In part 2 of our series on The Sales Process, we looked at the 5 Sales Process Steps. Here's part 3, What to Include and How to Use A Playbook. Join the #SalesSuperleague.
What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a comprehensive guide that gives your salespeople all the content and activity they need to complete in order to close deals. It outlines your sales process and includes your buyer persona, call scripts, sample emails, questions to gather intelligence, questions to qualify, and proposal guidelines.
Why You Need to Use Sales Playbook
Training New Salespeople
It’s so much easier to get new salespeople up to speed when they can follow a specific set of instructions. This is much more reliable and gives better continuity throughout the sales team.
Freeing up Time
When salespeople don’t have to write their own content and have a wealth of ready made templates at their fingertips they can get on with what they are meant to be doing; selling!
Easily Sharing Successful Techniques
If one of your sales people has continued success with a specific technique it’s easy to add it to the playbook and share it with the rest of the team.
So What Should You Include?
Writing a Sales playbook is a time consuming job, but it can save your salespeople massive amounts of time in the long run and is well worth doing. After considering the 5 Sales Process Steps you can make a start. There are several things that should be included to make a stella sales playbook.
This is primarily to get new people to the team up to speed on your company. It should start with the company history, philosophy, and structure including team leaders.
It should also include career path details, including expected targets, when promotions are given, what skills are required at each stage, and what the pay is at each level.
Products or Services
This section gives details of every product or service your company sells. You can have it all in one or a different playbook for each. It should cover price points, uses, core value offerings, buyers and end users.
Good Fit and Bad Fit Criteria
Use this section to describe your optimal buyer persona to ensure your salespeople are quickly and effectively targeting the most qualified leads. You should include job titles, who they report to, KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators), and potential challenges. It may also be good to note where they come into the buying process, for example a company director may only see the deal when it is nearly done, whereas the tech team may be in contact from day 1.
Also include qualification criteria here, such as if the buyer is ready to go ahead immediately, or whether it will be in the future.
The Sales Process
This is a very important section. You need to explain each step of the sales process from the first connection to closing the deal. What are the key activities? Who is involved at each stage? What do you need to deliver?
Decide on your multi-touch cadence and whether you will give any flexibility to your salespeople.
There are tons of different examples of this so set one that best suits your needs.
Provide guidelines in this section about when to pursue leads and when not to. For example, if none of your previous emails have been opened it’s probably best to assume they are not interested and move on. If, however, the emails have been opened then the person does have some interest and its worth continuing to pursue them. Using a sales tool like HubSpot Sequences is a great way to avoid procrastinating over a lead that isn’t progressing (this tool allows you to queue up a number of emails and tasks to follow-up and if the Sequence ends with no response then you can just move on).
This section can get fairly large and should include all sample messaging. Include email templates, positioning statements, calling and voicemail scripts, common objections and how to handle them, meeting agendas, presentation decks and any other written resources that your team uses.
Here upload examples of good sales calls, screenshots of successful email campaigns and productive meetings. Each step should have some examples to show your salespeople what successful contact looks like.
How to Use the CRM
Use this section to instruct salespeople how to use the CRM. Include when to move opportunities from one stage to the next, which fields are mandatory, how to analyse and create reports, how to use the dashboard, how to use activities and tasks, and all the other features you use in your company. Also include how much time they should spend daily or weekly in the CRM.
Describe your sales methodology, how it should be used and where they can go to learn it. Some examples include Target Account Selling, SPIN selling and Solution Selling.
Pay and Commission Structure
Describe what your plan is; whether its commission based, salary only, includes a bonus etc. This will help your salespeople have a goal to reach for. You could even include an example of what an employee could earn as they reach different percentages of their quota.
This should comprise of a selection of case studies, testimonials, customer stories and white papers. Work closely with Marketing and your existing customers to keep this section updated.
Make sure the content is geared towards your buyer persona to keep it relevant. Your customers want to know that your sales team understands them.
Key Performance Indicators
Which sales metrics matter most to your sales team? Revenue is one that should be watched closely but also look at time to first opportunity, time taken to close etc. Monitoring these gives your team a clear understanding of how their performance will be measured and so motivates them to hit their goals. Include how team leaders are measured also and enable your sales team to give relevant feedback.
It’s never truly finished…
Your sales playbook should be constantly tweaked and updated as your process and buyer persona is adapted. Making sure it’s up to date and relevant will ensure your sales people can perform at their best.
To learn more about making a Sales Playbook, start with How The Tree Group Can Help with your Sales Process.
About The Tree Group
The Tree Group is a business growth agency and HubSpot Certified Partner that combines sales, marketing, and websites to help Automotive companies with at least 10 staff and a desire to grow by 15% in the next 18 months. Does that sound like you?