6 Reasons Sales Proposal Fail

Sales proposals have the unfortunate combination of being both expensive to create and easy to screw up. Maybe that’s why so many sales reps loath writing them.

In this post, Geoffrey James describes the 6 most common dumb reasons that sales proposals end up in the trash, along with some easy-to-follow advice to help you avoid these mistakes in the future.

6 Dumb Reasons Your Sales Proposal Bombed:

What You Did: You heard about the opportunity through the industry grapevine, obtained the RFP, wrote a proposal based on the RFP, and sent to the proper individual, within the deadline specified in the RFP.

Why You Did It: You knew from the RFP that the prospect had a need that your offering could satisfy and figured that, by simply writing a proposal, you’d have a fair and equitable chance of being the vendor selected to help them.

What Happened: The individual at the prospect’s firm who was responsible for selecting the proposals that will be passed on to decision-makers took one look at your title page, wondered “who the heck are these guys?” and pitched your proposal into the trash.

Why It Didn’t Work: When a prospect issues an RFP, they’re not really interested in competitive bids from people they don’t know and companies that they don’t recognize. Usually, prospects already have a short list of vendors who they’re considering, but may be required, for legal reasons, to have some kind of open bidding process.

How to Avoid This Error: Only go to the time and effort of writing a proposal after you’re reasonably certain, as the result of multiple meetings with the customer, that your firm is actually in the running. If you can’t meet with at least some of the decision-makers up front, you’re probably not going to get the business and writing a proposal is simply wasted effort.

It’s been said that “everything happens for a reason.” That’s certainly true… and often it’s for a dumb reason. Especially with sales proposals. Proposals have the unfortunate combination of being…

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