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The Sales Playbook: What It Is and Why You Need One

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As a sales manager or sales enablement leader, you’re no doubt used to juggling several functions at the same time. From budgetary constraints to adequately training your reps, you’re constantly expected to do a lot more with less. What’s more, sales leaders need to stay in good favor with their teams while making sure that Sales and Marketing play nice with each other.

It’s no secret that both these departments can be very demanding. One of the questions sales enablement leaders constantly ask themselves is, “What one earth will my teams ask me to do next?” Well, what if you could come up with idea after idea without having to wait for your teams to propose? And not just any ideas, but ones that both sales and marketing can benefit greatly from.

We’re talking about creating the ultimate sales playbook. Research shows that best performing companies are more likely to have a sales playbook than low performing organizations. If you’re looking to standardize best practices, amp up the productivity across all departments, make your teams more autonomous and cut down on ramp-up time, then there’s no better way. So, where do you start?

What is a sales playbook, and why do I need one?

sales playbook is an in-depth collection of methods and tactics that characterize both you and your team’s roles and responsibilities. It lays out everyone’s objectives clearly, identifies the best metrics for measurement and provides a common approach and framework for closing deals. In simple terms, a sales playbook is the process of marrying your entire sales process, sales plays, customer personas, and other additional tools and content.

In addition to outlining your sales process, the playbook also highlights call scripts, sample emails, qualifications, discoveries, demos, negotiation questions, proposals as well as competitive intelligence guidelines. This allows managers to implement common methodologies which leverage the processes used by high performers. In short, a sales playbook arms your reps with all the information, material, and strategies required to close a deal. The results? Well, your team will be able to sell more effectively and handle different selling situations or competitors in the buying process.

Benefits of creating a sales playbook

We won’t lie; crating your sales playbook will take a lot of time and effort. However, companies report seeing results almost instantly once the playbook is complete.

One of the most obvious benefits is that training new sales people becomes far easier and faster. That’s because you have detailed insights on who your customers are, their pain points, how they buy and many other explicit explanations. Without a playbook, new reps are forced to learn all this info ad hoc by shadowing other reps who might be making a lot of mistakes.

Secondly, a good playbook frees up thousands of hours every year making more free time for selling. According to CMO research, the average rep spends over 40% of their time either searching for or creating new content. Instead of having your reps develop their own questions and resources, why not save time with ready-made content?

And lastly, a sales playbook helps managers disseminate the most successful techniques. If your top reps excel by using a particular outreach method, you can easily share it with the entire team via the playbook. Overtime, everything in the playbook will be highly detailed and extremely effective, even for brand new trainees.

Components of a good sales playbook

In sports, a ‘play’ refers to an action designed to achieve a specific outcome in a particular condition. So at a minimum, your playbook needs to integrate the following components.

a. Customer analysis

This segment is all about profiling the customer as well as the current market behaviors. Here, you’ll need to identify your market, point out the key buyers and influencers, profile out your ideal customer, map out their pain points and critical business issues that your customers are trying to solve.

b. Value proposition / Company offer

This segment of your playbook is very important. It clearly describes what your company offers as well as the different ways in which it addresses the customer’s pain points. Here, you’ll need to explain why your company exists and what difference it makes in the market. To complete this section, vividly explain why people should buy from you and what value they receive from your products.

c. Buying process

What are the behaviors of a qualified lead? In this section, you’ll need to identify all conditions and events that seem to trigger consideration and purchase. For instance, is there a certain time of the year when your products seem to fly off the shelves? Maybe it’s the festive season, end of year or certain holidays. All this needs to be recorded in your company’s playbook.

d. Best practices

No matter what organization or department you work in, there’s always a long list of best practices. Needless to say, you’ll need to list all the proven tips, techniques and strategies as well as what circumstances are ideal to apply them. This segment should also capture what has failed miserably in the past and any lessons learned.

e. Sales methodology

This segment outlines your entire sales process and maps out the customers buying behaviors – i.e. typical set of crucial steps that move customers to buy. In addition to outlining sales cycles, this segment should go beyond just describing steps. It should provide informational instructions on what needs collecting at each stage of the process, identify players and how to assess new opportunities.

f. Buyer personas

This entire section is dedicated to the question, ‘who is my ideal customer?’ Sketching out the details of your optimal customer will help your teams hone their qualified leads quickly and more effectively. Include buyer persona job titles, who they report to, common challenges, and key performance indicators among others. Make sure to include other criteria such as sufficient budget or lead time.

Conclusion on sales playbooks

Although creating a sales playbook is an extensive investment, the benefits that come with it guarantee an even bigger payoff. Not only does it surface your customers biggest pain points and preferences, it also improves sales productivity and effectiveness.

Once completed, your playbook is a living document of your sales methodology. It will provide you with the necessary instructions and tactical guidelines to discover new ways to leverage strengths as well as address you and your competitors’ weaknesses.

In addition to a sales playbook, you’ll also need to complement it with the right tools. One of the most helpful tools here is Veloxy. With Veloxy Mobile AI powered virtual sales assistant, your trams can now focus on more productive tasks and take the legwork out of selling.

 

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Peter Daniels

Peter Daniels

Peter Daniels has written 100+ blog posts on sales. From Salesforce adoption to email marketing, and fields sales strategies to cold calling tips—Peter's is committed to helping sales professionals all across the world.

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