The finished sales proposals that I have been involved in ( if I may say so ) are works of art !! The sales proposal for your business is probably the greatest ever sales proposal that you will work on.
Again, we will go into the detailed layout of a sales proposal elsewhere. However the sales proposal will follow the rules of all good sales proposals – not to be too long, keep it simple, minimum jargon, say what needs to be said and no more, use pictures and diagrams to enhance the words and because “a picture tells a thousand words “. Normally I would always recommend “ tailored “ sales proposals but at this stage it is impossible to tailor your proposal to every prospective buyer. Later on though, when you understand more about them you CAN tailor your presentation to them.
It will cover the financial background and future. It will describe the strategy and essence of the company, the products and services that it offers, the potential growth opportunities, the people involved and more.
Remember that this document may be read by non-financial and non-technical people in the first instance. They may have experience in these fields but now they are probably busy business strategists and entrepreuners. If they think that a business is “ the right strategic fit “ everything else will follow.
They will probably involve their “ specialists “ though – the F.D. for a financial analysis, the Sales and Marketing Director for confirmation of the sales enhancement, the Technical Director for a technical overview.
At the end of the day when it comes to a decision on whether to purchase or not although Boards are heavily influenced by their M.D.’s and Chairmen they will want ( and maybe need ) the buy-in and support of other Directors and Shareholders.
So, you see that this sales proposal is going to be read by a lot of very experienced business people. Let me mention something here – a spin-off of selling the company and marketing it is that you have an opportunity to develop new customers for your business even if they don’t buy it !! At the very least you can get them to say “ Well, I did not know what that company did in any detail but I do now and it’s a really great company with a really great team “. From a business development perspective you are not scrabbling around trying to find the right contact to listen to your ( usual ) sales pitch – you have just got your message to all the key people of a wide range of potential partners. Yes, you will be telling some of your competitors your innermost secrets but, if you have a good business, it’s more likely to unnerve them than help them.
Whilst we are on this subject there are probably a few people – may be “ co–opetition “ ( competitors that you co-operate with sometimes ) or key customers that could be competitors – that you would not send out the sales proposal and Teaser to. These people tend to come out as you go through the potential buyers list.
The Sales Proposal is likely to have been put together, as with the Teaser, by the M.D., F.D. and the M & A advisor. It will, no doubt , have also been passed around to the other Directors and maybe key shareholders for their comments and input.
The Sales Proposal is normally only released to interested parties that have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement ( NDA ). This is a barrier to them talking to other people about you and the information in your Sales Proposal. Professional people are mostly pretty discreet ( they never know when they might be next ! ). You always get some unprofessional people with loose tongues.
The Sales Proposal will typically outline a set of timescales for the response by interested parties, presentations and the registering of expressions of interest and actual offers.
The M & A advisor will typically follow up the sales proposal and look to identify those that want to attend the presentations and make an offer.
This blog post is a part of a series of posts describing The Sales Process – you can access the other parts of the series from the links below:
- Making the decision
- Alternative Options to an exit by trade sale
- Getting ready to sell
- Finding an M & A Adviser – The Beauty Parade !!
- Who/where are the buyers
- “The Teaser”
- Prioritising Interest
- The Sale Document – your greatest ever sales proposal
- Negotiations and Heads of Terms
- Due Diligence
- Closing the deal
- Objective Parties