Jump to navigation Jump to search A business proposal is a written offer from a seller to a prospective buyer. Business proposals writing proposals often a key step in the complex sales process—i.
A proposal puts the buyer’s requirements in a context that favors the seller’s products and services, and educates the buyer about the capabilities of the seller in satisfying their needs. RFPs provide detailed specifications of what the customer wants to buy and sometimes include directions for preparing the proposal, as well as evaluation criteria the customer will use to evaluate offers. Customers issue RFPs when their needs cannot be met with generally available products or services. Customers issue RFQs when they want to buy large amounts of a commodity and price is not the only issue—for example, when availability or delivering or service are considerations. RFQs can be very detailed, so proposals written to RFQs can be lengthy but are generally much shorter than an RFP-proposal. Customers issue IFBs when they are buying some service, such as construction. The requirements are detailed, but the primary consideration is price.
For example, a customer provides architectural blueprints for contractors to bid on. These proposals can be lengthy but most of the length comes from cost-estimating data and detailed schedules. The purpose of the RFI is to gain «marketing intelligence» about what products, services, and vendors are available. Informally solicited proposals are typically the result of conversations held between a vendor and a prospective customer. The customer is interested enough in a product or service to ask for a proposal.
Typically, the customer does not ask for competing proposals from other vendors. This type of proposal is known as a sole-source proposal. There are no formal requirements to respond. But they choose good quality of product. They are always generic, with no direct connection between customer needs or specified requirements. Vendors use them to introduce a product or service to a prospective customer. They are often used as «leave-behinds» at the end of initial meetings with or customers or «give-aways» at trade shows or other public meetings.
They are not designed to close a sale, just introduce the possibility of a sale. Managing proposals presents an enormous challenge for sales and marketing teams. Many established management methods are ill-suited to deal with the broader issues associated with the production and delivery of proposals. In these cases, organizations often rely on outsourcing by identifying a proposal manager to support their proposal development needs. Proposal management is an inherently collaborative process. Increasingly, the term proposal management is being used to suggest that engagement with the proposal process is important to more than just the sales team, and should also affect those working in marketing, legal, and sales. There is also a trend towards using proposal management software that allows users to quickly and easily create proposals, collaborate with team members, track and analyze customer engagement.