What is a consulting proposal?
A consulting proposal is a document given to a prospective client detailing the scope of work that you (the consultant) or your consulting firm plan to perform over a set time frame.
While your proposal should emphasize the value of your consulting services, you’ll also need to include practical information — such as process and pricing — and what strategy you plan to implement in order to fix the client’s problem.
If you’re submitting a proposal in response to a request for proposals (RFP) or an invitation to apply, you may also need to include case studies, testimonials, and other forms of social proof that demonstrate the value of your services over your competitors and justify the price that you intend to set.
For potential clients, your proposal is a master document that provides insight into your brand, your history, and why they should hire you.
Creating a solid and detailed pitch that addresses all client concerns can often transform a simple proposal into a lengthy and complex one.
We’ll discuss how using consulting proposal templates, particularly within your document workflow or proposal automation software, can help you simplify this process and improve the final proposal document itself.
Should I use templates for my consulting business?
Yes. Unlike many other businesses, where labor or products are issued at fixed rates, many consultants bill based on performance metrics, milestones, or estimated project scope.
The fluidity of the product offering means that generating proposals can take longer than either you or your client would like.
Templates can help to streamline this process by allowing you quickly to preload all relevant boilerplate information — the content that isn’t likely to change from proposal to proposal — so that you can spend extra time focusing on building the strategic deliverables for a specific project.
Rather than creating each proposal from scratch, using a templatized workflow can save time and improve accuracy for each proposal you create.
On top of that, when you’re searching for new clients, an efficient proposal process means that you can submit proposals more quickly and at lower costs, effectively allowing you to target a larger number of prospects and minimize downtime.
What should I include in my proposal?
In many ways, a winning consulting proposal takes its cues from traditional business proposals.
The difference is that, depending on the type of consultancy, your deliverable or final work product may be intangible. Such as advice, recommendations, or building consensus. Further, the needs that you serve may vary greatly from client to client.
This makes the importance of effective consulting templates even greater because your prospects need to understand how you can help them.
To do that, be sure to include the following in every consulting proposal that you send:
- Cover page
- Executive summary
- Project summary
- Project details
- Payment terms
- Testimonial and social proof
- Terms and agreements
- Call to action
Depending on the nature of your business, you may need to add some extra customizations or features.
For example, while changing the client’s name and the company name on each proposal might sound tedious, it can help to personalize the document further. (Changing minor details is also easy to do using custom variables in PandaDoc!)
On a larger scale, if your firm houses multiple consultants, you may want to include an “About Us” page with a profile of the specific consultant assigned to the client to ensure maximum relatability.
Other options might include adding signing blocks for an eSignature or built-in follow-ups and reminder emails after you send your proposal to the prospect. If you have a huge presence on social media, it may make sense to include links to that as well.
What is the best way to create a business or consulting proposal template?
There are two ways to build an effective consulting proposal template doc: create one from scratch or reverse engineer a winning proposal from your current archive.
Let’s take a look at each solution in turn.
Creating templates from old proposals
It’s technically possible to take a regular proposal and modify it from client to client. But it would be a huge waste of time to do this over and over again.
Instead, you’ll want to find a winning proposal in your archive and create a template to try and replicate that success. Done correctly, this is one of the best ways to create a solid proposal for your firm or small business.
But it’s not without some risk.
The real danger in following this strategy is that it’s a process lacking in standardization. In a nightmare scenario, it’s also possible that someone forgets to delete existing client information during the revision process and ends up passing that information along to a prospective client.
Not only would that spoil the proposal, but it might also be a serious breach of confidentiality.
When using this method to create proposals, take a tactical approach to ensure that you retain all essential business information while details assigned to a specific consulting project or client are removed.
Have multiple team members review the template document to ensure that no confidential information was missed.
Creating templates from scratch
When left to their own devices, sales team members may create their own arsenal of documents to send to prospective clients. This happens when organizations lack any kind of consensus or standardization related to how the brand should be perceived.
To solve this problem, create a comprehensive consulting services proposal template completely from scratch using approved language and images that will resonate most effectively with prospects.
This kind of drastic overhaul often requires proposal templates to be created from scratch or from foundational templates like those available in our template library.
You can check out a sample consultant proposal template right here.
While this process can be more time-consuming and extensive, it serves to standardize brand documentation and create a guided template that is simple and easy to use when generating project proposals.
Consulting proposal sample
A sample consulting proposal should include the following as a base, but you should feel free to add more details per your business or objective.
Date of Proposal
Greeting: A brief greeting and introduction. Give a short description of what the reader can expect in the proposal.
Project Summary: A quick summary of the main objectives of the project. Explain in what ways it’ll benefit the client, citing examples of previous successful projects.
Project Scope: Outline the steps you’ll take to complete the project for your prospective client, including any project software you’ll introduce or contractors you’ll employ to complete the work.
Project Objective: Cite a measurable project goal that the client will be able to track easily.
Deliverables: What the client can expect from you, including any documents, presentations, media, etc. pertaining to the project.
Timeline: A projected timeline with start and completion dates for each phase of the project.
Investment: Fees associated with the project, broken down into project phases or specific tasks and estimated hours for completion.
Background: An outline of your experience and credentials as a consultant. Remind the client why they should choose you with a brief description of your skills and past projects.
Conclusion: Wrap everything up neatly for the reader, reminding the client of the value you can offer them.
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PandaDoc consolidates all aspects of document creation into a single platform so that you can generate, send, sign, and manage your business documentation all in one place.
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Frequently asked questions
How long should a consulting proposal be?
In addition to including the basic information about your organization, your consulting proposal also needs to address all your prospective client’s needs. Make sure to keep your document client-specific and succinct.
For business consulting proposals, length can vary significantly depending on the scope of work involved.
You may need to include details from your evaluative process to deployment and marketing strategies that the client can use to transform your guidance into profit.
How do I write a consulting proposal template?
To speed up the template-writing process and ensure your end product looks professional, opt for a business proposal software that allows you to choose from a huge selection of pre-built professional services proposal templates.
Whether you’re building your template from scratch manually or customizing an existing proposal template for consulting services using software, make sure you:
- Write a project summary that addresses your client’s challenges and your proposed solution for each of these.
- Summarize your past successes and how these will help you achieve the client’s aims.
- Define the project’s objectives for the client and how you intend to achieve these. The more specific you can be here, the better.
- Outline deliverables for the client so they know exactly what they’ll be getting from your services. For example, if they’ve requested a new website, you’ll want to list that in your deliverables.
- Detail your consulting fees with hourly breakdowns, what individual fees are for, and any additional help you’ll be bringing on (such as freelancing content marketing experts), so they have all the costs upfront.
- Keep your proposal short and sweet; get to the point and keep it moving so the client doesn’t get bogged down with information and abandon the proposal.
- Get your prospective client’s feedback on your submitted proposal. There may be elements of the project they hadn’t considered before seeing these within the proposal.
How do I create a consulting proposal?
An effective consulting proposal should define the relationship between you and your prospective client. So, before you start creating your proposal, you’ll want to connect with your client and get a feel for what they’re looking for, what they’re hoping to achieve, and what they want to spend.
Dig into their challenges and focus your proposal on solving their specific pain points. Having this information before you start will help you make proposal decisions that align with the client’s goals and budget.
Don’t forget to collect resources that detail how you’ll provide value to the client. Once you know what the client is looking for, gather any previous similar projects to help demonstrate the results of your work and the value you can provide.
How should I structure a consulting proposal?
A good consulting proposal should follow the structure given below — with allowances made for additional information the client requests or elements you feel necessary to explain your services:
- Introduction or project summary
- Scope of the project
- Fees and payment structure
- Conclusion and signature
Does my consulting business need multiple proposal templates?
If your consultancy targets multiple markets, such as healthcare and banking, or multiple opportunities within an industry or organization, you can benefit from creating multiple proposal templates.
While you probably won’t want to create a template for niche use cases, creating templates for regular avenues of service will make sense.
A typical consulting business might have a handful of proposals based on the services they offer. This could include:
When carried out this way, should a company representative isolate a unique need within an organization, all they need to do is generate the proposal that makes the most sense for the situation at hand.
What is the best way to streamline proposal creation?
Without a doubt, the best way to streamline proposal creation is to use a unified platform like PandaDoc.
Whether you need to create a basic business proposal template, a business consulting proposal template, or something yet more specialized, the PandaDoc editor offers everything you need to build, send, and store incredible documents.
Give it a try and see how you can take your document creation process to the next level.