If you’re in sales, chances are you’ve heard of a “sales playbook.” But what is it exactly? And how can you create and use one to help your team succeed? This blog post tells you everything you need to know about sales playbook including why it’s important.
Sales Playbook Defined
A playbook is a document that contains a list of best practices and guidelines for salespeople to follow. These guidelines typically cover everything from company policy to workflow and procedure.
Having a well-defined playbook helps to ensure that everyone in your organization is working towards the same objectives in the most efficient way possible.
Want to improve sales productivity, implement standardized practices, and reduce ramp-up time for new reps?
What is the goal of a sales play book?
Although new reps will still need to undergo the standard training process once hired, there are many benefits to creating a detailed sales playbook to guide your sales team.
- It streamlines and speeds up the training process for new hires. A manual gives an overview of your company’s products as well as your sales process. This makes it easier to train new sales reps. You don’t have any worries about new hires not receiving consistent information during onboarding. No matter who is in charge, all will use the same sales playbook for training their new hires.
- This encourages a “hive-mind” approach. The sales strategies of a business are not set in stone. You never know when a colleague or you might discover a more effective sales strategy than the one you have in your sales playbook. You can update your sales playbook to reflect the new, more successful tactic, so your team members and future hires will be able to benefit.
- This frees up time for salespeople to focus on their real job: Selling. It can be time-consuming to create sales scripts, messaging, and strategies. Sales professionals don’t have to create their own sales strategy materials. Instead, they can use a sales playbook to help them focus on what really matters: selling.
7 Steps for Creating a Winning Sales Playbook
Each sales organization will have a unique sales playbook. However, there are steps that can be used to help you put together a playbook.
- Create a list of your goals. Your first step in creating your sales playbook is to determine the information that your playbook must include. These objectives should be as specific as possible, without getting bogged down in minutiae. Your selling process should be broken down into manageable steps. Describe how your sales reps fit into the buyer’s journey and offer solutions for areas where they are struggling.
- Form a playbook team. Decide who will help you create the sales playbook. Include top sales leaders, subject matter experts, sales managers, and your marketing team members when you form your team. It is especially important to include your company’s marketing department, as they will be responsible for creating educational sales materials and sales enablement materials.
- Develop your Buyer Personas. Based on past sales experience and research, create a profile of your ideal customer. Your buyer personas should include the demographics, behaviors, pain points and job title of your target market.
- Inform sales reps about your product offerings. Your sales reps will need to be able to understand all features and uses of your products. Include the primary value proposition for each product and determine the best way to get your sales reps familiar with the products. You might schedule time for sales reps to try out a product like they were customers.
- Write down your sales plays. Sales plays are proven, repeatable steps that sales reps can use in closing deals. There are many plays that you can include in your playbook. Follow-up plays, for example, describe how sales reps should follow up with leads throughout a buyer’s journey. Lead qualification plays explain how sales reps can identify qualified leads. Closing plays explain effective techniques sales reps can use to close a deal.
- Create and distribute the playbook. To make a cohesive sales playbook, collect and organize all information from the previous steps. Once you have it all compiled, you can distribute it to your sales and marketing teams.
- Keep revising the playbook. Analyze the performance of your sales team to determine if your strategies are working. Ask your team members to give feedback and suggest ways to improve the playbook. Based on the results of your playbook strategies and the feedback received from your sales team, revise your playbook and add more effective sales tactics.
Plays to include in sales playbook
Sales plays are unique to your specific company and goals
Here are some sales play examples that you may want to consider.
- Personalized content play: Focus this playbook on how reps can personalize and tailor the buyer’s journey to specific leads and prospects through their interactions and the content they share.
- Lead qualification play: Focus this playbook on how reps can efficiently identify highly-qualified leads to reach out to.
- Demo play: Focus this playbook on how reps can effectively demo specific products, and even features, to their prospects.
- Use case play: Focus this playbook on a specific use case that many members of your target audience experience.
- Prospecting play: Focus this play on how reps can prospect on a certain platform or channel, or specific tactics they can follow to identify ideal prospects.
- Closing play: Focus this play on how reps can move a lead who’s late in the buyer’s journey into the closing phase in a way that feels natural, professional, and effective.
- Follow-up play: Focus this playbook on how and when reps can follow up with leads at different points in the buyer’s journey.
Top practices for writing a sales book
You can include all the content but still create a useless playbook. These best practices will help you create a playbook that reps will actually use.
- Use existing content to your best advantage.
- In writing the sales playbook, it is important to prioritize user-friendliness. To facilitate skimming, all sections and subsections must be clearly labeled. All redundant or unnecessary content should be cut.
- You can also upload the playbook to the cloud so that all reps have easy access. They should be able jump to sections and subsections easily without scrolling.
- Ask sales representatives for their input on early drafts. Ask early readers for clarifications.
- Track usage of the digital sales toolkit if possible. What sections are used most often by sales reps? Representatives should also provide qualitative feedback.
- Refer to the playbook and use it during team meetings.
- You can make any necessary changes to the playbook and keep your reps informed about the revision process. It is easy for a sales manual to become out of date when new products, verticals and tools are added.
If you’re looking to create and use a sales playbook, this post is for you. Learn how to develop one that works best for your team and business goals. A well-developed sales playbook is essential for any successful team because it provides new hires with the resources they need to be successful, gives guidance during busy or challenging times, and makes it easy for everyone on the team to access critical data quickly.
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
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!