasionally check in with them for an added personal touch.

If your proposal is rejected — bummer. It’s frustrating to put a lot of effort into something like a sales proposal only to hear it missed the mark. It’s okay to feel disappointed, but try to channel that feeling into something productive . 

First, use your intuition and try to determine whether there’s room for negotiation . Skilled salespeople can usually tell if there’s still some opportunity, or if the door is closed for good.

If it’s the latter, it’s okay for sales reps to inquire what went awry. Many prospects will be happy to tell you (hopefully politely) why they opted out of the deal. Don’t use this information to be pushy, though. Instead, use it to further refine your lead generation /qualification strategies and your sales proposal.

If you receive no response from the prospect after sending your sales proposal, you need to follow up. As discussed earlier in this article, follow-ups are sometimes the only thing missing between a lost deal and one that’s easily won. Persistently follow up until you receive a definitive answer.

Do you have a process for writing sales proposals? What do you think makes yours successful? What components can you improve upon?

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difference between sales proposal and presentation

8 Best Tips for Business Proposal Presentations [+Examples]

John Hall

Updated: May 24, 2022

Published: February 16, 2022

Business proposal presentations are the culmination of a long sales process between you and your clients. If you don’t structure it correctly or take the time to craft one with care, you risk losing the client’s buy-in for your solution. So getting it right is essential.

consultant creating a business proposal presentation

In this article, we’ll look at several ways to improve your business proposal presentation (and pitch) and increase the odds that you’ll walk away with a new customer.

→ Download Now: Free Business Proposal Template

Business Proposal Presentation

A business proposal presentation is a document that outlines a business solution for a customer after a lengthy consultation process. It is presented to the customer in either PDF or PowerPoint format, and can be paired with a contract for immediate signing.

Other formats that may be accepted include Google Docs or Google Slides, but PowerPoint is the industry standard. The presentation is then delivered in person or through a video conferencing tool such as Zoom.

Rarely, if ever, is a business proposal presentation sent to the customer for asynchronous perusal. Rather, it’s presented live in a customer meeting . That will give you the opportunity to sell them even more on the solutions you offer and persuade them to make a decision within a reasonable time frame.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Free Business Proposal Template

Propose your business as the ideal solution using our Free Business Proposal Templates

  • Problem summary
  • Proposed solution
  • Pricing information
  • Project timeline

You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

If you let the customer review the presentation on their own, it’s likely that they’ll lengthen the sales process and even put off making a decision.

When crafting your proposal presentation, there are a few quick best practices to keep in mind.

  • Personalize the presentation . While it’s totally fine to reuse a PowerPoint presentation template , you don’t want to accidentally include another business’ name on the deck. So be sure to go through every slide and personalize it for the customer’s goals and pain points.
  • Send a pre-meeting email with an agenda. To prepare your customer for the presentation, it’d be wise to send a pre-meeting email with a quick, scannable sales agenda detailing how the meeting will go. That way, you can set the right expectations and keep you both on track.
  • Plan your in-person customer visit. If you’re meeting the customer in person, there will be a few more elements at play, such as an office tour and even a colleague introduction. That can quickly lead to lost time, so use this guide to plan a customer visit that stays on track and helps you effectively sell your solution.
  • Pay attention to the design of the deck . Your clothes and demeanor may be in tip-top shape, but if your deck is messy and poorly designed, then the effectiveness of your points will be diminished. Use a PowerPoint template and check out a few sales presentation examples to inspire you.
  • Keep the presentation short and precise. Keep your presentation as short as possible, about 15 to 20 minutes. The longer you speak to your clients, the less they’ll remember.

Now, it’s time for your presentation. Let’s go over how you can execute it flawlessly.

How to Present a Business Proposal

  • Optimize your meeting time from the start.
  • Have a clear agenda.
  • Open up with the customer’s problems and challenges.
  • Pause and ask questions.
  • Lead with stories, not data.
  • Don’t read off of your PowerPoint slides.
  • Present your solution — and sell them a vision.
  • Establish a clear follow-up timeline at the end of the meeting.

1. Optimize your meeting time from the start.

When presenting a proposal, it’s important to remember that your clients are busy. They have other meetings to attend, phone calls and emails to return, and problems to solve. Time is their most precious asset. Here are a few tips to optimize the time you spend with your customers:

  • Arrive early . This is a no-brainer, but arrive to the meeting with at least ten minutes to spare, especially if it’s in person. Use this buffer to use the bathroom, rehearse your introduction, and even set up the meeting space.
  • Rehearse setting up the projector or sharing your screen before the meeting . If you’re carrying out a meeting in person, you don’t want to waste ten minutes figuring out how to project your laptop’s screen. Carry several adapters with you and have a fail-safe plan, such as bringing a tablet with a copy of the presentation. If the meeting is over Zoom, practice sharing your screen so that your notes aren’t visible.
  • Keep your introduction short. Leave space for banter and rapport, but keep your personal introduction short. Small talk should be reduced as much as possible — you shouldn’t spend twenty minutes talking about the weather, unless you sell a weather-related solution.

2. Have a clear agenda.

Your presentation must have a clear and compelling agenda, which you can share right at the start (in addition to having shared it over email before the meeting).

The meeting should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business. Here’s an agenda template you can use to structure your meeting:

  • Challenge/Opportunity. Begin your presentation by illustrating the opportunity or challenge that your client is overlooking. Make sure it’s compelling enough to motivate your client to listen to the rest of your presentation.
  • Benefits . Discuss the benefits that your client will achieve by adopting your solution. Use a customer case study or testimonial to support your point.
  • Plan . Present your plan or options to resolve the client’s challenge/opportunity.
  • Company . Briefly share your company’s background, including who your company helps with these issues.
  • Recommend . Before closing your presentation, be sure to ask for the client’s business. You might close by asking the client, “Do you believe that the solution that I’ve presented will effectively help you overcome your challenges and achieve your goals?”

In the presentation, include a few bullet points that outline these parts of the meeting, so that the client knows what to expect.

3. Open up with the customer’s problems and challenges.

As mentioned, you’ll begin the meeting with a challenge or opportunity. Don’t walk into the meeting and immediately start talking about yourself or your company or your products. If you do this, your client will immediately focus on cost and product features, often ending the meeting before you’ve had a chance to finish.

Instead, focus on re-emphasizing the customer’s challenges and pain points. Your clients want to know how they can beat their competitors, reach new customers, retain existing customers, and increase profit margins. But before you can sell them your product, you have to emphasize the graveness of the issue they’re facing and illustrate how their challenges will prevent them from achieving these goals.

For instance, if 30% of their customers are churning, and you sell a business solution that can help reduce churn, you might open up your presentation with how their revenue will continue to be impacted by this loss. This will emphasize the urgency of the problem and help you create a stronger pitch later.

4. Pause and ask questions.

After you’ve spoken for a few minutes, stop and ask your client a question. This is a great way to stay in control of the meeting while allowing your client to interact with the sales presentation.

Here are some questions that you might ask:

  • Have I summarized your challenges correctly?
  • Is there anything I’ve missed that you’d like to add?
  • Am I right in saying that you want to solve this problem in the next quarter?

5. Lead with stories, not data.

While clients value data, they are also realistic about what data can — and cannot — tell them. They’ve seen many projects fail despite the glowing research results, and they’ve seen projects succeed despite the lack of any data to back it up.

So, introduce stories first, then the data to back it up. Come to the presentation armed with customer experiences and competitor moves. Your clients are far more interested in what other businesses like them have experienced and what their competitors are doing. They’re not all that interested in the latest research study, but you can use a study to support your points and lend credence to an anecdote.

6. Don’t read off of your PowerPoint slides.

Let the deck complement your points. If you read directly off the slides, you’ll quickly bore your customer, and the impact of what you’re saying won’t land.

Keep your slides simple, too, so that you’re not tempted to read off of them. Most slides are far too complex — too much text, distracting designs, and unrelated images.

You should only put one picture and one line of text on a slide. No more. Your clients can only absorb so much at once, and if they’re too busy trying to sort out paragraphs upon paragraphs on the screen, most of what you’ll say will be missed.

7. Present your solution — and sell them a vision.

After you’ve re-established the business challenge and spoken to the customer’s pain points, it’s time to present your product or service as a solution. But it’s important to not stop here — you have to also sell them a vision of what their business will look like after they take care of the problem.

Will they experience increased sales? Streamlined processes? Better customer retention? And what will that look like a few years from now? Don’t exaggerate, but don’t be afraid to show them how your product can create a much positive future for their business.

8. Establish a clear follow-up timeline at the end of the meeting.

This is maybe the most important part of your business proposal presentation. Tell your customer what will happen after the presentation, so that there’s no ambiguity regarding next steps.

We highly recommend establishing a clear follow-up date. Don’t say, “I’ll follow up in about a week.” Instead, try, “Is it okay if I call you on Friday, May 10th?”

We also recommend creating a timeline after the follow-up call. For instance, you might say you’ll call on a certain date, and then you’ll send the contract over using a tool such as PandaDoc , Qwilr , or Proposify . Your contract will be in your customer’s hand for a week, and then on the following Wednesday, you’ll follow-up once again to see if the customer has any questions.

Adjust this timeline depending on your customer, sales cycle length , and industry. Such a short timeline might not suit a product that costs thousands of dollars and requires a yearly commitment. However, it might suit a product that only costs a few hundred dollars a year.

Feeling stumped? No worries. Below, we share some business proposal examples you can glean inspiration from.

Business Proposal Presentation Examples

1. moving malta forward.

business proposal presentation example: moving malta forward

This compelling presentation proposes a metro system for the city of Malta. It opens with a “Case for Change” and uses graphics and visuals to argue for the creation of a metro in the city. While it is text heavy, it includes plenty of information for Malta’s government to make a decision. That’s why it’s important to know your audience. If you’re proposing to a gubernatorial entity, then being comprehensive is important.

2. The Big Picture

business proposal presentation example: the big picture

This is another presentation that argues for the urban development of a district. Its most notable feature is its “At a glance” spread, which shows an overview of the plan from top to bottom, down to the impact the proposed changes will have on the city. In the same way, you can include at an at-a-glance slide in your presentation.

3. AMW Tech

business proposal presentation example: amw tech

This deck presents a business as opposed to a product, but it does everything right: It opens with an agenda and closes with a call-to-action (“Keep in touch with us”). Even something as simple as providing your contact information can be enough to prompt your customer to continue the conversation.

4. Microsoft Advertising

business proposal presentation example: microsoft advertising

This deck by Microsoft Advertising takes a slightly different approach: It starts with a quote from the Microsoft CEO, and then provides details about how the brand helps its customers. This works for a major brand like this one because the client may be interested in Microsoft as a whole as opposed to just one service. It’s important to know your audience in this respect, as well.

Creating a Compelling Business Proposal Presentation

Being able to effectively present proposals is key to your success. To be effective, get to the point and focus on vision and stories. Use PowerPoint or Keynote as supporting material and be sure to keep it short. Finally, your presentation should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2014 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal (+Template Ideas)

August 7, 2023

by Kelsey McKeon

sales proposal

In this post

  • Key components of sales proposal

How sales proposals fit into the sales cycle

  • How to craft a winning sales proposal
  • Creating a great sales proposal template

What are common sales proposal mistakes?

Sales proposals are an essential part of the sales process. They communicate the specific value your product or service will bring to a customer based on their unique needs. 

B2B buyers have more information than ever at their fingertips, so sales proposals need to go above and beyond a prospect’s expectations to win them over. It is an innuendo of never-ending documents which highlight your unique selling proposition of goods, services, assistance matrix, perks, and the list goes on. Drafting a sales proposal with templatized proposal software gives a professional edge to your business. 

Each stakeholder in your sales operation should take the sales proposal script seriously.  The continuity and consistency in your sales pitch is the prime factor that appeals to the (hopefully soon) client.

What is a sales proposal?

A sales proposal is an exhaustive document that consists of details of your goods, manpower, products, assistance matrix, and services that you promise to offer as a brand. A sales proposal is drafted for potential clients, investors, vendors, and other key stakeholders that directly impact your bottom line and revenue. 

Sales proposals go beyond the basic costs listed on a website pricing page. They usually include details about the scope of work and deliverables. It's like dispositioning your prospect from "warm" to "hot". Some people get confused between an elevator pitch and the sales pitch .  Where the elevator pitch introduces you as a brand in the market, the sale, s proposal brings in the required capital to run that brand.

Key Components of sales proposal

A sales qualified lead willing to invest in your business is no joke. Not only would he be ravenous for return on investment, he would also authenticate your brand through word of mouth. listing out items conspicuously in your sales proposal clears the air and provides the perfect picture of how you would offer your service. 

Basic elements in a sales proposal are as follows:

  • Basic company information
  • Executive summary of the business proposal
  • Statement of value or a unique selling proposition
  • Descriptions of the products or services
  • Detailed pricing information
  • Timeline for deliverables
  • Additional terms and conditions
  • Your contact information
  • Draft of the sales contract for review

Sales proposals differ from other types of sales collateral , even though they contain information found in other internal collateral such as battle cards and pricing matrices. Because sales proposals are external, customer-facing documents, they need to be accurate and on-brand for your business.

Within the sales cycle , sales proposals usually come in after a sales team has had a chance to present the product through a sales pitch or product demo.

stages of sales cycle

At this point in the sales cycle, the sales proposal can serve as a point of reference for both the buyers and sellers to begin the negotiation process. At this point in their journey, the buyer evaluates different solutions and uses proposals to make a decision.

Sales teams can send out proposals in response to a formal request for proposal (RFP) , which is a call to service providers that buyers make when they are in the market for a specific business solution. Individual account executives also often send out a sales proposal immediately following a pitch or demo meeting for stakeholders to review and share internally. 

It is also important to anticpate forthcoming sales objections your prospect might raise as you are working on your sales proposal. There should be no ebbs and flows in your draft which would minimize your chances of scoring a deal.

Who is responsible for a sales proposal?

Because sales proposals contain such a wealth of information for prospective buyers, the proposal creation process can involve many different stakeholders from sales, revenue and operations teams. Marketing and design teams might also need to be involved to ensure a cohesive brand experience.

Why a good sales proposal matters?

A great sales proposal is one that differentiates your product by making the most important information easy for your buyer to understand in one source of truth. Successful sales proposals help prospects envision how your product will add value to their organization.

How to craft a winning sales proposal 

Done right, a sales proposal can be the difference between winning and losing a deal. Crafting a winning sales proposal requires a lot of planning, care, and dedication. Here are 8 steps to follow to create a high-quality proposal for your buyers.

1. Understand your prospect

Your sales proposal is a time to show your potential buyer how much you understand their needs and care about the challenge they need to solve. To start crafting a tailored proposal, you first need to retrace your steps in the sales cycle and revisit the research you did during the prospecting and qualifying phases.

Start by revisiting your initial research about the prospect. Open up a conversation with your sales development rep (SDR): What problem did your SDR identify initially? How has the solution to that challenge or pain point evolved since the initial point of contact? Your proposal will need to align with these needs and challenges.

Your sales proposal should be, above all, accurate. You don’t want your prospect to respond to the proposal pointing out inaccuracies or missing information. Fortunately, sales engagement tools such as Chorus allow you to record, categorize and analyze sales calls after they happen.

chorus sales engagement

Source: Chorus

Machine learning -powered call transcriptions can help you revisit the finer details of your sales pitch or demo and add those key points to your proposal. 

Understanding your prospect’s specific challenges will help you craft a tailor-made proposal that keeps their needs in focus.

2. Review current customers for similar use cases and accounts

After reviewing the current deal in detail, you can use current customers’ use-cases to identify past examples of success for your prospect. 

Start by going over existing customer case studies. Do you have any current customers in the same industry as your buyer? What solutions were they offered? 

Collaborate with your customer success team to review these similar accounts. A few questions to ask your customer success team can include:

  • How long has this customer been with us?
  • How does this customer’s current package compare to their initial proposal? 
  • What features or perks have been the most useful for this customer?

Finally, check your CRM or system of record to find any old sales proposals for current successful customers. Those proposals might contain valuable information about packages or offers that can inform your current business proposal.

3. Use technology to your advantage

Creating a sales proposal doesn’t have to be an analog process. Use software to help you work smarter, not harder when building your proposal.

Design tools in particular can help you structure your proposal and include branding elements to make your proposal visually appealing. You don’t have to be a graphic designer to experience the benefits of design tools. Many design platforms, such as Canva, have built-in templates for proposals to help you get started.

canva proposal templates

Source: Canva

Proposal-specific design software also exists to help you create, send and track your proposals. These tools combine elements of design tools and sales automation to make the entire proposal process easier for sales teams . 

Using technology throughout the proposal process can help with template creation and version control internally, while also providing a seamless experience for the buyer receiving the proposal.

5. Refer to sales proposal templates 

Beginner's luck wouldn't be your saving prophet. Build on your knowledge of writing effective proposal by searching for online templates and resources that fit in with your brand mission, vision and values. 

Be sleek, concise and confident in laying out your business, cost, and service framework for your prospect. Believing in your value proposition as a brand and soft selling can help you get in the good books and climb the sales funnel . 

5. Find your sales collateral  (or create some yourself)

Sales collateral is a powerful way to communicate your business’s unique value to prospects. Great sales content allows you to speak directly to a buyer throughout the sales cycle.

Company size, industry, and team structure can all impact your business’s process for creating sales collateral. A small business with only one or two dedicated sales professionals might have those professionals be solely responsible for creating their collateral. Larger companies, however, likely have close alignment between sales and marketing teams to ensure brand consistency throughout the sales funnel. 

Whether you’re creating sales collateral on your own or working with a marketing team, sales templates can help you keep your brand stay consistent and save you time when creating important content like sales proposals. 

Source: YouTube

If you don’t have any templates for sales proposals, it’s not too late to start! Find and clone a few examples of business proposals your team has sent in the past to serve as a starting point in your proposal creation. 

5. Outline the most important points of your sales proposal

Using your template, whether a formal document or another proposal you’ve copied, create a detailed outline of the business proposal itself. Creating an outline will provide structure to your writing process and help you prioritize important information, such as your unique selling proposition and timeline of delivery.

A basic outline of a sales proposal could include placeholders for:

  • Scope of work and solution
  • Visual aids such as pricing tables and timelines
  • Pricing details
  • Other terms and conditions
  • Draft of the contract

Using the structure outline in your template, start to organize the information you’ve gathered about the buyer and previous customer cases. Outlining your proposal in a previously used template will also present opportunities to customize the content for the intended audience.

6. Draft the sales content

Your outline should make it easy for you to start the writing process. Use your template and any company guidelines you might have to start populating the different sections with information.

Your marketing team may already have a standard copy they use for information about your company. Consult with your marketing team and sales leaders to make sure you fully understand your company’s brand and writing style guidelines. 

Sales proposals should be just long enough to provide the most important information to your buyer. Creating a proposal that’s too long risks overwhelming and potentially confusing your recipients. When writing your proposal, be succinct and specific about your product. 

Remember, the proposal shouldn’t be a word-for-word recap of a previous sales conversation. Use your writing and the proposal’s formatting to make it easy for the buyer to find the most important information quickly.

7. Edit and review your proposal

Just because you’re done writing your proposal doesn’t mean it’s ready for your buyer’s eyes. Don’t send a proposal to your prospects without proofreading yourself and securing necessary approvals. 

Proofread your proposal and cross-reference it with your research on the buyer and the sales cycle so far. Ensure all information about the solution and pricing aligns with any previous discussions you’ve had with the buyer to avoid any surprises when they receive your proposal.

Seek out necessary internal stakeholders to review your proposal before sending it out. Your sales operations team can check that your pricing is accurate. Your customer success team can confirm your timeline for onboarding the buyer. Enlisting the help of other teams can help catch any errors in your proposal you may have missed.

An accurate proposal helps present the best version of your business to a buyer. Allow time for feedback on your proposal to create a better buyer experience.

8. Send the proposal out to the customer

You did it! You’ve crafted a high-quality proposal that will show your buyer that your solution is the right one for them. Now, it’s time to send the proposal.

How and when you send a proposal matters. Make it as easy as possible for the buyer to open and review your proposal and use a sending method that aligns with their expectations. Some buyers will prefer an email attachment, but others will appreciate the ease of a digital document tool. Using a digital tool will also make it easier for your team to update the proposal if the buyer comes back with changes.

No matter how you choose to send over your business proposal, make sure you’re including the right people in the communication, including your internal sales team and your prospect’s buying team.

Finally, include a personal note with your proposal thanking the buyer for their time and making yourself available to answer any questions. 

Creating a sales proposal template 

A sales proposal template is a digital selling tool that saves sales teams time and effort when moving deals through the pipeline. Proposal templates help sales teams ensure their brand and company information is represented accurately when creating sales content at scale. A fillable template also allows account executives to customize the proposal where appropriate, so the customer still feels they are getting a tailored experience.

Here are some of the most common parts of a sales proposal that you can use to create your own sales proposal templates:

  • Cover page: include a cover page that includes your company name, the buyer’s name, and your company brand colors or images helps give your proposal a professional look
  • Introduction: introduce your company and its mission and values while leaving space for the buyer’s name and unique use case
  • Unique selling point: block space for your unique selling proposition in your proposal template. This can be a standard selling proposition, but leave room for a few sentences about how your solution fits the buyer’s needs
  • Terms & conditions: include standard information about your company’s terms and conditions for the sale
  • Executive summary: provide a high-level overview of your previous discussions with the buyer and summarize their main pain points
  • Pricing table: create a fillable table to include your proposed solution and its pricing

Use these components to create your own sales proposal template, or download one of the many available proposal templates around the web to make your proposal process quick and easy.

With so many steps and so much information to gather and consolidate, there are a lot of places where sales proposals can go wrong. Here are a few common proposal mistakes to avoid.

Not customizing proposal content 

Your buyer will notice if the proposal you send them isn’t tailored to their unique needs. Reusing text from your terms and conditions is one thing, but your value proposition and proposed solutions should be written with a specific buyer in mind. 

Modern buyers expect customized experiences. By the time you are sending the buyer a proposal, you’ve already had at least one conversation with them. A proposal that’s too templated could send a message that you’re not interested in helping them solve their problem.

Avoid this by studying the specific business challenge and using the buyer’s own words and terminology to communicate the solution in the proposal. You can take your customization to the next level by including a video or live chat link with your proposal to reinforce the connection with your buyer.

Centering your business too much 

At the proposal stage of the buyer’s journey, your buyer has already had plenty of time to get to know your company. A proposal that’s too focused on you and your business doesn’t add value for the buyer and takes up valuable space better spent on solutions to their pain points.

Review your proposal and get a rough estimate of how often you mention your business without making a connection to the buyer. If a section or paragraph feels unnecessarily promotional, it probably is.

Not knowing when to ask for help

Business proposals require a lot of moving parts to come together. Sales professionals, while usually fluent in their business’s product and pricing, may not always have all of the answers to the nuances of pricing packages, discounts, and product updates.

Avoiding asking for help can have terrible consequences. Communicating the wrong information to the potential customer creates a poor experience and could even put the deal in jeopardy. When in doubt about information in your proposal, ask your sales, product, or even marketing teammates for insight and expertise.

Using unclear language

A sales proposal is the time to be specific about your offering. Don’t use vague or unclear language when describing your product or pricing at the proposal stage.

Your buyer has already reviewed your marketing content and seen your product in action. They know how it works at a high level. Instead, your business proposal should be a detailed, but succinct, summary of your solution to the buyer’s problem. 

You should also explain your terms and features in a way the buyer can understand. Avoid internal terms and technical jargon in your proposal. You want the content to be approachable and an easy reference point for negotiation.

Finally, always proofread your proposal before sending it out. Frequent small errors in your copy and content add up to a negative buyer experience over time. Use automated spelling and grammar tools such as Hemingway or Grammarly to identify errors as you work, and review your proposal for accuracy before sending.

Use sales proposals to win more customers

Sales proposals are a vital piece of sales collateral that outline your proposed solution to a potential customer. The best sales proposals help your sales team win a deal, but they take time, effort and collaboration to get right.

Creating a winning sales proposal starts with gathering information about the prospect and similar use cases. Sales teams have to work quickly to get proposals out after a pitch or demo meeting. Meeting at the intersection of customer, product and market through your sales proposal would distinguish you from money minters and bring out your essence as a brand.

Creating winning sales proposals is just the start. Learn more about sales enablement strategies that will make your sales team even more of a powerhouse than it already is.

proposal software

How do you propose to do that?

Build strong relationships with your sales prospects by walking them through the entire product cycle in detail with best proposal software.

Kelsey McKeon photo

Kelsey McKeon is the US Content Marketing Manager at GetAccept , a digital sales platform that helps sales teams can close more deals naturally. She covers a range of B2B sales and marketing topics and is based in Washington, D.C.

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Blog Business How To Create A Winning Business Proposal Presentation

How To Create A Winning Business Proposal Presentation

Written by: Krystle Wong Jun 28, 2023

How to create a business proposal presentation

In the corporate landscape, a good business proposal presentation can be a game-changer to seal the deal with your prospective client or investors.  

Think of your business proposal presentations as your chance to showcase your groundbreaking ideas, products or services to potential clients, investors and stakeholders. Whether you’re convincing investors to fund your dreams or clients to choose your services, creating a compelling presentation can make them go, “You know what? I’m sold!”

A good presentation simplifies the complex. It breaks down complicated concepts into bite-sized pieces that even those who are not in the industry can understand. I know I know, it’s no easy work and you’ve got enough on your plate — so let our selection of pitch deck templates take the load off the design work. 

Customizing a compelling business proposal presentation takes only minutes thanks to Venngage’s user-friendly drag-and-drop editor. Just so you know, some of our presentation templates are free to use and some require a small monthly fee. Sign-up is always free, as is access to Venngage’s online drag-and-drop editor.

Now that you’ve got one less thing to worry about, let’s get back to business on how to create and deliver a winning proposal presentation. 

Click to jump ahead:

What makes a good business proposal , 10 tips to create an effective business proposal presentation, 8 steps to deliver a winning business proposal presentation, create a business proposal presentation that will win over your clients with venngage.

If you’ve read our guide on how to write winning business proposals , you’ll know that a successful business proposal is one that answers the following questions: 

  • Who you are and what your company does
  • The problem your buyer is facing
  • The solution your company offers to alleviate the problem
  • How your company will implement this solution effectively
  • An estimate of resources (time, money, etc) required to implement the solution

Well, picture this: you’ve spent countless hours crafting a comprehensive business proposal that has the potential to revolutionize your industry. But here’s the catch – you need to condense all that information into a presentation that grabs attention, engages your audience and leaves a lasting impression. 

It’s not easy, but it’s also not impossible. If you have an important proposal presentation coming up, I highly recommend you check out this guide on how to summarize information for presentations . 

A good presentation gets things moving! Check out the top qualities of awesome presentations and learn all about how to make a good presentation to help you nail that captivating delivery.

Now, before we dive deep into the tips and tricks of creating and delivering a successful business proposal presentation, here are some business pitch examples to help you get inspired and win over new clients and investors. Alright, let’s get started!

Still working on your business proposal? Check out our selection of business proposal templates designed by our professional team.

In this competitive business environment, a good presentation gives you an edge over your competitors. It allows you to showcase your unique selling points, competitive advantages and differentiates you from others in the industry.  

Whether it is securing a new client, securing funding or obtaining a favorable business agreement, a successful presentation can ultimately bring significant opportunities and long-term business growth. 

Tip number one: always start with a solid presentation layout . Your presentation should emphasize the most important aspects of your business proposal, ensuring that they stand out and resonate with your audience. To do that, here are 10 tips along with some professionally crafted business proposal presentation templates to help you ace your next business proposal presentation. 

1. Crafting a compelling storyline

A strong narrative structure is the backbone of any successful proposal presentation. Start with a captivating opening that grabs attention and clearly articulates the problem or opportunity at hand. Present your solution with confidence, providing solid evidence and data to support your claims. Finally, conclude with a powerful call to action that leaves your audience inspired and ready to take the next steps.

A timeline graph can help you organize your ideas as you create a compelling storyline for your presentation and make your content more engaging.  Determine the important events or milestones that are relevant to your presentation topic. This will provide a sense of direction and structure for your storyline.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

2. Focusing on the problem and solution

One of the keys to an effective business proposal presentation is highlighting the problem or challenge your audience is facing. Clearly communicate how your proposal provides a viable solution in bullet points, emphasizing the benefits and advantages it offers. Show your audience that you understand their pain points and present your proposal as the ideal answer to their needs.

This example of proposal presentation talked about the challenges that beginners face when going to the gym and how they provide the solution for it.

Problem Agitate Solution Pitch Deck Template - Problem

3. Using a consistent and professional template

To create a polished and cohesive visual experience, choose a clean and professional slide template that aligns with your brand colors. Consistency in design throughout the presentation not only enhances the overall look but also reinforces your professionalism and attention to detail.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Last-minute presentations are the worst, but don’t panic! Customize one of our professionally designed business presentation templates to save time and hassle.

4. engaging with visuals.

A picture is worth a thousand words and in the case of your proposal presentation, visuals can be your secret weapon. Visuals play a crucial role in capturing your audience’s attention and making complex information more digestible. Utilize charts, graphs, images and diagrams strategically to support your key points and reinforce your message. 

As a business owner, a well-thought-out finance pitch deck provides a platform to outline the business’s strategic direction and growth plans. It allows you to highlight your unique value proposition, competitive positioning, marketing strategies and expansion plans. Here’s a template I figured you could use:

difference between sales proposal and presentation

No idea what goes into your financial pitch deck? This guide on how to make successful pitch decks for start ups might help. 

5. addressing potential objections.

Many business proposal presentations fail to anticipate potential objections or concerns audiences might have. Showing that you’ve considered challenges and providing persuasive counterarguments or solutions boosts your preparedness and increases the credibility of your proposal. Addressing objections head-on demonstrates your ability to handle potential hurdles and builds trust with your audience.

6. Using multimedia elements in your slides

To add depth and variety to your presentation, consider incorporating multimedia elements such as videos, audio clips, interactive charts or animations. These elements help illustrate concepts, showcase product demonstrations or provide real-life examples, making your proposal more engaging and memorable.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

7. Incorporating interactive elements

Depending on the platform or setting of your presentation, incorporating interactive elements can enhance engagement. Live polls, Q&A sessions or group exercises encourage active participation, clarification and a deeper understanding of your proposal. Creating opportunities for interaction keeps your audience engaged and invested in the presentation.

8. Testing the readability and accessibility of your slides

Ensure that your slides are easily readable on different devices and screen sizes. Test for color blindness accessibility by using tools or viewing your presentation in grayscale. Consider incorporating alt text for images to make your presentation accessible to visually impaired individuals. Ensuring readability and accessibility demonstrates your commitment to inclusivity and professionalism.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Sometimes, using a simple presentation template makes all the difference as they promote effective communication, minimizes confusion and ensures that the audience can grasp the main points effortlessly. Try it out for your next presentation!

9. practice, practice and practice again.

Even the most well-prepared presentation can fall flat if you stumble through it. So, practice, practice and practice some more. Rehearse your presentation until you feel comfortable and confident. Pay attention to your tone, pace and body language. Incorporate pauses for emphasis, maintain eye contact and engage with your audience. I promise — the more you practice, the more comfortable and effective you’ll become as a presenter.

10. Ending with a memorable closing statement

Leave a lasting impression by crafting a memorable closing statement. Summarize the key benefits of your proposal, reinforce its importance or leave your audience with a thought-provoking quote. End your presentation with a call to action that inspires action and demonstrates the urgency of taking the next steps.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Ready to get started? Pick from these engaging presentation templates that can get your audience hooked on your presentation till the end.

Your business proposal presentation can be the key to securing new clients, partnerships or investment opportunities. That said, delivering a winning presentation requires careful planning, effective communication and a deep understanding of your audience’s needs. 

Follow these 8 essential steps to deliver a persuasive and impactful business proposal presentation:

Step 1: Understand the requirements

Before diving into your business proposal presentation, take the time to clearly understand the requirements. Familiarize yourself with the format, time limit, submission date and any specific guidelines provided by the audience or client. This ensures that you meet their expectations and deliver a presentation that aligns with their needs.

Step 2: Research your audience

To make a lasting impact, conduct thorough research on your audience. Gain insights into their industry, needs, challenges and goals. This information allows you to tailor your presentation to their specific interests, speak their language and demonstrate the relevance of your proposal. It will also help you show that you understand their pain points and present your solution as the perfect fit for their requirements.

For example, this business proposal presentation targets food entrepreneurs and manufacturers who are passionate about the plant-based lifestyle to attract franchisees for their local green ingredients franchise. 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Step 3: Plan your content

A well-organized presentation keeps your audience engaged and makes your proposal more compelling. Develop a clear and logical structure to help strengthen your message and deliver a winning business proposal presentation. Define the key points you want to convey and outline the flow of information and make sure your content effectively addresses the audience’s pain points and emphasizes the benefits of your proposal. 

The opening moments of your presentation hold immense power – check out these 15 ways to start a presentation to set the stage and captivate your audience.

Step 4: Create compelling slides

Design visually appealing slides that support your content and enhance its impact. Use a consistent template that aligns with your branding and maintains a professional look. Incorporate high-quality visuals such as relevant images, charts or graphs to convey information effectively. 

Creativity is important but keep the design clean, uncluttered and focused on conveying your message clearly. Remember, visually engaging slides capture attention and reinforce your professionalism.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Don’t know where to start? Here are 5 ways how you can design winner presentation slides . Or you could browse our library of creative presentation templates that’ll easily set your presentation apart from competitors.

Step 5: engage your audience.

Active audience engagement is key to a successful business proposal presentation. Encourage interaction throughout your presentation by asking thought-provoking questions, seeking input or incorporating interactive elements like polls or group exercises. Show genuine interest in your audience’s feedback and questions as this builds rapport and demonstrates that you value their perspective. Engaging your audience creates a dynamic and memorable experience.

Giving an online presentation? Here are some tips on how to adapt your in-person presentation into a virtual presentation that will leave a lasting impression. 

Step 6: communicate with clarity.

Focus on the key messages and benefits of your proposal. Clear communication is vital to conveying your ideas effectively, so be sure to use language that is easily understandable and free from jargon. Support your points with concrete examples or stories that resonate with your audience. By communicating with clarity, you ensure that your message is easily comprehensible and memorable.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Step 7: Adapt and respond

Flexibility is crucial when delivering a business proposal presentation. Pay close attention to your audience’s reactions, questions and feedback. Be prepared to adapt your presentation on the fly to address their specific needs and concerns. 

The trick is to listen attentively and respond thoughtfully, demonstrating your ability to cater to their requirements. This flexibility and responsiveness build trust and show that you genuinely care about meeting their expectations.

Step 8: Follow up

After concluding your presentation, don’t let the momentum fade away. Follow up with your audience to address any remaining questions, provide additional information or clarify any points. 

Following up with your audience helps maintain the relationship and keeps the conversation going. By staying in touch, you demonstrate your commitment to their success and increase the chances of moving forward with your proposal.

Have another round of presentations coming up? Give it your best with these tips on how to improve your presentation skills . 

A business proposal presentation is not just a chance to present your business idea; it’s a prime opportunity to showcase the unique value, potential and profitability of your business concept 

By following the tips and tricks in this article, I’m confident that business professionals like you can easily win over potential investors and prospective clients.

Venngage offers a wide range of pre-designed templates specifically tailored for business proposals. With the help of Venngage’s presentation maker , creating visually appealing and professional business proposal presentations becomes easier than ever.

Step 1: Sign up for a Venngage account (P.S. It’s free!). 

Step 2:  Browse through Venngage’s template library and choose a business presentation template that suits your needs (they’re all created by our expert in-house designers).

Step 3: Replace the placeholder text in the template with content from your business proposals.

Step 4: Customize your business presentation in just a few clicks with our user-friendly drag-and-drop editor tool. Modify various elements such as text, colors, fonts, backgrounds and layout. Enhance your presentation with visual aids such as images, icons, charts and graphs.

Step 5: Share your presentation publicly or upgrade to a business account to export the presentation to PowerPoint or PDF. You can also choose to present straight from Venngage’s presentation software.

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How to Create a Powerful Sales Presentation

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Some people are naturally good at it. Others, well, let’s blame luck here. Or should we? Because there’s nothing you can’t do when you invest time to learn something and practice it. 

Hence, this post that’ll teach you how to create a powerful sales presentation your prospects will love. We’ll cover a lot :

— A quick recap of what a sales presentation is

— How to make a winner sales presentation in 3 steps and

— Design tips for making outstanding slides  

So, what are we waiting for? Let’s hit it: 

What is a sales presentation? 

Let’s make this clear right off the bat: a sales presentation is not a sales proposal. Rather, it’s a sales pitch that comes at the start of the process when your prospect agrees to learn about your business. 

A sales proposal , in contrast, comes at the end of the sales process. And, it’s tailored to meet your client’s needs, presenting a specific solution, which your client then signs. 

One more thing: a sales presentation is short. You need to be quick enough to share the basics of your business idea in a manner that it sparks your audience’s interest . Essentially, your goal is to move them from one part of the sales funnel to another. 

On the flip side, a proposal can be a detailed document that outlines the working terms and other such details that are essential to put on file before you start working together. 

Win more business

So, let’s say you teach yoga online . In that case, your sales presentation would include slides that tell prospects how online yoga can benefit them. Once you succeed here, you can prepare a proposal to onboard folks to your online yoga class . 

See, that wasn’t so difficult, was it? Let’s move on. 

How to make a sales presentation

I’ve divided and subdivided this process in sections to make things easy for you. We’ll start with what you need to do before designing, move on to what you need to do to get started with designing, and finish off with how to actually design the slides. 

Here we go: 

Part I: Things to do take before you get to work 

If you’re thinking that creating a sales presentation involves designing slides only, you’re on the wrong side unfortunately. An effective sales presentation takes a lot more work, starting with the following.

Know your objective 

Bottom line, your objective is to sell. You know it. I know it. But that’s not what you’d tell your prospect, is it? So, it’s best you stow this objective in the back of your mind. Instead of thinking in terms of selling, think about value. 

The more you focus on providing your viewer with value, the more you’d enjoy preparing and giving your sales presentation. And, you know what they say: enthusiasm is contagious. So, chances are your audience enjoys your presentation too. 

But, how do you offer value? Good question. 

You offer value by showing your audience how your product or service can change their life. Note that I’ve used “showing” here, not “telling.” Again, how do you show your audience your product or service can make a difference in their life. 

Simple: tell them stories. 

These could be before and after stories or you can share customer success stories. Either way, you need to tell convincing stories. Because, while facts and data are good content, they just aren’t as convincing as stories. They aren’t as memorable either. 

So, if you’re selling online courses , your presentation should aim to tell stories of previous students who achieved big things from your course instead of sharing statistics on how online learning has grown. 

Sure, you can share data. But weave it into your presentation naturally. Don’t give them the spotlight.  

Know your target audience 

The better you know your audience, the better you can tailor your story to their liking. Think of it like this: you find it easy to persuade one of your colleagues better than the rest for something, say trying out a new free email marketing service. 

Have you ever thought why you can convince this one person better than the rest? Because you know this person better than the rest. You know their pain point better so you know what to say to win them to your side. 

Knowing your presentation’s audience works much the same way. When you know what’s bugging them, you can customize your content to appeal to them. 

For instance, someone presenting for an email outreach tool should know their audience’s pains. These could be an inability to send email campaigns in bulk , difficulty in finding their prospect’s email address, and so on. 

Part II: Getting started with the design work

Now that you’re clear about your objective and target audience, start thinking about your presentation. Take things one step at a time: 

Give your story a focus 

It’s best you work out your story’s focus before you sit to design your slides. An example of a good focus is giving a picture of how your customer’s life would change when they use your product. This way the focus isn’t on your product. It’s on how your customer’s life improves. 

Here’s an example of how you can set the before and after perspective in a slide: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Write your presentation’s copy 

Remember one thing: you need a short but effective copy. Your words can leave a lasting impact, so be sure to use them thoughtfully. 

Some ways you can write a persuasive copy are: 

  • Use simple language so it doesn’t take your viewers a ton of time to understand the point you’re trying to make.
  • Cut out any extra words in your copy. Carefully look at each word you write — does it explain something? Keep it. If it doesn’t and you can do without it, get rid of it immediately.
  • Use power words. These words elicit a reaction, for instance, persuade the reader so use them in your copy but without overdoing them.

In all your slides, by specific. Only give as much info as needed. 

Structure your presentation 

It’s best you’ve a plan for structuring your sales presentation slides so your story has a flow to it. A good structure also ensures your story makes sense.

Consider your industry and be sure to cover all necessary details without overwhelming your prospect. For example, how you present social media services will be different from how you’d present a product such as Smart Apartment Data (real estate).

Think about your prospect’s journey and help them visualize their transformation after doing business with you.

One good plan here is to start with before and after slides, followed by a bridging slide that connects your story with your company. Dedicate the next slide to introducing your company, followed by a data-based slide and a social proof slide. 

In the end, add a CTA slide that tells the next step. It’s best to include your contact details here too. 

Part III: Designing your sales presentation slides 

Before we dive deeper into designing your sales presentation, let’s answer what you probably have in mind: how many slides would you need? 

There’s no hard and fast rule here. But, it’s best to refrain from creating long slideshows with numerous slides. A good way to figure out how many slides will work is assigning one goal per slide and using only needed slides. 

You can also give no more than 2-3 slides per minute. In total, aim for the 9 minute rule , so you don’t lose your prospect’s attention. This means between 5-7 presentation slides are ideal. 

Now, get to work: 

Design a champion opening slide 

A good opening slide leaves a lasting impression. So, what can you do to make sure it’s good enough? One thing: get straight to the point. Cut the clutter and dive in as in the example below:

difference between sales proposal and presentation

You can always leverage storytelling (hint: the before and after structure we discussed) or emotions to further hold your audience’s attention. 

Create other slides 

This shouldn’t be hard if you’re following along and have your copy ready. Here are some points to make the process easier for you: 

  • Introduce no more than three elements in each slide. See how this slide uses only a handful of elements: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

  • Add a visual element to your sides, for instance, graphs and charts like shown below: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Visuals always work wonders. Here’s proof from an experiment : people exposed to graphic representation were significantly more attentive, recalled what they saw, and agreed more with it too as compared with people who saw a bulleted list (textual content). 

The takeaway? Replace words with visuals wherever you can. Here’s a good example: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

  • Be generous in using white space or space between elements. This way you’ll reduce the clutter. This presentation shows you how effective it is to use whitespace to design your slides thoughtfully: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Prepare a CTA slide

Always remember to close your presentation with a slide that shows next steps. Do you want someone to reach out to you? Give them the most convenient way to do so. Do you want to have the opportunity to create a sales proposal for them? 

Tell them to give you the green signal. Place a QR code for the audience to scan. QR codes are extremely safe and you can use any of these best QR code generators to create one.

How to write a business proposal

Bonus tips for designing oh-so-awesome slides 

Remember these three tips for each presentation you design:

  • Tap into color psychology 

Be smart and dig into how colors can encourage the type of response you want from your prospects. For instance, red catches attention, blue inspires trust, whereas yellow stands for creativity and optimism. Want an example of how to use color the right way? 

Learn from LinkedIn Sales Navigator that uses the color red to get attention to the key points: 

difference between sales proposal and presentation

  • Make sure your font is readable 

A good design buzzkill is a font that’s too difficult to read. That is, it’s way too small or is simply challenging to understand. Make it easy for your audience to digest your presentation by using an easy to read font size and font type. 

Stick between 28 to 32 font size for text size and keep the title font size somewhere within the range of 36 to 44 point size. Garamond, Helvetica, and Rockwell are some of the best fonts for presentations .

  • Customize your slides to your branding 

One last thing before we wrap this up and call it a day: always stick with your company’s branding . This means you use the design elements such as shapes, colors, fonts, and the whole enchilada from your branding. 

Why? Because that is what’ll make your presentation memorable. Imagine Facebook delivering a presentation in black and white instead of its usual blue. Would you recognize their slides?

Typing it all together  

Hopefully, you’re now clear about how to create a powerful sales presentation. Remember: there’s a lot that goes into a prizewinner presentation including lots of thorough planning, good copy, well-designed slides, and how you present and deliver your message. Good luck for your next sales presentation! 

Author Bio:

Masooma Memon is a pizza-loving freelance writer for SaaS companies like Visme . When she’s not writing actionable blog posts, she has her head buried in a fantasy novel or business book. 

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The Best Proposal Format in 2023 for Remote Selling

What’s the best proposal format for remote sales? There are three major options to choose from: Word, PDF and Web-Based Proposals.

How to Price Your Services: 5 Ways to Charge for Your Work

Struggling to price your services? Uncover how to successfully navigate these hurdles and accurately price a service with our expert guide.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

How to Write a Sales Proposal: The Ultimate Guide

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As a salesperson, one of the most important skills you need is to know how to write a sales proposal that will indeed help in closing deals. After all, your proposals are often what stands between you and closing the deal with a new client. If you’re not sure where to start, don’t worry – we’ve got you covered.

This ultimate guide teaches you how to write a sales proposal, we’ll walk you through everything from crafting an attention-grabbing introduction to nailing that all-important call-to-action. By the end of this post, you’ll know exactly what it takes to write a winning sales proposal!

A well-written, persuasive, and convincing sales proposal can make all the difference in closing deals. There is no secret to it, but there are steps you can implement to up your sales game.

In this article, you will learn how to craft a winning sales proposal. Read on!

Sales Proposal Definition

A sales proposal is a document that outlines the offer you are making to a potential customer. It should include information about your product or service, your price point, and your unique selling points. A well-crafted sales proposal can be the difference between winning and losing a sale.

It should be created with the potential customer in mind and should be structured in a way that is easy for them to understand.

12 steps that should be followed when creating a sales proposal:

Step 1. Start your proposal with an Outline

To write a sales proposal, start by creating an outline that includes the key sections: an executive summary, market research, the solution, deliverables, pricing, and a call to action.

Utilizing a template is an easy way to get started on your sales proposal. Having a pre-made proposal can help you save time in the future when creating sales enablement content.

Include these sections in your sales proposals:

Tailor your proposals to each client. Every business is different, so each presentation should be different.

Tailor your script to each individual prospect, industry, and needs.

Step 2. Understand your prospect’s problem

By researching your buyer’s needs, you can better provide them with the solutions they need.

Your prospect may have challenges they haven’t thought of. This is your chance to highlight the value of your product.

As you develop this part of your script, ask yourself the following questions:

The potential customers’ needs include improving their businesses and making more money. They may not know how to accomplish this or what options they have. Our solution is one that will help them do this. Our product is different from other solutions because it is more effective and more efficient.

Step 3. Conduct a market research

It’s essential to understand your customers, including their market, competition, and anything that may affect their buying decision.

Your summary should show that you have put some effort into researching your buyers’ problems. Keep in mind that your prospect is very busy, so keep your research brief.

Don’t bombard them with too much information.

The buyer’s pain point section can be included in your proposals but isn’t always necessary. However, it can give you a better understanding of what the buyer is looking for.

Use that data wisely.

A few things to ask as you complete your market research:

As you research the market, ask yourself what solution(s) did your buyer(s) previously used? What were the positives and/or negatives of that solution? Also, who are the direct or indirect competitors? How do they compare to your offering? Lastly, what’s the competition doing better? By answering all of these questions, you’ll have a well-rounded understanding of the industry.

Market research can help you identify new opportunities. You can also use it to improve your business and to test your market or product. You can use SEO to help your web content rank higher on search engines.

Step 4. Offer a solution to their problem

This is the most important part of your winning sales pitch. Above all, you should come across as an expert.

If they don’t believe you, they won’t either.

Explain how your product will solve the buyer’s problems. Include the objectives of the project, the timeframe, and the expected outcomes.

Keep it short and to the point. You can elaborate more during the in-person (or zoom) interview.

A great way to show a prospect that you can help them is by including a solution for their problem in your proposal.

A prospect will want to know that you have a proven method for achieving results and that your sales teams are held accountable. A convincing solution is a great way to show this.

Step 5. Determine the deliverables

Once you’ve made your pitch, lay out the deliverable. Keep it simple, but make sure it’s clear.

Once you’ve agreed on the specifics of your proposal, we can cover any additional details.

Asking too many questions early on in a relationship can create unnecessary tension . It’s important to get to know one another, but sometimes less is more. Too much information can be overwhelming and off-putting.

As a deliverable, include a timeline of when you can expect your results. This can be in the form of a bullet list or calendar.

Step 6. Know Your Prospects

Your sales proposals should address your prospect’s needs. It’s important to understand the problem your buyer is facing.

If you want to stop your prospects from ignoring you, it’s important to learn about their business and tailor your sales proposals accordingly.

When writing your proposals, it’s important to understand your clients’ needs, values, and future plans.

When you understand your target audience, you can tailor a proposal to them. This makes them more likely to do business with you because they feel like you truly understand their wants and needs.

Step 7. Be precise with your pricing

The budget can be the deal-breaker or deal maker of the sales presentation . Always discuss budgets before creating the proposal.

This helps you and the prospect get on the same page before diving into the document.

Offer a few different packages at different price points. Giving your buyer some choice gives them a sense of control over their purchase.

Offer three different price points. Show buyers the value in each option.

A list or table of costs is the easiest to understand.

Where you place your price information is very important. It’s usually best to share it right after the benefits that you offer.

This will make it easier for buyers to “connect the dots”.

Step 8. Call-to-Action

This is where many businesses go wrong. A call-to-action (or a CTA) is the most crucial aspect of drafting proposals.

Tell your buyer that the next step is for them to approve your proposal.

If you’re unsure about your tone of voice, your prospect will be too.

Your call to action should aim to close a deal. Remember to always be closing, and this is no exception for proposal writing. Your clients’ needs vary, so make sure your call-to-action is tailored to them.

If a client tells you they want to talk to another representative before making a decision, ask if you can be on stand-by just in case they have any follow-up inquiries.

And, be sure to tell them that you’d be happy to provide them with copies of your proposals. Also, mention that you’d love to attend their next meeting.

Make sure your call-to-action is clear and concise, and that you are asking for a purchasing decision. Be confident in your request, and make it easy for the potential buyer to say yes.

Step 9. Include testimonials

Include client recommendations in your proposals. These can come from similar industries or businesses facing the same problems as the client you’re proposing to.

The goal is always to positively impact others.

When gathering client feedback, always go for quality and less for quantity. Having one great review from a customer will be more effective than having 3 mediocre reviews. Be sure to get approval from your client before including their quote in your marketing materials.

When you have been given the go-ahead to use a client as a testimonial, be sure to include the following information:

Our customers are always our top priority. We’re so happy to have received such great feedback from them!”I’ve been working with the team at Helpful for a few months now and they have completely changed the way I do business. They are always available to help me with whatever I need and their customer service is amazing.” – John Doe, CEO of XYZ Company”Helpful has helped me grow my business in ways I never thought possible.

Their team is always available to help me with whatever I need and their customer service is amazing.” – Jane Smith, Owner of ABC Company

Testimonials are an excellent way to show potential clients how your solutions apply to their real-world problems.

Step 10. Proofread your sales proposal

It can be very difficult to correct such an error. Nothing can be more off putting to a customer than seeing their name spelled incorrectly. Imagine how the buyer will feel if they see the name of their company spelt wrong.

It can be difficult to fix a large mistake like this.

It’s important to take the time to proofread your sales proposal multiple times. Once you’ve gone over it yourself, ask a colleague or friend to read it as well. This way, you can be sure that you haven’t missed any errors.

It’s common to miss mistakes when you’ve been staring at the same document for a long time. That’s why it’s a good idea to have someone else review your proposals.

There are a few free resources online that can help proofread your document and make it more readable, check grammar and spelling errors. 

Step 11. Presentation

Once you’ve finalized your proposals, it’s finally time to present them. Make sure your presentations are top-notch, and your prospect will be impressed.

Templates are the way to go. Once you’ve designed one, it’s simple to pop in the content for the proposal you’re working on. Make a few changes here and there and you’re good to go.

Creating a new, custom, and personalized sales presentation for each prospect is a waste of your time.

There are a variety of important factors to consider when giving a presentation.

Your sales deck should have a clear and consistent design and layout. It should be easy for the buyer to skim through the pages and quickly find the information they’re looking for. The visuals should be clear and easy to understand.

The format of your design presentation will vary based on what type of project you’re pitching. Don’t let your design team just wing it.

Send over low-resolution versions of the designs with notes on what you’d like changed. You know your buyer’s preferences, so do what feels natural.

When an RFP specifies how a proposal should be formatted, you’ll need to make changes to the document so that it meets those requirements.

Step 12. Follow up

Now that you’ve completed your sales presentation, what’s next?

Salespeople often forget to continue following up after the proposal has been sent.

A follow-up should be sent two to three days after the meeting. This will give the prospect time to review your proposal with their team members, but continue to remind them of who you are.

A consistent flow of communication with your prospects and customers is important. Follow-up phone calls are an ideal way to answer any questions, address any reservations, and confirm the next move.

If you’re looking to know how to write a sales proposal that’ll close the deal , following these tips will help you craft a winning document. Remember to start with an attention-grabbing introduction, clearly state the problem your product or service solves, and finish strong with a call-to-action that compels the reader to take action. Don’t forget to make follow-up phone calls. With these elements in place, you’ll be well on your way to writing a proposal that’s sure to win over any client!

Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill

About Author: Justin McGill

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How to write a sales proposal: Proven techniques and strategies for closing deals

Take your sales game to the next level with writing strategies and techniques. Learn how to write a winning sales proposal to close more deals!

Kayvon Kay

August 7, 2023

From Pitch to Profit: Expert Tips for Crafting the Perfect Sales Proposal

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In the competitive world of sales, a well-crafted sales proposal can be the difference between securing a deal and losing out to the competition. A sales proposal serves as a powerful tool to showcase your products or services, address the specific needs of your potential clients, and convince them that you have the perfect solution to their problems. To help you master the art of persuasive proposal writing, this comprehensive guide presents proven techniques and strategies that will take your sales proposals from pitch to profit. From a sales proposal template, you'll have an idea about the whole process and how its executed properly. Whether you're a seasoned sales professional or just starting out, read on to discover the secrets behind crafting a winning sales proposal that leaves a lasting impression and closes deals. A successful sales proposal will turn potential customers to clients.

Know Your Buyer's Problem:

problem solving

Truly understanding your buyer's problem is a cardinal rule in the art of sales proposal writing. It's like knowing your destination before you set sail - it informs your route, your pace, and your final delivery.

Understanding your buyer's problem isn't just about surface-level knowledge. It's about diving deep into the intricate matrix of their business context, motivations, and pain points. It's about empathizing with their challenges and visualizing their ideal outcome. Only then can you tailor your solution to resonate with your potential client’s unique needs.

So, how do you go about acquiring such depth of understanding? Here are some strategies:

1. Be Curious: Ask probing questions to unearth their primary challenges, secondary issues, and even tertiary concerns. The more detailed your understanding, the more tailored and effective your solution can be.

2. Listen Attentively: Often, the unsaid carries more information than the spoken. Pay attention to not just what they say, but how they say it. Notice their emphasis, their pauses, their concerns - these can reveal a lot about their priorities and anxieties.

3. Do Your Homework: Research their industry, competitors, and market trends. Understand the external pressures and constraints they might be facing. This not only equips you with valuable insights but also demonstrates your commitment and professionalism.

4. Leverage Data: Where possible, leverage data to gain a more accurate understanding of your potential client’s situation. This could be through market research, client databases, or analytics. Hard data can reveal patterns and insights that may not be immediately apparent in conversations.

5. Think Like Them: Step into your client’s shoes. What keeps them awake at night? What would their ideal solution look like? This exercise can help you approach the problem from their perspective, leading to a more empathetic and effective proposal.

Write a Killer Executive Summary:

aware

Your executive summary is the gateway to capturing your reader's attention and making a lasting impression. Craft a concise and compelling summary that highlights the key aspects of your proposal. Sit down with your sales team and write a sales proposal. You can take a look from our sales proposal templates. Start by clearly stating the problem your buyer is facing, and then introduce your unique solution. Keep it concise but impactful, using persuasive language that showcases the value your proposal brings. By emphasizing the benefits and outcomes, you'll engage your readers and motivate them to explore the rest of your proposal with enthusiasm.

What Is The Purpose Of a Written Sales Proposal?

The purpose of a sales proposal extends beyond the immediate goal of winning the contract. It's an opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the client's needs, your capability to provide a solution, and your commitment to their success.

It's a narrative that intertwines your company's capabilities with the client's challenges and dreams, ultimately leading to the epilogue of a successful partnership.

Now that we've journeyed through the crucial components of an effective sales proposal, it's time to craft your own. With the above strategies and a sprinkle of creativity, you're ready to write a compelling sales proposal that opens doors to numerous lucrative opportunities.

Remember, crafting an impactful sales proposal is an art that comes with practice and feedback. Embrace each proposal as a learning opportunity, and let your failures guide you towards success.

Creating a Winning Structure

sell

The structure of your proposal should be intuitive and flowing, guiding your potential client effortlessly through your proposed solution. Here's a proven structure that you can use as a foundation:

1. Title Page: Your title page should include the name of your proposal, your company’s name, the client’s name, and the date of submission. It’s simple, yet it sets the stage.

2. Executive Summary: This is your first impression. Your executive summary should grab the reader’s attention, provide a compelling snapshot of your proposal, and make them excited for more.

3. Table of Contents: A table of contents offers your readers easy navigation, ensuring that they can jump to the sections they’re most interested in.

4. Problem Statement: Here’s where you show your understanding of your client’s needs and challenges. You’ve done your homework, and you know exactly what problems your client needs to solve.

5. Solution Overview: Present your proposed solution. Remember to focus not on the features but on how your solution addresses the client’s problems.

6. Pricing and Terms: Be transparent about the cost of your solution and any terms and conditions. Providing options can make your proposal more appealing and adaptable to varying budgets.

7. Next Steps: Your call to action. What should your client do next if they’re interested in your proposal? Make it clear and enticing.

8. Appendix: Include any additional information or supporting documents here.

Remember, while this structure serves as a guide, every proposal should be tailored to your potential client's unique needs and industry.

Art of Persuasion: Leveraging Social Proof

To enhance the persuasiveness of your sales proposal, it's crucial to incorporate elements of social proof. Testimonials, case studies, or statistics from past successes can increase your credibility and reassure potential clients of your competence.

Have you helped a similar company achieve their goals? Share that story. Nothing speaks louder than a proven track record. Incorporating these elements can make your sales proposal stand out, adding a layer of trust and reliability that could be the deciding factor for your potential client.

Focus on Solving Problems, Not Deliverables:

While it's important to outline the deliverables of your offering, the focus of your sales proposal should be on solving the buyer's problems. Avoid getting caught up in technical jargon or an excessive list of features. Instead, highlight how your solution will alleviate their pain points and drive their desired outcomes. Paint a vivid picture of success by using real-world examples, case studies, or testimonials to demonstrate the positive impact your solution has had on other clients. This approach will build trust and confidence in your ability to deliver results.

Give Them Options:

When presenting your proposal, it's essential to provide your potential clients with options. Offering a range of packages or pricing tiers allows them to choose the solution that best fits their needs and budget. Clearly outline the different options available, highlighting the unique features and benefits of each. This not only gives your buyers a sense of control but also increases the chances of closing the deal. Remember to include a recommended option that aligns with their specific requirements while providing additional upsell opportunities to enhance their experience.

Utilize Compelling Visuals:

In addition to persuasive writing, incorporating visuals into your sales proposal can significantly enhance its impact. Humans are visual creatures, and well-designed graphics, charts, and infographics can effectively communicate complex ideas and data. Use visuals to support your key points, provide clarity, and highlight the value proposition of your solution. Make sure the visuals are professional, easy to understand, and aligned with your brand's aesthetic. They should complement the written content and reinforce the overall message of your proposal.

Overcome Objections:

Addressing potential objections is a critical aspect of any sales proposal. Anticipate the concerns or doubts your potential clients may have and proactively address them in your proposal. By doing so, you'll demonstrate your expertise, build trust, and alleviate any hesitations they may have. Whether it's addressing pricing concerns, implementation challenges, or competitive comparisons, tackle these objections head-on and provide clear and compelling responses. By showing that you have carefully considered their potential concerns, you position yourself as a knowledgeable and reliable partner. Experienced sales teams can turn good sales proposal into great sales proposal.

Craft a Call-to-Action:

CTA

Every sales proposal should conclude with a strong call-to-action (CTA). Guide your potential clients on the next steps they should take after reviewing your proposal. Whether it's scheduling a meeting, signing a contract, or initiating a trial, make the desired action clear and provide clear instructions on how to proceed. Reinforce the value they will gain by choosing your solution and create a sense of urgency to prompt a timely response. A well-crafted CTA will motivate your readers to take action and move the sales process forward.

The Final Touch: Proofreading and Presentation

Don't underestimate the importance of presentation and attention to detail. Your proposal is a reflection of your company, and any errors or sloppy presentation can reflect poorly on your professionalism and attention to detail.

Proofread meticulously. Use clear, concise language, and make sure your proposal looks professional. The design should be in line with your brand identity and should enhance, not detract from, the content of your proposal.

Conclusion:

Crafting a persuasive sales proposal is an art that requires a deep understanding of your buyer's needs, effective communication, and a focus on problem-solving. By following the expert tips and strategies outlined in this guide, you'll be equipped with the tools necessary to create sales proposals that stand out from the competition, captivate your audience, and ultimately drive business growth. Remember, a well-crafted sales proposal is not just a document but a powerful sales tool that can turn prospects into loyal customers.

That's where The Sales Connection comes in. Our team of seasoned sales professionals is ready to lend their expertise, helping you close deals and accelerate your growth trajectory. Why wait? Start a conversation with one of our representatives today to see how we can help you win more leads.

Click here to embark on your journey towards sales excellence: https://thesalesconnection.com/sales-engine

Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.

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difference between sales proposal and presentation

Presentation or Proposal Software: Which Is Better For Your Sales Proposals

Presentation or Proposal Software: Which Is Better For Your Sales Proposals

If you’ve ever created a presentation or proposal, chances are you’ve likely used presentation software, such as Microsoft PowerPoint, Google Slides, or LibreOffice Impress. But have you ever considered an alternative way to create your proposals?

Presentation software’s strength is in enabling you to create visual presentations with customizable slides. However, proposal software starts with well-designed proposal templates that you can customize and then present, giving you an edge over your competitors.

In this post, we put presentation software and proposal software in a head-to-head comparison so you can decide which solution is best for you.

Presentation Software

The most popular presentation software is PowerPoint, which has been around for more than two decades. Business professionals, teachers, and speakers use it to create presentations by combining text, graphics, images, and other media on slides.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Presentation software is an excellent choice for businesses, considering most people are familiar with how to use it. However, it’s not the best option if you want your presentations to stand out from your competitors.

Also, multiple people use their templates, making it challenging to personalize your work. When prospective customers see a lack of individuality and creativity on your part, they might be less willing to invest in your business.  If they detect you’re unable to invest in your presentation to them, they might perceive you as unable to invest in the care and attention they need.

User and Client Experience

Presentation software, particularly PowerPoint, can be a great way to deliver your presentations. However,  it comes with some drawbacks. First, it’s challenging to collaborate with others on projects because you can share only your file library. If the storage amount exceeds its limitations (over 100 documents), you must pay for more space as an upgrade.

Second, some clients report that PowerPoint PDFs or files sent as an email attachment sometimes go to spam folders if they exceed the allowed attachment size.  When the files are so large, they won’t even open.

To ensure potential customers receive these types of online communications, you must send additional sales documents alongside any part presentations. This way, there’s no question about the kind of deal you’re offering.

Support and Training

Because Microsoft Office is one of the most popular online office platforms, it’s convenient to find additional support from other users. This widespread use has brought about many user-generated forums, YouTube how-to videos, and peer-to-peer help for those who need it. Google also has online help for Google Slides , and LibreOffice has online community support for Impress on its website.

Integrations

PowerPoint seamlessly integrates with other Microsoft products and the different apps available on your computer, like charting software Lucidchart. Google Slides also integrates with applications such as Zapier,  but LibreOffice Impressions only works with LibreOffice applications.

Reporting and Tracking

Unfortunately, presentation software doesn’t have a way to determine how a client interacts with your email. You can only assume they’ve opened it and viewed what you sent, but there isn’t any other feedback.

PowerPoint is not available as a stand-alone product and must be bundled with other Microsoft Office products. A basic package that includes PowerPoint starts at $9.99 per month.

Google Slides is available with a Gmail account for free. It’s also available as part of a business plan at $12/month that includes other Google apps.

Impress is available free of charge with the download of LibreOffice.

Proposal Software

The proposal software industry is expected to more than double between 2019 and 2024. Proposal software, such as Zomentum Grow, simplifies the way technology partners do business from creating proposals to tracking and measuring them. See how Zomentum Grow compares to presentation software.

Proposal management software has many strengths. You can:

  • Create a proposal from scratch or use an existing template.
  • Present the proposal to your peers or prospective clients.
  • Customize proposals for your prospective clients.
  • Track the proposal immediately after you click Send.
  • Leverage your prospects to sign the proposal electronically.
  • Collect payments from the same tool and interface.

Proposals sent using Zomentum Grow use a dedicated link that prevents presentations from going into spam folders. Also, the internal workflow is more practical, with the final result looking more impressive and professional.

Unlike PowerPoint, flashy animations aren’t available between the slides. More features mean a broader learning curve for your teams. Personalizing the proposal and beautifying it is excellent, but adding more can be challenging until you are more familiar with the process.

With proposal software like Zomentum Grow, high-volume presentations are created quickly and efficiently. You get an organized content library so you can easily customize your proposals, or you can use the proposal software in its online version in the presentation mode. However, if necessary, you can download a PDF file of your proposal.

With Zomentum Grow, your prospects can comment and communicate with other stakeholders in the proposal while reading it. Through an interactive feature, you can add pricing tables or choose pricing options for the desired level of engagement, all without leaving the platform.

A few simple clicks quickly bring everything together. You can select how many recipients need e-signatures. You can also set reminders about deadlines and then wait patiently for your clients to review and sign your contract.

Zomentum Grow has a support team ready to assist you with your proposals or just answer questions about Zomentum Grow. You can reach our support team by phone, email, webchat, and through social media channels like Facebook and Twitter.

Proposal software is known for its integrations and flexibility in creating, sending, and monitoring your proposals and closing a deal. Zomentum Grow supports more than ten integrations, including Gmail, Outlook, Ingram Micro, Etilize, and Zapier, for different integrations to streamline your sales workflow and stay on top of your deals.

Proposal software like Zomentum Grow provides all the data and analytics you need to know how your prospects interact with your proposal. You get a chance for personalization, which isn’t possible with presentation software.

Zomentum Grow empowers you with proposal software metrics to help you track annual contract value (ACV) and understand the deal stages of your sales cycle.

Our current pricing plan is $99/MSP for up to two users billed monthly. Factors that influence the price include:

  • Features and integrations
  • Onboarding and training
  • Templates and asset setup

Create Your Proposals With Proposal Software from Zomentum Grow

For some people, the choice between presentation or proposal software is easy. They’re comfortable with Microsoft PowerPoint. Also, they don’t have any supplemental sales documents to create, so they use the product they’re familiar with for their team’s proposals.

However, if you’re looking at streamlining your workflow and enhancing collaboration between teams, choose Zomentum Grow. Zomentum Grow enables you to create professional proposals quickly and easily and customize recommendations for each customer. The software provides a variety of templates and samples to use and reuse, saving you time and resources to generate a proposal.

Plus, you can easily track and measure the success of your proposals. With this information, you can improve your proposal templates to make them more effective. Let Zomentum Grow take your prospects from proposal to sale.

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difference between sales proposal and presentation

4 Differences Between a Sales Pitch and a Business Proposal

Some people may think that a sales pitch and a business proposal are the same thing; however, they are different stages in proactive sales.

There are four fundamental differences, which I am outlining below. Knowing these differences can help you make a more significant impact.

The Art of Communication: Written vs. Vocalized

One of the crucial differences between a sales pitch and a business proposal is the method of implementation. Whereas a sales pitch is vocalized, the average business proposal is a written offer to a prospective buyer.

Both require a different dialogue, and mastering that is an art. However, once the initial sales pitch is effective, a written business proposal is usually the next step. This raises the stakes of making each sales pitch remarkable. Here are some tips on what to avoid doing.

Creating a Radically Different Sense of Urgency

One big difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal is in the way you use ‘urgency’ to stimulate action. In the sales pitch situation, you want the potential buyer to act on the big picture – the strategic impact. You can do so by connecting to their vision, their principal business goals and by addressing the risks of doing nothing.

In the business proposal stage, the sense of urgency is different; you want to create an urgency around placing the signature. According to Forbes :

Create a sense of urgency with the buyer so the proposal is signed more quickly. After all, the buyer fully understands the cost of delaying the decision.

Winning the Hearts vs. Winning the Brain

A business proposal is the natural progression after the pitch is successful. A recent article touches on closing the deal and transitioning with ease, based on how you perform the closing stage of the pitch.

What's the difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal

A vital part of your pitch is the way you close. Your close should be the natural step to a ‘yes’ for the next stage, whether that is the next round, or ideally closing the deal.

The essence is all about winning the heart vs. winning the brain. With the pitch, the focus is to win the heart by leveraging the power of emotion, surprise, and stories.

The pitch is not necessarily about selling. It is about positioning and changing perspectives to convince the customer to “buy” from you rather than you having to do a hard sell to them.

With the business proposal, the focus is on winning the brain by communicating the methods, (financial) facts, and relevant evidence.

The Big Idea vs. Declaration of Details

Another way of looking at the difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal is by looking at the way facts are used.

The ideal pitch is all about ‘less is more’ and tuning for impact. You communicate facts to get on common ground with the customer. However, that is only half of the story. Your best chances to get them to buy from you arise once you inspire them about “what can be” and use facts and anecdotes to back your idea, convincing them that doing nothing is not an option.

A business proposal is more in-depth and includes data that a pitch does not. This provides pricing information and details that have all of the fine print and data to continue the closing. Business proposals generally feel more formal than sales pitches because they include so much more and different information.

All in all, it’s the sales pitch that’s the door that gets you to the proposal. As such, mastering the art of crafting a remarkable sales pitch can transform your success in sales.

Need help with successful pitching and closing more deals? Schedule a quick call , and we can quickly review your situation.

Additional resources to help you optimize your SaaS sales pitch

The easiest way.  Book a free call  to explore if there’s a fit to do this together.

Otherwise – here are three other options

  • Read  my essays to create remarkable traction.
  • Read my book,  The Remarkable Effect.
  • Or simply subscribe to my daily email down below.

A daily email for B2B SaaS CEOs who want to end unpredictable traction.

About the author.

Sales Pitch

Ton Dobbe is a former B2B software product marketer who's on a mission to save mission-driven SaaS CEOs from the stress of 'not enough' traction. He's the author of The Remarkable Effect , the host of the Tech-Entrepreneur on a Mission podcast , and writes a daily newsletter on the secrets to mastering predictable traction.

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difference between sales proposal and presentation

18 Persuasive Proposal Deck Examples (+Tips & Templates)

Elevate your proposal game with our guide featuring standout proposal deck examples, expert tips, and easily customizable templates for different industries.

Author

9 minute read

Proposal deck examples

helped business professionals at:

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Short answer

What is a proposal deck?

A proposal deck is a visual presentation that outlines your project or business idea. It typically includes slides on objectives, strategies, timelines, and expected outcomes, presented in a clear, engaging format to persuade potential clients or investors.

It's how you present your proposal that can close the door on you

It's incredibly disheartening when a proposal, into which you've poured your heart, effort, and time, gets turned down right at the finish line.

To make a great idea really shine, you need a standout presentation. In this guide, I’ll walk you through creating a proposal deck that gets noticed, inspires action, and drives results.

I’ll also pair it with successful proposal deck examples from various industries and customizable templates to kickstart your next proposal.

Let's turn those rejections into opportunities for success!

What is the difference between a proposal deck and a pitch deck?

The difference between a proposal deck and a pitch deck is that a proposal deck focuses on detailed solutions and strategies for a specific client or project, emphasizing customization. A pitch deck , however, presents a general overview of a business idea or startup, aimed at attracting investors and partners.

How do you structure a proposal deck?

Creating a proposal deck is about strategically guiding your audience through a persuasive narrative.

Each slide should be a stepping stone, building your case and keeping your audience engaged from start to finish. Here's how to lay out your deck for maximum impact.

10 essential slides of a proposal deck:

Title slide: Start with a strong, engaging title and your company's name.

Problem statement: Clearly identify the issue or need your proposal addresses.

Your solution: Concisely present your solution, focusing on its uniqueness and value.

Benefits: Highlight the key advantages your solution offers to the client.

Methodology or approach: Outline your strategy and methods for implementing the solution.

Timeline: Provide a clear, realistic timeline for project execution and completion.

Case studies or examples: Demonstrate credibility with relevant success stories or experiences.

Budget and pricing: Clearly outline the financial aspects with transparency.

Team introduction: Introduce your team, emphasizing their skills and roles.

Next steps: Conclude with actionable next steps and a call-to-action.

What are the main types of proposal decks?

Proposal decks come in various forms, each tailored to convey specific ideas and objectives in the most effective way. Understanding the main types helps in crafting a deck that resonates with your target audience and achieves your goals.

8 key types of proposal decks:

Event proposal deck: Ideal for showcasing event concepts, focusing on themes, logistics, and audience engagement.

Project proposal deck: Outlines the objectives, scope, and plan for a specific project.

Sports proposal deck: Designed for sports-related pitches, highlighting team strengths, achievements, and event plans.

Business proposal deck: Used for presenting comprehensive business plans, including market analysis and growth strategies.

Partnership proposal deck: Focuses on proposing collaborations, detailing mutual benefits and partnership dynamics.

Sales proposal deck: Tailored for sales pitches, emphasizing product benefits, pricing, and customer value.

Research proposal deck: Presents research projects, outlining objectives, methodologies, and expected outcomes.

Marketing proposal deck: Used for pitching marketing strategies, focusing on target demographics, channels, and campaign ideas.

Proposal deck examples that persuade and drive action

The power of a proposal deck lies in its ability to persuade and inspire action. In this section, we'll explore real-world examples of proposal decks across various industries and use cases and dissect what makes each of them effective.

Whether you're pitching a business idea, a project plan, or a partnership, these examples will provide valuable insights and inspiration for creating a proposal deck that not only informs but also motivates your audience to act.

NOTE: These proposal decks have been created for fictional companies. However, they're 100% replicable, so you can use them all as templates. They've been created with best practices in mind, optimized for engagement, and look great on any device.

Product launch proposal

This proposal deck for a physical product launch, specifically for SpoonCo Sonic Harmony headphones, is visually engaging and informative, showcasing the product's features and market potential.

What makes this proposal deck great:

  • Video on the cover: The deck starts with an eye-catching video, immediately grabbing attention.
  • Editable product specs: It allows for updating product details even after the deck has been sent, ensuring always up-to-date information.
  • Multiple smart CTAs: It offers various calls-to-action, guiding the viewer through different engagement options.

Brand design proposal

The brand design proposal deck by Pollyartis is a visually stunning and comprehensive presentation, detailing a strategic approach to crafting unique brand identities and enhancing online presence.

  • Guided content: The deck utilizes grayed-out content to guide readers through the proposal effectively.
  • Detailed project timeline: It includes a project timeline slide, providing a clear roadmap of the branding process.
  • Interactive success stories: It features a slide with clickable tabs showcasing various success stories, adding credibility and engagement.

Brand strategy proposal

The brand strategy proposal deck by Excea is a detailed and visually appealing presentation, focusing on crafting powerful brand identities with a strategic approach for digital success.

Clear pricing information: The proposal provides transparent and detailed pricing information for each service offered.

Terms and Conditions slide: The terms and conditions slide provides all necessary legal information in a clear, concise manner. This ensures both parties are well-informed and agree on the scope and limitations of the services.

'Accept' button: To make the acceptance process as smooth as possible, there's an 'Accept' button included. This feature simplifies the agreement process and reduces deal closing time.

Modern brand proposal

This deck redefines branding proposals with its intuitive design that guides the viewer through a journey of strategic content, coupled with innovative features for extracting brand elements and a comprehensive service scope.

  • Guided content with grayed-out sections: It uses grayed-out content to direct attention effectively through the proposal.
  • Branding extraction feature: The deck features the ability to extract branding elements directly from a client's website.
  • Clear presentation of scope of services: It offers a clear and detailed presentation of the scope of services, outlining what clients can expect.

Modern workshop proposal

This modern workshop proposal deck is designed to promote an innovative workshop, effectively outlining the agenda, training content, and expected outcomes in a clear and engaging format.

  • Agenda slide: The proposal provides a clear overview of the deck’s agenda, setting expectations right from the start.
  • Expandable text sections: It offers more information without overwhelming the reader, thanks to expandable text sections.
  • Articulation of benefits: It clearly outlines the benefits of the consultancy, making the value proposition evident to the reader.

Light mode marketing proposal

This light mode deck offers a unique blend of client-focused data visualization, the personal touch of custom video integration, and a clear, step-by-step process timeline for clarity and engagement.

  • Client snapshot slide: It includes a client snapshot slide, featuring various data visualization components for a comprehensive overview.
  • Custom video option for sharing: The editor allows for adding a custom video when sharing the deck with a prospect, adding a personal touch.
  • Timeline slide: It features a timeline slide, guiding prospects through the marketing process step by step.

Professional sales proposal

This proposal deck is a blend of functionality and design, offering an interactive and engaging experience.

It features a streamlined layout with expandable sections for in-depth information, making it an effective tool for presenting complex sales strategies in an accessible manner.

  • Team slide integration: The deck includes a dedicated team slide, introducing the sales team with professional photos and brief bios, fostering trust and personal connection with potential clients.
  • Clear layout: It features a well-organized layout, presenting key information at a glance. For those interested in delving deeper, 'Read more' buttons allow for expanded details without cluttering the main view.
  • Embeddable calendar feature: This facilitates immediate action, allowing clients to schedule meetings or follow-ups while they are engaged with the proposal.

Business project proposal

This business project proposal deck is a sophisticated and interactive tool designed for presenting comprehensive project plans and strategies.

  • Access to analytics panel: The deck includes an integrated analytics panel, providing real-time insights into viewer engagement and interactions.
  • Responsive design: It boasts a responsive design, ensuring seamless viewing across various devices and screen sizes.
  • AI assistant for content generation: The proposal features an innovative AI assistant, enabling the generation of dynamic content tailored to the project's needs.

Modern partnership proposal

This modern partnership proposal deck is designed to facilitate business collaborations, featuring a clear and persuasive layout with focus on detail and mutual benefits.

  • Expandable section for terms of agreement: It includes an expandable section, providing detailed terms of agreement without overwhelming the main content.
  • Pricing package slide: The deck presents various pricing packages clearly, aiding in transparent and informed decision-making.
  • Clear presentation of key points: It effectively outlines the pain points, objectives, and benefits of partnering, ensuring a mutual understanding of the partnership's value.

Marketing partnership proposal

This marketing partnership proposal deck is a highly interactive and customizable presentation, designed to effectively communicate marketing strategies and partnerships.

  • CRM integrations: The deck allows for CRM integrations, enabling the extraction of client data directly into the presentation.
  • Automatic layout adjustments: Every added element automatically adjusts to the layout, ensuring a cohesive and professional look.
  • Easily customizable slides: Each slide is designed for easy customization, allowing for a tailored presentation that aligns with specific marketing goals.

Event proposal deck

Tailored for event planners, this deck blends a meticulous budget breakdown with rich multimedia integration and interactive engagement strategies, setting a new standard in event proposal presentations.

  • Transparent budget section: It includes a transparent budget section, providing clear financial details and expectations.
  • Multiple image and video placeholders: The deck is equipped with various placeholders for images and videos, enhancing the visual storytelling aspect.
  • Multiple smart CTAs: It offers the option to add multiple smart calls-to-action, guiding the viewer through different engagement options effectively.

Modern music event sponsorship proposal

This proposal deck is tailored for pitching music event sponsorships, combining visual flair with informative content.

  • Data visualization components: It includes sophisticated data visualization tools, presenting key event metrics in an engaging and understandable format.
  • Narrator slide: The deck features a narrator slide, guiding readers through the successes of past events, adding depth and context.
  • Embeddable videos: Videos can be directly embedded into the deck, providing a dynamic and immersive experience for potential sponsors.

Consulting service proposal pitch deck

Strategically designed for consultants, this proposal deck merges the power of storytelling through case studies with a harmonious blend of textual depth and visual appeal.

  • Embeddable case study: The deck allows for embedding a detailed case study, providing tangible evidence of past successes and expertise.
  • Balance of text and visuals: It achieves a perfect balance between text-based and visual slides, ensuring clarity and engagement.
  • Data visualization library: It includes a comprehensive library of data visualization components, enabling the presentation of complex data in an accessible manner.

Social media proposal deck

Focused on the dynamic world of social media, this proposal deck stands out with its ability to personalize content on-the-fly, narrate compelling project journeys, and incorporate live data for a cutting-edge presentation.

  • Dynamic variables for personalization: It features dynamic variables, allowing for quick and easy personalization of the deck.
  • Narrator slide for project details: The deck includes a narrator slide, effectively conveying the details and objectives of the social media project.
  • The option to embed live stats: The ability to embed live data, such as real-time social media statistics, adds a layer of immediacy and relevance.

Athlete sponsorship proposal

Crafted for athletes seeking sponsorship, this deck captivates with its dynamic display of key statistics, a well-structured array of sponsorship options, and a user-friendly scroll-based design that brings the athlete's story to life.

  • Running numbers for key statistics: The proposal features dynamic running numbers, highlighting the most important statistics in an engaging manner.
  • Sponsorship packages in tabs: The deck segments various sponsorship packages in tabs, making it easy to understand and choose.
  • Scroll-based design: It utilizes a scroll-based layout for easy navigation and enhanced engagement.

Sports tournament proposal

The sports tournament proposal deck for ACME Cycling Team is dynamic and visually striking, designed to showcase the team's achievements and offer sponsorship opportunities.

  • Running numbers: It features dynamic running numbers that grab readers’ attention and boost engagement.
  • Scroll-based design: The deck utilizes a scroll-based layout for easy navigation and engagement.
  • Multiple image and video placeholders: It includes various placeholders for images and videos, enhancing the visual appeal and storytelling aspect.

Italian restaurant proposal

This proposal is ideal for showcasing restaurant concepts with a focus on market and competition analysis, enhanced by user-friendly design features.

  • Logo finder: The editor simplifies the design process by extracting logos directly from the website, ensuring brand consistency and professional aesthetics.
  • Detailed market analysis slide: The deck offers in-depth insights with various data visualization components, highlighting the restaurant's market position and competitive landscape.
  • Expandable text sections: It allows for a more detailed exploration of each team member's experience and menu item, providing a comprehensive understanding of the restaurant's offerings and expertise.

Construction proposal

This construction proposal deck is a comprehensive presentation, detailing project specifics, timelines, and costs for an apartment complex construction, showcasing expertise and commitment to quality.

Dynamic variables: The proposal allows for quick personalization with dynamic variables throughout the deck.

Cost estimate table: A comprehensive cost estimate table is included, featuring expandable text sections for detailed breakdowns. This allows for a clear understanding of all costs involved.

'Accept' button: To finalize the agreement, the proposal includes an 'Accept' button, designed to resemble a signature field. This feature simplifies the acceptance process, making it more intuitive and engaging for the client.

How to create a proposal deck?

Your proposal deck is often the most impactful point of contact with your audience. It's about telling a story that resonates with your audience, convincing them that your idea is not just viable, but irresistible.

Let's dive into some expert tips on how to create a proposal deck that turns skepticism into belief and interest into commitment.

1) Define your objective clearly

Start by being crystal clear about the objective of your proposal. What is the ultimate goal you're trying to achieve?

Whether it's securing funding, getting a project greenlit, or forming a partnership, your entire deck should be aligned with this objective. Every slide, every piece of data, and every argument should serve this end goal.

2) Understand your audience

Take a moment to really understand who your audience is. What are their needs, pain points, and expectations?

A proposal tailored to the specific interests and concerns of your audience will always be more effective. This means using language they understand, addressing their specific concerns, and showing that you have the solution to their problem.

3) Structure your content strategically

Every great proposal tells a story . Your deck should have a clear beginning, middle, and end.

Start by setting the scene and outlining the problem or opportunity. Then, lead your audience through your proposed solution, and conclude with a compelling call to action.

A narrative structure helps keep your audience engaged and makes your proposal more memorable.

4) Be concise and clear

Clarity is key in a proposal deck. Each slide should convey one main idea.

If you find yourself trying to cram too much information onto a single slide, it's a sign you need to simplify. Use bullet points, short sentences, and clear headings to make your content easily digestible.

5) Research and integrate relevant data

Your proposal should be underpinned by solid research . Include relevant market analysis, case studies, or success stories that support your proposal.

This data should be integrated into your narrative to strengthen your arguments and give credibility to your proposal.

Here's a great example of a data visualization slide:

Data visualization slide example

6) Address potential objections

Anticipate any potential objections or questions your audience might have and address them within your deck.

This not only shows that you've thought through your proposal thoroughly but also helps to build trust with your audience by acknowledging and addressing their concerns.

7) Keep your content focused

Avoid the temptation to include everything you know about the subject. Focus on what's most important.

Prioritize content that directly contributes to your objective and resonates with your audience. Less is often more when it comes to making a strong, focused argument.

8) Personalize where possible

If you can personalize aspects of your deck for specific audiences or stakeholders, do so. This could be as simple as including the client's logo or as complex as tailoring the content to address their unique challenges.

Personalization shows that you've put thought into your proposal and value your audience's specific needs.

Here's a great example of a personalized deck:

how to make a good personalized proposal deck

9) Include a clear call to action

What do you want your audience to do after they've seen your deck? Whether it's scheduling a meeting, signing a contract, or just considering your proposal, make this clear.

A strong call to action slide provides a clear next step for your audience and can significantly increase your chances of success.

Here's an example of a next step slide:

Next step slide example

Incorporating an 'Accept' button into your proposal is another small change that makes a big difference.

It's a straightforward way for clients to give their approval, cutting down on the time it takes to get from proposal to partnership.

This feature is a smart move towards smoother, faster business agreements, benefiting both you and your clients with its simplicity and effectiveness.

Here's an example of a deck with an accept button:

Accept button example

Proposal deck design principles

The design of your deck is not just about looking good; it's about enhancing comprehension, retaining attention, and creating an experience that sticks with your audience long after the presentation is over.

Let's dive into the art of designing a proposal deck that not only looks professional but also communicates your message with clarity and impact.

1) Embrace interactive elements

When it comes to proposal decks, many turn to static legacy decks that are straightforward, often resembling a digital brochure filled with text.

They're like reading a book from cover to cover; you get all the information, but the journey is predetermined, with no room for interactive elements or personalized pathways.

They can also be a bit of a squeeze on mobile devices, often requiring zooming in and out to read the details.

Interactive decks are like stepping into a 'choose-your-own-adventure' book. They transform the viewer's experience from a passive receipt of information to an active exploration with elements such as embedded links, clickable tabs, and dynamic graphs.

It's about creating a journey where the audience can dive deeper into areas of interest, watch embedded videos for more insights, or interact with real-time data.

Here's what a static deck looks versus an interactive one:

Static PPT example

2) Make sure the design is responsive

With people accessing content on a variety of devices, responsive design is crucial. Your proposal deck should look great and function well whether it's viewed on a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

This means optimizing layouts, text sizes, and interactive elements to work seamlessly across different screen sizes. Responsive design ensures that your audience has a quality experience no matter how they choose to view your deck.

Here's an example of a mobile-responsive deck:

Responsive deck example

3) Visualize your data

Data visualization is a powerful tool in proposal decks. It turns complex data into easy-to-understand visuals like charts, graphs, and infographics.

Good data visualization should simplify information, not complicate it. Use it to highlight key points, show trends, or compare figures.

Remember, the goal is to make your data accessible and meaningful to your audience, helping them grasp your points quickly and clearly.

4) Maintain consistent branding

Your deck should reflect your brand's identity. Use your brand's color scheme, fonts, and logos consistently throughout the deck. This not only looks professional but also reinforces your brand in the minds of your audience.

Be mindful of color psychology and choose a palette that aligns with the mood and tone of your message.

Here's an example of a branded deck:

Branded deck example

5) Implement narrated design

Narrated design is a modern approach that mimics the natural way we consume digital content. Instead of clicking through slides, the audience scrolls down a continuous canvas.

This design is intuitive and allows for a storytelling flow that feels seamless and cohesive.

It's particularly effective for online presentations, where the audience can scroll through the content at their own pace, ensuring they absorb information in a comfortable and engaging manner.

Here's an example of narrated design:

Scroll-based design example

6) Balance text and imagery

A well-designed deck strikes a balance between text and imagery. Use high-quality images that complement and enhance your narrative.

Avoid overcrowding your slides with text; instead, use bullet points or short paragraphs. The imagery should serve to break the monotony of text, making your deck more visually appealing and easier to digest.

7) Use white space wisely

White space, or negative space, is a crucial design element. It's the space between text, images, and other elements on your slide.

Proper use of white space prevents your deck from looking cluttered and helps to focus the audience's attention on the most important elements. It makes your content more readable and gives your deck a clean, professional look.

8) Prioritize readability

Everything in your deck should be easy to read. This means choosing fonts that are clear and legible, even from a distance.

Be mindful of color contrasts; text should stand out against the background for easy reading. Remember, if your audience struggles to read your deck, they'll struggle to engage with your content.

Interactive proposal deck templates

The process of creating a proposal deck can be incredibly time-consuming, requiring not only a deep understanding of your content but also skills in design and interactivity.

It's a bit like building a house – you need a solid foundation, the right tools, and a clear plan.

Interactive proposal deck templates are like a well-equipped workshop, where the heavy lifting of structure and design has already been done for you. They bring a level of professionalism and polish that can be hard to achieve on your own.

Grab one and see for yourself.

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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5 Essential Elements of a Winning Sales Proposal in B2B Sales

In the dynamic and challenging world of B2B sales, a compelling sales proposal can be the difference between closing a deal or losing a potential client. However, crafting an irresistible sales proposal is no easy job.

It requires a carefully planned process, a deep understanding of your client's needs, and a strategic approach to how to present your solutions that grab your buyer’s attention.

In this article, we'll explore the five key elements of creating a sales proposal that not only grabs attention but also convinces prospects to take action. 

Table of contents:

A Sales Proposal is a Form of Buyer Enablement Content

Gartner provides valuable insights into the importance of crafting high-quality sales proposals: 77% of more than 250 B2B customers found their purchase experience extremely complex or difficult.

To combat this, suppliers need to provide what Gartner calls " buyer enablement " content. This type of information makes the buying process easier and leads to significant wins. A sales proposal is a great example of buyer enablement content. 

What is a Sales Proposal and What is Not?

Before diving into the essential elements of a winning sales proposal, it's crucial to understand what a sales proposal is and isn't. 

A sales proposal is a formal written offer to a prospect explaining how your product or service will solve their problem or fulfill their needs. It is detailed, personalized, and focuses on the customer's situation.  

A Sales Proposal is Not a Sales Pitch

On the contrary, a sales pitch is a more generalized sales presentation that outlines the benefits of your product or service without going into the specifics of a particular customer's needs.

At What Stage of Sales is a Sales Proposal Needed?

Deal

Timing is crucial when it comes to presenting a sales proposal. It's not an introductory document, but a strategic tool that comes into play later in the sales process.

To understand this better, let's look at a typical progression of a sales case:

1) Initial contact: This is your first substantial interaction with the prospect. You're introducing your company and its offerings, establishing rapport, and gaining a basic understanding of the prospect's business.

2) Discovery: This stage involves a deeper conversation about the prospect's business challenges, budget, timeline, goals, and needs. You're gathering insights that will help you tailor your solution. You have also managed to involve other stakeholders and key decision-makers in the discussion.

3) Solution discussion / generic sales pitch: You present a preliminary solution based on what you've learned, discussing how your product or service could address their needs. This helps to refine further your understanding of what they're looking for.

With the previous stage of need assessment and a solution presentation, both parties should find common ground, which is a good place to transition into the sales proposal stage.

4) Sales proposal: After these stages, when you have a thorough understanding of the prospect's needs, that's when the sales proposal comes into play. The proposal outlines your solution, tailored to the prospect's unique situation, and demonstrates your understanding of their challenges.

A Real-World Example: Medical Device Sales in Action

Suppose you're selling a medical device to a hospital. You understand their challenge: outdated equipment causing inefficiencies. They need a technologically advanced, user-friendly solution that integrates with their systems.

You've also mapped their buying process, budget, timeline, decision-makers, and regulatory requirements. Equipped with all this information, you craft a sales proposal that matches their specific needs and constraints, making your solution a compelling choice. 

price-calculator

The Format and Structure of a Sales Proposal

A well-structured sales proposal is easy to read and understand. While the specific format can vary depending on the nature of your business and the complexity of the deal, a typical sales proposal includes the following sections:

  • Executive Summary: A brief overview of the proposal.
  • Problem Statement: Detailing the customer's challenges or needs.
  • Proposed Solution: How your product or service can solve their problem.
  • Pricing and Terms: Details of the pricing structure and terms of the deal.
  • Testimonials or Case Studies: Evidence of past success with similar clients.

Crafting a sales proposal demands clarity and simplicity. The content should be easy to understand without overwhelming detail.

To enhance your proposal, consider supplementing it with additional resources like documents, presentations, or videos.

How to Build An Effective Pricing Proposal

Pricing is one of the most important parts of a sales proposal. By following these strategies you not only focus on the price but also emphasize the value of your service or product.

  • Bundle Your Services: Rather than offering a single service, consider bundling related services together. This approach not only allows you to work on larger projects but also provides additional value to your clients.
  • Value-Based Pricing: This strategy entails pricing your services or products based on the value they provide to the client, rather than merely on the cost of your time or materials. 
  • Offer Pricing Options: Providing a range of pricing options can be a good strategy to cater to different budget levels and needs. By giving your clients the flexibility to choose the option that suits them best, you increase the likelihood of securing the business. 
  • Showcase the Benefits: Use your pricing proposal as an opportunity to highlight the value of your product or service. Describe your experience, the deliverables you offer, the unique selling proposition (USP) of your service, and the benefits the client can expect. 

Remember that the pricing section should not just be a list of prices. It's an opportunity to remind the client of the value you're offering. For example, if you're proposing a more expensive option, explain why it's worth the extra cost

Also, bear in mind that pricing is often a sensitive topic, so it's crucial to be transparent and fair. If your prices are higher than the industry average, be prepared to justify why. This could be because you offer superior quality, faster delivery, or exceptional customer service.

5 Elements of A Winning Sales Proposal

A well-structured sales proposal is easy to read and understand. While the specific format can vary depending on the nature of your business and the complexity of the deal– creating an effective sales proposal is both a science and an art.

Here are five key elements to consider when crafting your proposal:

1) Scalable but personalized templates

Ready-made sales proposal templates ensure consistency and quality across all your sales proposals while saving time. However, remember to personalize each proposal to reflect the unique needs and concerns of the prospect.

Ideally, templates are visually appealing, clear, and already include content that is unlikely to change. The internet is full of sales proposal templates for ideas and inspiration.

The format of your sales proposal can be a Word document or a visually stunning PowerPoint presentation, but remember that in the end, it’s the content and clarity that matters.

2) Research and base the sales proposal on the customer’s real needs and pain points

A sales proposal that clearly understands and addresses the customer's needs and pain points is far more effective than one based on guesswork. It's essential to identify and map the customer's pain points accurately.

These are typically found in the following areas: 

  • Financial Pain Points: These arise when costs exceed the customer's ability to pay, or when lower-cost alternatives are available.
  • Productivity Pain Points: These occur when your solution causes the customer to spend more time than expected or delays them in achieving their goals.
  • Process Pain Points: These cause issues when customers try to use your products or services or interact with your business.
  • Support Pain Points: These are issues within your support processes that cause problems for the customer.

A keen understanding of these pain points allows you to present a tailored solution in your sales proposal, significantly increasing its likelihood of success.

3) Target sales proposal for the audience

In any B2B sales scenario, it's important to recognize that multiple personas may be involved in the buying decision. Your sales proposal should therefore address the needs and concerns of all relevant stakeholders.

While every buyer is unique, they often fall into one of four broad categories according to G2M:  

  • The Economic Buyer: This individual is focused on maximizing return on investment. They're interested in case studies, client examples, and financial models that showcase the ROI of a solution.
  • The User Buyer: This person wants to understand the user and operational impact of your solution. They're interested in the practical aspects of how your solution operates in the real world.
  • The Technical Buyer: As the name suggests, this individual is interested in the deep technical aspects, compliance, contract matters, and risk evaluations of your solution. This could be the CTO, CFO, or IT Manager.
  • The Coach: This is your champion within the buyer's organization. They want to see your solution implemented and need sales and marketing information to help promote it.

Testimonial

4) Use testimonials to add proof and credibility

Testimonials from satisfied customers or case studies showing successful projects can significantly boost the credibility of your proposal.

In fact, according to Wyzowl, “9 out of 10 people say they trust what a customer says about a business more than what the business says about itself”.

Testimonials should be as relevant as possible and address specific pain points that your sales proposal can cure.  

5) Always Present Your Proposal In-Person or Remotely Before Sharing It

Last, but not least, this allows you to walk the prospect through the proposal, address any immediate questions or concerns, and gauge their response. And don’t forget to agree on the next steps: According to Duane Sparks, author of several best-selling books, you can shave 25% off your sell cycle time by having a Commitment Objective (action commitment) in mind for every call or appointment.

That’s like giving you 3 extra months to sell your products and services every year. 

How to Effectively Share Your Sales Proposal and Track Engagement

After presenting your proposal in person or remotely, the next step is to share the document, along with any supplementary materials. But, how can you ensure that it's opened, read, and understood?

Using a Digital Sales Room for Proposal Sharing

This is where modern sales enablement systems, like Showell's Digital Sales Room , come into play. These tools track not only when buyers open your proposal, but also what they view and even which pages or slides pique their interest the most. This valuable data allows you to plan targeted follow-up actions and engage at the right time, greatly enhancing your sales process.

Remember, the sales process doesn't end when the proposal is sent. Staying proactive and following up effectively helps to avoid the common pitfall of ghosting.

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Avoid Common Pitfalls

Creating a great sales proposal is one thing, but there are pitfalls to avoid. Be wary of making your proposal too product-centric, and instead focus on the customer's needs. Avoid using complex jargon that may confuse the prospect, and be sure to proofread your proposal for any errors that may diminish your credibility. 

Crafting an irresistible sales proposal is a vital skill in B2B sales. By considering these five key elements, you can create a proposal that's personalized, persuasive, and effective at closing deals.

Remember, according to Gartner research, customers who perceived the information they received from suppliers as helpful were 2.8X more likely to experience a high degree of purchase ease, and 3X more likely to buy a bigger deal with less regret.

So, focus on crafting proposals that offer clear, valuable information to your prospects.

Lastly, keep in mind that every sales proposal is an opportunity to learn and improve. Always seek feedback, measure the effectiveness of your proposals, and strive to make the next one even better.

Learn next 👇

Are you ready to take your sales proposal to the next level? Showell is a great tool for Sharing and Tracking your sales proposal while ensuring that you have access to all other sales materials you need to educate your buyers and make an impact. 

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Related content

How to Create a High-Performing Sales Proposal

The commercial proposal is an essential step in every sales process. However, it is frequently misunderstood and rarely utilized. Writing a commercial offer is not just putting a price on a general presentation. Let's see how to make it a weapon of mass conversion!

difference between sales proposal and presentation

Morvan Carrier

Acquisition Strategist & Co-Founder

Sales Quote

What is a business proposal and how is your prospect using it?

Many sales professionals think they know what the sales proposition is for. It would be used to specify the price of their solution (product or service) and to detail the services sold. Do you agree so far? Well if so you are wrong.

If I asked you this way now: How do your prospective clients see your business proposals ? Perhaps you may say that the cost would not be a valid answer. A business proposal is more than just a pretty quote. It is part of the sales process and like all the details that make it up, it has only one goal: to bring value to your prospective client !

Clarify your project and convince internally

The sales process can start in many ways: Prospecting, Incoming call, Recommendations ...In any case, it is unusual and even suspicious that a B to B customer has a perfect view of the solution from the start of the sales process.

Often they do not fully understand their problem, so before imagining the exact solution, there is a little way. It's your role when selling, to bring value to your prospect and ensure them that they will have the best possible experience during the sales process.

sales_quote_image1

He must read your sales proposal meticulously and synthetically, considering the problem that has been encountered, the reason for its existence, and how to address it.

This clarity will allow him to provide his teams with the tools required for them to appreciate your solution. Keep in mind that the individual you're talking to isn't always a sales genius, so it's up to you to assist them through your excellent sales proposal.

Compare with competing commercial offers

When you write a commercial proposal, keep in mind that your interlocutor and all the decision-makers involved in the project, will compare it with those of your competitors. In many companies, the final decision-maker will not be able to study all the offers in detail. To save time, he will only quickly browse through the offers that will be presented to him.

What does that mean?

  • First: As a result, your interviewer is likely to show you only the ones he has received. Instead, they will use their intuition to make decisions about which items are most important to them. To get the desired result, your proposed solution must be worked on and exhibit significant effort.
  • Second: When writing sales proposals , it must project an image of competence and, perhaps more importantly, that it should catch the attention of the decision-maker even when he reads it in a very quick manner. To achieve this, you need to teach your prospective client about the entire process (we'll get to that in Part 3). Do not hesitate to innovate in the format of your sales proposal templates , curiosity remains a powerful lever of attention.

Think about these two aspects when you evaluate your final proposal , ask yourself if they answer these two issues. If you have any doubts, start over!

The business proposition reflects the quality of your sales proposals

It sounds obvious, but I've heard many sales people and executives say they don't see how to enrich their business proposition. Be sure of one thing, the business proposition reflects the quality of the sales process, if you have nothing of interest to say about it, ask yourself the right questions.

The perfect business proposition is a co-construction

A good sales quote is not cut and paste, it should be built for and with your prospect . You should also avoid writing it at the end of the process, each meeting should allow you to move it forward. Indeed, in B2B it is rare that a sales process takes place in a single exchange.

sales_quote_image2

You have to take advantage of this “complexity”. Indeed, if with each exchange you advance your offer and validate this progress to your future customer at the next step, two things will happen:

  • Your prospect will take ownership of the commercial offer much more easily and will be able to defend it better. It is also his .
  • Your prospect having co-produced the commercial proposal, he will not be able to go wrong at the end of the process by considering it as unsuitable. It is also his .

As a bonus, you will discover that this method allows to exploit a cognitive bias called: freezing effect . This bias corresponds to the fact that when making a decision, we tend to persist in that direction. So each positive decision makes the next more likely to be positive. So by validating the construction of your offer at each stage, you increase the chances that this offer is finally accepted.

A good business proposition brings value

In the first part, I explained to you that a business proposal was first used for your prospect and not for you. You need to ensure that your business proposition has value in and of itself .

For example, if you are selling an account based marketing solution , why not include figures on its effectiveness as well as an audit of your client's organization and a recommendation on how to set it up?

I see you coming, don't do it with your big clogs by presenting your solution as the only option. See more broadly, on the scale of its organization and its challenges. Then demonstrate the fluidity with which your solution would fit into this project and how much that would increase its efficiency.

Often, we are told that the price is the key information of the business proposal, everyone is talking about it. The funny thing is that often salespeople are the first to be saddened by the fact that the customer only talks about the price. If the salespeople themselves focused a little less on it, so would the customers.

Bring value to bring the debate to what matters, you will see that the price will immediately be less central in your discussions.

Example of a successful sales proposal

After all these explanations and questions, you are probably wondering how to finally structure your commercial offer . I think there are many ways to do this and you have to find the one that best suits your target. That being said, I offer you a commented example of a structure for your commercial offer. Note that this is a relevant structure mainly for companies that sell B to B products or services with high added value.

Understand: The context and the issue

The first part of your commercial offer should allow you to demonstrate your understanding of your client's needs, the context in which they operate and their challenges.

We will find simple elements such as:

  • Who is your contact?
  • Its role in the company?
  • What is the size of the company and in which market is it operating?
  • What is its main objective in the coming months?

And specific elements on its problem:

  • How does he describe her?
  • How did he identify it?
  • Why is dealing with this problem important for the company?
  • How important is it to your interviewer?

To obtain these elements, I strongly recommend that you use SPIN sellingwhich is a very interesting sales technique to guide you during the first meetings.

To find out more, do not hesitate to consult our article on the subject .

Analyze: Diagnosis of the situation

In the second part of your business proposal, you must demonstrate your expertise and your ability to take a step back from the potential client's problem.

It is a diagnostic phase. Using the information obtained during your discussions and all the supports at your disposal, you will refine the description of the problem from an expert point of view. Place it in a broader context and provide all the elements of light necessary for its proper understanding.

sales_quote_image3

You are a web-marketing agency, your future client complains about too few leads brought by his current website. He thinks it necessary to overhaul his site. Your duty is to check if this is the problem, and to analyze for example its natural referencing, the loading time, etc. You have to prove that you have understood better than him where his problem is coming from and that you know exactly what led to its appearance.

In the example above, one can very well imagine that in fact, the site does not present any defect as such but that no SEO strategy has been put in place. Your prospect is invisible on Google, and therefore invisible to his target.

Suggest: Provide a solution

This is where you start talking about ... The Solution to the Customer's Problem . Not from you, at least not directly.

Be patient.

Action reaction, problem solution.

The “by whom?” will arrive later.

Describe in detail the action plan adapted to the resolution of the problem. Be specific and methodical. Your diagnosis must make it possible to make the solution “obvious”, if this is not the case you must rework the whole.

In the example of the agency, whose prospect has a problem of lack of incoming leads, after diagnosis, it seems obvious that a strategy must be implemented allowing better referencing. Your expertise being real, you will be able to propose a plan in two stages:

  • The creation of a blog and a content marketing strategy allowing you to better reference your future client and to develop its visitors in their journey.
  • Then the implementation of a marketing automation tool to exploit the traffic obtained by converting visitors into leads thanks to premium content.

Needless to say, there is much more value in this solution than in a “simple redesign” of a website.

Project Retro-Planning

At this point, the prospect is convinced that your solution is the right one. He needs to visualize himself triumphing over his problem. For this, back-planning is important because:

The difference between a dream and a project is a date.
Walt disney

In addition, it can be useful if your solution lends itself to it to propose a before / after image. This is important because it anchors the desire in your prospect. Remember that selling is an emotional process as well as a rational one . Help them plan for the future with you.

The before / after image makes your support concrete in the mind of the customer and during a quick read it makes all the difference with competing commercial proposals.

Budget: Cost the solution

There you go, now you can talk about prices.

Keep it simple, avoid having 300 lines with prices , quantities and all in different units. Save that for the “official” quote and even then only if you have some sort of “hatred” for accountants…

The more lines there are, the more numbers there are, the more potential aspects there are to negotiate ! Incidentally, we no longer validate one price but several, therefore several decisions, so it is more difficult.

Keep it simple. Package your solution on behalf of your client's stake. We are all completely indifferent to the name of your internal work units. Your client wants to “grow their business with inbound leads”.

It's those words, so use them and put a nice little line:

Support for the development of the number of inbound leads

It's simple, it's clear.

Reassure: Who are these incredible professionals?

Ok there we just talked about price and the prospect's fears are coming back at a gallop.

That's it, it's finally time to talk to you.

A brief description of your structure, your team and your references is sufficient. Simple and efficient.

You can adjust it according to the profile of your customers by pressing on certain specific points (certifications, rewards, who will be the privileged interlocutor, etc.).

Frequently Asked Questions about Sales Proposals

🧐 what is a business proposal.

The commercial proposal is a step in the sales process which takes up all the elements exchanged with the prospect and presents the commercial offer intended to solve his problem.

🤔 What is a business proposal for?

The commercial proposal is used to clarify the prospect's project and convince that you are providing the right solution, especially since your proposal will be compared with those of your competitors.

🤓 How to make a business proposal that converts?

You must show that you have understood the context and the problem of the prospect, that you are able to diagnose his situation and provide an effective solution by projecting the prospect on the realization of the project and its cost. You must also reassure him about your ability to solve his problem.

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Demand Gen: Growth Unleashed.

Presales VS Sales: Understanding the Differences and Importance

Ron Sela / Last updated: January 10, 2023

You might have come across the phrase “ sales vs. presales ” and wondered what the difference is. Don’t they both do the same thing? Do they have different goals and roles?

It’s no secret that refining the sales sequence is essential to a company’s success. But what is less known is that presales – the process of identifying and qualifying potential customers – is just as crucial, if not more so.

Harvard Business Review reports a win rate of up to 50% when selling to a new market and an even greater potential for existing partners with a proven track record of achieving 80-90%.

This article will explore the differences between presales and sales and explain why investing in presales is crucial for any business.

Before we dive into the significant differences between these terms, let us first define them.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Presales is crucial for laying the groundwork for successful transactions by establishing and nurturing relationships with potential customers, ultimately bridging the gap between customer expectations and company offerings.
  • While sales teams focus on meeting revenue targets and closing deals, presales teams support sales by providing technical expertise, product knowledge, and resources to ensure sales representatives are prepared to strategically sell the offer.
  • Presales involves tasks completed before a sale, such as lead identification, qualification, nurturing, and proposal crafting. On the other hand, sales processes begin after lead generation, involving engagement, negotiation, order fulfillment, and upselling, supported by tools like proposals, contracts, and demos.

Definitions

What is presales.

Before a sale takes place, companies often leverage presales activities to establish and nurture relationships with potential customers.

From creating tailored marketing materials to organizing events connecting buyers and sellers, these efforts can provide the groundwork for successful transactions.

The purpose of presales is to bridge the gap between customers’ expectations and company offerings by helping customers arrive at the best possible decision for their specific needs.

What is Sales?

Sales refers to the process of negotiating and closing deals with customers to generate revenue for a business. The seller completes a transaction in response to an inquiry, offer, bid, or proposal.

A sale is considered to be complete when:

  • The buyer and seller agree on the price and quantity of goods or services
  • Both parties exchange something of value
  • The title to the goods or services passes from the seller to the buyer.

Differences

Presales and sales represent the dynamic between the customer and the company. Without a strong presence in either department, an organization may find it difficult to move products or services from concept to reality.

Sales teams are responsible for meeting and exceeding quotas by selling products or services to customers. Pre-sales teams are accountable for supporting the sales team in achieving their quotas.

Let’s explore their differences in goals, roles, processes, and tools.

The goal of presales is to enable the sales team .

So, the pre-sales team needs to have a deep understanding of their offer and communicate that understanding to the sales rep. Presales also supports the sales team by providing them with tools, information, and resources. In short, the presales goal is to ensure that the sales team is as prepared as possible to sell the offer. 

The goal of sales is to sell the product or service.

Revenue growth is the ultimate target, but sales teams also focus on other metrics, such as the number of deals closed or the amount of new business generated.

The presales team typically consists of account managers, business development representatives (BDRs), and product specialists. Account managers oversee the relationships with key accounts. BDRs are responsible for generating new leads and opportunities. Product specialists provide in-depth product knowledge to the sales team and support them during the sales processes.

The sales team typically consists of sales development representatives (SDRs), account executives, and closing managers. SDRs are tasked with generating new leads and opportunities. Account executives are responsible for managing relationships with key accounts and closing deals. Closing managers are responsible for overseeing the entire sales cycle and ensuring that deals are closed in a timely manner.

The Pre-sales Process

Presales requires tasks necessary to be completed before a product or service is sold.

Presales generally involves five key steps: 

presales processes

  • Lead Identification : Identifying the right prospects for your business so that you can focus on those most likely to become customers.
  • Lead Qualification : Evaluating leads against established criteria to determine which leads are more likely to convert.
  • Lead Nurturing : Developing relationships with potential customers through education and value-adding content.
  • Proposal Crafting : Creating tailored proposals that appeal to each customer’s needs and situation.
  • Sales Readiness Preparing your team for sales conversations, including product demos and sales decks .

The Sales Process

The sales process begins after a lead has been generated.

The sales process also involves five key steps: 

sales processes

  • Engagement : Reaching out to stakeholders and building relationships between them and the company.
  • Negotiation & Closing : Exploring different options, discussing terms, and closing deals that make mutual sense for both parties involved.
  • Order Fulfillment & Delivery : Ensuring orders have been processed correctly and delivered on time to meet customer expectations.
  • Customer Service & Support : Building strong relationships with customers through timely support and delivering a high-quality product or service experience throughout the customer journey as well as after they’re already satisfied customers.
  • Upselling & Cross Selling opportunities : Proactively looking at opportunities to accelerate sales by offering related products or services alongside existing ones being purchased by customers

Because of the differences mentioned above, the tools can also vary. For example, presales teams may use marketing automation software to nurture leads, while sales teams may use customer relationship management (CRM) software to monitor customer data and manage deals.

We’ll give you a rundown of the most commonly used tools in pre-sales and sales so that you can be better prepared for success.

Pre-Sales Tools

As the primary goal of pre-sales is generating interest, pre-sales teams often use tools like webinars , eBooks, white papers, and free trials. 

  • Webinars: virtual events that allow you to present information about your product or service to a large group of people at once.
  • eBooks: digital books that are packed with information about a particular topic.
  • White papers : similar to eBooks, but they tend to be shorter—around 5,000 words—and more focused on providing detailed information about a specific issue or problem. 
  • Free trials: allow potential customers to use your product or service for a limited time without committing to purchasing it outright. It can effectively generate interest and get people hooked on your product before they’ve even paid for it. 

Sales Tools 

Once you’ve generated interest in your product or service, it’s time to start selling. The most common sales tools are:

  • Proposals: outline what you’re offering and how much it will cost
  • Contracts: spell out the terms of the agreement between you and the customer
  • Pricing tables: provide a breakdown of the costs associated with your product or service
  • Demos: allow potential customers to see your product or service in action to understand better how it works and what it can do for them. 

Here’s a summary of these key differences:

Increasing the Chances of Closing Deals

When you’re selling to another business, you’re not just trying to sell them on your product or service—you’re also trying to sell them on the idea that doing business with you will be a good investment. 

A. How to Increase the Chances of Closing a Presale?

Here are proven steps you can do to increase the chances of closing a B2B presale.

A.1 Do Your Research 

One of the most important things you can do when preparing for a B2B presale is to research your potential customer. It includes everything from their company history and size to their specific needs and pain points. The more you know about your potential customer, the better equipped you’ll be to sell them your product or service. 

In addition to researching the company itself, it’s also a good idea to research the decision-makers within the company. It means finding out who their boss is, what their job title is, and what their role is within the company. The more information you have about those who will be deciding to do business with you, the better. 

A.2 Court the Decision-Maker

 Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to start building a relationship with the decision-maker. It means reaching out and making contact in a way that is professional and respectful. You want to show them that you’re interested in doing business with them and have something valuable to offer. 

One of the best ways to court a decision-maker is to connect with them on LinkedIn. This professional networking site allows you to build relationships and exchange messages with potential customers without being too pushy or sales-y. 

A.3 Make a Good First Impression

When you finally meet with the decision-maker, making a good first impression is important.

Another important tip for increasing your chances of closing a B2B presale is to build a relationship with your potential customer before you even start talking about your product or service.

Remember, when you’re selling to another business, you’re not just selling them on your product—you’re also selling them on the idea of doing business with you. So, they must see you as someone they can trust and depend on. 

One way to build this relationship is by offering helpful resources.

They could be blog posts, articles, white papers, etc. Something that sells value and addresses the needs of your potential customers. Doing this can position yourself as an expert in your industry and someone who is truly invested in helping businesses succeed. 

A.4 Have a Solid Proposal 

When you’re ready to start talking specifics about your product or service, it’s important that you have a solid proposal prepared.

This proposal should outline all of your offer’s features and benefits and how they address your potential customer’s specific needs. It should also include pricing information and any special offers or discounts that may be available.

Be sure to keep your proposal complete but concise. You want it easy for decision-makers to digest quickly so they can see how working with you will benefit their business bottom line.

Bonus Tip: The presales questioning technique.

Knowing your customer’s decision criteria is essential when presenting a solution. The “pre-sales questioning technique” provides an effective tool for helping you understand where the client stands so that you can identify any gaps in their decision-making journey.

Doing this twice during the presentation (at the end of summarizing and after fulfilling the criteria) allows customers to be more comfortable with what they’re about to decide on.

B. How to Increase the Chances of Closing a Sale?

Let’s look at four tips for helping you close more deals and grow your business.

B.1 Use the Research from Presales

One of the most important data you can use to increase your closing rate is the research you did during the presales process. It means going into sales calls with as much information as possible about your potential customer.

You should also do additional research on your industry and your competition. Knowledge will help you answer questions and address concerns with confidence which potential customers find outstanding.

B.2 Nurture Relationships

People only do business with businesses they like and trust. Therefore, it’s important that you take the time to build relationships with your potential customers.

Get to know them personally, and let them get to know you. The more comfortable they are with you, the more likely they’ll be to do business with you when the time comes. That’s why relationship marketing must go together with customer marketing.

B.3 Be Persistent (But Not Pushy)

When you believe in what you’re selling, you must be persistent in your efforts to close a deal. However, there is a fine line between being persistent and being pushy.

No one likes to be sold to, so you must balance being assertive and respecting your potential customers’ boundaries.

If someone isn’t interested in what you’re selling, don’t waste your time trying to force them into a sale. Move on and focus your efforts elsewhere. 

B.4 Offer Something Differentiated

If your product or service is the same as everyone else’s on the market, it will be difficult to close a sale. Therefore, you must take the time to identify what makes your offering unique and emphasize those differences in your sales pitch. 

In closing sales, there are always three possible outcomes: a successful “yes,” an unfortunate “no,” or a lesson.

Here’s a video that teaches how to prepare for both “hell yes” and “hell no” responses from prospects and avoid getting stuck in between.

Closing Statement

Both sales and presales play an important role in helping businesses achieve their goals. Sales teams are focused on meeting quotas by selling products or services to customers. Presales teams provide support and resources that help sales reps close deals. Although they have different goals, sales and presales must work together to succeed.

Here are other frequently asked questions about presales vs. sales that we have not covered in the article.

Yes. Presales is a part of the integrated sales process responsible for setting the stage for a successful sale. By identifying and addressing potential objections upfront, the presales team can help to smooth the way for a closed deal.

Most companies will want their presales professionals to transition into sales once they understand the product or service, the market, and the customer. Many companies also prefer that presales professionals have some experience in sales so they can hit the ground running when they transition.

Pre-sales is the process of qualifying and targeting potential customers. It’s about identifying who is a good fit for your product and getting them interested in what you have to offer. Post-sales is turning those interested potential customers into actual paying customers and then supporting them so they become happy, loyal customers.

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About Ron Sela

Ron is a marketing advisor to technology-driven businesses. He has 15 years of digital marketing experience and an MBA from the University of Florida. Ron helps companies grow their revenue by developing and executing integrated marketing plans that align with their business goals. He has a proven track record of success in helping companies achieve their growth objectives.

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COMMENTS

  1. The Difference between a Proposal and a Presentation

    A presentation is "an introduction, exhibition, display, demonstration or performance.". The word suggests that something will be shown or made known. By contrast, a proposal is "a suggestion, recommendation or plan.". The word implies a certain level of personalization - after all, it is the word we use when an offer of marriage is made.

  2. Common Sense In Selling: Difference Between Proposal and Presentation

    Proposals pick up where presentations leave off. When a seller stops short of personalizing and putting together a plan that seller often misses the opportunity to close a sale. So remember, proposals are about the customer but presentations are all about your product. Make proposals in order to make more sales.

  3. How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal [Templates + Examples]

    A sales proposal is a structured, formalized document that sales reps use during the sales cycle that demonstrates to the buyer: A deep understanding of their pain points, and how your solution will solve them. The value and potential ROI of the offer. Costs, fees, and other terms related to the offer.

  4. Make a Winning Business Proposal Presentation (11 Steps)

    Learn how to create business proposal presentations that stand out and win deals. Apply battle-tested best practices and actionable tips from sales pros. ... the difference between a knockout business presentation and a poor one is the level of confidence during the delivery. Carrying out a great deal of detailed research beforehand will give ...

  5. 8 Best Tips for Business Proposal Presentations [+Examples]

    2. Have a clear agenda. Your presentation must have a clear and compelling agenda, which you can share right at the start (in addition to having shared it over email before the meeting). The meeting should begin with compelling reasons to consider your proposal and culminate with a specific request for the business.

  6. How to Write a Winning Sales Proposal (+Template Ideas)

    Using the structure outline in your template, start to organize the information you've gathered about the buyer and previous customer cases. Outlining your proposal in a previously used template will also present opportunities to customize the content for the intended audience. 6. Draft the sales content.

  7. How to do a Sales Proposal Presentation (And Why You Shouldn ...

    Present Your Sales Proposals Live Presenting your proposal means doing it live. If you work with local clients or sell big projects — 6-figures and up — then you should be there in person.

  8. How to structure the perfect sales presentation

    Step 1: Introduce your prospect's pain points. Be respectful of your prospect's time by cutting straight to what matters most: the pain points they want to solve. Use this problem to frame the ...

  9. How To Create A Winning Business Proposal Presentation

    Step 2: Research your audience. To make a lasting impact, conduct thorough research on your audience. Gain insights into their industry, needs, challenges and goals. This information allows you to tailor your presentation to their specific interests, speak their language and demonstrate the relevance of your proposal.

  10. How to Create a Powerful Sales Presentation

    Make it easy for your audience to digest your presentation by using an easy to read font size and font type. Stick between 28 to 32 font size for text size and keep the title font size somewhere within the range of 36 to 44 point size. Garamond, Helvetica, and Rockwell are some of the best fonts for presentations.

  11. How to Write a Sales Proposal: The Ultimate Guide : LeadFuze

    Sales Proposal Definition. A sales proposal is a document that outlines the offer you are making to a potential customer. It should include information about your product or service, your price point, and your unique selling points. A well-crafted sales proposal can be the difference between winning and losing a sale. It should be created with ...

  12. How to write a sales proposal: Proven techniques and strategies for

    In the competitive world of sales, a well-crafted sales proposal can be the difference between securing a deal and losing out to the competition. A sales proposal serves as a powerful tool to showcase your products or services, address the specific needs of your potential clients, and convince them that you have the perfect solution to their ...

  13. Sales Presentation Template and Examples

    A sales presentation (although it's still a sales pitch) is a point-in-time event that usually happens when your sales team is trying to close a more lucrative deal. It's not a simple phone call, as it often involves a meeting and a demo. Because you're likely presenting to a group of senior decision-makers and executives, sales ...

  14. Presentation or Proposal Software: Which Is Better For Your Sales Proposals

    The proposal software industry is expected to more than double between 2019 and 2024. Proposal software, such as Zomentum Grow, simplifies the way technology partners do business from creating proposals to tracking and measuring them. See how Zomentum Grow compares to presentation software. Strengths and Weaknesses

  15. 4 Differences Between a Sales Pitch and a Business Proposal

    However, once the initial sales pitch is effective, a written business proposal is usually the next step. This raises the stakes of making each sales pitch remarkable. Here are some tips on what to avoid doing. Creating a Radically Different Sense of Urgency. One big difference between a sales pitch and a business proposal is in the way you use ...

  16. 18 Persuasive Proposal Deck Examples (+Tips & Templates)

    A proposal deck is a visual presentation that outlines your project or business idea. It typically includes slides on objectives, strategies, timelines, and expected outcomes, presented in a clear, engaging format to persuade potential clients or investors. ... The difference between a proposal deck and a pitch deck is that a proposal deck ...

  17. 5 Essential Elements of a Winning Sales Proposal in B2B Sales

    A Sales Proposal is a Form of Buyer Enablement Content. Gartner provides valuable insights into the importance of crafting high-quality sales proposals: 77% of more than 250 B2B customers found their purchase experience extremely complex or difficult.. To combat this, suppliers need to provide what Gartner calls "buyer enablement" content.This type of information makes the buying process ...

  18. How to Create a High-Performing Sales Proposal

    Simple and efficient. You can adjust it according to the profile of your customers by pressing on certain specific points (certifications, rewards, who will be the privileged interlocutor, etc.). ‍. The commercial proposal is an essential step in every sales process. However, it is frequently misunderstood and rarely utilized.

  19. Proposal Presentation: How to Present a Proposal By Video (Tutorial)

    Why Proposal Presentation Videos Can Be a Great Sales Technique. One of the biggest difficulties inside sales teams and remote sales team face is communicating with clients. Creating proposal presentations by video is a great way to create a memorable experience for your client and communicate better with them. A proposal presentation video ...

  20. Proposal vs Presentation

    As nouns the difference between proposal and presentation is that proposal is that which is proposed, or propounded for consideration or acceptance; a scheme or design; terms or conditions proposed; offer; as, to make proposals for a treaty of peace; to offer proposals for erecting a building; to make proposals of marriage while presentation is the act of presenting, or something presented.

  21. Presales Vs. Sales Processes: Knowing the Differences

    Sales refers to the process of negotiating and closing deals with customers to generate revenue for a business. The seller completes a transaction in response to an inquiry, offer, bid, or proposal. A sale is considered to be complete when: The buyer and seller agree on the price and quantity of goods or services.