When we work with customers, it often turns out that the preparation of a sales proposal takes a dozen hours or even more. In the one hand, the way of creating a proposal impacts the efficiency of customer acquisition, but, on the other, it requires a lot of time of highly-paid specialists.
The longer a potential customer has to wait for your proposal, the greater the chance that a better organised competitor will reach him in the meantime, and the resources that your company invested in preparing the quotation and writing the PDF file content will go to waste.
Usually when we analyse the situation, it turns out that during the tendering stage our customers spend most of their efforts on the quotation. This stage often requires the involvement of a highly-paid and very busy specialist.
For example, if you are preparing a sales quote of a workshop for a potential customer, you can create its program from scratch and quote every element of the schedule in detail. Such a quotation involves a specialist who must find time in their schedule to prepare it, which will often cause delays. However, instead of that, the pricing may be based on, for instance, 3 previously quoted packages: 4h workshop, 8h workshop and 15h workshop.
The lack of packages is particularly expensive when you have to create a quotation for a company with a small budget for the proposed solution — there is a risk that the costs of the time spent on acquiring the customer, preparing the proposal and delivering the service itself will be higher than the revenues from its execution.
When the idea for a solution is ready, it must be presented legibly — usually in the form of a proposal sent in PDF format. A common mistake is creating each slide from scratch every single time, when in fact more than a half of the slides could remain unchanged. Naturally, it is a good idea to have a tailor-made proposal for a potential customer, but writing a brand new one every time is really taxing. Without basing it on an editable presentation pattern, the process will always take a lot of highly-paid employee’s time.
When the CEO’s responsibility, in addition to managing the company, also includes customer acquisition and preparing proposals, it can often lead to a situation where creating them must wait until they find some time for it (and a CEO never has time).
The more complex the solution quotation is, the more details will usually need to be confirmed to prepare it. The CEO will have to be asked for confirmation since they were the one who spoke to the customer. Therefore, the CEO’s involvement in creating the proposal means risking delay in delivering the proposal to the customer.
When proposal preparation involves specialists who are normally responsible for other areas of your business, there is a risk that this task might be of lower priority for them than their daily duties as well as emergency situations they have to deal with. The lack of an assigned specialist who would prepare proposals quickly and efficiently results in not having anyone who would prepare them faster and more efficiently over time thanks to their expertise. Of course, this solution is not meant for readers working in the smallest companies.
When the customer’s problems and expectations are not clearly defined, the person creating the proposal can spend time preparing a mismatched quotation. In another scenario, it may turn out that the proposal prepared by that person will meet their needs, but inquiring about the missing information will take very long. Oftentimes, instead of solutions, the customer needs help with defining their problems and expectations properly — that is, an analysis or a workshop during which a more precise vision of the solution will be formed. Afterwards, there will be time for a quotation of the main scope of cooperation.
How many times have your heard your salesperson say: “I can’t send the proposal to the customer because specialist X keeps asking me to ask them about more details”? How often did the specialist report that “the materials from the salesperson make it impossible to quote anything”? Such signs indicate that the company lacks a clear quotation preparation procedure, and each new one is prepared spontaneously.
If it isn’t obvious what information is necessary to prepare a quotation, the salespeople are often unaware of what they should ask the customer and sending the proposal will be delayed by filling in the missing information.
The time required to prepare a proposal reflects the company’s organisation — if your potential customers have to wait a long time for the proposal, it’s not only more difficult to increase your sales, but also a lot of processes within the company are probably organised insufficiently. Often the situation where customers received proposals from other competitors faster than from you causes your proposal to be viewed through the prism of something that your clients saw earlier. If you want to learn how to create effective proposals, read this article.
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