Have you ever been on a sales call and encountered a totally unfamiliar situation? Maybe it was a sales objection you weren’t ready to handle, a tricky custom solution, or a question about one of your other offerings. Whether or not that roadblock caused you to lose the sale or miss a cross-sell opportunity, it probably didn’t feel great. As salespeople, it’s our job to have an answer for everything – and we don’t like to feel out of our element.
Sales PlayBooks are designed to avoid exactly this kind of scenario. A PlayBook is a collection of best practices, guidance, and sales enablement materials a salesperson can reach for whenever they’re faced with something unexpected. As a sales leader, it’s in your best interest to give your salespeople all the tools they need to succeed at the moment they need them. If you haven’t already, consider setting up a Sales PlayBook.
But where should you start? Here are our 6 essential elements to designing a winning Sales PlayBook to get you off on the right foot.
1. Prospecting – Get Leads Into the Pipeline
Your best-in-class Sales PlayBook should start with information for your salespeople to improve prospecting behaviors. Based on what’s already working for your team and your company, develop lists of lead sources; networking best practices; expectations around asking for referrals; guidance for planning prospecting activity; and phone and email scripts. If you have a 30-second commercial, add it here.
2. Selling – How to Close Business
Once your sales team has generated some leads, they’ll need to close them effectively and efficiently. Your Sales PlayBook should contain a section on best selling practices for your products and services. Remember, the PlayBook is most effective when salespeople can call it up when faced with a challenging or unique situation. Organize your materials so salespeople won’t have to dig for important information, and align content with each step in your sales process.
Great content to gather or develop in this section includes common objections and pushbacks; clear descriptions of your products and services, especially for cross-selling; information on the problems you solve for your customers; how to follow up after a sales call; and how to deal with radio silence.
3. Support – Sales Management, Marketing & Operations
Sales doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Your Sales PlayBook will be that much more powerful if you include material on effective sales management practices; marketing collateral; and requirements or guidelines from operations. If it supports or enables the sales process, put it in your PlayBook.
4. System – What Are the Systems that Enable Sales?
For most organizations, the obvious choice here is CRM. You’ll want to include expectations and instructions for your CRM and any other systems your salespeople use (ERP, email, time reporting, etc). Bonus points for indicating reports or queries salespeople should run within the system to improve their productivity.
5. Team – How Can A Sales PlayBook Help Us Collaborate?
This area is often overlooked, but critical to top performing sales teams. Part of the reason it’s overlooked is managers aren’t sure how to include it in their PlayBooks – do you write a memo saying “collaborate more”? Not quite. We’ve found it’s most effective to outline clear expectations for giving and getting feedback from peers, particularly sharing “win” stories. It’s easier to encourage collaboration if you build your PlayBook in a web-based platform like a wiki, or making clever use of chat functions within CRM systems.
6. Accountability – Maintain Commitment to the Process
Unfortunately, it’s all too common for sales organizations to set up Sales PlayBooks and never look at them again. To make sure you get the most out of your investment in putting this resource together, it’s best to set up an accountability system to keep you and your salespeople using the PlayBook. Get creative – we’ve seen teams set up scoring systems where individuals get points for their PlayBook activity, which is a great motivator (and also pretty fun). If you’re using a wiki, you can set up coaching pages where salespeople post weekly goals for managers to review and provide comments.
However you end up setting your PlayBook, you’re taking steps toward a more productive sales team. With the huge volume of sales information being generated and the complexity of your business and sales process, keeping everyone updated can be a mammoth task. A PlayBook makes it just a little bit easier.
Let us know how you organize your Sales PlayBook in the comments!