What makes a great Executive Summary?

  • July 05, 2017
  • by Robyn Haydon

The purpose of an Executive Summary is to convince the buyer to say “yes” to your proposal. Unfortunately, many fall far short of this aim. 

Here’s what it is not:

  • It’s not an “introduction” to the proposal.
  • It’s not a summary of the technical solution.
  • And it’s definitely not all about you – and nothing about the buyer.

A good Executive Summary sets out your commercial argument for the business in a clear and confident tone. A great one does even more than this; it connects the buyer emotionally with your offering and your vision, and sets out an exciting future that they couldn’t possibly say no to.

Here’s how to distinguish an average Executive Summary from really great ones that will win you business:

Average Executive Summaries… Great Executive Summaries…
Show how you will do the job Show how you will deliver value
Talk about you and your credentials Talk about them and their future
Make you sound like every other supplier Make you sound like the only people they would want to work with
Are professional, detached, and a bit of a dull read Are conversational, enthusiastic and interesting to read
Look like the one that was in the last proposal Look fresh and exciting; are written specifically for each new opportunity
Sound like they are talking to no one in particular Are a conversation at the highest level; as if your CEO was talking directly to the buyer


Next time, try writing your Executive Summary before you write your proposal. This will help you to get clear on your strategy, identify gaps and holes in the evidence you have to support the strategy, and build your team’s connection to the vision.


This guest article is the latest in our series from Business Development Consultant, Robyn Haydon

The world of proposal management is one that is close to our hearts here at Qorus (our software is designed to help simplify and accelerate proposal and RFP management), so we hope you find her opinions and advice just as enjoyable as we do!

Robyn Haydon is a business development consultant whose customers have won hundreds of millions of dollars worth of business with some of Australia’s largest corporate and government buyers.

Robyn Haydon, guest author on proposal management for Qorus

She is the author of three books, including bestseller The Shredder Test – a step by step guide to writing winning proposals, and her Pimp My Proposals program provides the cultural, commercial and competitive shift big companies need to win more competitive tenders and proposals.

Download the Guide to Winning Proposal Methods for more helpful tips



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