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How to Guide - Crafting an Effective L&D Proposal
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How to Guide - Crafting an Effective L&D Proposal

As part of any L&D sales cycle is the proposal stage. This is often after you engage the client in a discovery and diagnostic call or meeting. A critical step in the sales process is taking the information derived from the meeting and putting together a compelling proposal that clearly articulates the customer’s challenges and presents them a potential solution. In any industry, this is a crucial step where you can build trust and credibility with the prospect.

If you manage to do that, you have a good shot of obtaining the prospect and converting them into a revenue generating client. As you get better clarity of the client through the initial meeting, there are a few critical steps to cover in your proposal and we go through them in summary in this article. If you want a more comprehensive guide, we have created a great eBook for your reference. This goes into the details of any effective L&D proposal and it is something that you should definitely consider reading.

Besides the eBook, we also have 2 articles that supplement the L&D proposal process:

1. How to Create Engaging Corporate Training Programs: A Comprehensive Guide for Learning & Development Leaders

2. How to measure the impact of corporate learning and development initiatives?


Key Steps to Creating a Great L&D Proposal

To summarise the points, you may simply aim to cover 3 main areas below in your proposal:

  1. Clearly show you Understand the Client’s Needs
  2. Explain Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) vs. The Competition
  3. Communicate Your Return on Investment (ROI)

Let’s get into a little more detail on each of these areas.

Clearly Understand the Client’s Needs

Take as many notes as possible during the initial discovery meeting. Your goal is to understand exactly what the client is looking for. Understanding their past programmes, training initiatives and trainers they have worked with in the past will give you some perspective on the outcomes they are looking for. The key takeaway from the initial meeting with the client needs to be communicated clearly and effectively in your proposal. A great way to diagnose better is to adopt the SPIN selling methodology.

SPIN Selling

Take SPIN selling to the next level and demonstrate how it can add value to the client by doing a SPIN analysis for their needs. The SPIN method is broken down into 4 stages and you should apply it to get a holistic result for your L&D proposal.

  1. Situation: questions about the customer’s current situation
  2. Problem: questions about the customer’s difficulties or dissatisfactions
  3. Implication: questions about the consequences of the customer’s problems
  4. Need-Payoff: questions that explore the importance to the customer of solving their problem.

We go into a lot of detail on each step in our eBook on how to create an effective L&D proposal which is available for free download here. It goes into each segment of SPIN to understand how you can apply it to your L&D proposal.

Explain Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) vs. The Competition

Be as clear as possible on your unique selling proposition and how you differentiate your solution vs. the competition. Your unique proposition could be a specific product, solution, framework or industry experience. Regardless of your USP, this aspect of the proposal has to be clear to stand out.


Communicate Your Return on Investment (ROI)

ROI can be subjective to your client and it could be a simple net promoter score (NPS) that indicates the value of your programme or it could be a more specific measurement criterion that allows you to meet your client's needs and goals. If you can align your deliverables to their KPIs, you are already ahead of the game. If you can further align it to how you can solve their root cause challenge, you might have a winning proposal. It’s how you communicate it that becomes the next challenge.

Return on Investment

Photo by Lukas:


Key Takeaway

To summarise the article, there are a few details that are absolutely crucial for a proposal to be successful. The main areas to focus on are below.

Clearly Understand the Client’s Needs

  1. Work on the client's SPIN
  2. Ask meaningful questions that address the 4 pillars of SPIN
  3. Take as many notes as possible during the session

Explain Your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) vs. The Competition

  1. Clearly showcase your product's value
  2. Showcase your USP to the client

Communicate Your Return on Investment (ROI)

  1. Identify a measurable ROI metric that solves the client's root problem
  2. Identify a way to make the ROI visible to the client

Do check out the eBook for a lot more details!


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