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The Best Proposal Differentiator That Almost Everyone Ignores


"How many of you think that clients read your entire proposal?" I then projected on the screen several sample pages from A/E proposals. Over the years I''ve asked many clients how they review proposals. One Navy contracts officer said that he spent less than one minute per proposal in his initial screening. How many of those proposals were designed with that in mind?

3 Keys to Sales Growth: Motivate, Justify and Differentiate

The ROI Guy

First, sales leaders indicate that attaining sales quotas remains a challenge because: 1) Too many deals in pipelines are ending up at no decision - Today’s resource constrained / risk averse buyer is failing to see why the proposed project should be a priority, mostly because sales reps have not communicated and quantified the high cost of “do nothing”.

Building Your Proposal Storyline


The best proposals tell a story. So how do you tell a story with a proposal? But a proposal? As I usually do, I encouraged the team to develop a compelling proposal storyline. Resolution: We propose an expedited, collaborative planning and design process that will also facilitate reaching agreements with surrounding local governments. million. your solution).

6 Seemingly Harmless Ways You're Sabotaging Your Proposals


6 Seemingly Harmless Proposal Mistakes. In fact, you must read the RFP multiple times and throughout the proposal process to make sure your response stays focused on the client's needs, and doesn't go off on unnecessary tangents. This is why so many proposals sound the same. So what does that mean for agencies? 1) You don't know enough to make informed choices. Hallelujah.

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Five Steps to Find and Own Your Differentiators

Hinge Marketing

When firms decide to identify their differentiators, the story tends to take a certain predictable shape. At the end of such a meeting, the folks at these firms usually come away imagining that they’ve isolated their differentiators – but they haven’t. That leads to a glut of false differentiators. Choose an approach to differentiation. Great!

Is your referral strategy tied to your differentiators?

Hinge Marketing

Differentiation is one of the most poorly understood pillars of professional services marketing. Many execs still believe differentiation isn’t a necessary component of overall growth. As easy as that initial undifferentiated climb can be, executing a sustained referral strategy when you aren’t differentiated can be near impossible. What is a differentiator?

E-Quip Blog: Don't Let Personal Preferences Dictate Proposal.


Dont Let Personal Preferences Dictate Proposal Standards. As an erstwhile proposal specialist, I prefer sewer lines running down the middle of the street instead of along the side in the grass. Yet I routinely find technical professionals dictating to their marketing colleagues what proposal standards should be because its what they like or what theyve always done. Proposals.

E-Quip Blog: Are Your Proposals User Friendly?


Are Your Proposals User Friendly? I recently reviewed an important proposal for one of my engineering firm clients. Ive certainly seen many proposals of similar scope that were far less efficient. Do you think a client would spend that much time reviewing a proposal? So if clients dont read our proposals, if they skim them instead, why do we not prepare them accordingly?

Spotlight on Staff Bios as a Marketing Tool


As a B2B marketer with a focus on the professional services industries, I can’t stress enough the importance of “selling” people over services in this battle for differentiation. In fact, the staff makes up every point of differentiation, expertise, background, specific niches, relationships. differentiation Staff bios Video bios Marketing Strategy

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5 Contrarian Steps to Winning the Shortlist Interview


How to differentiate your firm has long been a hot topic of discussion, with many concluding that it is increasingly difficult to do so in the A/E industry. How else do you explain the remarkable similarities in how we market, sell, write proposals, and conduct shortlist interviews? Expand on your proposal. Take this opportunity to advance your proposal to the next level.

How to Make Your SOQs More Client Focused


I''ve written in this space before about the importance of making the client the central character in your proposal narrative. I think client focus has been the single most important differentiator in my compiling a 75% win rate over the last 25 years. Typically the most client-focused section of your proposal relates to the project approach. Don''t give up yet!

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Responding to What the RFP Doesn't Say


At some point—usually in the shortlist interview since proposals generally avoid the issue—the client will be assessing whether they think they''d like to work with you. If you explicitly describe in your proposal how you deliver exceptional client experiences, you''re likely to be the only one of the competing firms to write about it. Is your proposal designed accordingly?

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Proposals: Two Chances to Shine


But in reviewing hundreds of proposals over the years, I've noted a remarkable sameness about them. If you consider the latter a priority, let me suggest two things you can do to distinguish your proposal from almost everyone else's : (1) make your proposal prominently client focused and (2) make it skimmable. Never, ever start your proposal by talking about your firm.


5 Questions To Ask Before Sending Out That Sales Proposal

Sales Prospecting Perspectives

” The pitch is feature and not value focused and then a proposal is given to the prospect, often times without even hearing what the prospect’s full set of needs are. He always got me with the Choco Taco ) Here are a couple of questions to ask, pre-proposal, that will ensure your prospect is ready to move forward. Do not go into a proposal wondering if you are number 2. I always like to talk price well before I even get close to a proposal. Having a lot of proposals out does not necessarily mean that you will be closing a ton of revenue.

Winning proposal: start from champagne & work backwards

Confluent Forms

Writing proposal responses to a RFP can be a mind-numbing affair, and after responding to a few lengthy and complex RFPs, it's easy to fall into bad habits. One of those bad habits is approaching the RFP by trying to demonstrate how you can fulfill the requirements of the RFP, the other is writing a proposal that nobody wants to read. Yes, we know, we gave you advice that you need to work towards demonstrating that you fulfill RFP requirements in writing a successful proposal. Bring the excitement to your proposal by leading off with an unconventional executive summary.


E-Quip Blog: Leading in Uncertain Times


Leadership has always been a critical differentiator in our business, but never more so than over the last three years. Proposals. (14). Monday, November 14, 2011. Leading in Uncertain Times. The lingering uncertainty from the worse financial collapse since the Great Depression will continue for the foreseeable future. So the need for effective leadership remains acute. Posted by.

A Failure to Communicate Value

The ROI Guy

By Mark Schlueter & Tom Pisello It''s the responsibility sales and marketing, not the customer , to prove the value of your proposal. If you wait for your customer to do it – the deal likely stalls, as IDC reports that 65% of buyers don’t have the knowledge, research or tools needed to translate your proposal into value impact. So be provocative.

Tying ROI proposals to Unique Strategic Value

The ROI Guy

Any way you look at it, as ROI proposals become required, its important to not only quantify unique value, but to begin to differentiate your proposals with a core connection to the organization. Rick Page, founder of The Complex Sale Inc., and author of Make Winning a Habit ( McGraw -Hill, 2006) points out in this article how ROI is an absolute requirement, however since it is becoming common, a key is to not only quantify the savings and benefits, but convert the abstract dollar savings into something the company can dig into, strategically. link]. ROI TCO Value Selling

Tying ROI proposals to Unique Strategic Value

Tom Pisello

Any way you look at it, as ROI proposals become required, its important to not only quantify unique value, but to begin to differentiate your proposals with a core connection to the organization. Rick Page, founder of The Complex Sale Inc., and author of Make Winning a Habit ( McGraw -Hill, 2006) points out in this article how ROI is an absolute requirement, however since it is becoming common, a key is to not only quantify the savings and benefits, but convert the abstract dollar savings into something the company can dig into, strategically. link]. ROI TCO Value Selling

Your Teleprospecting Question Workbench

Sales Prospecting Perspectives

Will you be scheduling a new meeting with them, or sending over a proposal based on today’s conversation? If you agree to send a proposal, do some initial factfinding or forward some research as soon as you get back to the office. Great questioning skills and the ability to interpret the answers you hear is one of the core differentiators that top sales guides possess over others.

From a Business Case to a Case for Change

The ROI Guy

A Traditional Business Case typically tallies the costs, benefits and risks of a proposed solution. Without it, your proposal will not get approved, however, 2 out of 3 buyers indicate they don’t have the knowledge, metrics and models to produce the business case on their own, so they rely on you to stand up and deliver. And why is it important to focus on “Do Nothing” first?

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The Three E's of Boosting Sales Productivity

The ROI Guy

Jim Ninivaggi, the Services Director for Sales Enablement at leading research firm SiriusDecisions, reported from the main stage that over 71% of respondents indicate a growing value gap as the top issue above all others: Frugal prospects need to understand the bottom-line impact and ROI of any proposed solution, while sales reps haven’t evolved from traditional product pitches.

The Single Most Important Element for Increasing B2B Lead Gen and Sales


In the physical world, minimizing friction is how Elon Musk’s proposed hyperloop could transport commuters at speeds approaching 600 miles per hour. A human voice on the other end of the line can be both a powerful differentiator and friction-reducer. This post originally appeared on MarketingProfs. Image credit: The Blue Diamond Gallery. A slow response creates friction.

Your Unique Value: Solution Focused versus Challenge Centric?

The ROI Guy

Many times, when organizations try to articulate the differentiating value of their solutions, they start with a “solutions first approach”, communicating each feature they perceive as a differentiator and the value these features might deliver. What your marketing and sales enablement teams might not fully realize is that: Product / service differentiators are fleeting, especially today where new product launches are faster than ever before and solutions are quickly commoditized. Engage too late and price may be the only differentiator there is. SiriusDecisions).

Unique Selling Propositions Are a Myth

B2B Marketing Unplugged

Now this notion of a unique propositi on has been sucked up into the much different discussion about brand differentiation. Differentiation is not necessarily unique, nor is it necessarily a starting point. Lots of brands have discovered how to differentiate themselves along the way, and many have ended up in a spot far away from where they started. Why?” I said.

E-Quip Blog: Does Service Excellence Pay?


My research and experience lead me to believe that service excellence is the best differentiation strategy available to the average A/E firm. Taming the Proposal Monster. Proposals. (14). Friday, January 7, 2011. Does Service Excellence Pay? Ive long been a passionate advocate for the value of delivering exceptional client service. Thats substantial! Sound too good to be true?

Content Is The Key To Social Selling Success

B2B Marketing Insider

This is the secret sauce to beat and differentiate yourself from the competition. Differentiate Yourself From The Competition. How differentiated would that approach make you? Rest Forever Peacefully (or Request For Proposal). Content marketing is the key to open the door to your social selling success. However, we do all of that with content. Are they finding you?

Simple Strategy to Turn Lost Sales Into Sales Success

Jill Konrath's Fresh Sales Strategies Blog

Competition was everywhere, undercutting their proposals. What differentiates them from other sellers is their approach to the setbacks (or ugly frogs) they invariably encounter in selling. The other day I was at the Olive Garden talking to a prospective client over lunch. He was telling me about all the challenges his sales organization was facing. Can you clone her? Right?”.

For Sale, Not On Sale - The True Cost of Discounting and What to Do About It

The ROI Guy

A lack of substantial differences in your solutions and sales / marketing approach are leading you and your competitors to make price the key differentiator. Your proposed investment likely pales in comparison to the cost of not solving the problem, so the key is quantifying this delta. Your ability to dramatize and quantify the contrast between status quo costs and your proposed solutions’ pricing can help motivate the decision and certainly reduce early price pressure. So how bad has it become? in sales revenue if you were able to eliminate the discounting altogether.

Forbes Insights: Value First

The ROI Guy

As a result, the report indicates a distinct Value Gap between a typical sellers’ standard product pitch, and buyer expectations to have consultative guidance in uncovering challenges, getting competitive advice and understanding the unique value of proposed solutions. “A It’s a mindset. High performers have a need and desire to help a customer solve a problem, to create value for them.

Building a Growth Strategy for the Undifferentiated Firm

Hinge Marketing

As easy as that initial undifferentiated climb can be, executing a sustained growth strategy when you aren’t differentiated can be near impossible. Differentiation is one of the most poorly understood pillars of professional services marketing. Many execs still believe differentiation isn’t a necessary component of overall growth. What is a differentiator?

Q&A With Dave Stein and Steve Andersen


He proposed we join forces to write a book that revealed what we’ve learned through our own experiences, and through the wisdom, insights, and concerns of the customers we’ve consulted with and interviewed over the course of our careers. If you don’t want to be commoditized, or pressured into discounting to win the sale, you need to help your customer understand the unique differentiable value that your organization can offer. Without an authentic relationship, the task of helping your customer understand your unique differentiable value becomes much more challenging.

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6 Overlooked Ways to Win More New Clients


Nobody -- absolutely nobody -- wants to read a 25-page proposal. This is not a big project proposal. Nurturing a lead, generating a proposal, selling your agency's services -- these things all take time, and it's realistically not worth putting in the hours if there's only a slim chance of a prospect converting. It pays in a big way to differentiate yourself.

It Just Takes Longer. Your Sales Cycle in 2013?

The ROI Guy

Justify the gain , proving that your proposed solution can deliver a good return on investment (ROI) Why You? Prove you are not the same , differentiating your solution from the competition, but quantifying total cost (TCO) and value advantages Reduce the Risk – Your customers are wary of wasting precious resources and making any mistakes. For more information, click here.

Closing the Sale: Why the Best Firm Doesn’t Always Win

Hinge Marketing

They never even asked you for a proposal. Your Proposal Is Not Convincing. Some firms are given the opportunity to bid, but the proposal they submit fails to win the business. They likely request proposals from three to five firms. It follows that the proposal that is easiest to read and digest is often the one that wins the sale. We have all had the experience.

Your Next Practice: Interactive Value-focused Content

The ROI Guy

Alinean worked with the ADP content marketing team to produce the HCM Challenge, an on-line interactive assessment / benchmarking tool prospects could use to analyze their current HR capability / maturity, and obtain advice as to which areas should be addressed, which ADP solutions could help, and potential business value impact of these proposed solutions. They don’t need more content.

Why B2B Marketers Don’t Like Articles on Sales Alignment


When articles talk about a proposed solution to sales and marketing alignment, it’s doubtful that one specific solution will work for every team. Companies in every B2B industry work so hard to differentiate themselves, and then we seem to expect the same alignment solutions to work for every team. But, professionally, I know that it really is a critical concern. I have a theory.