Need some Sales PlayBook questions answered? You're in the right place!
“Sales PlayBook” is a common term nowadays. However, the definition is anything but common. Some people I’ve spoken with describe it as a sales process, others as their sales bible, and others still as their shared drive for information.
Most organizations we’ve worked with have something they would describe as a Sales PlayBook. Rarely though does their PlayBook help them get the result that they want: to drive best practices for selling. This is why we developed the CFS Sales PlayBook.
As you can imagine, we spend an enormous amount of time talking with sales leaders, salespeople and business owners who are curious about what makes the CFS PlayBook so effective.
However, these practices are not just limited to the sales team.
In fact, we incorporate all other best practices that relate to the sales team, including those from Marketing, Management, Operations, Human Resources and practically any others that touch selling. As I frequently say, “sales is not an island!”
It’s also a forum for communication, goal setting, & developing a sales-centric culture in your company.
Basically, the PlayBook is a knowledge center for your sales organization. It's a place for people to go to instead of asking managers or coworkers questions. And finally, it's a place where your team members can learn and grow together.
We offer a PlayBook full of templates to help reorganize our client’s existing practices, saving them time by not having to “reinvent the wheel.” Then, we give our clients a custom-developed online Wiki where all this knowledge is kept up-to-date. Everyone that they grant permissions to can contribute to this internal, active online sales environment.
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 success stories. We suggest taking the time to think about and capture all of this information, and make it available to everyone in your company.
Additionally, the Sales PlayBook promotes teamwork.
How? It encourages sharing best practices through the built in tools and templates. The PlayBook is most powerful when 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, in fact, we recommend it.
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 that show!
3) What kind of companies benefit from Sales PlayBooks?
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. Or, just get it out of your head so others can benefit from it!
We have seen all sorts of companies benefit from a Sales PlayBook.
Specifically, those with salespeople spread-out over different cities, across the country or across the globe, often benefit more than they originally thought they would. The PlayBook helps remote salespeople stay connected to the rest of the sales team. Additionally, 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 or locations.
Having said this, companies that have and foster a collaborative culture, especially in their sales and marketing departments, benefit significantly as well. This is because of the commitment to share and keep best practices up-to-date.
I’ve seen salespeople exchange success as well as failure stories that they can all learn from. Another benefit of frequent sharing is keeping the team aware of what’s happening in the company’s market, minute by minute.
4) With a Sales PlayBook, what is the user experience?
Busy salespeople are notorious for their short attention spans. When creating a Sales PlayBook, maintain a philosophy of “keeping it simple.”
In our Sales PlayBook, you simply click a button and add content, such as 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, you are able to maintain the PlayBook in any way you want.
We also have a very simple roll-back feature that allows an administrator to undo any errors or unwanted edits.
Many clients, including my team at CFS, use the Sales PlayBook on our smartphones. On several occasions I’ve handed over my iPhone to a client to review a list of common challenges people like them face in their industry.
Bottom line, its simple and user-friendly.
5) How does this tool help sales managers and business owners?
The ability to track users to see who is using the PlayBook and how is one of the best features for Sales Management. 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.
This can include:
things to post on LinkedIn to promote a new feature or company update
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. And, it helps senior management stay in tune with the happenings of the sales team.
6) How long does it take to develop a Sales PlayBook?
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.
The key is to assemble a cross-functional team that is going to share the work load.
This will provide a wealth of fresh perspectives, outside of the “sales forest”, and also help shorten the time to develop content, as several people are participating at the same time. All it takes is someone with good project management skills to facilitate the process.
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, including:
doing the right research
using the best lead generation and prospecting techniques
improving how they serve customers
and 1,000 other things!
Dividing the heavy lifting across the sales team makes you more efficient.
Ultimately, the Sales PlayBook is 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 Salesforce.com. Integrating all of this with the PlayBook enables your sales organization to develop a powerful selling ecosystem!
And, as Sales PlayBooks continue to evolve and grow, so will the list of common Sales PlayBook questions!
Do you have any more questions for us? Let us know in the comments, we are more than happy to help!