Your website is modern and up-to-date; your brochure looks slick and has copy that pops. Having quality collateral, whether electronic or print, is typically a priority for most B2B companies. Marketing collateral is often used during the early stages of the sales cycle. It is used to get prospects interested and move them along the funnel. So once a buyer has been qualified, you’re in the Red Zone and in a great position to score a big ol’ touchdown, many – too many – B2B companies lose focus and drop the ball. Instead of celebrating with a spike, they are left with another notch in the loss column asking Why? Why? Why?
The Answer: B2B companies get lazy with proposals and most of the time, quite frankly, they stink.
When Did You Last Update Your Proposal Template?
I know, it’s hard to remember! Many times B2B companies’ proposal templates are over five years old. They are usually Word documents that have pretty standard and stale language that is tweaked ever so slightly over time. Sometimes, all that is changed is the potential client’s name. These proposal templates use phrases like “we deliver work of the highest quality.” Is your proposal cover by chance a solid navy or dark green with a cut-out window? Compelling? Not so much! C’mon Man! It’s the homestretch – isn’t this the time to put your best foot forward and demonstrate that your firm is indeed different than the others?
Proposal Reform: A Step-by-Step Approach
Step One: Redo All of the Copy. I know this is a huge undertaking, but your outsourced or in-house marketing team needs to be up for the task. The copy needs to speak directly to the individual prospect. We recommend creating fresh templates by marketing segments because by definition, marketing segments are groups of people with similar needs. Ensure your copy isn’t boastful, such as:
“We are the leading…..”
“We believe that we are right partner for you…”
Let your references or testimonials do the talking! And yes, you should always include both. Emphasize the benefits that your company will deliver and how it is different than your competitors. Copy is king, queen and the entire royal court. Make it powerful!
Step Two: Make it Visually Dynamic. Brochures have pictures as do websites. Why shouldn’t proposals include some strategically-placed photos as well? Spend $100 to have a designer put together a custom cover and have it digitally printed. There is no reason that proposals have to be boring! Remember, you are on the verge of scoring ….
Step Three (Optional): Bring it to Life through Multimedia. With all of the technology available today, it is relatively easy to develop a multimedia proposal template complete with flash animation and videos. What better way to give your prospect a flavor for your firm’s people and creativity?! Marketri recently developed a multimedia proposal for an accounting firm client that included custom animation and four professional videos. Although we can’t share our work due to confidentiality reasons, we are pleased to report our client scored a touchdown on that one!
It’s time to take a time-out because having a winning proposal template is the last step to higher top-line revenue. So huddle up with your marketing professional or team, develop a play, and get ready to score in the Red Zone every time.