One of the simplest ways to spread best sales practice through your organisation is to create a sales playbook.
In short, a sales playbook contains the sales tools, tactics, and methods that successfully nudge prospects along your pipeline. Armed with the playbook sales reps can discover how to nurture prospects. As a result, a robust playbook can help increase pipeline velocity, reduce your cost per sale, and make your pipeline (and sales reps) more efficient.Here are the four steps you need to follow to create a playbook that works:
1. Research and discover what’s already working
Remember, your playbook should support your sales staff. If it’s a hindrance, it simply won’t get used.The best playbooks are chock-full of tactics and techniques that actually work in practice. This means a sensible starting point is to discover what reps are currently using with success.So make use of the information, insights, and practices that are already working on the ground. In addition, review your findings with an understanding of your sales pipeline. That way you can align proven sales methods with the different stages of your sales funnel.
2. Create your playbook
Once you’ve identified the tactics that work, the next stage is to collate them into a playbook. Here are some considerations:
- Align with your sales process: Understand the triggers that cause a prospect to move from one stage of your pipeline to the next, and then ensure sales tactics align with this.
- Describe 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.). It’s almost like a checklist that you can use at each stage.
- Allow flexibility: You want to encourage best practices amongst your sales reps, but don’t make your sales playbook so rigid that there’s no room for individual initiative.
The way in which you deploy your new sales playbook will have a big impact on your success. In short, for your sales playbook to deliver, you must embed it into the day-to-day practices of your sales reps.You need reps to embrace the tool for the purpose it is intended – to be useful and to make their lives that much easier. As a result, it’s worth taking time to communicate with them and embed the tool successfully. You’ll need to identify and overcome the objections that your sales reps have. But if you’ve done your research, the effectiveness of the tool itself will help persuade individuals to embrace it.
Don’t see your playbook as the final, finished item.Instead, create it as a living document that can be tweaked and improved as you identify new opportunities and insights. For example, a fresh perspective of your buyer persona may lead to a new, more effective sales tactic being developed. Alternatively, you may identify a new stage that needs to be added to your sales pipeline to increase conversion rates. Regardless of the reason, ensure your playbook has the flexibility to adapt quickly to changes and feedback from the ground. What’s inside your sales playbook?
How has your sales playbook helped enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of your sales pipeline? Does your CRM support your sales playbook? Please let me know in the comments below.
Richard Young, Managing Director at Pipeliner CRM