We talk a lot about the Sales PlayBook at CFS – and we get a lot of questions! Below are some of the most common questions we hear.
1) What do you mean by a Sales PlayBook?
It’s a collection of best selling practices, shared by the sales team. It would include information such as where to go for leads, how to run a sales call, how to introduce your company in 30 seconds, exchanging success stories, etc.
It’s a forum for communication, goal setting, & developing a sales-centric culture in your company.
We give our clients a custom-developed online Wiki where all this knowledge is kept up to date. It’s like a sales Wikipedia for your own company. Everyone that you grant permissions to can contribute to this internal live online sales environment that contains forums, blogs, tools, videos, webinars and more.
2) How can it help a company improve sales?
A lot of selling is repetitive. You meet with the same kinds of people, you generally ask the same kinds of questions, present features and benefits the same way, and tell the same third party success stories. We suggest taking the time to think about and capture all this information, and make it available to everyone.
It develops teamwork. It becomes really powerful if the top producers on a sales team share what they do that makes them successful, so that others can benefit as well.
Other departments within a company can share ideas too. We’ve seen Purchasing, Marketing, Product Development, Operations, and even Finance provide a different perspective to help salespeople understand their customers better. For instance, Finance might talk about when and how to extend credit terms. The marketing team for one of our clients recently developed an area in their PlayBook to plan for a trade show, including how to prepare in advance, how to act during the show, and how to follow up on leads. By the way, they won three awards at the show!
3) What kind of companies can benefit from a Sales PlayBook?
All companies can benefit from documenting and keeping their sales practices up-to-date, whether you are a sales team of one or one thousand. You want to get what you do best out of your head and into a medium that makes it more accessible for improvement.
We have seen all sorts of companies benefit from our online Sales PlayBook, but those with salespeople spread out over a wide geography in different cities, either across the country or across the globe, often benefit more than they originally thought they would. It helps remote salespeople stay connected to the rest of the sales team, and it’s also a great way for sales management to stay current with their reps’ day to day activities, especially if they are across different time zones.
4) Is it easy to use?
Click a button and you can add content, including uploading pictures, documents or web links. Once our staff at Criteria for Success has created the initial Sales PlayBook site with whatever security settings you specify, such as who can view, edit, be an administrator, etc., you are able to maintain the PlayBook any way you want. Adding new users is easy as well.
We also have a very simple roll-back feature that allows an administrator to undo any errors or unwanted edits.
5) How does this tool help sales managers and business owners?
Some of the feedback about what managers like the most about our Sales PlayBook is the ability to track users so they can see who is using the PlayBook and how. You can see the specific additions that people made; you can see the most visited pages, recent changes, etc. This helps you get to current information very quickly.
Managers can also post information that they want the sales team to know. For instance, some ideas on using social media like LinkedIn (i.e. discussion groups to join, or news about certain executives at client firms), Facebook, or Twitter.
We often see a weekly address from the company President to the sales team, which again helps maintain the connection between the sellers and senior management.
We have also seen salespeople sharing their weekly goals and accomplishments in the Sales PlayBook. They seem to like the accountability and examples for their teammates to see and comment on. Again, it fosters leadership and teamwork at a grass roots level.
6) How long does it take to develop a Sales PlayBook?
Not long at all. At Criteria for Success, we use a Sales BluePrint process to develop the initial Sales PlayBook site. Depending on the availability of our key client contacts, we can have a brand new PlayBook up and running in a couple of weeks.
7) How do you see the Sales PlayBook evolving?
I see it becoming an essential resource for sales teams. There is so much for salespeople to be concerned about, such as doing the right research, using the best lead generation and prospecting techniques, as well as improving how to serve customers. Dividing the heavy lifting across the sales team makes you more efficient.
We see the Sales PlayBook as a tool to share your selling philosophies (what motivates you) as well as your selling mechanics (your behavior and technique). This encompasses using all the other tools and resources in your firm, such as your Customer Relationship Management system like SalesLogix or Salesforce.com, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Integrating all of this through the PlayBook enables you as a sales organization to develop a powerful selling ecosystem that continues to evolve.