What is a Sales Proposal?

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  • Written By: Tess C. Taylor
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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In the world of business, a sales proposal is an important tool that sales professionals often use to get an idea in front of a client for consideration. A sales proposal is a written sales pitch created by the sales professional that outlines the new idea, service or product to educate the client and generate interest. The sales proposal may also be combined with a demonstration of how the product or idea will benefit the client.

While a sales proposal is a carefully managed investment in both time and effort for the sales professional, it is often worth the sacrifice in terms of getting new ideas across to the client. This effort makes the sales process clearer as the client is allowed to see in black and white what is being presented. The sales proposal is often an introduction or the starting point for a new business venture.

A well-written sales proposal combines three critical components. The first component is to educate the potential customer about a new idea, product or service. The second component is to provide a convincing argument for why the customer needs the product or service. The last, and often the most important component of the sales proposal process, is to illustrate a reasonable return on investment for the client – also known as an ROI.


In the proposal process, a sales professional may be required to construct a bid proposal to an organization or company. This process is often called an RFP, or Request for Proposal, as the organization accepts multiple bids from companies or contractors for work or services to be provided. Once the bid acceptance period ends, the award for contract generally goes to the company with the lowest bid or proposal.

When a marketing firm approaches a company with a new idea for an advertising or promotional campaign, the marketing agency will often submit a marketing proposal to the company. The company then considers it for its value to the bottom line and how it will best fit in with current marketing efforts. A marketing proposal can also be submitted along with a sales contract, as a complimentary service.

An effectively crafted sales or marketing proposal may increase the chances of achieving positive results. It is up to the sales team to research and understand well the type of company being approached before the proposal can be written to address the needs of the client. This effort enables the proposal to be more easily understood and recognized as a value to the client.


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Post 3

I think it's interesting how many different kinds of sales proposals there are these days. Because of new technology, you can do a sales proposal over the phone, over the Internet, and of course in person.

Obviously your technique would be a little bit different for each type of sales proposal. For example, if you were writing a sales proposal letter, you might say different things than if you were going to meet someone in person and do a sales proposal. And if you're doing a proposal over the phone, you would employ different techniques than if you were in person too, because you don't have the option of doing a visual presentation.

Post 2

@indemnifyme - That's definitely the risk you take when you work in sales. I have a friend who had a commission only sales job a few years ago. He put a lot of effort into his sales proposal writing and presentations, and I know he felt bad when people didn't buy.

I think sales is definitely a numbers game though, so the more people you pitch, the more sales you make. Also, if you're selling the same product, you can recycle the same sales proposal over and over, so you're not putting out a ton of effort every time you have to make a sales proposal.

Post 1

I worked at an insurance agency for awhile, and part of my job was sales. I didn't do a sales proposal outline exactly the way the article describes though. What I did was do insurance quotes for people over the phone, and tell them how much the policy would cost, while attempting to sell them on our services.

I have to say, I didn't really enjoy working in sales. I always felt really ripped off if I spent a long time on the phone with someone doing a quote and talking to them out our policies, and then they didn't buy!

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