What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a published set of best practices and baseline operating procedures that help create discipline in a sales team. It is the foundation of ANY sales enablement initiative because it contains the grand strategy, technology, tactics and sales messaging of the sales force that will drive winning results. Sales playbooks help provide the needed structure to improve performance and team learning in a sales organization, while still allowing for individual initiative and creativity. Most importantly, sales playbooks equip the sales force to have better sales conversations. A typical playbook initiative will include a printed book–which is also accessible online or via mobile device–, checklists and a video component for modeling sales conversations and messaging.
The Content of a Sales Playbook
At a minimum, a typical sales playbook will contain the following sections:
- Strategic Overview: Connecting your sales strategy with the corporate vision and strategy
- The Sales Organization: Managing onboarding, compensation and the team meeting rhythm from territory structure to job descriptions
- Sales Technology: Compiling an overview of your sales technology strategy and minimal procedures for critical applications that ensure smooth operations, data hygiene and reporting
- Client Profiles: Targeting your clients and their pain points, goals and buying triggers
- Prospecting: Analyzing the best prospecting methods that work for your best performers
- The Sales Cycle (or Account Management Process): Understanding how your sales force manages their pipeline or territory
- Sales Conversation Toolkit: Identifying the critical elements of sales messaging…This is THE MOST IMPORTANT part of the sales playbook. This component may also have a video component of real conversation role plays with customers so your team can see “what good looks like.”
- Call Planning: Comprehending your sales force plan for sales calls
The Sales Conversation Toolkit
The Sales Conversation Toolkit is the most critical content of any sales playbook because it gives your sales force the tools to have better conversations. A typical Conversation Toolkit has the following information:
- Openers: Techniques and tools to help your sales people connect with customers on a personal level, not just professionally
- Questions: Questions to gather the right information at every stage of the sales cycle
- Stories: Examples of compelling stories that move people emotionally and build rapport
- Positioning Content: Features and benefits, studies, value demonstrations, competitive points of difference
- Closes: Techniques for tactfully getting agreement to take next steps
Enhancing a Sales Playbook with Video
Sales is based in human relationships, and therefore cannot be distilled into bullet points and taught in a book. Sales people learn best when they see great sales behaviors modeled by top performers. A printed sales playbook can help identify concepts, but video is the ideal medium for modeling what a good sales conversation looks like. Here are some of the key elements that we typically include in a sales playbook video initiative:
- Sales Conversations: Real conversations between top sales performers and real customers (or managers that play the role of a customer)
- Sales Presentations: Demos of winning sales presentations to a client (or simulations)
- Teachable Points of View: One-on-one interviews with subject matter experts giving advice about what works and what does not
- Software Procedures: Movie captures of software screens being filled out correctly
- Candid Feedback from Customers: Candid interviews with customers giving feedback about what they like and don’t like in a sales rep and perceptions about your product categories
Sales Playbook On-Demand Access
- CRM or Salesforce.com Access: Getting people the right information at the right time is critical to the effectiveness of any sales enablement initiative. To facilitate this, Bryan Feller Associates can set up customized access of your training videos through your sales information portal, Salesforce.com or any other CRM system. Ideally, we would link specific training videos to specific account types in your database. This gives your sales team the highly specific, highly relevant training content they are looking for–right when they need it.
- Access via Sales Enablement Software: We specialize in content, not software, and therefore can configure video sales playbook content to work within all of the major sales enablement technology platforms like SAVO, GroupSwim, N-tara, SharePoint and more.
- Mobile Device Access: We have extensive expertise in deploying video content via mobile devices like the iPad or iPhone. All of your specialized sales training videos can be deployed by a mobile device– through an app that is password protected so that only YOUR sales force can access it. Imagine the impact your training could have if your field reps could access it on their mobile devices in 24-7 real time.
Our Approach to Sales Playbooks
Our approach to developing sales playbooks includes the establishment of a steering committee of 3 to 5 subject matter experts to oversee the process and ensure accuracy. A playbook is something that has to work in the real world, so we spend most of our time working with your top sales performers to identify best practices, especially in sales messaging and selling tactics. We carefully document interviews with your top performers on audio and video to ensure we capture nuances of conversations and techniques, not just facts. What makes your top performers great is often difficult to capture or even identify, but we are experts at translating what your best people do so that the rest of the team can duplicate it.
Sales Playbook Deliverables
Most sales playbooks we develop are between 100 and 300 pages in length and include an electronic version that is hosted on a website or corporate intranet. Optional checklists and job aids may also be included, as well as mobile device access. Bryan Feller Associates oversees the entire production of the sales playbook project, including interviews and research, writing, formatting, illustrations, graphic design and printing. In many cases, our staff may ride along on sales calls to ensure that content is field-ready. Once your sales playbook is published, we will help you train your sales teams on the new material to ensure its complete adoption.
Take the Next Step: Build a Custom Sales Playbook
Tell us about your upcoming sales playbook project using the form below or contact Bryan at (909) 559-8262 for a FREE consultation.