Business proposals may be delivered in many ways, from a classic text or PDF document to a crafted, (hopefully) well-designed presentation. We often recommend sending them in the form of a slide deck, which allows you to craft a much better story around why your business or product is the best option in the market.
The most prominent mistake people make with business proposals is sticking to a single template, and not changing it or adjusting it to match the needs and specifics of the customer. In the end, an outstanding proposal is one that shows empathy, that proves that your company is absolutely the best alternative.
Finally, technology gives you the upper hand now. A document tracking platform like Slidebean Track will notify you when the prospect opened the proposal, and tell you how much time they spend on each slide, whether they shared the proposal inside their company, or if they even took the time to look through the whole deck.
The following outline is the most used business proposal structure:
This is a bragging section; in these slides, you'll want to do a quick summary of your company, when was it founded, what relevant clients have you worked with.
If your company has received any awards or recognition, this is where you want to point them out.
Arguably, this is the most critical section of the whole business proposal. In this part, you'll want to do a summary of the problem the client has detected.
If the prospect sought your company out, this should include the information they provided to you about their needs. If you are making the pitch instead, this section should prove that you have done a lot of research to truly understand the challenges they face.
Showing a deep understanding of the issues, the company culture and the challenges they face is utterly essential. This expertise in your client's struggles will generate the rapport you need to sell your product or service as the ideal solution eventually.
If you are a service provider, this section should be a preview or hint about your approach you will take to solving the problem. In most occasions, you will need to show real proposals which will inevitably require some free work (this is why it's valuable to count the time necessary to do these proposals in your average cost of acquisition).
Make sure that you don't go into too much detail about the execution itself, or downplay the difficulty of implementing it. You do not want to give everything out, and you want to make it evident that your expertise is fundamental.
If you are selling a product, then this is the time to brag about demos and screenshots. Again, the demos and parts of the app you show should be defined by your Problem Statement: showing irrelevant parts of the app, even if you skip or downplay those slides, can break the rapport you created in your Problem section.
You'll want to do a reminder of the areas of expertise you have, or some of the clients you've worked with. Showing success stories, especially if they are closely related to this pitch, will be the cherry on top of your business proposal.
Not a lot to add here. Just drop the pricing bomb.
Some people suggest proposing to scenarios here, with different pricing; this gives the prospect the option of choice and might save you the need to renegotiate the price.
Finally, keep some slides under your sleeve in case additional questions come up.