How to write a technical proposal (free templates)

How to write a technical proposal (free templates)

Are you an innovator or inventor?

Have you had a great idea that you are ready to bring to the world?

The first hurdle you have to get past as a technical innovator is writing a technical proposal to submit to a company that can take your idea, research and develop it, and bring it to the world — paying you what you are owed for originating the idea, of course.

You need your idea to be realized, not to get bogged down writing beautiful prose. Fortunately, a technical proposal follows a well-known process that you can cop using this how-to.

So what does the term “technical proposal” mean?

A technical proposal is a document where you introduce your product, explain how it can help solve the recipient’s issue, identify the company’s plan for execution and provide technical details of the deal. This kind of proposal should be concise, talk about a complex product in simple words, and show your potential customer the benefits of working with you.

We have put together this how-to to help with the following:

  1. Understanding the parts of a technical proposal
  2. Selling it! (Stating your purpose)
  3. Writing a technical proposal
  4. Submitting the technical proposal

In this lesson, we’ll help you conquer writing a technical proposal with a free technical proposal template that includes 4 additional tips.

What is a technical proposal template?

You’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into writing technical proposals one by one hoping to win just one client. Every time you draft a proposal from scratch you spend hours (or even days) writing it. If this sounds familiar, understand that this approach will not help you reach more customers. If you need to write dozens of proposals, you definitely need a good proposal template to save you time.

A technical proposal template includes all the necessary sections to auto-fill standard content which is a must, as each technical proposal likely remains unchanged. Proposal software is the right choice for those who want to speed up the creation process. You’ll also get plenty of opportunities for custom branding, embedding media files (like photos and video), and developing your own document design.

How to use templates?

Usually, it’s pretty easy; you buy a subscription to a service and get the template you need. Some software providers offer a knowledge database where you can find info on how to create a document.

Watch this short video to grasp the basic rules of proper document creation with templates.

How to write a technical proposal?

Tip 1. Understanding the parts of a technical proposal

A technical proposal follows a simple format (phew!).

The typical parts of a technical proposal include:

  • About section
  • What is… section
  • How does… section
  • Technical contract
  • Product description
  • Company duties
  • Considerations
  • Ownership
  • Modification terms
  • Applicable laws
  • Other clauses/terms/definitions
  • Signature section

Other sections may be called for as needed, but to get you going in the right direction, you can grab our free technical proposal template.

Tip 2. Selling it! (Stating your purpose)

Perhaps the most important part of your technical proposal is the part where you sell the recipient on the merits of your invention or innovation.

Have you reinvented the wheel (only somehow better)?

Have you made an Edison-like improvement to an existing invention?

The second section of your technical proposal, the “What is…” part is the place for selling the merit for what you have created.

In this section, you need to first introduce the demand for your innovation, before you describe its specifics.

Questions to answer in the “What is…” section of a technical proposal:

  1. Who does this product benefit?
  2. What is the problem the product solves?
  3. Why is this innovation needed now?
  4. Why are you the best innovator to solve this problem?

These questions correspond to the “How does…” section of your technical proposal, in that section, you will need to illuminate the following:

  1. Technical specifications
  2. Detailed features

The “How does…” section is often necessarily dry, so consider using some flourishing language to keep your proposal recipient from falling asleep, but do not go too far off track.

Tip 3. Writing a technical proposal

Writing a technical proposal is a unique challenge. On the one hand, you are faced with presenting some highly specific technical details about a potentially complex product. On the other hand, you may find yourself tasked with presenting said information to people who might not understand the topic as well as you do.

The accuracy of those technical details figures heavily; however, presenting them clearly and concisely comes down to how well you plan out your technical proposal.

To help your proposal make sense, stick with these best practices:

  • Strive for concision — if a term does not need to be there, cut it
  • Focus on the general science/technology terminology as often as possible, skirting the need for your reader to be a specialist
  • Speak to your recipients’ level of understanding — don’t over-simplify
  • Fact check to make sure all the data in the technical proposal is accurate

If at all possible, you should ask a friend or colleague with knowledge comparable to your own to take a look at your technical proposal prior to sending it the intended recipient.

Someone with knowledge of the topic can help you troubleshoot problems and omissions that could mean the difference between acceptance and rejection of your proposal.

Tip 4. Submitting the proposal

The last step in the process is, of course, submitting the technical proposal. Be very careful here. It is ill-advised to tender an unsolicited technical proposal (for the sake of obvious intellectual property concerns).

What’s more, even when a company does agree to accept your technical proposal, you still need to check their submission guidelines thoroughly to make certain that your invention is not rejected, purely on a technicality!

Whatever you do, don’t get burned! The best possible advice is to consult with a patent attorney as soon as inspiration strikes!

Are you ready to submit your next big technical proposal? Before starting from scratch on a technical proposal be sure to grab our template. It has helpful PandaTips to add to what’s been said here and it follows the established format for a technical proposal to the letter.

Bonus: How to write a technical proposal for a tender

Large companies or even government often issue RFPs (requests for proposals), invitations to tender or call for bids. They engage potential partners to respond to their proposition and suggest a way to solve their problem. Being an entrepreneur, you’ll want to put your best foot forward when offering your product as a solution. To do this, you need to create a winning technical offer for a tender.

What should we pay attention to?

First of all, read the instructions — they may include a strict response form that you should use when drafting your proposal. The company can also require a maximum number of words and ask specific questions that you must answer.

To reinforce the credibility of your proposal, include diagrams, graphics, and illustrations to explain the information which can’t be communicated verbally. Another way to convince a company of your product’s effectiveness is to show social proof — the results previous customers have achieved by using your product.

A technical proposal for a tender should refer to additional documents that detail your insurance info, intellectual property rights, pricing tables, etc. Don’t forget these documents should be signed by you and the recipient. Make sure to leave ample room to receive an electronic signature on your document.

Whatever you do, make sure you spend the time needed not only to write a winning technical proposal but to protect your invention — which we hope our tips here will help you do with ease!

Are you an inventor? What can you add to our discussion of creating winning technical proposals? Please join in the dialog in the comment space below!

Originally published April 30, 2014, updated May 2, 2018

Alex Lamachenka

Alex Lamachenka Sr DemandGen Manager at PandaDoc

Alex is the Sr. Demand Generation Manager (formerly) at PandaDoc who handles content and crowd marketing. His background covers sales, project management, and design. In his free time, you can find him traveling, hiking or tasting local foods.

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