Every time a sales associate picks up the phone, sends an email, or heads to an in person meeting the goal is simple ... improve the client relationship to get one step closer to a sale. This might be a simple goal, but far too often achieving it becomes a convoluted process filled with trials and errors. While experimentation can be helpful in the sales process, it is far more effective on a company level to leverage proven methodologies that stem from a cohesive approach. A well-written sales playbook not only streamlines the entire sales process, but it enables your team to more successfully handle a variety of sales situations, while simultaneously communicating a value proposition to each potential client.
What Is A Sales Playbook?
In the simplest form a sales playbook is a user manual for your entire sales team. Most often, a sales playbook is used during the onboarding process; however, it is also an incredibly useful tool when moving into a new territory, selling a new product, or struggling to connect with a certain type of client. It is important to note that each sales playbook is customized to the organization. This means that in order to write an effective sales playbook you must first compile the data needed to increase client visibility and drive sales, while simultaneously gaining insights into the client mentality at every stage of the sales process. After all, in layman's terms a sales playbook is a company's recipe for achieving sales success each and every time.
Why Does A Sales Playbook Matter?
The best sales playbooks are a comprehensive collection of tactics and methods for each member of your team. To this end, the playbook should lay out clear objectives, identify the metrics for measurement, and create the common framework to approach and close sales. Once this playbook is completed, your team will have the tactical guidelines that they need to avoid risk areas, address vulnerabilities within the sales process, and ultimately improve the win / loss ratio (for both individuals and the entire sales division).
How to Create And Implement A Sales Playbook?
Before you can create and implement your sales playbook, you must first recognize the biggest risk that is associated with it, namely you don't want to make your sales associates sound like they are following a set script. In other words, your sales associates should be consistent, however they should never sound like robots. After all, it is the ability to incorporate a human element that makes for the most consistent and successful sales record, which is why your playbook should serve as a guide but not a script. With this in mind, as you begin to create your playbook you will want to keep the following three tips in mind.
#1. Make a playbook that is actionable and user-friendly.
No one wants to read through the entire dictionary searching for one word. Conversely, no one wants to read an entire sales encyclopedia just to understand one concept. In this vein, the more concise that you can be in your playbook the better. This isn't to say that you should skimp on topics simply for brevity's sake; instead, you should keep the language simple and concise. Additionally, your playbook should be easy to reference. Clearly label who each section is for, such as global teams, new hires, or regional teams. Next, use section titles to make it easier for sales associates to flip back through the playbook for a quick refresher course. Finally, use actionable headings to encourage sales associates to follow the advice within each section.
#2. Create a specific objective for your sales playbook.
I said it once within this post, but it's important so I will say it again, your company's sales playbook should be customized to the needs of your organization. Sales playbooks are not interchangeable, they are based on the specific sales tactics that work for your company. With this in mind, your sales playbook should be aligned with your company's mission to achieve a specific objective. Simply saying that you want to "increase sales" is not specific enough. Instead, your sales playbook might focus on creating a consistent customer-centric process, or enhancing the customer experience from start to finish with more meaningful touches. By mapping out your ideal customer lifecycle, you can more readily create a playbook that helps your sales team achieve this lifecycle with every client, and thus increase sales as a direct result.
#3. Use redundant and accurate metrics to measure the success of the playbook and your team.
The strategies included within your sales playbook are meaningless if you don't have the data and metrics needed to support them. These metrics should also be used to define a clear end state as well as your team's success. After all, just because your sales associates are opening the playbook doesn't mean that it is helping them create a more positive client experience throughout the entire buyer's journey. To remedy this, you should should track specific usage of the playbook. For example what sections are being accessed the most or which tactics are most often implemented? Finally, don't fall into the trap of creating your playbook and then never updating it. Client needs and habits change over time, just as your products or regions will change over time. To provide your sales team with the most accurate and useful information, you should ensure that your playbook is dynamic, adaptable, and ready to evolve to meet company and client needs.
The Bottom Line: Deliver Proven Sales Techniques
A strategic sales playbook will inherently help you implement effective sales methodologies used by your companies most consistent and highest performers. This valuable resource will help your entire team leverage best practices in real-time, enhance the onboarding process, and inevitably improve your entire sales process. In short, a well-written sales playbook can easily become the most used and best resource for your entire sales division.
We currently offer a free Sales Playbook Template for anyone to use. It's our way of helping other companies identify their processes and put them to use in a consistent, scalable manner. I also work with companies to help create their playbook. For more information about our Playbook Development Services, visit our website to learn more or contact me directly at 410-406-7281. I would love to talk about your current sales infrastructure and processes to see where we might be able to help you accelerate sales while increasing your sales. What's not to like about that? 😂