Real examples of how to write an executive summary for proposals, tenders and pitch documents

The executive summary holds pole position in your tender, pitch, bid or proposal. That’s because it represents a golden opportunity to show you fully understand and can accurately articulate the prospective client’s needs and objectives. A well written executive summary will clearly outline the benefits to the prospect of choosing your business for the contract.

The golden rule

If there’s one thing that an executive summary is not, it’s that it’s absolutely not about you.

The executive summary is not the time to go into detail about what your company can and cannot do. You can describe that at length later in your submission. But for now, the executive summary puts the client at the centre of things. Your narrative in this key section must be fully focused on the client’s needs and your clear understanding of those needs.

Top tip: The very first word of your executive summary should be the name of the client and the first sentence should be their stated need. For example, ‘Statewide Gambling Group will, in March 2024, extend its operations to include cash collection services and requires the safe transportation of cash from gaming venues to secure facilities at its main Liverpool depot.

The NOSE knows – how to go about writing a strong executive summary

Follow this well-known NOSE formula for putting together an effective executive summary and you’ll be off to a flying start.

1. Needs

Begin with a statement covering the outcome the prospect wants, making sure the client’s name appears first thing.

You’ll be aware of their needs by having researched their organisation via reading as much as you can about them or perhaps you’ve met with them to talk about the tender. At the very least, the request for tender (RFT) will outline their needs, so read it from back to front.

2. Outcomes

Your value proposition should be clearly stated in the executive summary. It’s all about how and why you’re the ideal candidate to deliver what the prospect needs. An infographic is a great way to illustrate the outcomes you can deliver.

3. Solution

A brief description of your solution should also be included in the executive summary. Nothing overly detailed, just the basics to whet the appetite of the potential client. Use data as evidence for how your solution will produce winning results such as cost savings, time savings and more.

4. Evidence

Round off your executive summary by describing how you’ve answered the similar needs of other companies through your exemplary product or service.

Examples of executive summaries

Check out these examples of executive summaries to get a better idea of what good looks like.

Example 1

Blizzard Refrigerated Transport’s modular cool room system is no longer economically or environmentally sustainable. You seek an alternative system that will eliminate the many hours’ maintenance downtime currently being experienced. The new system must also meet higher energy rating standards and operate without the use of high-carbon coolants [need/pain].

Chiller Brothers’ in-depth experience in modernising the cool room facilities of several other similarly sized refrigerated transporters indicates that you will save $4.8 million over three years [quantifiable outcome] with our innovative stackable cool room solution, Ice Tower [solution].

Chiller Brothers is the only company in Australia offering this innovative modular cool room alternative. By using a stacking solution to minimise the footprint of your cool rooms, Blizzard Refrigerated Transport’s costs will reduce by an impressive 11 per cent annually.

Similar business are already benefitting from this more modern way to approach refrigerated space challenges [evidence]. For example, The Big Chill has saved $2.03 million in the 18 months since it transitioned to a modular cool room model. Likewise, Freezery has lowered its cold warehouse operational expenses by 12% by transitioning to using Chiller Brothers’ reduced-carbon coolant [more quantifiable evidence].  

Example 2

Blaze Fire Protection’s customer database is more than 10 years old and no longer fit for purpose. You recognise the urgent need for an alternative telephone and CRM system that is faster, can link all records relating to a client’s account and which offers superior reporting capabilities [need/pain].

The ClientFirst telephone system [solution], will answer every call within just 4.0 seconds, saving you an average of 3.2 minutes every hour. That’s an average saving of 25.0 minutes every day or 12.5 hours every month that can be utilised towards core business [quantifiable outcome].

Time saved with ClientFirst will allow, on average, another 160 calls a day to Blaze Fire Protection [quantifiable outcome].

Humdinger Fire Hydrants attracted an additional $1.23 million in new customer revenue last year after installing ClientFirst, our combined telephone and CRM system [evidence]. The company’s ability to receive and appropriately route additional calls led to a 31.8% increase in sales [outcome].

How long should an executive summary be?

Some tenders will set limits for an executive summary. If they don’t, then remember that less is more and make sure to use no more than two pages for yours. All the compelling detail about exactly how you’ll answer the prospective client’s needs belongs in the remainder of your response.

Need help with your executive summary for a tender, pitch, bid or proposal?

At Proof Communications, we write, edit and proofread tenders, proposals, bids, pitches, capability statements and business documents daily. This includes writing executive summaries.

Head to the contact page or call us direct on 0448 566 377or 02 8036 5532.

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