How to write a proposal that gets approved

Business Process Management

Learn how to write a winning project proposal that convinces decision-makers to support your idea with time, money, and personnel.

Vendr | Learn how to write a winning project proposal
Written by
Vendr Team
Published on
April 8, 2022
Read Time

Vendr | TwitterFacebook iconVendr | LinkedIn

You have an idea for a new project that’ll be a massive win for your company.

You’re pretty sure your idea has legs, too. In other words, you’re confident that your company can reap benefits like:

  • Saving time or reducing efforts,
  • Making money or reducing costs,
  • Reducing risk, or improving quality.

You’re all set to present your idea to the higher-ups. But you know your idea will require follow-through, resources, and — most of all — support from upper management.

So, how will you convince your stakeholders to adopt your proposal? What will it take for them to consider and support your plan with resources like time, money, or personnel?

We suggest creating a project proposal to determine whether your idea is good. A good proposal can make a big difference. We will give you all the necessary information to write a proposal that motivates action.

What is a proposal?

Proposal management is the process of creating and presenting written suggestions or plans to solve a specific problem. Proposal writers collaborate with subject matter experts. They create recommendations, implementation strategies, and anticipated results.

Afterwards, they present these details to interested parties. This is done for discussion or consideration.

The purpose of a proposal is to convince decision-makers that it is worth carrying out. This will help secure their backing in making the proposal a reality.


Four common types of proposals

There are four types of proposals:

  • Internal proposals are proposals presented to someone or a group within your organization.
  • External proposals are written in one organization and presented to someone or a group in another entity.
  • Someone else may have an idea or request that they need help with. This is known as a solicited proposal. To respond to the request, you must create a plan and present it. Examples of solicited proposals include a request for proposal (RFP) and a request for quotations (RFQ).
  • Unsolicited proposals are written without being asked. The goal is to convince a potential party that a need exists and that a solution is available.

You can have a combination of these types of proposals. For instance, your submission will be internal or external and solicited or unsolicited. In the end, you’ll end up with one of these combinations:

  • Internal, solicited proposal
  • External, solicited proposal
  • An internal, unsolicited proposal
  • External, unsolicited proposal

Why a good proposal is essential to get your idea approved

The ultimate goal of proposal writing is to persuade interested parties that your idea is worth pursuing. You must convince all stakeholders that your proposal is the ideal solution. This includes management, department heads, upper management, and potential new clients.

For instance, let's say you want to buy a new SaaS product for your team. A well-written proposal can help you make a compelling case for why your organization needs it. Decision-makers can more easily understand the benefits of the software if presented with a clear and detailed plan. It can help improve productivity, streamline processes, and save money. Then, your proposal will be approved and you can enter your company’s SaaS procurement process.

Writing a project proposal is crucial because it allows you to communicate your vision in a written format. You can convey all aspects of your idea. These include the project's scope, execution plan, and expected outcomes. This will give decision-makers a holistic understanding of your proposal.

Effective proposal process management is crucial for achieving successful results. Proposals serve as a roadmap for outlining a step-by-step process to gain support from management and the team. By creating a comprehensive plan, stakeholders can understand how you plan to achieve your objectives and increase the likelihood of securing support to turn your proposal into a reality.

A solid business proposal plan can make a significant difference in the success of your project and ensure that all parties involved are aligned with the project goals and objectives.

How to write a proposal that gets approved and selected

There are eight straightforward steps in proposal development that should compile your project proposal template.

Know your audience.

To write a successful proposal, it is critical to understand your audience. You must determine who will read and approve your proposal to customize your writing to meet their specific requirements.

Specify the problem.

Identifying the problem or challenge you want to solve is crucial. You need to explain how it affects you, your team, or your company to give context and demonstrate the need for your proposal.

Offer your solution and have a purpose.

Your proposal should offer a solution to the problem you identified. It's also essential to have a clear purpose that aligns with your company's strategic goals to motivate team members to support your project.

Outline your deliverables and anticipated outcomes.

Stakeholders must understand what they can expect if upper management approves and selects your proposal. You should clearly outline your proposal's benefits and anticipated outcomes to gain their support.

Present your plan and strategy.

When presenting your plan, preparing, researching, and focusing on essential information is crucial. You need to explain how you will achieve the results you promised in your proposal with a winning strategy.

Explain the project schedule and budget.

Your proposal needs to include a project schedule and budget. You should outline who will complete the tasks, when, and how much the proposal could cost.

Summarize your proposal.

In summary, you should reiterate the proposal's purpose and how acting on it will benefit the stakeholders. You should also thank the readers for their time and consideration.

Proofread your work.

Proofreading your proposal is essential to ensure it's error-free and effectively communicates your ideas. Take the time to review and edit your work thoroughly.


What goes into a proposal?

Basic information

When creating a proposal, it's important to include critical information at the beginning to provide a clear overview of the project. Your first few pages should include the company name, project title, executive summary, project timeframe, who prepared it, what documents are attached, contact information, and a table of contents.

Background and objectives

When creating a proposal, addressing several key questions is essential. You should explain why your reader should care about the project and what to do to achieve the project's goals. It's also important to detail how you will carry out the project, who will be responsible for completing it, where it will take place, how long it will take, and how much it will cost.

In addition to answering these questions for the proposal team, you should provide background information on past projects and outline what went well or didn't. The project background section is an opportunity to explain how your project has learned from past experiences and improved for better success. Using references, statistics, and graphs to support your proposal, you can clarify the problem. Finally, it's crucial to list your project's objectives.


In this section, you should describe your plan and approach. The methodology includes explaining how you will organize your team and management processes, the tools you will use, and how to handle possible changes.

You should also provide a detailed breakdown of the tasks involved in the project, including how long each task will take and who will complete it.

Additionally, list all the deliverables you plan to provide as part of the project, such as information, products, or reports, along with their expected delivery dates.

Change management

Change is an inevitable aspect of any project, so it's best to plan for it.

In your proposal, you should include a risk management plan that outlines your action plan to minimize the impact of any changes during the project's lifecycle. This plan should include a risk register identifying potential risks and ways to counteract them.

By being proactive and preparing a change management plan, you can reduce the likelihood of disruptions and ensure the project stays on track. A well-crafted risk management plan can also help you build trust and confidence with stakeholders and capture managers, demonstrating your ability to handle challenges and uncertainties that may arise during the project.

Project costs

When creating a proposal, it's essential to estimate the overall cost and pricing of the project, especially with a proposal for SaaS procurement. Your costs section should involve producing a line-item budget that assigns categories such as salary, supplies, or travel while considering indirect and overhead costs.

You should also provide a budget narrative that offers clarification or justification commentaries where needed. If your project is complex, you may need to include additional financial statements such as P&Ls, tax returns, and funding sources. You may need to provide some competing quotes from SaaS vendors. By providing a clear and detailed financial plan, you can help stakeholders understand the project's costs and ensure it stays within budget.

Concluding the proposal

Review your proposal’s main points, highlighting its purpose and benefits.

Prove you’ve done your due diligence in researching and conceiving your solution, and share case studies, success stories, and testimonials if you have them. Remember, this is your last chance to make a good impression and win over your audience.

How Vendr can help you propose a new SaaS solution

When managing your proposal process for buying new SaaS tools, Vendr is a valuable resource. Vendr Explore allows you to research and evaluate various SaaS options, while Vendr Workflows can streamline the procurement process, ensuring that it's efficient and effective.

Vendr's SaaS procurement solution offers a lot of clarity into involving stakeholders in procurement. You can easily communicate with your team, share proposals, and collaborate in real time to ensure everyone is on the same page. With Vendr's support, you can feel confident that your proposal process is well-managed, allowing you to focus on finding the right SaaS tools to meet your organization's needs.


Vendr Team
Vendr's team of SaaS and negotiation experts provide their curated insights into the latest trends in software, tool capabilities, and modern procurement strategies.

Similar posts

Learn more about finding, buying and managing your SaaS stack with resources from our experts.

What is business process automation? Five examples of BPA.

Vendr Team

Business Process Management
What is business process automation? Five examples of BPA.

Discover five powerful examples of business process automation and use them to fuel efficiencies and drive compliance in your organization.

Read post
Invoice automation: How it works and why it's essential

Vendr Team

Business Process Management
Invoice automation: How it works and why it's essential

Explore the benefits of invoice automation in this comprehensive guide. Learn how technologies like optical character recognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are revolutionizing invoice processing.

Read post
Supercharge your financial planning with these FP&A software tools

Vendr Team

Business Process Management
Supercharge your financial planning with these FP&A software tools

Looking for the best FP&A software to streamline your financial processes and drive business growth? Discover the top-tier tools here.

Read post