We reviewed 100 B2B proposals that six different clients presented to their customers over the current year to date. In doing so, we tried to “put on the hat of the customer” and what we found was not totally unexpected. However, it was problematic.
Let’s start with the purpose of the proposal. After submitting a proposal to the customer, what do we expect it to do? If there are six to 10 decision-makers (Gartner), we can pretty much assume our champions will need to use it to help sell our company and offer internally—when we’re not there. In order to do that effectively, these champions need to 1) understand it; 2) believe it; 3) be able to explain it. Using these simple criteria here’s what we found:
Imagine what might be possible. Could we use our proposals as a strategic differentiator versus simply a “checkbox” exercise? What if the customer participated in developing the proposal? Not only would our champions understand it, but they would also believe it because it’s now “their deal”—not just our offer. As a result, they would have no problems explaining it to other skeptical decision-makers. How different would we look?
This future is not only possible, it’s here today! Ecosystems is introducing a new module in its SaaS platform to help sellers co-create proposals with customers. With Ecosystems’ pre-built library of outcome templates, a seller can choose the relevant outcomes that relate to different customer personas while the customer can collaborate in The Ecosystem Platform and define their specific success metrics and deal elements. The end result is a co-created proposal with customer buy-in.