Building a Sales Training Program? 3 Ways to Leverage Your Sales PlayBook

October 8, 2019
Building a Sales Training Program? 3 Ways to Leverage Your Sales PlayBook

Would your organization benefit from a sales training program?

Are you aware of the signs that indicate you need one?

If you're unsure, then you've come to the right place!

Signs You Need a Sales Training Program

Here are some tell-tale signs you need a sales training program:

  1. Your sales reps have varying levels of experience.
  2. Everyone seems to have different processes and best practices.
  3. Few, if any, of your sales reps have participated in a sales training program in the past.
  4. You're seeing very different results in performance.
  5. In general, you see room for skill development.
  6. Your sales environment is changing, requiring a more consultative or professional sale.
  7. You are significantly growing your sales team.
  8. You're not sure you would buy from your salespeople.
  9. Your sales reps are not sharing best practices and tribal knowledge.
  10. You want to enable team selling.

Training is an important part of developing your sales team, but it can be hard to integrate sales training into busy schedules.

As you develop a comprehensive sales training program, including in-person training events, webinars, and calls, consider how you can leverage your Sales PlayBook.

Your Sales PlayBook can stretch your resources, function as a central hub of your sales training program, and collect best practices and tribal knowledge. As you implement your training program, your Sales PlayBook will continue to improve, becoming more of a resource over time.

3 Ways to Leverage Your Sales PlayBook for Your Sales Training Program

Here are three ways you can use your Sales PlayBook as a training platform:

1. Create a new hire onboarding section within your playbook.

Your Sales PlayBook is a key resource for new hires. Instead of just asking them to explore it, create a section in the playbook that guides new hires through the onboarding process.

Develop a new hire training program that incorporates basic information about your offering and process with sales skill training and introductions to other departments. Build the program out in the playbook, creating links to relevant sections.

Develop a process for how new hires will walk through the training program. You might add assignments or quizzes at various parts of the process, only allowing them to proceed after completion. You could also make the training time-bound, giving them specific topics to cover within each of their first few weeks.

Consider how new hires will “catch up” on the overall sales training program. As part of the on-boarding program, make sure they review recorded training sessions and develop their own examples and content.

Make sure you assign a mentor or coach to partner with each new hire throughout the training program. They can monitor the new hire’s progress and provide feedback and advice.

And don’t forget to include playbook training in your training program! It's a key system just like your CRM and other key selling systems.

If you don't have an on-boarding process, check out our Sales Onboarding Process eBook.

The CFS Sales Onboarding Process
How to Ensure Your New Hires Hit the Ground Running
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2. Reinforce playbook-based sales training in your sales team meetings.

Sales team meetings should work to inform, inspire, and focus the team. One way to do that is to add training, and the playbook is a great foundation for that training.

Instead of searching high and low for new sales training topics, look to what's already in your Sales PlayBook. Reinforcing prior training topics is just as important as adding new ones. You'll find that your team gets more out of each topic every time you review it.

Don't go overboard, of course – with a comprehensive Sales PlayBook, you should be able to rotate content so you're not repeating it too often.

We have one client that has 25 fundamental principles they live by. Each week, leadership shares a message from one employee about how they interpret and live by one of those principles. Though they've been doing it for years, the different perspectives keep it fresh.

When you use your playbook to drive this kind of sales training, you can broaden the scope of who drives the training. It doesn’t have to be restricted to the person running the sales team meeting.

To develop your team members and reduce the burden on the person running the meeting, ask your salespeople to provide training during meetings. You could assign various topics or playbook pages to people on the team, or give them the flexibility to choose their own topic.

One easy way to train the team is to ask them to read a page in the playbook before your sales team meeting, then facilitate a discussion based on what they read. You could also ask them to add comments to the playbook page after they read it.

As you review playbook topics for training, you may discover that they need to be refreshed. Revise the content so it reflects current best practices. This will help keep your PlayBook fresh.

3. Develop and practice playbook content in training sessions.

You can cover a lot of training content in a 15-minute discussion during a sales team meeting, but if you want to develop or role practice content, it may make sense to schedule a separate working session.

Identify topics in the Sales PlayBook that need to be developed or expanded, then schedule a meeting to work together to develop the content. You can work together to brainstorm content, then assign each topic to a person or small team to develop the content. For shorter updates, you can complete them together in a single working session.

Here are some types of playbook content to develop in training sessions.

  1. Common objections & best-practice responses
  2. Success stories
  3. Key questions to ask
  4. 30-second introductions
  5. Lead sources
  6. Outreach templates and best practices
  7. Sales presentations
  8. Follow-up emails

These longer working sessions are also important for role practicing elements of your sales process. Role practice is a key component in any training program, and building it around playbook topics can give you a good place to start. It's also a great way to validate the content in your playbook.

Develop role practice scenarios, then have people role practice in groups of three, with one person playing the prospect, one person playing the salesperson, and one observer. The observer should take note of both what goes well and where there is room for improvement.

Debrief the role practicing sessions to identify common themes you can add back into the playbook. This constant churn of content is another great way to keep the playbook fresh.

When role practicing scripts, you may find that they don’t sound right when spoken aloud. This is an opportunity to go back into the playbook and edit the content so it sounds more natural.

And as you role practice processes, make sure they still work properly. Sometimes it takes a role practice to realize a process needs to be updated. If you can't get it to work in the safe environment of a team meeting, it definitely won't work with a prospect!

As you've been reading this post, you might be wishing you had a Sales PlayBook you could leverage for your sales training program. It's not too late! Click below to learn how you can develop your own Sales PlayBook.

The Ultimate Guide to Creating and Managing A Sales PlayBook
A Guide for Sales Leaders
Download Now


  • Sean Covey - Reply

    Thank you for these great sales training techniques.I would like to add that overloading your team with too much information may be distracting and produce minimal results. You should go in with a plan to focus on just a few things and re-evaluate the team’s success later before moving on.

    • Elizabeth Frederick - Reply

      That’s a great point, Sean! So many people think they need to do a ton of training at once. Bite-sized training is easier for the team to implement, and it’s easier for you to measure the results.

      Thanks so much for your comment!

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