Want to write proposals that get signed?
Then you’ve come to the right place. In this blog post, I’m going to share with you some of the strategies that the best sales professionals use to write proposals that close. I’ve compiled this blog post after combing through sales forums, chatting with AEs, sitting in on demos and being on the receiving end of a number of pitches myself.
According to my research and experience, these are some of the best techniques for delivering a sales proposal that works.
Let’s get to it.
What Goes Into A Great SaaS Sales Proposal?
Before you start working on a proposal, you first need to understand where it lives in the SaaS buying cycle. When most people think about sales, they think about self-serve products they can access with the simple swipe of a credit card. While a large portion of sales happen via a self-serve experience, many fall into a different category:
Sometimes it’s called enterprise.
Sometimes it’s called custom.
Sometimes it’s called unlimited.
Whatever you want to call it, it’s the category in the pricing grid for buyers who need a customized solution because the other options don’t fit their wants or needs.
Some people will scream, “Transparent pricing is better! No one wants a demo!”
But the reality is quite the opposite. Enterprise customers really don’t mind demos; in fact, most of them expect one and look forward to seeing how you can develop a solution that suits their needs.
Once a lead is qualified and the fit is obvious, it’s time for sales to put together a proposal. Whether that proposal is in the form of a pitch or a document, there are three key parts of a proposal that every sales professional needs to think about:
- The Opportunity
- The Solution
- The Price
Paint A Picture Of The Opportunity
The first thing you need to think about when crafting your proposal is what happens when a client buys and uses your product. Your proposal should focus more on the benefits of the product than the actual product. The folks at UserOnboard made the amazing graphic above to explain the difference. Here’s how they described it:
People don’t buy products; they buy better versions of themselves. When you’re trying to win customers, are you listing the attributes of the flower or describing how awesome it is to throw fireballs?
When it comes to your SaaS product, you’re not pitching the many features it offers—you’re pitching the better future that comes with. For example, Salesforce doesn’t sell CRM software; it sells improved workflows, accountability, data management, efficiency, productivity, collaboration and much more.
In short, it sells a more effective sales team!
So as you craft your proposal, promise your prospects a better future. Tell them how you’ve helped other companies achieve that future. Understand where your prospects want to be and paint a clear picture of how you can help get them there.
Which takes us to the next part of a good proposal…
Communicate The Solution Without Overwhelming Them
So your product has tons of awesome features. Your customers rave about this one and that one … and this other cool feature always gets people talking … and then there’s the feature that makes all your competitors jealous … and with the latest iteration, you added 17 other functions that are super innovative…
I’m sure all those features are great.
But combined, they’re a one-way street to overwhelming your prospect. No doubt your product has those features for a reason—at some point, each one meets a need. But how many people open up Word each day and use every single one of these features?
The same thing is true for your SaaS proposal.
The buyer doesn’t need to know everything. They only need to know about the features that will ultimately lead to their goals. Think about the opportunity you’re presenting and only highlight the features that will make that future a reality.
Talk About Price Without Scaring Prospects Away
Now that you’ve defined the opportunity your prospects are chasing and the specific solutions that can get them there, it’s time to talk price.
Typically, you come up with a price point based on past deals, industry norms and what you think will work for your buyer. But there’s actually a much better way to maximize the chances of closing while establishing a sense of trust.
You know how most sales proposals leave buyers feeling like they left money on the table, or that they could have negotiated a bit harder? You can avoid that problem by using intelligent and interactive pricing grids. Just as you might have a pricing grid on your website to advertise the various plans you offer, you can use a custom pricing grid to offer solutions tailored to a single client, like this:
(You can create your own here.) This allows you to offer multiple solutions and multiple price points, all customized to fit their needs. It’s a win-win: You can showcase all the benefits of your product, and your potential buyer is able to choose a plan that’s best for them.
Once a prospect is ready to lock down exactly what they want, they can click “Approved” and within seconds, you’re notified that it’s time to create a contract. Cha-ching!
So What Should You Do Now?
If you’re trying to sell SaaS products via the “Contact Us” or “Enterprise” box on a pricing page, then you have to craft the right story. To get the language right, you might need to spend some time talking to existing customers about how your product improved their world.
You also need to arm yourself with the right tools. I talked about SalesRight’s pricing grids above, but that’s not the only tool you can take advantage of—there are plenty of sales tools out there that can make you feel like you have super powers. I always recommend that you invest the time (and resources) to get the technology you need to win.
Taylor is a Co-Founder and the Head of Growth at SalesRight. He rarely stops talking about pricing psychology, the Canadian 🇨🇦 technology scene, and diversity & inclusion in tech. Outside of work you can find him leading Canada’s largest LGBTQA+ technology community or on the hunt for poutine and bagels.