Because every business is different, sales teams need playbooks that are tailored to their technology, customer base, product offering, and unique value proposition. We share steps to creating a bespoke sales playbook that fits the needs of your business.
A sales playbook replaces guesswork with reliable and detailed guidance — guidance that helps your sales reps make decisions that land more customers. If all your salespeople are empowered with the right sales playbook, the logic goes, then you would see a huge improvement in sales performance.
While all playbooks contain information about sale plays, sequences, and sales enablement technology, every business is different. The ideal sales processes for one business may not work for another. The challenge, then, is in writing a sales playbook tailored to your unique circumstance. But that’s easier said than done. After all, companies are experts at what they do. Writing sales playbooks usually isn’t one of them.
So, how do you tailor your playbook to give your sales teams the exact tools they need to drive results? The important thing is to work as strategically and meticulously as possible before, during, and after you write your sales playbook. Let’s explore each step in turn, starting at the beginning of the playbook writing process.
Before you write: pull in the right stakeholders and map everything
As is common with most organisations, teams operate from a set of processes that they’ve built over time — often much of it isn’t written down. This can be dangerous. For instance, if your sales lead moves on to another company, then they might be taking their knowledge with them. Your sales reps also work with customer service, marketing, and other departments. So vital information could be held by people outside of the sales team.
This is why it is crucial to bring the right stakeholders into the project before you begin writing your sales playbook. Once you’ve brought the right people to the table, you need to map out every single sales process. This is complex work, as deals involve different buying stages and multiple sales sequences.
Defining your sales stack — the collection of tools that empower your sales team — is of equal importance. As a resource for onboarding new sales reps, your sales playbook should be a guide to using your key sales technology. Once all processes and sales enablement tools have been mapped out, it’s time to pull up your sleeves and get to writing.
As you write: focus on structure and process improvements
Immanuel Kant’s The Critique of Pure Reason is one of the all-time most important works of European philosophy. Despite its significance, few philosophy professors have bothered to read it. That’s how challenging it is to get through.
Here’s the takeaway: for a sales playbook to be useful, it needs to be structured and written in a way that makes it easy to understand and reference. This means adding context to help readers understand details, such as providing insights into what actions are needed, and where, how, and when actions are executed. It also means structuring your playbook so that it is easy to find information. This is because most reps who revisit your sales playbook only care about information that is useful at that moment.
At this point, and having already mapped out all your sales processes and technology, you should identify gaps, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. It’s critical to develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t. This will help you recognise opportunities, build new processes, and tailor sales plays according to your offering and customer base.
After you write: onboard, measure success, experiment, and update
To drive success, your sales playbook should be viewed as an agile document that is updated to better address changes to sales technology, service offerings, and customer expectations. For this reason, you’re never really finished writing your sales playbook.
In the previous step, you would have refined your processes and consolidated your sales stack. Now you need to train your reps to use your playbook. This can be tricky, especially if sales teams are used to following their own processes.
Once your teams are aligned, it’s time to focus on optimising your selling. So track all performance and measure which sales sequences and plays work best. As your team recognises opportunities, experimenting with new sales strategies and tactics is critical to continually improving your sales strategies. Draw conclusions from the results of every experiment and, when you have enough data, update your sales playbook to reflect your new ways of selling.
Should you hire a sales consultancy to build your sales playbook?
From the process we’ve laid out, it’s clear that creating a tailored sales playbook requires a staggering amount of time and work. This can drain internal resources, especially if a team member is taken away from important work to create your playbook. Another challenge: your writer may lack experience in developing or structuring playbooks. This can either prolong the project or, in a worst-case scenario, lead to an incoherent playbook that’s more likely to confuse reps than guide them.
Considering these risks, it might be worth hiring an external sales consultancy with a proven track record of creating tailored sales playbooks and improving sales processes. The right consultancy can also help you see a fast return on investment by training your teams and maximising your technology use.
We’d welcome the opportunity to learn more about your sales team and help you create a bespoke sales playbook for your business. Schedule a meeting with a Huble Sales Consultant to learn more about how we can help improve your sales results.
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