Glossary » Sales Proposal

Sales Proposal

What is a Sales Proposal?

Sales proposals are documents used to win new business which outline a company’s products or services, costs, supporting content, and terms of sale. Proposals are solicited or unsolicited. A solicited proposal is one that a potential customer requests. This could be in the form of a Request for Proposal (RFP), which is a formal document that outlines what the customer is looking for. Or, it could be a proposal sent after a sales presentation or call with a sales rep.

An unsolicited sales proposal is not requested but may interest the potential customer. This type of proposal is a way to introduce your company and products or services to a new potential customer.


  • Price quotes
  • Sales pitches
  • Project proposals
  • Business proposals
  • Executive summaries

Sales Proposals: What Sales Teams Need to Know

Proposals play an integral part in the sales cycle and ultimately accelerate an organization’s revenue. Loopio reports that organizations win 44% of their RFPs. A company’s success in winning new business is due to, in part, its use of technology to generate proposals. According to a report by Qorusdocs, “Companies that use proposal software report a higher share of revenue coming from new businesses than those not using automated tools (51% vs. 39%).”

Let’s take a closer look at how sales proposals drive revenue.

Where Sales Proposals Fit in the Sales Cycle

Sales proposals are an essential part of the sales process and can be sent at different stages of the sales cycle. The sales cycle can be generally divided into four stages: prospecting, initial contact, evaluation, and closing. Proposals usually fall into the evaluation stage, but there are some exceptions. For instance, if you’re selling a low-priced item or service, it may make sense to include a proposal in your initial contact with the prospect. This can help save time later on in the process.

In most cases, proposals come after you’ve had a chance to meet with the prospect and discuss their needs. This allows you to understand their situation better and tailor your proposal accordingly. It also allows you to build rapport and trust, which can be critical when asking for a sale.

The evaluation stage is when prospects compare your solution to others on the market. This is where your proposal can shine. A well-crafted proposal can highlight the unique features and benefits of your offering and help prospects see why it’s the best fit for their needs.

Once a prospect has decided to move forward, the closing stage is when they finalize the purchase. In some cases, a proposal may also be involved in this stage. For example, if you’re selling a high-priced item or service, you may need to provide a detailed proposal outlining the terms of the sale.

Knowing where proposals fit in the sales cycle can help you better prepare for each stage. By understanding the role of sales proposals, you can ensure that your proposal is always well-timed and relevant to your prospect’s needs.

Who is Responsible for Generating Sales Proposals?

The answer to this question depends on the company and the sales process. In some cases, it may be the responsibility of the proposal professional, sales manager or director. According to a study by RFPIO, “organizations with dedicated proposal professionals submitted 3.5X more proposals in 2020.” Organizations without a dedicated proposal manager are missing out on revenue.

In other organizations, it may be the sales team’s responsibility. Ultimately, it is important to clearly understand who is responsible for generating sales proposals within your company so that the process runs smoothly.

If you are in charge of generating sales proposals, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Make sure you have a clear understanding of the products or services you are selling. You should be able to speak confidently about the features and benefits of what you are selling.
  • It is important to understand the needs of your potential customer. What are they looking for? What are their pain points?
  • You need to put together a strong proposal outlining the value of your product or service and how it can solve the customer’s problem.

If you are working with a team, you need a clear understanding of each person’s role in the proposal process. Who will be responsible for gathering information? Who will be writing the proposal? Who will be presenting the proposal? By clearly understanding everyone’s role, you can ensure that the proposal process runs smoothly and everyone is on the same page.

Ultimately, the success of a proposal depends on its ability to sell the product or service. A strong proposal will be well-thought-out, clearly written, and persuasive. It should be tailored to the customer’s specific needs and show how your product or service is the best solution for their problem. By taking the time to create a strong proposal, you can increase your chances of making the sale.

Sales Proposal Mistakes to Avoid

As a sales professional, you know that the proposal is key to landing the deal. But even the best salespeople can make mistakes when crafting their proposals.

Here are four Sales Proposal Mistakes to Avoid:

1. Not doing your research

When creating a proposal, it’s crucial to research and understand your potential client’s needs. Creating a proposal that meets their needs will be difficult without this knowledge.

2. Not tailoring your proposal

A generic proposal is likely to be less effective than one that is tailored to the customer. Include information relevant to the client’s industry, company size, and specific requirements.

3. Underestimating the competition

Your proposal needs to show why you are the best choice for the job. But first, you must research your competition and understand their strengths and weaknesses. Only then can you highlight how your offerings are superior.

4. Not proofreading

A proposal with typos or grammatical errors will reflect poorly on your company. So be sure to proofread your proposal before sending it to the client.

By avoiding these mistakes, you can create a sales proposal that will likely win the client and close the deal.

Seven Elements Every B2B Sales Proposal Should Include

When creating proposals, pay attention to your structure. Organize your sales proposals to steer the reader towards purchasing by including the elements listed below.

1. Executive Summary

Start with an executive summary. This is a brief overview of your proposal, including the main points you will address.

2. Company and Product Overview

Next, give a brief overview of your company and your products or services. Include information on why you are qualified to provide these products or services and how they will benefit the client.

3. Problem Statement

In the next section, describe the client’s specific problem or opportunity and how your products or services can help address it.

4. Price Quote

Next, provide details on your products or services, including pricing information.

5. Sales Content

Include supporting sales content to help the buyer learn more about your products or services. This can include a list of features and benefits of your product or solution.

6. Call to Action

Finally, close with a call to action, urging the client to take advantage of your offer. If you are using proposal software, eSignature capability allows the customer to agree to the proposal or sign the contract easily.

7. Imagery

Don’t forget to include imagery to keep your reader engaged and moving through the document. 

Sales Proposal Software

Also known as proposal generation or proposal management software, sales proposal software automates the proposal process and generates sales proposals for you. Whether through an integration with your CRM and CPQ or using sales proposal templates and inputting information manually, the ultimate aim of sales proposal software is to shorten the time it takes to create sales proposals.

Sales Proposal Automation

Sales proposal automation uses software to streamline the creation and delivery of sales proposals. Sales proposal automation software can help sales teams improve efficiency and win more business by automating repetitive tasks, such as creating templates, gathering customer data, and generating proposals.

Businesses can improve proposal quality, speed up the sales cycle, and close more deals by automating the proposal process. Sales proposal automation software can also help sales teams track customer interactions during the decision-making process and better understand customer needs.

Digital sales rooms are the next evolution of sales proposals. They are essentially mini-sites that include all of the elements of a traditional sales proposal but in a virtual environment for easy sharing and collaboration on deals.


There are many benefits of using a sales proposal software package, including:

  • Access to pre-made templates for easy writing
  • Saving time which your sales team can use to generate new leads
  • Allowing for interactive collaboration between departments
  • Allowing the entire team to track the process behind the creation of a sales proposal, cross referencing results to see what works and what doesn’t
  • Faster lead response time
  • Better results from your sales proposals since they can be created quickly, yet personalized to the customers’ needs
  • Keeping everything in one place and easy to access again for future reference
  • Being able to potentially use electronic signatures for authentication, saving even more time


The main features of most sales proposal software packages include:

  • Data and template sharing
  • Multi-tier approval capability
  • Simplified proposal writing
  • Grammar and spelling checks
  • Access control based on user roles
  • Tracking time/investment in each pitch, allowing for you to calculator ROI
  • Cloud-based document storage, allowing you to edit on the go

People Also Ask

How do you write a sales proposal?

A sales proposal is a document you create to sell your product or service. It should include information about your product or service, company, and why the customer should buy from you. To write an effective sales proposal, you’ll need to do some research on your target customer and what their needs are.

Once you have that information, you can start writing your proposal.

Your proposal should start with an executive summary, a brief company overview, and what you’re offering. After that, you’ll need to include details about your product or service, including how it will benefit the customer. Finally, you’ll want to include pricing information and any other relevant details.

By taking the time to write a well-crafted sales proposal, you’ll be putting your best foot forward and increasing your chances of making a sale.

What is the purpose of a sales proposal?

Overall, the purpose of a sales proposal is to generate sales and accelerate revenue. Within that main goal is to let your potential clients know what you do and how you can help them with your products or services, inviting them to look further into buying from you.

What is the format of a sales proposal?

Successful sales proposals come in all shapes and sizes, but there are some common sections that every good proposal should have, including:

1. Problem
2. Solution
3. Cost
4. Benefit
5. Next Steps