Sales Playbooks: You Use One, Right?

Today’s B2B sales leaders keep talking about sales playbooks.  Google the term and you’ll see.

Over the last three years, for example, the largest Inside Sales association has featured playbook presentations in a third of its local and national events.

Experts like Reality Works GroupThe Bridge Group, and Qvidian advise and even craft sales playbooks for organizations, while powerful CRM apps guide sales teams through complex buying cycles online.

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If your company is considering a playbook, or looking to modify one that’s already in place, focus on WHY, WHAT, HOW, and WHO.  Then you can determine WHEN to empower the sales team with it (Hint: Now!).

WHY YOU NEED A PLAYBOOK

  1. To generate pipeline and drive revenue.
  2. To gather disparate, decentralized information into on place.
  3. To standardize messaging.
  4. To ramp new hires.
  5. To reinforce struggling reps and remind experienced reps.
  6. To increase productivity of reps.
  7. To drive a corporate initiative.
  8. To prevent things from falling through the cracks.
  9. To influence behavior.

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WHAT YOU NEED IN A PLAYBOOK

  1. A Table of Contents!  Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em.
  2. Checklists at the end of every section / chapter.  Leave no stone unturned, skip NO steps.
  3. Inspirational quotes.  Keep the team fired up and ready to rock at all times.
  4. Methodologies.  Whether it’s Solution Selling, Miller Heiman, Sandler, Challenger Selling, John Barrows, or a hybrid of them all, it’s imperative to include them in your playbook.
  5. Email templates, talk tracks, qualification and discovery questions.  (Remember: Keep the questions open-ended.  Avoid yes-no questions!)
  6. A map of where to get / when to use marketing collateral, testimonials, and customer success stories.

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HOW YOU’LL DISTRIBUTE THE PLAYBOOK

  1. The “old school” way.  Hardcopy, spiral-bound book.  We’re talkin’ coffee stains on the pages, notes chicken-scratched throughout the book, and easy to carry around.
  2. eBook format.  Really simple to update and maintain version control.  Downloadable and portable.
  3. Mobile.  There are 6.8 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide.  It’s simply where professionals live.

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WHO TO CHOOSE AS A STAKEHOLDER

    1. A sales leader that can oversee the project, collaborate with other teams (Marketing and Sales Ops, for example), and write well.
    2. A senior executive that supports the effort and drives adoption and usage.
    3. A representative from the Marketing organization that provides collateral and influences use of an SLA.
    4. A great graphic designer.
    5. A team lead.  An account executive that will gather feedback from the team and share use cases.

So, hop to it!  Start framing-up your sales organization’s playbook today.  The resources, the purpose, and the revenue targets are there.  If you’ve got questions or feedback, please share them in the Comments section below.

This article contains excerpts from “The Art (and Science) of Sales Playbooks,” presented by Dionne Mischler and Ralph Barsi.

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