To navigate the world of sales, it is helpful to work with a playbook. Playbooks teach you how to work with what you have to achieve your goals.
What Is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook contains all the strategies and processes you may need to help you and your sales team close deals better. It is like a handbook but with a more practical slant.
Why Is a Sales Playbook Important?
It is essential to have a sales playbook because it serves as a compass for doing work well or even doing work at all. It helps salespersons keep a definite track from beginning to end. When someone works toward a goal, he can perform better.
With the help of a sales playbook, team members should get used to their roles and tasks to do what they need to do.
Companies have rules in place, but it is always good to have something easier to understand and follow. A sales playbook, after all, provides clear guidelines that make the basics stand out.
Instead of just having some unspoken rules that may or may not be allowed, the playbook provides something that all members of your sales team can avail of. It is easy to understand and can serve to connect everyone.
Collaborating and coordinating should always be at the core when working on sales and budgeting. Budgets are also included in the playbook.
There should always be something solid to connect everyone involved with the same goal.
What Does a Sales Playbook Entail?
A sales playbook includes the following:
- Messaging: It is clear that everyone should be connected by messaging.
- Key performance indicators (KPIs): The playbook should include a salesperson's or team member's way of assessing whether they are reaching their goals or not. This way, they know when they push forward further.
- Sales tools and tactics: The playbook cannot be appropriately called one if no sales tools and tactics are included. You need to equip your team with the latest and most effective.
- Product overviews: You need to give your sales team a quick overview of each product. With so many things to do and several calls to make, each member should be able to take a quick glance and understand everything about each product.
- Company Overview: Sales team members should understand what the company is about. They represent it and should know it back to front.
- Processes: Sales come from smart, definitive actions. So, the playbook should come with the steps needed to complete various tasks.
Are All Playbooks the Same?
With all of the above in mind, you may wonder if there is only one type of playbook and if each has the same format.
- Physical: This format may be what you will expect. After all, some people like working with something tangible. For some people, flipping through printed pages can also be much easier. The downside of this format is that it is more difficult to distribute.
- Digital: Of course, the younger generations may find it more convenient to search for answers found in a digital copy. It is also easier to edit a digital copy. Members of the team can assist you in editing inaccurate or outdated parts. Access can be easily distributed.
- Ebook/PDF: This is the digital format of the physical handbook. It is cheaper and easier to distribute. Your team members can read them from their devices while on the go.
- Software: You can use the software format to build playbooks within it.
How Do You Make Your Own Sales Playbook?
Sales playbook formats vary. So, it goes without saying that what each contains also varies. Your company is unique. Your processes and KPIs cannot be exactly the same as another company's. You shouldn't have the same thing as a direct competitor.
There is always something about you that should stand out, just like restaurants sometimes have special ingredients to make their dishes taste unique.
However, there are still some sections that you must include. Whatever the case may be, your playbook should be accurate and updated. It should also benefit everyone in your company.
Here are some of the sections that you just might have:
- Company Overview/Information about the Organization
- Communication with Supervisors/Managers
- Industry Type
- Product Overview and Pricing
- Workflow/Sales Process
- Inbound/Outbound Prospecting
- Negotiating and Closing Proposals
- Messages/Messaging Center
- Best Practices
- Prospect Research Guide
- Sequencing Guide
- Prioritizing and Managing Time
- Sales Tech Stack
What do the above sections contain?
Company Overview/Information about the Organization
This section provides you with a general overview of the company. It discusses operations, goals, and the environment the organization is in. New employees will most benefit from this section, although other employees can still use this section as a refresher.
The company history can remind the employees why they even decided to work for it at all. It will give them an idea as to what their contribution does for it.
The section should include what the company does, its industry, and its mission and vision. It might also include its long-term plans. Various companies can decide to add more details, depending on their needs and goals.
An organizational structure or chart can be a great visual to add here. It will give everyone an idea of who they should report to or turn to when they need assistance. A system should be in place.
Explicit descriptions of roles can also clarify for each member whether they should work on something, seek help, or provide help. A team must work together.
Communication with Managers and Supervisors
While your superiors are more likely to be busy, they probably also like you to communicate with them. They want to know what you have been up to.
If you are in charge of a team, you may be the one communicating on their behalf. The lines of communication should be clear to everyone. This way, there won't be crossed signals, and no one will make assumptions.
Each sales team member should be interested in how the industry works. They should know how the company works independently compared to the closest competition.
Employees should have an excellent understanding of the industry that they are in.
Product Overview and Pricing
It would be difficult to sell something without knowing its price. Cost is a vital deciding factor when it comes to sales.
So, you should know what the product is and how it is priced. Without the said product or service, you won't have a business, and the sales team won't have anything to sell.
You should know what is unique about your product and why the price it is selling at is the perfect one.
With the basic information understood, your team members are ready to apply what they have learned. So, they should go out there to sell.
But how does one sell? Your playbook should include the sales process, which should benefit the newest members and refresh the employees who have been there for longer.
Mapping the sales process can help your sales team follow a path.
The process is more than simply knowing the first step and what should be next. It should also include actions to be made when, for example, a customer is interested or if you get a referral. What if the client does not show up to a meeting?
If your team members know what to do in various situations, they will be less likely to panic or despair after a failed sale. They will know what to do at every step, from marketing cold calls and more.
Prospecting is where a large chunk of the action is. It is the section where leads are generated the most.
Your section should explain essential terms involved in the inbound and outbound processes. It should also include info on booking discovery/demos and qualifying a lead.
What is a demo or discovery?
You should be able to answer that in this section. You should also differentiate the two. The explanations should include how to properly conduct either and a list of the people who should be involved in this sales stage.
Negotiating and Closing Proposals
It would certainly be helpful if you provided your sales team with this section. You can add internal case studies that will provide your newer and current sales team with references for solving similar problems they encounter.
It is not easy to negotiate and win deals. Your team needs all the support they can get.
This section is about knowing how to maintain a good relationship with your clients and maximize sales. Keeping a customer is essential. Your sales team should realize that sealing a deal is not a one-time thing. They should know how to keep clients loyal and supportive.
Messages to your current and prospective clients can be tricky to formulate. The company can then have templates tweaked by the sales team without completely changing the image and tone that the company has established.
A messaging center or library can make things easier and more consistent across the various teams. It should have templates for the following:
- Intro emails
- Followups for every stage
- Voice mails and call scripts
- Responses to various reactions
- Social Media Messaging
- Snippets and briefs of products, blogs, press releases, and case studies
This section is undoubtedly crucial in keeping strategies that have been proven to work. Including it in the playbook will help the newer sales team members ease into the job.
By providing best practices, you can save time. You can push your sales team toward better productivity.
Prospect Research Guide
Prospect research is time-consuming. Having a guide regarding this could provide the sales team with strategies that can somehow shorten the time needed for this activity.
Studies show that the first eight minutes provide the best and most essential research. Diving in further after that marked time will not result in much improvement.
Knowing the best sequence of activities that will help you win more sales is essential. Providing the guide to the whole team can get everyone on board.
Prioritizing and Managing Time
This section lets every team member know which customers or activities to prioritize. This can help your team members make deals more efficiently.
Sales Tech Stack
This section lists all the technology used by each team in your company. Each team may benefit from knowing what tech stack the others are using. So, each portfolio or combination of technology should have the basic setup for each tech used. This way, the other teams may choose to incorporate a stack they like.
You put all your KPIs in this section. It is where you discuss the various metrics you use to decide whether you have achieved your goals or not. This section should include expectations, sales performance metrics, priorities, and dashboards to help all employees in your company.
Updating Your Playbook
Writing a playbook is an ongoing process. You need to constantly check it for accuracy. You must also update it so that it has the latest strategies. With technology continually on the rise and social media making its own moves, you must constantly update. You do have to decide on a doable frequency.
Your company needs a good sales playbook. It is not just a manual to show off what you have and can do. It is, instead, what makes you achieve more in terms of closing deals.
Be ready to update and correct it. A digital version may let you have the rest of the team on board with the editing.
For more information on writing a killer sales playbook, go to Verde Strategies.