How to Write an Executive Summary

How to Write an Executive Summary

We truly understand. You want to learn how to write an executive summary that sets your RFP response or sales proposal apart from the competition. To be successful, you must first gather critical sales intelligence. Do your homework and understand:

  • The client’s business drivers. What does your client seek to accomplish? What are the client’s business drivers, their requirements, their pain—and the solution that they are seeking?
  • Your sales strategy for customer success. What customer success vision have you, or the sales team, shared with the client throughout their buying process?
  • How your organization complements the client’s vision. You need to understand how your organization’s resources, people, product, and services, complement the client’s business needs and how your resources will contribute to the client’s success.
  • Your competitive strengths and value opportunity to the client. Why should the client select your offering over a competitor’s solution?

Your Customer-Focused Message

Once you have gathered the critical sales intelligence, then you can begin to write. A compelling executive summary is well-organized—traditionally no more than 2 to 3 pages in length and delivers a customer-focused introduction to your proposal. Here are some best practices to ensure that this important proposal introduction is always customer-focused!

  • The executive summary should build upon the customer success strategy and messaging that the sales team has delivered throughout the client’s buying process. In fact, in some organizations, the sales team prepares the first draft, and in turn, sets the tone and direction for the proposal team to follow.
  • The executive summary should summarize the information that is provided in the proposal, including what is being offered. The details are supported in the body of the proposal.
  • As a customer-focused document, the executive summary is about the client and their vision, needs and requirements. You must summarize how your solution will help the client be successful. The executive summary is NOT about your organization, when it was founded, where it is headquartered, how many products you offer, and on.
  • If you are compelled to communicate information about your organization—it is because the information is critical to the client’s success. For example, you might convey: With redundant production and distribution facilities located in the USA, Germany and Brazil, ABC Company can meet your global manufacturing requirements, as well as provide production redundancies that meet emergency preparedness and business continuity planning requirements. This statement is not provided to boost about your globally located facilities. But rather, the statement shares an important competitive qualification for a customer who requires global parts distribution, emergency preparedness, and a business continuity plan.

Editor’s Note: This article is part 2 in a 3-part series. You may also want to read the first post and third post in this series.

Shared by: Jeanne Schulze