Your Proposals-How Much Do You Put Into The End Result?


As part of our latest survey report release (RSW/US 2017 Thought Leader Survey Report), we’re focusing in on specific thought leaders and the insights unearthed from the agencies who took our survey.

Tim Williams is the focus of this post. Tim Williams is one of the leading voices in transformational business practices for agencies.

As a career agency professional and founder of Ignition Consulting Group (, Tim works with firms around the world in the areas of pricing and business strategy.

A few key takeaways from Tim’s section, via responses from the agencies who took our survey:

53% of agencies never, or only sometimes, initially discuss expected outcomes with the client prior to discussing scope of work when they begin a major new assignment.

Tim’s question was this: “When you begin a major new assignment, how often do you precede the discussion of scope of work (expected outputs) with an in-depth discussion about the “scope of value” (expected outcomes)? “

“Scope of value” is key here.  Our owner, Mark Sneider, provides context around this in our report:

Adding value is important at all stages of the new business development process. From the moment you first reach out, you need to add value.

Something we preach often on this blog, but to Tim’s point in asking the question, that value can’t end once you get the work.  When you begin the assignment and before you talk scope, continue the process you began in prospecting this client-talk about those expected outcomes so you and the client are on the same page from day one.

Another takeaway from our report:

64% of agencies never, or only sometimes, apply creativity to the development of their pricing and compensation proposal.

For context, Tim’s full question here: “When preparing new business presentations, in addition to applying creative thinking to the prospect’s marketing problems, how often do you also apply creativity in our development of the pricing and compensation proposal?”

This is often overlooked by agencies. The team puts so much time and creativity into solving the marketing challenge, but the proposal’s end result comes in the form of a blatant template, or uninspired structure. This applies to the proposal overall, but certainly to the pricing and compensation piece.

To be fair, it can go the other way as well. I had a soon-to-be client, in our first conversation, ask if we could review a few of their proposals because they felt like they were reinventing the wheel with every one.  It was taking an enormous of time to put together every proposal.

But specifically to pricing and compensation, rarely do agencies apply their creative thinking to that end of the proposal.

Some final thoughts on the proposal from our owner Mark you should take into account as well:

And as we tell our agency clients, do all you can to talk your prospects through proposals…don’t just email them and hope they read it all – or understand it all. Being on the phone with them (or in person) gives you a chance to talk them through it, and gives them the opportunity to ask questions versus just dismissing the proposal if they don’t agree with something, don’t understand something, or don’t like the pricing you’ve proposed.

I'm the VP of Sales at RSW/US. We specialize in working with services firms to help drive and close new business-if you need help with that, email me at What I actually do: drive sales efforts to bring ad agencies and services firms on board with RSW, create content around successful new business tactics and help drive RSW/US marketing objectives, including social media channels, blog content, webinars, video and speaking engagements. Dig it.