This Sales Proposal Checklist Will Save Time and Money

Last Updated Sep 21, 2010 7:30 PM EDT

Working on a sales proposal? Here's a simple checklist that lets you figure out whether you're wasting your time and money, and whether your proposal has a chance of winning the opportunity.

To make the checklist easy to use, I've broken it up into the three stages of the proposal writing process.

Before You Write the Proposal (True or False):

  • The customer already knows who we are. (T/F)
  • The customer expecting us to bid on this opportunity. (T/F)
  • We are certain the customer can afford our solution. (T/F)
  • There is a deadline for the decision-making process. (T/F)
  • We will be allowed to present the proposal personally. (T/F)
  • We are sure another vendor doesn't have the inside track. (T/F)
  • Our proposal can be submitted on time, to the right people. (T/F)
If the answer to any of the above is "False", don't bother writing the proposal, because you're not going to win the opportunity. If you decide to move forward...

While You Write the Proposal (True or False):

  • Our executive summary addresses customer needs. (T/F)
  • Our executive summary is one page or less. (T/F)
  • Our proposal follows the customer's specified format. (T/F)
  • Our proposal expresses a real customer need or desire. (T/F)
  • Our proposal mitigates risk so the customer won't worry. (T/F)
  • Our proposal aligns with the customer's corporate culture. (T/F)
  • Our proposal will convince the customer we can deliver. (T/F)
  • Our proposal defines how to measure success. (T/F)
If the answer to any of the above is "False" keep writing until you're sure they're true. Once you're done with that process...

Before You Submit the Proposal (True or False):

  • We have edited out all the biz-blab and jargon. (T/F)
  • Our writing is clear and forceful, not flat and technical. (T/F)
  • Our proposal contains no glaring grammatical errors. (T/F)
If the answer to any of the above is "False," you're still not ready. Keep editing until you're sure they're "True." When they are, you're ready to submit the proposal.

BTW: The above is based upon a conversation sales proposal guru Tom Sant, along with inputs from the Sales Machine community.

For more on proposal writing see: