COG Design is a professional Sydney design agency that has over 30 years experience working on premium corporate Brand Communications. We know what works for small to medium size business and that superior brand communications simply win more business.
Sales and marketing proposal documents are a fundamental channel of communication for most business to business teams. Brand Communications can be many things, though for business to business brand communications it is mostly delivered via a response to a project tender, formalising an inbound lead, a pitch to a supplier or a potential client, or a company wide presentation. Brand Communication proposals are an important part of the sales process for any organisation. Superior sales proposals aiming to deliver high price ranges and long lead times are crucial to get right, there is a lot riding on what is contained within, and they engage potential customers that may create years long relationships.
As proposals are often viewed by the C Suite and senior stakeholders and decision makers, it’ll be expected for your proposal to be absorbed, dissected and reviewed by people you haven’t met. Again, sales proposals and pitch documents are brand communication vehicles that are an important part of the sales process for any organisation so it’s critical to get them right!
There are some key tips for writing sales and marketing proposal documents that win more business, below are just a selection that COG Design believe may assist your business.
1. Design Your Proposal From A Successful Template – not from scratch.
Some elements of your brand communication proposal documents will stay the same, regardless of the recipient, the client or the targeted company. These may be the design aesthetic, the header and footer, the About Us, Our People or Company Overview sections. Also, writing your proposal document the Executive Summary and Project Introduction can be copy pasted from previous documentation, as these are rarely updated.
When designing your proposal from a successful template it’s important to use customisations that are directly relevant to the pitch you are going for. Obviously any design elements can include the company logo to whom you are delivering to, and also any text and words would want to with address stakeholder concerns that highlights the key areas your business and people can deliver solutions to.
A Superior Brand Communications Proposal will accelerate your response rate, to do this you will want to include a corporate level proposal template prepared so when the time comes you can act swiftly, and spend your time refining, as opposed to creating. This doesn’t mean that your proposal should be a generic version, but rather that you have a base document that can be customised, it saves time and provides consistency. A well designed proposal will be easily updated and converted, so engage a Sydney branding agency like COG Branding to help you customise the template.
2. Write to your audience in your Superior Brand Communications Proposal
When putting together the copy for your proposal, try to use the language your customer or stakeholder uses. The approach will help them to feel that you speak their language and that you are aligned with their thinking. Also try to utilise words that promote visual images that assist those stimulated by imagery. these type of words create a rich tapestry in the mind and assist your audience them to see themselves using your products and solutions.
For high priced and blue chip business to business sales pitches, your journey and the actual sales process will require input from many different stakeholders from different areas of the company. You may initial deliver to the sales manager, though the sale may need the approval from the offshore executive board or shareholders. The business proposal document is the key automated communication tool that may be delivered without you, so it needs to stand on it’s own where no disclaimers are able to be included. You’re sales representative may not have the opportunity to meet with their finance team or their senior management, but it would be likely that the proposal document will be circulated to them. This means you must write your proposal as if communicating directly to this audience — the decision makers and money men (or women).
If your business proposal addresses what the potential customer is looking for, and it demonstrates that you understand their needs you’ll win. Always don’t be afraid to ask your new client or proposal recipient what their main problems are, so when you get some face time with them you can address these issues directly, in person, and show proof on how you will resolve the issues in the executive summary.
3. Keep Your Proposal and Business Communications Clear
Your business proposal may be read by people who have very little time to review it’s contents. That means you need to keep it simple! Focus on the needs of your client and don’t drag out the brand communications document with irrelevant details and granular information. A thorough understanding of your proposals recipient will assist you to identify what information is needed. Technicians will want details, sales managers will want numbers and processes, so be sure to gather as much information as possible to ensure your solutions are delivered crystal clear.
The element of clarity also applies to the structure of your writing. When you enhance the readability of your business proposal by resisting the urge to use large paragraphs or pages just full of text, it makes it easier for the viewer to absorb and digest. This can be overwhelming to the eye and difficult to process, CEOs may simply drop a proposal that’s too difficult to read. Instead break your text up with sub headings that allow for scanning. Try to present information in the simplest format as possible. This could means tables, graphs, bullet points, sub headings or lists.
4. The Most Important Section In Your Brand Communications Proposal
Get a professional Brand communications specialist like COG Design Agency Sydney to run their eyes over your proposal. Knowing the Executive Summary is the most important part of your business document — some fast paced and often pretentious executives will only glaze over this section of the proposal, and then get straight into question like how much and why you. The Executive Summary has to have cut through and impact, and importantly cover any potential concerns that address how you will meet your recipients needs. This all needs to be presented before any questions are asked. A well considered Exec Summary will also contain the brands key messages and the businesses (or product) value proposition. And don’t forget, everyone loves a short presentation, though if your business proposal is lengthy, utilise a table of contents so it clearly shows up front how long the pitch is likely to go for.
5. The Business Communications Proposal Document
It’s imperative to stay on brand with the overall aesthetic of your brand communications proposal. It should have a similar feel to your collateral as that helps to build trust with your potential clients.
Obviously the chosen vehicle to deliver proposals is online and via digital channels, though marketing print design is still a large opportunity that you can consider for larger opportunities where large dollars and timelines are on the line. Printing the proposal will require some savvy from a good online printing company that understands paper stocks, so invest in good quality paper and even printing techniques like embossing and cello glaze cover pages. It can also add value to create a package that includes brochures, case studies and any other relevant information.
Consider using client quotes and testimonials to enhance the credibility of your message. Your proposal recipient will be more likely to trust a claim put forward by another familiar business rather than what you have to say about your own business.
6. Follow Up Your Brand Communications Proposal
If you’ve spent time and effort in creating a superior business proposal, the you’ll need to drive it home and ensure the recipient got it, read it, and you’ll want to know what they think of it. The most important element in the whole brand communications proposal process is the follow-up. Your proposal document needs to create room and an open door for the next step in the relationship with the recipient. It’s crucial to follow up with prospects within a seven days of sending the proposal.
7. Simple Rules to Improve Your Marketing Copy In Your Business Communications Proposal
It may come as a shock to hear though it’s not what you say it’s, how your customers read it. A brand marketer will tell you this, but the first and most important element of effective marketing copy is not the words, it’s how the recipient will translate the entire process. With the mass of information thrown at the public every day, it’s no surprise that the most valuable quality of your copy is its readability.
But of course words are critically important, but they will only be effective if your customer actually reads them. So make sure you present your copy in a way that will encourage your visitors to read and absorb your messages.
8. Add White Space To Your Writing For Your Business Communications Proposal.
To increase the effectiveness of your content, create white space and some room. Even the most engaging, entertaining and informative content can be let down by a failure to utilise white space. Research into website design has consistently shown that white space is a vital part of the reading process.
The right amount of white space provides your reader with breaks, and assists your recipient identify connections between information. Regular headings and sub-headings are the best way to break up your page naturally and are much cleaner than academic-style indentation.
9. Use Lists and Numbers In Your Brand Communications Proposal.
To guarantee an improvement in the effectiveness of your business proposals try including numbers and statistics. We know that anyone reading loves numbers – they’re an easy way to organise information on the page and in the mind. Breaking complex ideas into dot points or numbered points is a simple way to improve the readability of your copy. Here you might need the assistance of a graphic designer or artist from one of the reputable Sydney Design Companies to assist in building brand direction and creative direction for your proposal as to ensure consistency and to have the brand communications on brand.
Bullet points are also an effective way to spice up low level information such as product specifications and features. This allows readers from different stages of the buying-cycle to gather the right information from the same page. A qualified lead might choose to read detailed product specs while a fresh lead may simply want to learn the benefits.
10. Use The Right Font And Size In Your Business Communications Proposal.
While there is a large amount of typography options and fonts to choose from it’s important to remember never to jeopardise readability. Don’t go crazy and look for curly wirly ornate fonts, keep your body font simple, generally sticking to the sans-serif fonts. If your audience is generally older always try to steer away from using small fonts, as reading small fonts becomes harder with age.
Font is not only important in creating a visually appealing page, it’s also vital in enhancing the readability of text and ordering information. Readers have been trained to recognise what information is important, what information is connected and even how they should respond to information, based on the size, font and typography.
Different sizes should be used to emphasise the importance of information with consistent use of sizing in headings, sub-headings and body text. Size should also be used to emphasise your call to actions. As a rule of thumb a size increase of 20% should do the trick.
11. Make a Defined Point To Your Text In Your Business Communications Proposal.
COG Design is a Sydney design company that understands this element as its been used in magazine advertising design and signage design for years in our design studio. Research shows that the reader’s attention will be naturally directed towards where a person or model is physically looking. So a great tip is to drive home your message and ensure that this prime real estate is strictly for your Call To Action.
Literally point to your text. Lines in the format of the page and in the images are a powerful design tool that should direct your readers to the most important text. A great tip is to use images of people in your presentation and then opportunities to exercise this are numerous.
These simple points will assist you with all elements of designing your perfect high performing business proposal. If you struggle with elements such as copywriting, blogs, social media, website content or brochures and print marketing collateral – engage a cheap Sydney design agency. Remember, the best content perfectly balances design and text with the page layout complimenting the information being presented.