How to Write an Effective Executive Summary for Your Proposal (With Examples)

The executive summary is one of the most important sections of a proposal. It provides a brief overview of your solution and acts as a hook to get the prospect excited to read further. Writing an compelling executive summary takes skill and practice. In this article, we’ll walk through everything you need to know to craft an executive summary that sells.

What is an Executive Summary?

An executive summary is a short, one-page document that highlights the key details from your full proposal. It usually comes after the cover letter and gives the prospect a high-level view of:

  • The client’s pain points and needs
  • Your proposed solution
  • The expected outcomes/benefits
  • What makes your company uniquely qualified

The goal is to make a solid first impression and convince the prospect to keep reading. You only have their full attention for a brief moment, so your executive summary needs to capture interest quickly.

Elements of an Effective Executive Summary

While executive summaries are short, every word counts. Follow these best practices when writing yours:

1. Lead with an Attention-Grabbing Opening

Start your executive summary with a compelling opening line or statement You want to hook the reader right away,

Some ideas for opening lines

  • Reference the client’s goal or pain points. E.g. “You’re seeking a better way to ____”
  • Open with an interesting statistic related to their struggles
  • Ask a thoughtful question that connects to their needs

Spend time crafting the perfect opening. It sets the tone for the rest of your summary.

2. Emphasize Their Pain Points

After grabbing attention, highlight the prospect’s key challenges and needs. Show that you understand their situation and why they sought out a solution.

Use stats, research, or specifics about how the problem impacts their business. The more you can tailor the pain points to the prospect, the better.

3. Introduce Your Solution

With their struggles framed, briefly explain how your solution alleviates those pains. Share the key details of your offering and highlight the specific benefits the client will receive.

Focus on the value you provide – go beyond features to talk about real outcomes. Quantify the impact with metrics when possible.

4. Summarize Company Qualifications

Close your executive summary by outlining what makes your company uniquely qualified to deliver results.

Share factors like:

  • Years of experience/expertise in their industry
  • Noteworthy company achievements or awards
  • Competitive differentiators that set you apart

This establishes credibility and shows why you’re the best fit.

5. Call Them to Action

End with a call to action for the next step, such as scheduling a meeting or demo. Give them a clear direction to continue the conversation.

Executive Summary Template

Use this executive summary template as a guide when drafting your own:

[Client Name] Executive Summary

[Opening sentence that grabs attention]

[1-2 sentences on client pain points] Without [your solution], [explain struggles and impacts].

[1-2 sentences explaining your solution] [Your company] provides [key details about offering] to help you [benefit #1], [benefit #2], and [benefit #3].

[1-2 sentences on company qualifications] With [years of experience] and [credentials or achievements], [Your company] is uniquely positioned to deliver [quantified results].

Let’s [next step call to action] to discuss how we can help [restate main client goal].

Executive Summary Examples

Here are two executive summary examples for proposals:

IT Services Proposal

Global Tech Inc. Executive Summary

Legacy systems and disjointed processes make it harder than ever to deliver seamless omnichannel experiences. Without modernization, you’ll continue to lose customers and revenue.

Global Tech provides cloud migration, systems integration, and digital experience consulting to future-proof companies. Our solutions help you deliver personalized omnichannel customer experiences, boost efficiency through automation, and position you for innovation.

With over 20 years of experience and named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant 5 consecutive years, Global Tech is uniquely positioned to help you modernize systems and experiences while optimizing costs.

Let’s explore how we can help you transform the digital experience for your customers.

Marketing Agency Proposal

ABC Corp Executive Summary

You’re seeking better performance from your marketing campaigns and programs. But limited insight into your customers makes it hard to connect.

Lumen Marketing provides customer analytics, journey mapping, and campaign optimization to help companies boost marketing ROI. Our strategic approach enables you to engage audiences in a personalized way at every touchpoint.

With proprietary analytics models and over 150 marketing campaign optimizations completed, Lumen has the expertise to help you better understand your customers, measure efforts, and improve engagement across channels.

Let’s schedule a call to discuss how we can optimize your marketing performance.

Executive Summary vs. Other Proposal Sections

It’s important to understand how the executive summary differs from other components in a proposal:

  • Cover Letter: More formal introduction. The executive summary previews details.
  • Company Overview: Provides background on your business. The summary focuses on the client’s needs.
  • Solution Overview: Dives into the specifics of your offering. The summary gives a high-level view.
  • Conclusion: Recaps details and key benefits. The summary looks ahead to expected results.

The executive summary is your chance to hook interest before they dive into the nitty gritty details of your proposal. Keep it focused.

Executive Summary Length & Format Tips

Follow these best practices when formatting your executive summary:

  • Length: 1-2 pages or 500-1000 words
  • Format: Single spaced, uniform fonts, minimal design elements
  • Opening: Consider bolding or enlarging your opening statement
  • Readability: Use short paragraphs and bullets where applicable
  • Edit carefully: Double check for spelling, grammar, and typos

Resist the urge to cram too much in. Remember, the summary should act as a preview, not overwhelm with minutiae.

How to Write an Executive Summary: Step-by-Step

Here is a step-by-step guide to writing a compelling executive summary for your proposal:

  1. Complete your proposal draft first: It’s easier to summarize after you know your solution details.

  2. Grab attention with a strong opening: Take time crafting the first 1-2 sentences.

  3. Highlight their pain points: Show you understand their struggles and needs.

  4. Introduce your solution: Explain how you’ll help them achieve their goals.

  5. Summarize qualifications: Share credentials showing why you’re the best fit.

  6. End with a call to action: Give them a clear next step.

  7. Keep it brief: Stick to 1-2 pages and clear language.

  8. Edit carefully: Double check for errors. Read it aloud for flow.

Why Executive Summaries Matter

Your prospect will decide whether to seriously consider your proposal based on the executive summary. A compelling overview gets you to the shortlist. Use it to:

  • Make a great first impression
  • Hook interest in your solution
  • Establish you understand their needs
  • Show you can deliver results

In just a page or two, you need to convince them to keep reading. An effective executive summary requires thought and care. Follow the steps in this guide to craft one that sells.

executive summary sample for proposal

Law Reform Proposal Executive Summary Example

executive summary sample for proposal

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Give your solution to their need

Since both of the previous parts’ only focus is on the client, this part is where you should shine a spotlight on your company. This is the part where you talk about the brilliant, innovative, and effective solution you have for the problem/s the client has. You should also briefly explain why you are confident your solution will work. However, you need to remember that this is just an overview; they will know more of the details on the other section of your proposal. You only need to include enough details that will convince them that you have something serious and effective.

How to Write an Executive Summary |

What is an executive summary in a proposal?

Proposal writers often craft an executive summary like an overview of their solution—but it should be so much more than that. Like movie trailers entice viewers to watch a film, executive summaries should entice clients to read the proposal.

What is an executive summary template?

Related: Executive Summary Templates: Everything You Need To Know About Writing Executive Summaries What is an executive summary? An executive summary is a section of a business document, such as a proposal, that provides a synopsis of the document’s points.

How do you write an executive summary?

The first few lines of your executive summary serve as the hook, grabbing your reader’s attention and enticing them to continue engaging with the proposal. The opener must shine to stand out from the hefty pile of proposals on your evaluator’s desk. ⭐

When should an executive summary be used?

Here are some common instances when an executive summary is used: Business proposals: When submitting a business proposal to potential investors, partners, or stakeholders, an executive summary is often included.

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