In a quickly changing business environment, many sales teams are looking for ways to improve. As a sales manager, you want to make sure your salespeople are productive and happy members of your team. How do you approach sales team improvement to get the best return on your time or financial investment?
First, let’s establish what we mean by “a better sales team.” We would expect a top-tier sales team to show stronger selling skills, shorter ramp times, more collaboration, and better results than the status quo. A higher percentage would be meeting quota, and there would be less frequent turnover.
But how do we get there? We suggest developing a single platform to house selling best practices and promote information sharing across your team: a Sales PlayBook.
1. A Sales PlayBook builds stronger selling skills.
A Sales PlayBook serves as a single place to hold all your top performers’ best selling behaviors, tips, techniques, and stories. Your best salespeople know best how to sell your unique products and services – they’ve been doing it well for years. Building a Sales Playbook allows you to harness what these top performers are doing right and share the wealth across the sales team.
A great application of this principle is handling objections. Most salespeople selling for the same company will hear the same objections over and over. Wouldn’t you want to arm your weaker salespeople with the best practice pushbacks your top performers are using?
2. A Sales PlayBook shortens new hire ramp time.
Now that all your sales best practices are in one place, imagine what this will mean for a new sales hire. Instead of winging it after a few days of basic training, a new hire will be able to refer to the Sales PlayBook. There they'll find the best place to look for more leads, how to communicate the value of your products and services, and how to follow up after a prospect meeting. New hires will be able to achieve more predictable results more quickly.
Think about how long it usually takes a new salesperson on your team to become productive. Almost 50% of the respondents in a 2013 CSO Insights survey reported ramp times between 7 and 12 months, and a further 25% reported ramp times exceeding 1 year. A full year of a salesperson’s salary can be a significant burden before that new hire starts bringing in customers.
3. A Sales PlayBook promotes collaboration.
Gone are the days of the lone wolf salesperson. Collaborative sales teams are better placed to adapt to market change and leverage new technology, making working together the way of the future. Encouraging collaboration can be easier said than done, though – busy salespeople want to be out selling, not sitting in a brainstorming meeting. To get your sales team to share more and work together, you have to make it worth their time.
Collaboration should give salespeople new tools, information, or techniques they can use immediately to improve their performance. Whether it’s a new way to get around a common objection or establish quick rapport with a new prospect, shared information housed in a Sales PlayBook should help salespeople get their jobs done.
Sales managers can use examples from the PlayBook during team meetings, or incentivize writing down lessons-learned on sales calls.
Developing a stronger, more productive sales team is a long-term project. Establishing a best-practice Sales PlayBook will help you build sales skills among your existing team members; bring new salespeople into a strong system; and nurture a more cohesive team. Start building yours today!