To create a successful sales organization, you know you need a strong sales team – one that’s diligent, proactive, and well-trained. But what is an integral step (maybe the first step) in creating a high-performing sales team? It’s developing an internal sales playbook for your organization.
We define an internal sales playbook as the written guidelines for your sales team to operate by in communicating with prospects and working through your sales processes. As such, it works to empower your sales reps with the step-by-step method they need to close sales. But it is considered “internal” because it holds the secrets to your specific company. In short, it gives them the content and strategies they need to succeed for keeping and gaining your ideal customers.
The Sales Playbook Template
A sales playbook template consists of several parts. It should outline several or all of these components:
Your company background
Basic company information such as when it was founded, current leadership, products & services and target customers.
Your sales strategy
Your sales team needs to internalize your sales strategy and keep it at the forefront of their engagement and qualification activities.
- What are your Guiding Sales Principles?
- What do you sell?
- Who do you sell to (primary targets and buyers)?
- Where do you sell?
- What are your growth objectives (by line of business, by target market, by geography)?
Your sales process
This is how your reps should go through from finding and qualifying leads to winning the sale. It’s the journey through your sales funnel, from start to end, and the steps and content they should use along the way.
Your buyer personas
Some things to consider:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- And what do the different types of leads respond best to?
- What are their buying behaviors?
- What are they looking for, what convinces them to make a purchase, and what do they say no to?
Your sales story
When a sales rep is on a call:
- what messaging guidelines do they have?
- what’s the flow of the call like?
- how does the rep introduce your company?
- under what circumstances do companies engage with your company?
- and what differentiates your company?
The sales-prospect conversations can be guided, but still need to feel organic.
Sample sales emails
It’s important to have suggested email templates in place for your sales teams so they’re not starting from scratch with each lead. In addition, the templates should tie into your broader messaging for consistency.
A set of discovery, qualification, solutioning, and negotiation questions can ensure that your sales reps don’t overlook asking questions that set them up for a successful call.
This is particularly true with respect to qualification questions. The end goal is to have a positive and educational conversation that leads to interest and a good relationship with the prospect, and hopefully a future close.
When is the appropriate time in your business to submit a proposal? What should happen beforehand, and upon sending the proposal? A template for what needs to be included in a proposal can ensure consistency across your sales team.
Competitive intelligence guidelines
Instead of your sales teams spending time doing their own research, provide them with essential education on your primary competitors. Knowledge is power, and great sales leaders seek to empower their team daily!
Empowering Your Sales Team
A sales playbook that’s done well is no easy feat to put together, and it needs to be updated consistently. Yet, why is putting all the time and effort valuable to your organization?
Because it’s your best sales enablement tool. If you don’t take the time to document and standardize your most effective sales practices and processes, your sales reps are on their own. They will waste more time researching and writing content, and spend less time doing what they do best: closing sales and keeping clients.
An internal sales playbook also gives your whole team access to the processes and messaging that are working well for your most successful sales reps. Maybe one team member has an email template that delivers consistently – your sales playbook should include their strategy so your whole team can perform well and break sales records.
Training to Win
Your thoughtful sales playbook also makes training new sales reps easier. The playbook facilitates their access to a wealth of knowledge from their first day on the job.
If you include case studies, common pain points for your customers, and your tried-and-tested sales methodology, they can hit the ground running and produce results right away. And don’t forget to describe the history of the company, and sales goals and strategy. This information will be useful background for new hires and seasoned reps alike.
How to Create Your Internal Sales Playbook
Now that you know why you need a sales playbook, you can begin creating one.
1. No need to re-invent the wheel
First, do an audit of the materials you have already created. There is no need to start from scratch here, but do look at those existing materials with a critical eye. Do they need to be updated or overhauled?
Next, gather them from your whole sales team. After all, your sales reps are already using effective email and call scripts, presentation decks and meeting agendas, and more. And they’re more likely to incorporate materials that reflect what they’re accustomed to using.
2. Align with marketing
Afterwards, look at the gaps in your existing content. Start thinking about who needs to help create those missing pieces – this is a great time for the sales and marketing teams to work together. As you create those sales materials, think about how they would align with your marketing messages for brand consistency and clarity.
Ask your most successful sales reps to contribute too – you want to use what’s working well for them and share it with the whole sales team. Ask your sales managers to provide input like company strategy and sales team goals to get a bigger picture in the playbook.
Plus, you would add in elements like product and services details, and their respective benefits to your ideal customers. Again, you want this playbook to be all-inclusive and unique to your company.
3. Create the format
Then, put all this valuable information in one place.
It can be on paper or digital, or probably both – whatever your sales team prefers. But ensure it’s in a format that can be updated easily as products and services change.
When you consider major changes (especially these days) – maybe by going exclusively digital, or a sales strategy shift – communicate the potential change with your sales teams, and ask for their feedback on preliminary ideas before executing a roll-out.
4. Review and publish
Finally, review all your new and updated content. In addition, include all your playbook stakeholders in this review – anyone who has had a hand in creating it.
Does it cover every step of your sales funnel? Does it include everything a new hire might need to know, while providing value for experienced sales reps too?
What should you not include in your Sales Playbook?
Do not include:
- sensitive financial information (sales results, P&Ls, profitability data).
- sensitive HR information (job descriptions, salary information, commission plans, etc.).
- anything of a similar nature that you would not want to see in the public domain.
If you’ve heeded all the above, then you’re ready to take your sales success to the next level.
Does your organization need guidance on creating a sales playbook?
360 Consulting Can Help
We have helped nearly all of our clients by creating and producing what is usually their first Sales Playbook. To do this, we conduct workshops to develop content, and we have templates and options for the best formats for their needs. We work well with companies in all industries ranging from small to mid-size enterprises that have large sales teams and multiple managers. And finally, we understand that every sales team has unique challenges and needs a custom solution to address them.
Whether you need a Sales Playbook or something else, to expedite meeting and exceeding your sales goals, it might be time to call in reinforcements. Call us today to find out how we help sales teams break sales records.