You can hire the best people, have the best solution set, and work harder than your competitors, but you might not get the chance to showcase it if you don’t have a good proposal. Indeed, the most successful VARs and MSPs leverage quote management, or CPQ (configure, price, quote), software to quickly generate standardized quotes and proposals that are purpose-built to close business. The finished product makes homemade Word-based quotes look amateurish.
While quote management solutions come with templates and built-in functionality that greatly increases your chance for success, there are some best practices to keep in mind when it comes to the proposal process.
Tips for successful MSP proposals:
Pay attention to RFP details—If your prospect wants you to outline X,Y, and Z in your proposal, you’d better do so. Use the RFP as a checklist before you send out your final version to ensure you’re providing all the required information and avoiding a potential disqualification.
Address customer pain points—You shouldn’t be creating a proposal without first understanding your customer pain points. Assuming you’ve identified them, make sure it’s clear how your proposed solution will address those pain points.
Focus on your value proposition—Make it clear how you’re different and articulate the value that you provide your customers.
Address potential objections in advance—You probably have enough experience to know what objections customers might have concerning price, terms of service, bundling, etc. Rather than let potential objections be an obstacle to you winning the business, take steps to overcome the objections within the proposal.
Pay attention to small details—It’s the little things that can hurt your chances of winning new business. Sending out a proposal with spelling and grammatical errors is easily avoided and can sow seeds of doubt concerning your attention to detail. Similarly, if you’re recycling a past proposal, make sure you search for and remove the names of other companies.
Include a purpose in your follow-ups—Unless you’re responding to an RFP (which should contain a deadline for the decision), you will need to reach back out to prospects—often many times—to close the deal. Some experts estimate is takes 5 to 7 follow-ups to get the job done. The worst thing you can do is simply hound the contact for an answer. Rather, it’s recommended that each email or call contain some value or additional information that can help the prospect make up their mind (hopefully in your direction).
Standardize—If you have more than one salesperson and no process in place, it’s likely that the above actions are getting done to varying degrees with varying effectiveness. Create a process that ensures all salespeople, including future hires, are taking the correct steps to increase the odds of winning customers.