This article is not about whether it’s important to have a playbook…it’s important. If you don’t have one, do your company a big favor and take the time to get it done. Rather, this article is about what is sometimes missing from playbooks, which is crucial for getting business development right.
Sales Playbook 101: A sales playbook is a documented road map of exactly how sales in your company should be done, according to reality and in alignment with top leadership vision. It includes every step in the sales process from who to target, to how to get in the door, to the first meeting, second meeting, third meeting, tested sales language for each step, effective objection answers for each step, successful lead nurturing, all the way through to navigating the approval process and close. It is the proven, optimal roadmap for getting sales closed. The playbook is a crucial part of onboarding new sellers and benchmarking existing sellers. Done correctly, it is likely your company’s most valuable asset.
Sales Playbook 201: Here are 7 critical overlooked items which I recommend including to get business development right.
- How sales management should implement a strategy. If you’ve hired a sales manager to lead your sales team, this is your insurance policy that execution at 5,000 feet will occur in alignment with the goals you set at 30,000 feet.
- Mirroring the best sellers’ success roadmap is not always optimal. Although your best sellers deliver your best results, who says those results are optimal? What if they could do better? If your best seller could do 10% better at each stage, what would that do for your company? Review each step to see if improved results are possible.
- Be sure all sales collateral/support items add value in moving sales forward. For example, critical to include but often left out of case studies used for Door Opening include; what was happening in your client’s world at the time he felt that having a conversation with someone new couldn’t wait, why did he feel that the conversation needed to happen with someone new (his internal/external resources were not the obvious choice), why were you selected as one of the people with whom to have the conversation and why were you chosen for the work.
- Lead nurturing, which actually nurtures leads. The #1 reason why sales that should close don’t close is the lack of effective and timely follow through. Including examples of effective follow through with appropriate timing will help ensure sellers deepen relationships versus sending pointless “checking in” or “touching base” emails.
- Provide situational messaging. Managing a conversation on a buffet line at a conference is different than managing a conversation on a cold call. Providing tested sales messaging for each situation will ensure sellers don’t misuse valuable air time with prospects and centers of influence.
- Sales messaging proficiency testing. What’s the point of documenting sales messaging if sellers don’t (or can’t) use it during performance moments? This overlooked part of sales readiness is critical to include in the playbook. Challenging, situational role play is what we’ve found works.
- Eliminate objections faced later in the sales process by changing earlier stage sales messaging.
Sales playbooks are a great idea. They just need to be implemented the right way so that companies have maximum efficiencies and can grow with unlimited potential.