Do you want more success from your sales pipeline?
If so, you need to equip your sales reps with a sales playbook. It’s a proven way to enhance the performance of your sales process and attract more leads, make more sales and increase your profits.
Let me explain how…
A serious tool for a challenging job
As you know, it’s tough for sales reps out there on the ground. Times are challenging and competition is fierce. In addition, the environment has changed. It’s now a buyer’s market, meaning your sales force requires more sophisticated sales tools if they’re to thrive and succeed.
A sales playbook can help you achieve just that.
Create a quality playbook, and you’ll package up the tools, guidance and techniques sales reps need to engage in meaningful conversations with customers, and successfully nudge them further down the sales funnel towards closure.
Even better, align it to your buyers’ cycle and sales process, and you’ll provide a valuable tool your sales reps can rely on to help them deal with any given situation
Interested? Then read on and you’ll discover four simple steps to help you create a sales playbook for your business:
#1: Collaborate, Research and Prepare
For a sales playbook to be useful, it needs to support a sales rep’s working practices. Therefore preparation is key – after all, you don’t want to create something that proves to be a hindrance instead of a help.
It’s crucial to actively involve sales teams in the development process. Don’t allow the marketing department to create your playbook in isolation, and don’t be rushed by deadlines that lead to cutting corners. These are sure-fire ways to a playbook that never gets used. Instead, collaboration between sales and marketing is the key.
You’ll want to identify best practice. So take the time to get clear on the challenges faced by your sales team, and then pinpoint best practice tools and techniques that are making an impact on the ground. Do this and you’ll create a tool that will work in practice and not just in theory.
Now comes the fun part. Take all the information you collected during the preparation stage and put your resource pack together.
To do this in practice you’ll need to:
- Lay the foundations: Outline the steps of your sales process and identify the specific action that triggers movement of a prospect from one stage to the next. To do this effectively, you’ll also need to consider your buyers’ cycle.
- Create tools: Align best practice tools and techniques with each stage of your sales process (for example elevator pitches, lead generators, telephone scripts, demonstrations, free trials, case studies etc.).
- Focus on solution-based selling: Include tools that best address the needs of your customers – not those that make life easier for your sales reps and your business.
- Ensure flexibility: Whilst you want to capture best practice, you also need to leave scope for sales reps to respond intuitively to situations. This freedom may lead to new opportunities that can be integrated into future updates of your playbook.
Here’s an example of a playbook tool that could be used to qualify a prospect (i.e. nudge them from the engagement stage into the qualification stage of your pipeline).
Sales tool: 1:1 Webinar – this tool can work exceptionally well if you’re selling a complex product with lots of functionality (e.g. business software) – especially where the prospect needs to understand exactly how the solution could be applied in their business.
Purpose: Hold a virtual meeting with a prospect via GoToMeeting (or similar application) to qualify the prospect, explain specifically how your product could add value and deliver a live demonstration.
Outcome: Answer the prospects questions, concerns and objections so they can make a well-informed decision about proceeding further (e.g. by signing up for a free trial).
Once you’ve created your playbook, the next stage is to launch it.
To ensure a successful launch, you need the support and buy-in from senior management. It’s stating the obvious but your organisation will NOT benefit from the playbook unless it’s actively used in the field. In addition, like all changes to processes and systems, there’s inevitably going to be some resistance from the people who’ll be expected to use it – especially if it marks a shift from their established working practices. So ensure there’s lots of positive support and commentary around the tool when it’s launched, and do consider any change sales management issues that may crop up and address those – proactively wherever possible.
In addition, you’ll need to ensure appropriate training and educational materials are available. That way you can ensure people understand how to get the most out of the playbook.
Once the playbook is out there and being used in the field, stay alert for opportunities to improve and develop it. Get feedback from your sales team, remove tools that prove inadequate and add new techniques that are getting results.
How could a sales playbook work for you?
A playbook adds structure and process to your sales team and ensures they are equipped with the best tools possible to do their job. What’s more, you’ll find that some CRM Solutions, such as Pipeliner CRM, have the functionality to integrate your playbook. This is a useful function that will help your sales team even further by providing a quick and easy method to instantly access the best practice tools for a particular stage of the sales process.
Do you have a playbook for your business? What results has it generated for you? Please let us know in the comments below.