What is the price of making a mistake?
A far-sighted company with a positive approach would consider it as a learning lesson. As the words of Henry Ford go:
“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
Now how does making mistakes have to do with sales?
Sales is trial and error. Trying various tactics to understand what works and what doesn't. Often the strategy that brought the deal to fruition will be repeated to reap the positive results.
In this article, we will explore the sales playbook which is a manual of sales success stories. We will deal with what is a sales playbook, why it's critical for modern sales teams, what to include in it, how to build a winning sales playbook, and how to keep it updated.
Let's read further.
What is a Sales Playbook?
Sales playbook is a manual consisting of all the best sales practices and successful strategies, resources like email templates, call scripts, and case studies, as well as everything about the company, product, and sales process that will help a salesperson kick start their sales journey.
In short, a B2B sales playbook is a one-stop to gain overall access to information that helps the salesforce enhance their knowledge, and understand the tools and techniques used in operations, as well as the sales workflows.
Why sales playbooks are critical for modern sales teams
Creating a sales playbook for the sales team helps the organization ease their efforts.
For example, when a new hire joins the company, a lot of time and effort is put during the onboarding to help them understand the organization, their job profile, and the nature of their work.
It is the training part that takes the most of the onboarding process. Having a sales playbook template will ease a lot of these efforts as the manual will help the joiner to have a comprehensive idea about the company, the product, and the sales process.
Since everything related to sales is already documented, it makes it easy for the team to impart the crucial details and the new joiner to access everything they need to know to begin their work.
In addition, it provides a structure to the sales strategies, uniformity to the customer experience, and a standard approach to the sales process.
What’s included in a sales playbook?
Sales playbook provides a comprehensive idea about everything about the company, the product, and the sales process.
So here are a few essential pieces of information that are included while creating a sales playbook sample.
- Company Overview
The first and foremost thing a sales playbook consists of is the company overview. It provides a detailed description of the organization, its origin, its growth over the period, its products, growth objectives, clients, work culture, and everything that a new hire must know about their workspace.
- Product Information
A sales playbook sample must have product information. Having in-depth knowledge about the product, its features, benefits, the industry it caters to, etc will help sales reps during their lead generation, prospecting, and demo presentation. The content knowledge about the product is what sales reps sell.
- Customer Demographics
Knowing the ideal customer profile is the first step to strategizing an effective sales plan. Drawing the customer demographics will help sales reps focus and narrow down during the lead generation. Filtering and finding the prospects who need your product and will most likely get converted will ensure that every effort leads to fruition.
- Sales Methodologies
The primary purpose of a sales playbook is to share with the team the best practices, tools, techniques, and strategies that helped close a deal. Documenting these successes and making them accessible to the team will help improve lead generation, streamline the pipeline journey, handle customer objections, and thereby enhance the sales process.
- Tools and Resources
A sales playbook will also include the tools that the team uses to ease their operations, such as a sales commission calculator, and the resources that will enhance their knowledge, enabling them to navigate the compensation structure with clarity and precision. Digital solutions like sales automation tools, CRMs, messaging platforms, e-meeting sites, etc. streamline communication. Knowledge resources like case studies, brochures, white papers, and newsletters provide an in-depth understanding of the product, its functions, and benefits.
- Incentive Compensation
In addition to incentive compensation details, a comprehensive playbook for the sales team should also incorporate guidance on sales performance analysis to help sales reps continually assess and improve their strategies. Knowing the key performance index and metrics will help them know what is expected of them and work accordingly to achieve their quotas and targets.
Providing an in-depth understanding of everything about the company and the product will help salesforce boost their performance.
How to Build a Winning Sales Playbook
It is inevitable for organizations with a sales team to have a sales playbook. Let's explore the step-by-step process of building a winning sales playbook.
- Evaluate the Sales Process
Before documenting the sales process it is important to analyze the process to understand the best practices that helped close a deal. Evaluating the sales activities and practices, tools and techniques, sales approaches and strategies, revenue, and resources helps filter out and understand the sales practices to be documented and repeated during future sales.
- Understand the Best Practices
Additionally, incorporating sales spiff data into the evaluation of the sales process can provide insights into the impact of short-term incentives on individual sales journeys, allowing for a more nuanced analysis of performance drivers. Filtering out these best practices will help sales reps to repeat them in future scenarios for positive results.
- Brainstorm for Insights
Various people contribute to the winning of a sale. This includes the sales reps, sales manager, account executive, marketing team, etc. Hence, bringing all these people together to brainstorm and leverage their experiences will help gather valuable insights that will help build an effective sales playbook.
- Built your Objectives
Before you set out to build a sales playbook, pause and ask yourself: why are you putting all this effort into making a sales playbook, what do you plan to gain out of it and what are the takeaways? Answering these questions will help draw your objectives and thereby bring structure and system to your sales playbook.
- Track the Progress
Building a sales playbook is not a one-time process; it needs regular tracking and evaluation to align with the evolving sales transformation strategy and ensure continued effectiveness. Monitoring the progress in the sales process after incorporating the playbook, and understanding the growth it has achieved will help enhance its potential. In addition, adding on the latest best practices will also help maintain an up-to-date sales playbook.
Knowing what you are aiming out of building a sales playbook will help you take the best practices for the effort you have put in.
How to keep your sales playbook up to date
Building the perfect sales playbook is an ever-continuing process.
Even after designing a playbook for your sales team, there needs to be regular monitoring and evaluation of the sales process, including sales performance evaluation and the closing of deals.
Understanding the improvements made and the reasons behind them will help incorporate the latest best practices into your operations and playbook. This must be continued every few months so that your sales playbook remains updated and efficient.
A sales playbook also brings clarity and transparency in the company operations which will aid in the overall improvement of the sales process and sales performance.
This is the same effect automation of your sales compensation also brings. When sales reps have clarity and transparency in their incentive compensation management, it will directly influence their sales performance management.