What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is just like a manual on how your team should carry out the sales to get success. It is a document that outlines your company’s sales procedure, the interactions of top salespeople with the clients, some scripted answers for frequently asked questions of the clients, demos and additional guidelines as per the company’s requirements.
Thus, you can think of a sales playbook as a cookbook that has the perfect recipe for closing a deal with the client.
Sales is never a piece of cake especially if people in your team are new in the field. The essence of a successful sale is truly based on how good the sales executive is prepared to pitch in your product to the customer. Just like an exam you need to prepare them with a set of rules and resources on how to make a successful sale. If you want to improve the productivity of your sales team and have some standardized best practices for sales, you need a well-designed Sales Playbook.
What are the benefits of a sales playbook?
When you look at the concept of sales playbook you might think that creating a perfect playbook is a tiring time taking task so you might want to stick to old methods of business. But once you start using it you will see improvement in sales almost instantly.
First, whenever a salesperson joins your firm you need to explain to him or her how to get leads, how to pitch in product to the client and how to close the deal successfully. But imagine doing this for all the new joiners who join every day to your firm as a salesperson.
Sales Playbook gives a much faster and easier method to train new salespeople. A sales playbook will give them a clear explanation of what kind of clients they have to deal with, what are the usual questions that clients ask and their answers and more.
Without a sales playbook, the sales reps are forced to gather ideas from seniors usually by shadowing them to sales sessions. They might be following the reps who might be making mistakes.
Second, a well-designed sales playbook helps sales rep with ready-made content like what are the good messages to give to a client, when to approach the client, how to interact with them, etc.
A playbook helps to spread good and effective sales techniques to all the people of the team. If a sales rep is having a high level of success using a certain approach towards the clients, that approach can be shared with the entire team by putting it in the playbook.
How to build a sales playbook?
Now the big question, “How do I make a well-designed, informative and helpful sales playbook for my team?”
First and foremost, you need to decide who all will be on the team to develop the sales playbook. Make a list of people who you want to be on the team. Ideally, the marketing operations team, sales operation team, product design team, VP or Director and the top-performing sales representatives should be on the team.
Next, designate one person as the project manager to oversee the production on the sales playbook. That person will be in charge of compiling the content, setting deadlines and keeping the project on track.
Before starting to write any new content first see what all you already have floating around. Check for any previous phone and email scripts that are working best for the reps and publish those in the playbook. Repurposing gives a sense of confidence to the reps as the content is tried and tested with positive results.
Now when it is time to introduce new content, have a brainstorming session with the product designers and marketing team for getting their expertise. They can put your advice in a way which might be easier for new sales reps to comprehend. Moreover, they can give some valuable inputs while designing the outline of the playbook.
Ask the top of the class salespeople to give their valuable inputs for the playbook. Include their successful sessions as a demo or example. Include the success scenarios to both teach the new ones and to motivate them.
Remember no two companies are the same, so no two playbooks should be created identical. Get into deep levels of the company’s marketing and products. Instead of having a big and ambiguous playbook, try to make it concise and focused. Divide the playbook into sections so that reps can focus on their weaknesses and work on it. It is also a lot easier to tackle the playbooks in sections rather than all at once.
Remember a sales playbook is not a static document. It should be refreshed periodically. It should include the latest trends in sales and successful encounters of the sales reps. To ensure that your sales playbook work successfully it needs to be dynamic, digital and flexible. It should be easily accessible online.
Essential components of a good sales playbook
This section includes an introduction to your company, a brief history, the company’s goals, and the company’s structure and hierarchy. Layout the structure of your sales team, and state where the reps fall in the hierarchy.
Company’s Products and Services
A salesperson’s success depends on how good he knows the product he is going to sell. Include the details of the products as much as possible. Ask the product developers to assist you in framing the playbook.
This is where you will talk about your clients to let your reps know precisely who they are going to target.
Include potential job titles, eligibility criteria of clients based on their budgets and their ability to buy the product.
This section is the most important one in your sales playbook. It can be taken as a walkthrough to have a successful sale. It highlights the selling processes of your company. It includes messaging templates, how to find leads and categorizing them as qualified leads of disqualified leads.
This section has successful sale scenarios of top salespeople of the company. This section should provide examples to the reps on how they should proceed with the sale and close a deal successfully.
Include CRM Tips
If uniform CRM usage is needed, the reps need to know the expectations. This section gives a standard account on what each stage in a sale means when to hit on opportunities when to contact clients when to move to the next stage etc.
Compensation and Commission
Compensation and commission scheme is vastly different from company to company. It is always better that your reps understand how your payment and commission structure works. The clearer they are on the commission plan the more motivated they will be to execute a successful sale.
So, what to do after publishing a sales playbook for your team?
With time the sales process also changes and it is bound to improve. Your product line will also expand and more importantly, your ideal customers will also change.
To keep up with all this you need to evolve your strategy and for that, your sales playbooks need to be updated accordingly. It is never a final product. It is always a work in progress. This is why a digital sales playbook is appreciated as it is easier to edit and publish quickly. Moreover, it is easier if your sales playbook is online and your whole team can access it.
However, whenever you plan on making some major changes always give a heads up to your team. Announce the updates by any communication channel.
To build a strong, dynamic and flexible sales playbook follow the guidelines and you will see how your reps will appreciate it and bring good results for the company.
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