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4 Steps to Create Winning Content for Your Sales Proposal

Posted by Amit Davé on Feb 4, 2015 9:00:00 AM

a winning sales proposal is like a touchdown

In my last guest post I discussed how to make your proposals and quotes pop, but today I’d like to focus on how you can systematically create great content. After all, even the most beautiful and well-designed sales proposals will fall flat on their face if they’re not backed by well-written content.

Given the recent Super Bowl, I decided to enlist the help of a handy football analogy to walk you through the following steps. 

Step #1: Warm Up

Go to a football game before kickoff and you’ll see that even the most physically fit players warm up before they dive in. The same is true for proposals. Review your notes, find out what the customer brought up over and over, and make sure you review what solutions you discussed and what the client’s biggest issues are. Make sure to include all of these important components, including a business case (for the purpose of cost justification).

The more prepared you are, the smoother things will go, and the happier the prospect or customer will be.

Step #2: Play the Game

Now you’re ready for kickoff. Just like a football game has quarters, you need to break up your proposal and set your expectations for each segment. Think of the table of contents as your playbook and keep an eye on the game clock. Remember, succinct and easy-to-understand language is always appreciated; don't say more than you need to or rely on complicated jargon. No one wants this game to go into overtime.

Step #3: Beat the Clock

Submit your proposal before the deadline. If your proposal contains an error or a section the customer disagrees with, you might get a second chance to review and submit it because you have extra time. 

Finally, before submitting your proposal you must remember to:

  1. Edit it
  2. Shorten it
  3. Spell-check it
  4. Have others on your team review and approve it

Step #4: Post Game

All good athletes review their game tapes. Look at your winning proposals and see what you did right. Ask clients why they picked you and focus your next efforts on those strengths. Look at what you screwed up and make sure you don’t do that again! 

Reviewing your past wins (and losses) will give you a good idea of what type of content and language is working, and what’s not. This can also provide a baseline for future proposals.


In order to not overwhelm yourself and your sales team, take each proposal step by step. Focus on great content from the first stages of note-taking to the final stages of review. Make sure you have addressed the main issues your customer is concerned with in a simple, straightforward, and eloquent manner.

Remember that your content represents you, your sales team, and your business. Ensure that it’s consistent and does justice to your company’s mission while presenting the client with well-outlined, value-rich options. This will not only ensure a long-term business relationship, but can increase the level of confidence your client has in your company and its products or services.

Sample the ROI tool from ROI-Selling.com

  Image Source: iStock