Creating Your Sales Playbook

Sales Playbook

Follow the instructions. Seems every time something gets off track, that’s the best course of action. Take your sales process – it works best when you build a playbook your sales team can use as a guide.

This structured guide features the best of the best practices your team uses – what works, what doesn’t.

Eric Estrella believes in this approach. As a client success manager for the management-consulting firm Sales Benchmark Index, Estrella spends his days helping clients work through their sales challenges.

“Regardless of the initiative that’s driving the need for a sales playbook, the need is there,” Estrella says. “The key is to not allow your sales team to get lost on the journey.”

Estrella likes to use this driving analogy to prove his point: When you are driving somewhere you have never been before, you get the address and plug it into your GPS. The GPS tells you how to get there. The process is simple: The GPS gives you the directions, you follow.

Just think of your sales playbook as the GPS. “The execution still needs to happen, but the directions are there,” Estrella says.

The key is to have multiple sales playbooks – with one based on the sales process you are executing. Try this analogy: In a football game, you wouldn’t run the same plays in the same order against different opponents. You tailor your playbook to the defense and the likelihood of success.

The same applies here: Tailor your playbook to the buyer you’re selling to. “Not every sales process is the same,” Estrella says. Therefore, your sales playbook should coincide with the process.”

If your sales process is the foundation, content is the structure. You can’t have one without the other. Here are four areas where you can create your own sales playbook:

No. 1 – New Field Initiative

This could be a new market opportunity where you’ve introduced a new sales channel or made an acquisition. The important thing is you recognize a change in your selling behavior.

No. 2 – New Product Launch

This is self-explanatory. If you’re selling to a new buyer, it’s the perfect time to introduce a playbook. Remember, it’s just a plan on how to execute on a buyer and sales process.

No. 3 – New Sales Process

Many organizations are recognizing the merits of implementing a custom sales process. The launch of a new process is the perfect time to put a new tool in your sales team’s bag. This will drive adoption for the new process.

No. 4 – New Hires

A playbook doesn’t need to be a broad brushed tool for the entire organization. It can be a tool for a specific market/persona/sales person profile. A playbook specific to new hires will dramatically improve their ramp time. This is a great audience to launch a playbook with, since adoption will be high.

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Connect Magazine, March/April 2017.

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