Time’s running out. There’s sweat dripping from your forehead. A lump in your throat. You’re in a selling situation where closing this deal is make or break. What do you do? This isn’t time for trial and error - there’s no other option but to engage the potential customer further and increase the likelihood of reaching that winning moment.
Sounds dramatic. But trying to close a sale or knowing what to do next shouldn’t feel like you’re trying to claw one back in extra time. You need a sales playbook full of sales enablement materials, strategies and plays, questions, KPIs, buyer personas and an outlined process to help your team. Here’s a 10-step approach to creating your sales playbook.
1. Review and update your existing process
Your playbook needs to help your existing sales process, so it needs to fit in without causing more hassle. If your sales process is holding you back, your playbook is doomed to fail - like Spurs in a knockout game. Analyse your sales process regularly to complement your goals, how your team sells, personas and more.
2. What are your goals?
What do you want to achieve with the playbook? Don’t just create one because the competition or some big-name businesses are doing it. It needs to be tailored around your unique needs. To get started, how would you answer the following questions?
- What is your sales team struggling with right now?
- How will the sales playbook help them?
- What do you hope to get out of your sales playbook?
- What does it need to include to help you achieve your objectives?
- Which specific areas of the buyer’s journey will it help with?
- When does it need to be finalised?
Your answers to those questions will help you create some goals. Make sure they’re specific to each problem so you can create plays that are designed to work.
3. Work out the involvement
Just like you wouldn’t force a quarterback to get involved in defensive plays, avoid overloading your playbook creation process with folks that don’t need to be there. Involve the people it’ll impact and who’ll benefit from the playbook the most, such as:
- Subject matter experts
- Sales staff
- Sales managers and directors
- Marketing team members involved in creating sales collateral
Choose your team members carefully and let them know who’s leading the effort to get the sales playbook up and running. This will help them know who to turn to.
4. Align your sales and marketing teams
The first step to making these bitter rivals the best of friends. They’re arguably the most important people involved in this process, especially since the playbook will need content the sales team can refer to and share with prospects. Keep the communication open and work out exactly what the sales teams needs so the marketing team can get to work.
5. Organise your buyer persona information
Your sales team needs to understand the business’ buyer personas. Simple. The purpose of the sales playbook to help them meet leads where they are, so they can support them through a specific part of the sales process. Collect the persona information and share it with the sales team. It’s something they can refer to when it’s time to start creating the sales playbook and the sales process.
6. Offer training and education
This goes beyond the playbook - your sales team needs to know the ins and outs of what they’re selling. Before creating the sales playbook, offer training and education so there are no gaps in their knowledge. The sales playbook can be more detailed than a novel, but it’ll fall short if your sales team isn’t confident in what you’re offering.
7. Which plays will you choose?
The main focus of your sales playbook, but several factors impact it, including:
- What your sales goals are
- What your buyer personas look like
- What it is you’re selling
- The areas your sales team are struggling with and need support
The actual plays are down to you and your business. Each business, process and situation is unique so there’s no group of plays to help everyone. To help you get started, here are some examples you might want to use as plays or tweak to fit your playbook.
- Personalised content: Plays to help your sales team personalise the buyer’s journey through interactions and the content they share
- Lead qualification: Plays to help your sales team identify highly qualified leads efficiently
- Demo: Plays to help your sales team highlight demo features to prospects
- Use case: Plays to help your sales team hone in specific use cases your target audience experiences
- Prospecting: Plays to help your sales team prospect on specific platforms, channels or tactics to use to identify the right prospects
- Closing: Plays to help your sales team naturally move leads that are late in the buyer’s journey for more effective results
- Follow-ups: Plays to help your sales team work out when they can follow-up with leads at different stages in the buyer’s journey
8. Audit your sales enablement content
Gather all of the sales enablement content you already have and decide where the gaps are. It’ll be easier to work out what content the marketing team is yet to create and what needs to be optimised to be more in line with your goals.
9. Decide what to include
Along with outlining your objectives, customer needs and target audience, there’s a bunch of other valuable information you need to include in your sales playbook.
Company history, who leads the team, who’s accountable for each target - this will get your sales team up to speed quicker. Explaining what makes your company different tells a great story to give a more humanised feel.
Products and services
Cover every single service or product you’re selling. Everything about them should be in the playbook so your sales team doesn’t have to waste time searching for information. Price, core value offerings - anything they need to know, add it in. It’s also worthwhile including the challenges prospects face.
Remember step one? That process you tweak needs to be formalised and added to the playbook. Note down the process step-by-step and make it as detailed as possible. The more detail there is, the easier it is to know what’s working in the sales process.
When adding all of your buyer persona information to help your sales team hone in on qualified leads, make sure they’re detailed. This means adding everything from KPIs and pain points to the experience they desire and how they learn.
Guidelines on pursing opportunities
Help your sales team by laying out the ideal number, timing and medium of touches for when they should contact leads. An example you can swipe could be:
- Day 1: Email
- Day 3: Email in the morning and a call in the afternoon
- Day 5: Call in the morning and a call with a voicemail in the afternoon
- Day 9: Email in the morning and a call in the afternoon with a voicemail
- Day 11: Email and a call in the morning
Work out the cadence and format so your sales team only chases leads that are genuinely interested.
Use sample messaging such as email templates and scripts, depending on how prospects typically respond to certain situations. Anything you feel your sales team repeats often, add pre-written templates to your sales playbook.
Your sales playbook can also include sample emails and scripts to help your sales team through all parts of the buyer’s journey. Although it can take a while to create scripts from scratch, you can save time using our tried-and-tested sales scripts to help your sales team crush their sales quota.
Want to check them out and add them to your new sales playbook? Get access now using the button below.
Want to inspire your sales team like Michael Scott inspired his staff? Add examples of what a great sales call should be. Whether it’s written or audio, offer valuable tips your sales staff can embed into their own process when trying to close leads.
This fits in with the training step, especially since your sales team needs to be fluent with the CRM they’re using. In the playbook, highlight:
- What each stage means
- When your team should move opportunities between stages
- How to analyse reports
- How to operate the dashboards
- What they should do in the CRM
- If there are any features they need to focus on
Include the methodology
Your sales team need a methodology to know, understand and follow. Describe what your methodology is, how your team should use it and where they can learn more.
Outline the metrics your sales team needs to track and what they should pay attention to. At a minimum, in the sales playbook, add the baseline numbers your sales team should be aware of.
Case studies, testimonials, meet the team - pack your playbook with relevant content that will be of good value to prospects. Having these resources on-demand means your sales team can incorporate them into the sales process to help close sales. It also means they don’t need to create content from scratch; something sales teams spend one-third of their time doing.
10. Implement and analyse
Now it’s time to implement your sales playbook and give access to the relevant team members. But it doesn’t end there. Always analyse the success of your playbook so make sure it’s always up-to-date. For example, tactics could change, you might find a better sales process or your sales team might want to suggest improvements. Get this feedback and continue tweaking your sales playbook.
Implementing a sales process into your business can be a game-changer. Studies show 50% of high-performing sales businesses have closely monitored and enforced a sales playbook. That’s a group your organisation wants to be in.
With a sales playbook, you can make new hire training quicker and easier, you can free up valuable time for your sales staff to finally focus on the most effective selling techniques. But before you can experience all of that, you need to overcome the biggest challenge you’ll ever face - aligning your sales and marketing teams.
Get your sales and marketing teams on the same page
It sounds impossible, but it’s achievable. Creating a sales playbook is one step in the right direction. To help you kickstart this change in your business, make sure to check out our sales enablement guide, designed to help you close more leads.
It covers everything from increasing motivation and productivity to sales automation, creating a lead qualification process and much more. To make sure you don’t miss out on these unmissable insights, make sure to hit the button below to get your copy.