5 Lessons on Writing Sales Proposals Gleaned From the Competition for Amazon’s New Headquarters

5 Lessons on Writing Sales Proposals Gleaned From the Competition for Amazon’s New Headquarters

Every sales organization and entrepreneur needs to know how to write winning sales proposals and respond to requests for proposal (RFPs). No matter what you sell, you can learn from the process of pitching for Amazon's new headquarters to write better sales proposals: 1. Knowing about the company culture is essential to a successful sales proposal because it gives you insights into what is truly important to the company, aside from the nuts and bolts of what you sell. You might not be able to compete with other organizations based on every single item on the checklist, but you can try to create a compelling offer based on the overall strategic picture of why your solution is the right fit. Lots of cities are tempted to offer big tax incentives or subsidies to bring those Amazon jobs home, but this is not always a winning strategy; Amazon is likely to make its choice based on a complex range of factors and so do your customers. The lowest price doesn't always win and even big companies like Amazon don't make decisions solely based on who gives them the lowest price or the sweetest package of tax incentives -- in fact, customers are often willing to pay more for a solution or service that is the right fit for what they need and that delivers a strong ROI. Amazon has encouraged cities to be creative in their proposals and they are already responding. Landing a new Amazon headquarters is a massive undertaking even for the biggest cities; no one can do it alone. Cities are banding together with allies at the local and regional level to make a strong case for why their location is the best choice. There are lots of opportunities to get creative while collaborating with allies.

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5 Lessons on Writing Sales Proposals Gleaned From the Competition for Amazon's New Headquarters

Every sales organization and entrepreneur needs to know how to write winning sales proposals and respond to requests for proposal (RFPs). Amazon recently launched perhaps the biggest RFP in history when it announced that they are seeking a location for a new 2nd Amazon headquarters which will be home to 50,000 jobs.

Cities and economic development authorities across the U.S. are breaking out their strongest proposals for what makes their community the right choice for Amazon’s new headquarters location. There are a few key lessons here for anyone who writes sales proposals, big or small. No matter what you sell, you can learn from the process of pitching for Amazon’s new headquarters to write better sales proposals:

1. Learn about the company culture.

Your prospect is not just in the market for a product with the right technical specs, they often want to know how your solution and your team will fit with their company culture. Knowing about the company culture is essential to a successful sales proposal because it gives you insights into what is truly important to the company, aside from the nuts and bolts of what you sell. For example, Amazon has a reputation for being a “green” company, so many cities are focusing their proposals to Amazon on what their cities do well in regards to sustainability, such as bike paths and public transportation.

2. Align your strengths with the prospect’s biggest ambitions and goals.

Amazon is seeking several things from the location of their new headquarters: a strong climate for business growth, an international airport, good public transit, a strong pool of tech talent and a high quality of life and cultural amenities that help attract a well-educated workforce. (For example, the New York Times suggested that Denver might be the best metro area for Amazon’s new headquarters, based on these guidelines.) Regardless of which city “wins” Amazon’s bidding process, the lesson is the same — pay attention to the overall picture of what your prospect is seeking to buy. Certain features of your solution might be more important than others. You might not be able to compete with other organizations based on every single item on the checklist, but you can try…

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