Sales Tools that Actually Matter: Building your Sales Playbook

Whether you have five reps or fifteen thousand, it’s important to create a streamlined process that brings everyone on board.

To reach quotas, marketing targets, and pipeline goals for your company’s product or service all employees need to be able to represent the brand from day one. The templates we provide will help you target deals that are a good fit and use messaging that resonates with them.

  • Increase the rate at which customers buy from your business.
  • Reduce ramp time for new reps
  • Managers need to spend less time training new employees.
  • Sales and marketing need to work together more than ever before.

Small companies often struggle to provide the tools that salespeople need. Don’t make your reps wait for what they need, or spend their time reinventing the wheel by creating content other reps have already built.

Gathering information from sellers is the key to creating successful sales tools. It’s also important for this information to be shared across teams and continue helping in future cycles.

Companies with 10 to over 10000 customers have used our methodology and created free sales playbook guides that can be downloaded here.

I’ll walk you through how to build a sales playbook from the ground up.


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

 

1. Decide who should be in charge of your sales playbook’s content creation and approval

The partnership between sales and the other person in the company should be mutually beneficial.

The best way to create a committee is as follows:

  • People who know a lot about the subject matter and can provide insights into what should be included in the content.
  • The project manager will be in charge of managing the timeline and making sure everything goes smoothly.
  • The content review process might vary depending on the type of content being posted.
  • The content architect is the person who gathers all of the information, edits it into a final format, and then gives it to reviewers

2. Prioritize content development by determining which types of material are most in demand.

  • When we see a deal that’s not worth our time → We prioritize creating guidelines for what to say when people contact us.
  • Low pipeline volume → We prioritize creating prospecting tools, such as territory plan templates and email templates.
  • We found that we were not winning enough against our competitors, so we realized the need to create competitive sales playbooks.
  • Long-term deals that are stuck → We prioritize creating evaluation plan tools reps can use with customers to close the deal.

3. Begin developing content!

Inventory what already exists

One of the first steps to take when creating content for your sales team is identifying subject matter experts. Salespeople are usually responsible for this type of work, and they can do a lot to help themselves out by sharing their knowledge with other people in the company.

Next, gather insights from subject matter experts on past deals, wins and losses. You will see trends emerge when you get specific about what has worked in the past.

  • What types of emails do they send to attendees before and after meetings?
  • What are the qualifications for a candidate? What does one do to find out about them before interviewing or making an offer?
  • How do you kick off the call?
  • How do they know what questions to ask during the sales process?
  • In what order?
  • The answers you get will help determine what questions to ask next.
  • It’s important to ask questions that help you find out who your competitors are.

Besides asking about the other options, they also always asked questions that signal which competitor might be in the deal.

Your competitor has a better understanding of how to rank your company’s website on Google, so they have been able to steal some business from you.

You ask: How important is search engine optimization? They are very focused on it, and assume that competitors will be in the deal.  They plan to defeat them by deposition.

  • What metrics do they capture?
  • What’s the breakdown of roles on a call?
  • How do they know who will perform well on the call?
  • What questions should I ask to get a customized demonstration and business case?
  • I use the information I gather to help me build my presentation or demonstration.
  • What kind of information do you need to make a business case?
  • What is the key message during a call?
  • What is the next step?

To get the most accurate feedback, it’s important to ask multiple reps in different business segments and geographical locations.

4. So, how is this content intended to appear?

We found it most helpful to create a lot of content that maps out the sales process. For example, we created a list of questions for discovery and then how to tie those discoveries into elements during demos.

We know that reps will deviate from what we prescribe, but with our guides for each of the topics, they can see how to make a strong pitch. With these examples in mind when creating content, it’s clear that this is what works best.

5. Examine the Content

Once the content has been created, you should get feedback from your sales leadership to make sure it’s what they want.  

  • Include leaders of each sales team. This can be the manager or top performer(s) that the manager appoints. The head of sales should review all of the content before it is launched. Ideally, he or she should review a draft of each asset, if time allows. It is also great to have a representative from product marketing to help. Although they may not have the bandwidth to produce the content, it is ideal to engage them in the review process so that they also have ownership and can provide additional insight that aligns the assets with the overall marketing strategy.
  • Make sure that the manager is included in these discussions, as well as their top performers.
  • The head of sales should review all assets before they are released. Ideally, the draft will be reviewed by him or her if there is time.
  • When it comes to content, the marketing team is an important partner. They should be involved in reviewing and approving anything that goes out on behalf of their brand.

We agreed on the review process and sign-off before we started creating content so that our executive sponsors (the sales leadership) were happy with what they saw at the outset of this project.

6. Release!

Have the executive sponsors tease reps with the idea of a new playbook coming out, and when they can expect to start using it. During monthly recap or regular training calls, introduce it for all employees.

Where should this content live?

You should post this in a place where your reps will see it. Some of our clients use software like Veelo, Seesmic or Qvidian that is built into Salesforce.com.

We recommend that you put information where your team lives. If they live in Salesforce, then put the information there or integrate it with a tool like Salesforce.

7. Analyze outcomes, elicit comments, and revise

The best sales playbooks are always evolving. You can see what your content is doing for the length of a customer cycle, win rates, close rates and how long it takes new hires to ramp up.

Build Your sales playbook well. Happy selling!


Need Help Automating Your Sales Prospecting Process?

LeadFuze gives you all the data you need to find ideal leads, including full contact information.

Go through a variety of filters to zero in on the leads you want to reach. This is crazy specific, but you could find all the people that match the following: 

  • A company in the Financial Services or Banking industry
  • Who have more than 10 employees
  • That spend money on Adwords
  • Who use Hubspot
  • Who currently have job openings for marketing help
  • With the role of HR Manager
  • That has only been in this role for less than 1 year
Just to give you an idea. 😀

Editors Note:

Want to help contribute to future articles? Have data-backed and tactical advice to share? I’d love to hear from you!

We have over 60,000 monthly readers that would love to see it! Contact us and let's discuss your ideas!

Justin McGill
About Author: Justin McGill
Justin McGill is the Founder of LeadFuze - a lead generation platform that discovers new leads for you automatically. Get 25 leads free.