Make a Winning Business Proposal Presentation in 11 Steps

Learn how to create business proposal presentations that stand out and win deals. Apply battle-tested best practices and actionable tips from sales pros.

How to make a business proposal presentation

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Short answer

What makes a good business proposal presentation?

An outstanding business proposal presentation combines clarity, conciseness, and compelling storytelling.

It should be visually engaging, tailored to the audience's interests, and demonstrate a deep understanding of their needs, setting the stage for successful collaboration.

Your business proposal is your last chance to impress

Making a business proposal presentation is your money time at the end of a long, exhausting sales process with a prospective client. Losing your sale at this stage would be most painful.

It can be overwhelming when you realize how much is riding on this one proposal.

Sending out an ill-made business proposal puts you at risk of losing your client’s buy-in at the very last moment.

This situation is stressful for most people, but it doesn’t have to be. To make this process as stress-free as can be, I put together a guide on how to make a proposal presentation that will give you a leg up over your competitors.

Let's get started!

What does a business proposal presentation look like?

A business proposal presentation today goes beyond traditional slides filled with bullet points. It's a deck that blends text, compelling visuals, and even interactive elements like charts, graphs, and short videos.

This modern approach reflects how we engage with content in our digital age – visually and interactively.

Here's what a modern business proposal presentation looks like:

11 steps for making a winning business proposal presentation

Whether you’re selling products or services to prospective clients or pitching new ventures, business presentations are an everyday part of modern business.

Still, most business professionals don’t know how to do it right.

The reason why so many business proposal presentations fail is that not all elements of a successful business proposal presentation are in place.

You can ensure your presentation impresses prospects every time by following the following best practices.

1) Do your research about the prospect

Before you set out to craft your business proposal presentation, you must conduct thorough research about the company you’re going to be pitching to.

Often, the difference between a knockout business presentation and a poor one is the level of confidence during the delivery. Carrying out a great deal of detailed research beforehand will give you the confidence needed to ace the presentation.

Here's an example of how you can present your findings in a concise way:

Client snapshot slide example

The key pieces of information you need to get are:

  • What is the company size and sector?

  • What do their internal processes look like?

  • Who are the main decision-makers in the company?

  • Who are they selling their products and services to? Is it a B2B or B2C company?

  • What is your prospect’s most pressing problem?

  • What are they hoping to achieve?

  • What is your role in helping them reach these goals?

  • What is their allocated budget?

  • Have they ever used other industry solutions?

Finding the answers to these questions will ensure that your lead is qualified and allow you to bring up relevant insights during your presentation.

It will also make your prospect feel understood, which will capture their attention and boost your closing rate.

How to get information about your prospect

  • Making a discovery call

  • Visiting their website

  • Observing their social media accounts

  • Analyzing their competitors

  • B2B databases, such as G2 or Capterra

  • Data prospecting tools like ZoomInfo or Lusha

2) Personalize your proposal presentation

If you do your homework right and know who your potential client is, you will be able to deliver a tailor-made business proposal presentation.

Our research shows that by personalizing your proposal, you’re increasing the number of people who will read your deck in full by 68% as compared to generic presentations.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Every single email that starts with “Dear Owner” or “Dear User” immediately goes to live in my Bin folder.

By including a personal note tailored to your recipient, you’re skyrocketing the chances of it living rent-free in their head instead.

4 main ways to personalize your business proposal presentation:

I) Add company-specific insights

This can be anything you learned while doing your research on the prospect or something they mentioned during a discovery call.

II) Include your client’s name and logo in every business proposal presentation

If you’re using a PowerPoint this means going in and manually adding the identifying info into the deck.

If you’re using Storydoc, then this can easily be streamlined for scale using dynamic variables that change specific info for specific recipients.

This feature swaps out your client’s details while the rest of your deck stays intact, and with a 10-second setup, you’re good to go.

Here's how it works:

Personalized proposal example

III) Include your prospect’s branding

If you’re using PowerPoint, then you’ll have to go in and change the design and visuals in your deck to fit your prospect’s branding. Alternatively, you can use a DIY tool like Snappa’s SVG editor or’s logo generator.

With Storydoc, you can automatically apply branding pulled from any given website just by providing the website address—including the brand’s colors and fonts.

This will make an impact on your prospect while requiring minimal effort on your part, let alone involving a designer.

Here's how it works:

Branded deck example

IV) Keep your proposal relevant at all times

When choosing client stories to share in your business proposal, stick to companies from a similar field.

Show a deep understanding of your prospect’s industry, key pain points, and competitors. This will make it easier for them to visualize what your solution can do for them.

3) Use a battle-tested presentation structure

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the last stage of your sales pipeline or still moving prospects down the funnel.

There are some common elements each business proposal presentation needs to have in order to perform exceptionally.

In our usage data we see presentations with similar business proposal structures outperform the rest time and time again.

What to include in a business proposal presentation

8 essential slides of a business proposal presentation:

1. Title page: This should include essential information such as your company's name, the client's name, and logo, along with the submission date.

2. Assessment or project overview: Here, clearly define the client's problem or need and outline your proposed solution. This section establishes the context and purpose of your proposal.

3. Executive summary: Offer a concise summary of your proposal, highlighting your unique value proposition. For tips on how to write one, read our 101 guide.

4. Methodology: The how to your what and why. In this part, you should explain the methods you’ll use to deliver on your promises and include a list of deliverables with a projected timetable.

5. Pricing: Provide a clear, transparent breakdown of costs for your services or products. Offering multiple pricing options can cater to different client needs or budgets.

6. Proof of qualifications: Showcase your credibility with evidence of past successes. Include case studies, testimonials, relevant certifications, and any industry awards you've received.

7. Team: Introduce the key team members who will be involved in the project. Highlight their skills and roles to build trust and confidence in your team's capabilities.

8. Next step: Conclude with a call-to-action detailing the next step a prospect is supposed to take after viewing your business proposal presentation.

4) Maximize your impact with a compact presentation

You may feel that the more information you include in your business proposal presentation, the higher your chances of sealing the deal are. But it’s the exact opposite.

The busier people get the narrower their attention spans. I can assure you that when faced with a bulky document, your prospects will either skim through it or not bother reading at all.

It’s more constructive to keep your presentation short and concise by including only the information most relevant to your prospect and with the biggest needed to finalize their decision to buy.

5) Avoid complex information and jargon

Complexity adds to cognitive load and any additional bit of information makes it harder to decide.

The best strategy for your business proposal would be to bring up only the most important aspects of your product or service that came up during the sales process.

You don’t have the time or attention to tell them everything. So tell them what really makes a difference.

Don’t get too technical

No matter how great the technology behind your solution is, I can assure you that most of your clients don’t care about the details. They care about the outcome your solution brings them, and what it’s going to cost them in time and money.

Sounds harsh? Sorry, but that’s the reality.

We don’t buy the latest iPhone because it has a pro 12MP camera system or a lens with a ƒ/1.8 aperture and 120° field of view. We buy it because we can take holiday photos for Instagram that will make Debra from HR green with envy.

Your customers are no different. They don’t need to have the same level of knowledge about your solution that you do. You will only confuse them by bombarding them with technical details.

Write in simple words and sentences

The extent of the attention your proposal will likely get is similar to that of an 8th grader. If you know your solution inside and out, you should be able to explain it simply.

Practice answering these questions as if asked by an 8th grader:

  • What does your company do and what makes you best qualified for the job?

  • What are your customers’ main pain points?

  • What is your proposed solution and how are you going to tackle the prospect’s problems?

  • What is the project timeline?

  • How much will it cost the prospect?

  • What are the gains for a prospect by choosing to work with you?

  • Who are the main team members that are going to work on this project?

  • What relevant experience do you have?

Refine your unique value proposition

Always remember that your ability to stand out is limited to your ability to deliver a simple and crisp value proposition. Simple is easy to understand and most importantly makes it easier to choose.

But there’s more! No matter what your business does, your biggest competitor is the status quo, where buyers choose to do nothing at all.

Seth Godin said in his seminal book This is Marketing that sales or marketing professionals are agents of change. But change takes time and effort. It’s easy for buyers to stick to what they have, even if it no longer serves them.

When talking about your product or service, don't just explain the benefits. Also show your clients what they might lose if they don't choose you, and explain the opportunity cost of doing nothing.

Here's a great video explaining how to write a UVP statement:

How to write a UVP statement

6) Provide social proof

At this point in the buyer’s journey, your lead should already trust you. If they didn’t, they would not proceed beyond the demo or even book a demo.

So why add social proof again at this late stage?

Well, big expenses make most people’s knees shake. Even if the money is not their own, they will be judged by their procurement (your solution) and the business impact it generates.

You need to have past clients vouch for you, to prove that it’s not your first rodeo and that your buyers can count on you to deliver.

Here are different types of social proof our clients used in their decks.

First up, a classic client testimonial:

Social proof for a business proposal pre

Then, client logos with the Capterra rating:

Social proof for a business proposal pre

And a mention in a reputable industry publication:

Social proof for a business proposal pre

7) Include case studies

Case studies are the dark horse of the business race. They’re the least used asset in B2B because of how work-intensive their production is. But, at the same time, case studies are the most effective type of marketing asset.

By not including a case study in your business proposal, you’re running the risk of potential clients finding out about your solution from other sources. Worst case scenario, those other sources are your competitors.

If you feature a case study, you’re in control of the narrative. You can basically have your clients sell for you by covering the main value propositions in their own words.

Here's a case study example from our client:

Case study in a business proposal presentation

8) Position yourself as a consultant rather than a seller

It’s mostly true that people hate being sold to, but they love to buy.

Most buyers prefer to avoid meeting with salespeople and follow the self-serve route because they fear that salespeople will pressure or manipulate them into buying the wrong thing.

Sales are already losing big to self-service. A McKinsey survey from 2020 suggests that 70% of B2B buyers now look kindly on making self-serve buying decisions, even when considering solutions costing $500K and more.

But there is a way sales can always stay one step ahead of self-serve, and 10 steps ahead of the competition—shifting from being salesy to being consultative.

This means knowing the concerns and needs of your buyer and delivering the information they need to make an informed decision, even if it means (hope you're sitting down) not buying your product or solution because it’s not a good fit.

This approach was pioneered by Anthony Iannarino, and you can read more about How to be truly consultative on his website The Sales Blog.

9) Add videos to your business proposal

In this day and age, purely static content just won’t cut it anymore. If your slide contains walls of text, most people will skip it and move straight to the next part, or the next proposal.

Out of all visual aid types, videos are the most compelling. People get distracted very easily, so having a video that conveys the same message really helps keep them engaged.

Presentation statistics based on our extensive user data support the claim that video brings a positive impact —if you include a video in your cover slide, 32% more people will interact with your presentation.

The findings are even greater for other presentation sections.

By embedding *any* video in your presentation, you can increase the average reading time by 37% and increase the CTA click-through rate by 17%.

This proposal is a great example of effective video use:

10) Make the next step clear to your buyer

Including a clear call to action at the end of your business proposal presentation is crucial. As obvious as this must sound to some, many businesses fail to do this effectively.

If a prospective client reads the entire business proposal, they’re clearly interested in your value proposition. They may be ready to seal the deal.

The worst thing that can happen at this stage is if they don’t know how to proceed. It’s like building a supermarket without a checkout counter.

Here's an example of a smart CTA:

Next step in a business proposal presentation

What's not an effective call to action?

  • A text that tells your buyer to give you a call

  • An email link for requesting the documents needed for signing

  • Or a phone number they need to dial.

An effective call to action can be:

  • Embedding a calendar to let prospects book the next meeting

  • The option to download key documents (e.g. an NDA or a contract)

  • Sending prospects to explore more details about your solution (e.g. try out your tool or look at examples from your portfolio)

  • Embedding a digital signature for buyers to sign directly in your deck

  • An embedded payment module for buyers to pay directly from your deck

Here's another great example of a deck with an effective CTA:

Proposal accept button example

11) Move from legacy design to modern design

Most guides teach you how to make a business proposal using PowerPoint presentations. But, by sending your business proposal presentation in PPT format, you’re giving leads something they’ve seen 1000 times over.

With sales closing rates declining for the past 5 years in a row, it’s a major risk to cling to the old ways.

When we analyzed over 100,000 sales and marketing presentations, we discovered that giving prospects presentations that can only be read majorly kills engagement.

If you want to succeed and grow your win rate you’ll have to move up to dynamic interactive proposal decks.

By giving readers interactive elements to “play around” with, you’re increasing the chances of your deck being read in full by 41% and the average reading time by 146%.

This is what static vs interactive looks like:

Static PPT example
Static PPT
Interactive Storydoc example
Interactive Storydoc

How to create a business proposal presentation faster than ever with AI

  • Tell the AI assistant what kind of proposal you'd like to create.

  • Provide an overview of your company and your product or service.

  • Choose your preferred template.

  • Adjust the design to reflect your or your prospect’s branding in just a few clicks.

  • Add videos and dynamic storytelling content.

  • Personalize your business proposals for the specific buyer.

  • Integrate your sales tools into the deck, like Calendly or DocuSign.

  • Send the deck and see the data stream in.

  • Analyze your usage data to get deep insights into your sales process.

  • Optimize your decks based on what works and what doesn’t work for your prospects.

Interactive business proposal templates

We all know that putting together a proposal can be tough. It's like the final lap in a race where you've got to give it your all.

Interactive business proposal templates are like a roadmap, guiding you on how to structure your proposal so it looks professional and hits all the right notes.

The best part is that they're built to engage. Instead of sending over a standard document, you're bringing your proposal to life with dynamic animations, informative videos, and interactive elements.

Grab a template and see how it can transform your deck.

No templates found
Dominika Krukowska

Hi, I'm Dominika, Content Specialist at Storydoc. As a creative professional with experience in fashion, I'm here to show you how to amplify your brand message through the power of storytelling and eye-catching visuals.

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