Blake, the despised and charismatic sales manager played by Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glen Ross, immortalized the eternal sales credo: Always Be Closing. Proposify, an online proposal software for sales teams, has taken Blake’s advice to its logical beginning – the sales proposal.
The Proposify team posed a questions for themselves: What is it about winning proposals that get prospects to sign on the dotted line? They analyzed their database of more than 1 million proposals and surveyed more than 1,000 sales pros looking for answers. They published their findings a new report, The State of Proposals.
We asked Conor Cox, Chief Revenue Officer at Proposify, about the report and its insights on communicate effectively in B2B sales proposals.
Grit Daily: You encourage including photos in a sales proposal, which seems natural to me in a B2C context, but do photos help a B2B sales presentation?
Conor Cox: Social proof always carries weight, and regardless of B2C or B2B, relationships and trust are the core of making a sale happen. Images help create this connection, and we’ve seen a marked increase in close rate when our customer moves from ‘old school’ image-less Word docs to a more modern proposal design. Images and video are a huge part of bringing your B2B closing process inline with the best buying experiences in the world.
In our State of Proposals, we analyzed over one million proposals and found that adding images to your proposal can increase close rates by up to 72%. Proposals with images also close 20% faster.
Grit Daily: Does video improve the success of sales proposals?
Conor Cox: Video (similar to the image point above) helps build up the connection between the sales rep and the buyer. Video helps us speak to stakeholders who we never meet, it allows us to add context and colour to explanations that will be forwarded or shared, and most importantly, they help us build rapport and trust with our champions. If you are trying to explain a nuanced idea – or bring some excitement to a proposal, a video is the easiest way to do so. It also helps you standout, because most companies and reps don’t take the time to get in front of the camera.
Adding a video to your sales proposal can increase close rates by up to 41%. Video drives 56% higher proposal engagement and helps close your deal 26% faster. (Source: Proposify State of Proposals 2022)
Grit Daily: Why do sales fall through in the later stages of the sales process?
Conor Cox: The most common reason deals fall through is lack of discovery – or incomplete discovery. This manifests in different ways. Sometimes it shows up as a late-stage procurement check – or a last minute exec addition to ‘approve’ the spend – or technical ‘proof of concept’ that needs completion before a broader deployment. Nearly all of these late stage failures can be remedied by running tighter, better discovery early in the process.