Sales
May 18, 2021

Your Sales Playbook: The Simple Secret to Sales Team Success

Versational

Close up of the word Steps and circled with yellow marker.
Photo by Clayton Robbins on Unsplash
2,161 words; 8 min 38 sec reading time

___

Crafting Your Sales Playbook: The Surefire Secret to Your Sales Team's Success

Introduction

A Sales Playbook is the most essential yet most often underutilized internal framework a company can have for driving revenues. Consider it your North Star, by which your sales team navigates. Without it, you do not have a systematic and scalable approach to winning deals. This article will show you how to build your Sales Playbook, including a pre-built template. There are several types of Playbooks and Plans available that will address the most common challenges faced with:

  • Your team
  • Your strategy
  • Your sales materials

 In the end, you will be able to answer the following:

Know: What does our team need to know? What are our value propositions/what problems are we solving for our customers? Who are our customers? What are their objections, and how should we respond?

Say: What should our salespeople say? Including conversation tracks, messages, scripts, questions, and stories.

Show: What should our sales team demonstrate? Including sales presentations, customer business cases, ROI, testimonial videos and stories, handouts, comparisons, etc. How will our stories and proof points address potential objections?

Do: What should our salespeople do? Including best practices, i.e., selling skills, procedures, policies. What is our sales process? What is our sales methodology?

Validate: What should we measure to gauge success and ensure that revenue and profitability goals are being met? What metrics do we need to use to measure sales representatives within the company and the company overall?

In the end, you'll realize value faster:

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Higher win rates
  • Faster onboarding
  • Better techniques & materials
  • Driven employees
  • Engaged buyers 
  • A plug and play plan for sales interactions
  • A clear, self-informing repeatable process for constant improvement 

What is a Sales Playbook?

A Sales Playbook is a company-specific framework for approaching and closing sales that take into account marketing findings (including buyer motivations, wants, needs, value propositions, and Return on Investment). A well-used Playbook includes step-by-step situational plays (i.e., your customer says this, you say that, similar to a flowchart) and speeds up the sales process to close more deals. Your Playbook should be simple to use, easily searchable, and consistently updated.

One CRM company defines a Sales Playbook as "a document outlining your sales process; buyer personas; call scripts and agendas; sample emails; discovery, qualification, demo, and negotiation questions; proposal guidelines; and/or competitive intelligence guidelines."

It is anything and everything your sales team needs and is a reference and tool kit to close deals. The Sales Playbook should be updated continuously. It is a living artifact that adapts from your sales interactions and learns from customers. It should be easily accessible and adaptable for your team to utilize it fully. 

Why do you need a Sales Playbook?

Until recently, the closest thing salespeople had to a Sales Playbook was a company deck from which they were expected to study quickly, absorb its information, and sell based off of it.  The contents were often lackluster, the theme disjointed at best with little to no true guidance. Insights from Marketing were haphazardly passed off to their Sales teams, and salespersons eventually used their approaches, costing their companies time and money in the redundant process. Insights weren't shared while brainstorms on techniques and tactics were kept close to the chest. Without a Sales Playbook, the salesperson was alone in the tough world of closing deals fast, and sales suffered accordingly. Yet we didn't know they were suffering until now. 

With the advent of the Sales Playbook, business leaders saw what was missing all along: a plan of attack. If you were leading an NFL team to victory, you certainly wouldn't have a playbook comprised of just one play, nor would you allow each team member to decipher their own. Yet without a Sales Playbook, you are doing just that. Cohesion starts with a company-wide approach to selling and sales follow. At Salesforce, via The TAS Group, "Sales teams that have and use a Sales Playbook are 33% more likely to be high performers with win rates exceeding 50%". Let us show you how to unlock (and close) your opportunities and save suffering sales with your custom Sales Playbook.

Yet with the advent of the Sales Playbooks, the sheer enormity of the process became clear as well. Crafting a Sales Playbook is no small task, but the benefits of its implementation are almost instant. 

Currently, in Sales and Marketing, we find ourselves in the Age of the Customer. In the past, the salesperson was the expert. Nowadays, the customer often knows your offering and your competition backwards and forwards. Stats won't simply woo them; they need to be sold to as an individual. They have the choice, know their options, and expect your approach to be tailored to them. While every customer is an individual, Customer Personas (breaking customers into groups based on their roles, actions, age, gender, etc.) help streamline your approach and sell successfully.

So, why do you need a Sales Playbook?

  • Faster sales cycles
  • Higher win rates
  • Faster onboarding
  • Better techniques & materials
  • Driven employees
  • Happier customers
  • A plug and play plan for sales interactions
  • A clear, self-informing repeatable process for constant improvement

How to develop your Sales Playbook

Your Playbook will be unique to your company and informed by your customers (their journey and how you alleviate their pain points), your market, offering, and team structure. However, the following are general rules to follow to develop a sales playbook for any business:

  • Keep it concise. Even the best content is irrelevant if there's too much of it. Salespeople will be overwhelmed, and the precious information under-utilized. 
  • Your Playbook should include outlines for specific plays (think of a flow chart) and the mediums and materials they require. 
  • It should be dynamic, interactive, and ideally digital (instant online access, where your sales stage, persona, product interest, industry, company size, etc., already live).

Overall: Consulting the sales playbook should be like having a conversation with a sales manager. A digital Playbook means salespeople can use it on the fly to inform their next move mid-conversation using company protocol, without losing momentum. A digital Playbook also will ideally track usage data, so you're always aware of the stats of your content to improve the feedback loop.

Step 1: Talk with your teams (marketing, product development, and sales) to discover what works, doesn't, and needs fixing. Often, we see sales, product, and marketing teams as individual units, but by increasing communication, we create a necessary symbiosis between them. Your teams are your best way to discover customer insights, yet time and money are wasted without coordination. Create a culture of team feedback. 

Ask your teams:

  • What is your biggest time waster?
  • What is your biggest frustration?
  • Where are you most efficient? Least efficient?
  • What marketing materials do you use the most? The least?
  • What do you wish you had more of (training, materials, etc.)?

From this feedback, create a handpicked team to develop your Sales Playbook. Bring in Sales Managers and Directors, top sellers, marketing and product heads, and top performers. Distinguish a Project Manager of the group to set objectives and a timeline to create the Playbook.

Step 2: Discover your objectives. More sales? A faster sales cycle? Use what you've discovered in Step 1 to inform your objectives and your starting point. Do you feel overwhelmed? If the idea of creating a Sales Playbook from scratch is daunting, break it down into pieces. For example: maybe your sales reps are struggling with setting up meetings. Begin there. If you have an existing protocol or sales materials, up-cycle them rather than trash them and divide them by sales stage (i.e., closing materials, objections materials). 

Step 3: Your company overview. This is your company bible. Everything from products to compensation rests within this section, making onboarding a dream. Ask and answer the following:

  • What are your offerings? What are all of the offerings or services you provide? Include their price points, use cases, and applicability for markets and users.
  • How should employees operate within your CRM? If your CRM is open for interpretation, then so are your metrics. Make sure there is a company-wide protocol as to how to use the CRM. You will not regret this.
  • What is your sales process? A sales process guides salespeople and their customers through the different buying stages to close deals. 
  • What is your sales methodology? Sales methodologies are specific approaches used in sales and should complement your sales process. There are many methodologies used today, from the Challenger method to Account-Based Selling. Your methodology should align with your offering, your customers, and your company culture.
  • Who are your Buyer Personas/Ideal Customers? Your marketing department breaks customers down by similar attributes, creating Personas or Profiles. These are comprised of customer role, buying and decision-making power, age, gender, geography, and many other aspects. Knowing these roles determines how your salespeople approach each customer and dramatically increases wins.
  • What is your typical outreach cadence? How do you space out emails, calls, in-person meetings, etc.?
  • What is your messaging? This section is robust. It includes messaging from email templates to common objections (and their correct replies), call and voicemail scripts, demo agendas, product decks, etc. 
  • How does compensation work? Everyone works better with a clearly laid out path to success. Encourage your team by clearly laying out their compensation structure.
  • Which metrics and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you use to track progress? Again, knowing your goals and how you'll be measured against them is how people find and understand their own goals. Make metrics clear and transparent, so your team knows what you expect and when—more on this in Step 5.

Step 4: Your model seller

Who are your top sellers? Why are they at the top versus the bottom? In having outlined your objectives and your current protocol, evaluate it against the methods of your top-performing sellers. The 90 Day Inside Sales Success Plan suggests asking the following questions:

  • How do my top sales reps prioritize their daily tasks? 
  • What sales processes work best for my top performers? 
  • How do my top performers reach good prospects most often?
  • What are things that are working well that should be institutionalized?
  • Which things should all my present and future reps be doing to reach more qualified prospects?

Talk with your top reps to discover what's unique to them and transferable to others.

Step 5: Technology, Tools & Metrics

What technology are you using to provide all of your Sales Playbook info to your teams? Is there a clear pathway for the insights gathered in marketing to become repeatable processes in sales? Using a CRM is essential to any company but utilizing it effectively takes the information gathered to a new level. Make sure that all of your teams utilize whatever technology you are using to encourage the information feedback loop. Done in a vacuum, neither sales, marketing, or product teams improve. Make sure your tools and technology are easily adopted and not overly complicated to avoid adding extra onboarding time and complexity. 

For metrics, make sure that you are creating and capturing data around four metrics:

  • Sales cycle length (How long it takes between your first interaction with a customer and when you close a deal)
  • Revenue 
  • Buyer score (predictive scoring and qualifying of leads and contacts)
  • Conversion score (how long it takes for leads to become contacts, etc.) 

Step 6: Distribute, Review, Repeat

Like we've said before, your Sales Playbook is not a static document, rather an iterative, self-informed process. Once you've finished your Playbook and put it into practice, it will inform its next modifications as you refine your process, expand and change your offerings, and discover new customers and markets. For this reason, making it easily changeable is essential.

Recap

You've done it. You've created a Sales Playbook for your organization, and your sales team will be all the better. This document will live and breathe with your company. Use it for everything from training to in-the-moment responses to objections. You've answered the following questions and informed your process through evaluation, and your sales will show it. 

KNOW: What does our team need to know? What are our value propositions/what problems are we solving for our customers? Who are our customers?

SAY: What should our salespeople say, including conversation tracks, messages, questions, and stories?

SHOW: What should our sales team show? Including sales presentations, videos, handouts, comparisons, etc. How will our assets meet objections?

DO: What should our salespeople do? Include best practices, i.e., selling skills, procedures, and policies. What is our sales process? What is our sales methodology?

VALIDATE: What should we measure to gauge success and ensure that revenue and profitability goals are being met? What metrics do we need to measure individuals within the company and the company as a whole?

  

Sources:

https://www.chiefsalesleader.com/sales-playbook/

https://www.altify.com/blog/12-elements-of-a-great-sales-playbook/

https://www.highspot.com/blog/7-essential-elements-of-a-winning-sales-playbook-template/

https://www.techcxo.com/sales-playbook-part-2/

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-playbook

https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/sales-process-or-sales-methodology

https://www.highspot.com/resource/how-to-land-the-modern-sales-playbook/

 

© 2021 Inteligems, Inc. All Rights Reserved. 

Latest posts

Start your 7-day, free trial

2 minute setup. Try all features free for 7 days
Try for free
2 minute setup