Sales can be chaotic at the best of times. Your team will be finding new prospects, following up with current opportunities, developing relationships and keeping customers happy. It’s a fine act of balancing your time and energy in the pursuit of success.
Creating structure is a great way to mitigate much of the downside of the sales process. Businesses that fail to do this can see themselves doubling effort, making the same mistakes many times and ultimately wasting resources.
When you create a sales playbook for your business, it’s easy to communicate how things are done. Not only is this a perfect reference document for experienced and long-term salespeople, but it is also an invaluable document for new starters to quickly get up to date with your business and the best way to conduct sales in it.
In this article, we cover some of the best highlights of a great sales playbook template that you should be including in your sales playbook.
Know Your Buyer
They say that people hate being sold to, but love to buy. The true difference in making someone feel like you are assisting them rather than selling them is knowing who they are, what challenges they face and how you can help solve them.
There are two key steps to truly understanding your customers which should be included in your sales playbook.
A buyer persona is simply a made-up profile of your average or common customer. Developing a small number of these is invaluable both from a marketing and sales point of view.
Your personas should be as detailed as possible and should be based on actual customer data. For example, it may lay out information such as age, location, buying habits, hobbies, values, life challenges, family, income – and anything else that helps you understand your buyer.
The purpose of these personas is to give you a go-to customer, that you can use to sanity check any sales, marketing or business decisions. For example, when making a key sales decision, don’t ask yourself if you think it is a good idea, ask if it will appeal to your buyer personas.
Understanding your buyer’s journey is another crucial consideration that should be included in your sales playbook.
Detailing every step that your average customer goes through before they purchase will help you understand where you can make improvements to develop customer satisfaction, cut costs and ultimately make more sales.
This exercise will also ultimately allow you to understand how educated your customer is about your product before they talk to your sales professionals, meaning you can cut the time and frustration involved in covering the same ground twice.
Know Your Product or Service
As a sales professional, you should have a great understanding of your products and services. A lack of understanding of these details can lead to missed opportunities. You – and your team – should know what you’re offering and who it benefits.
Your sales playbook should include all the detailed, step-by-step information on your offering that your sales team needs to know. This should also be paired with hands-on training so practical advice can be offered when required.
Know Your Competitors
A competitive analysis is another key highlight in any worthy sales playbook.
This section may not need to go into thorough detail of your competitors’ products, services and position in the market. However, your sales team does need to be aware of the other options available to your customers.
This will allow them to focus on the unique selling points which differentiate your offering from others, rather than highlighting areas which the customer can better fulfill elsewhere. This will also equip them to handle objections, for example explaining why your products are more expensive than others on the market.
Repeatable Sales Process
Both sales reps and sales managers should always be looking to improve your sales process to better serve your customer, remove the wasted effort and increase conversions.
By outlining the generally accepted sales process in your sales playbook you will save time and boost results by giving everyone a tried and tested framework to work from.
Tools of Champions
Finding the right sales tools for your business such as CRM’s, automation tools and time management tools can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive job. But once you find them they can bring some major benefits to your sales process.
However, unless everyone within your sales team is aware of and using the tools available to them to their full ability, you will not get the best return on your investment. This is why all available tools and details on how to use them should be detailed in your sales playbook. You may choose to do this inline with the sales process as outlined in our previous point.
You will be surprised how many businesses make the same mistake more than once. In fact, in organizations where there are multiple sales professionals, the same mistake can be made multiple times every day.
Your sales playbook will help you put an end to this. By creating a go-to sales methodology and consistently updated space where sales professionals can communicate lessons learned, you will mitigate the risk of potentially costly mistakes being made throughout the buying process.
On a specific customer basis, you may use your CRM to do this, for example, ‘don’t call Mr. Brown before lunch, he doesn’t take calls before he’s eaten’. However, larger, more general lessons should be included in the playbook. One example of this is how customers generally react when you package particular products and services together.
Time to Play
High performing teams benefit from the development of a detailed, but easy-to-digest sales playbook. Ensuring that this document is consistently referenced and updated is a cultural change that must be driven from top management.
Use the highlights in this guide to start your sales playbook and see how it makes a positive impact on your overall success as a sales organization. What’s in your sales playbook? Let us know in the comments.