Stalled proposals and deals ending in “no decision” are a major threat to the health of your sales pipeline. There’s even a good chance you lose more deals in this fashion than you lose to your traditional competitors. One of the biggest challenges when it comes to building effective proposals is making the business case to an executive buyer. With so many deals now requiring the signoff of a decision-maker with a VP title or above, it’s absolutely essential that your proposals meet the business and financial standards of buyers who might be less involved in the actual day-to-day use of your solutions.

Business proposals that maintain momentum, increase deal velocity and improve close rates are what salespeople need to get executive buyers to do your deal now, instead of deferring it or delegating it down to decision-makers who don’t have as much influence over budget. Unfortunately, the ability to build such proposals is precisely what appears to be lacking at many companies.

A B2B DecisionLabs industry survey found the majority of companies aren’t satisfied with their ability to tell an executive-level story or craft a business case that creates urgency and helps justify a decision. More than two-thirds of companies (67 percent) say they’re underperforming at getting executive-level prospects to buy now rather than later, while only 39 percent are confident in their ability to build a meaningful business and financial case to justify a decision.

If your proposals are stalling out, it’s not necessarily because your executive-level prospects don’t want to change—it’s because salespeople haven’t made a strong enough business case for doing so.

For this study, B2B DecisionLabs partnered with Dr. Nick Lee, a professor of marketing at Warwick Business School in Coventry, U.K. The primary aim of the research was to confirm an optimal messaging approach, or framework, for creating a business case that gives executive buyers a strong enough sense of urgency to justify a decision now.