Sales Playbook – Maximize Your Sales Efforts

Summary: Sales Playbooks are often misunderstood but they are critical pieces of any sales plan. It becomes much easier when you break it down into individual processes that make up the sales cycle instead of trying to tackle everything at once.
Sales Playbook Cover

Just like an Instruction Manual for a piece of machinery, a Playbook gives you the tools to manage every piece of the sales puzzle.  

Why do you need a Sales Playbook

Do you want a Sales Team that runs on autopilot? You want to know the real reasons your salespeople aren’t hitting their numbers? Do you want to optimize your salespeople to be more productive? These are all reasons why you should want a Sales Playbook. A Sales Playbook will give you and your team the definitive resource to rely upon to maximize their efforts and increase their productivity. 

Sales playbooks will make sure your salespeople are calling on the right people at the right time. You won’t have to worry about them spending months taking donuts to Managers that “would love to help” but “can’t make the calls”. You won’t have to worry about them calling on Executives that “would like to use you” but “let their guys make all the decisions”. They will be able to quickly figure out who the decision-makers are and make their calls more effective.

Are you tired of your sales reps reporting jobs in their pipeline that never come up? Do you know if they are actually calling on all the people they say they are? All of these are reasons why you need a playbook. 

Will my sales people use a Sales Playbook?

Not only will your salespeople use a Sales Playbook, but they will also be the biggest champions of it. You can look at any championship team in any league and you will not find one without a playbook. Even the most elite stars with the biggest egos understand the importance of a playbook and their role within it.

When you follow the steps to create a Sales Playbook, you will give your salespeople superpowers. The best way to create your Playbook is to have the whole team as part of the process and they will own its success. 

Sales Playbook

What is a Sales Playbook

A Sales Playbook is a detailed document customized to your organization and your customers. Many parts of the Playbook are the same for other organizations but must be customized for your vision, your products and, ultimately your goals. The Playbook is a living document that should be reviewed periodically and updated or revised as you see new ways to improve on your processes. 

There are 10 main parts to the Sales Playbook. Each part is a different aspect of a sales plan. 

1. Company Information

This section is where you define your Brand, your Mission, and your Strategy. This is the foundation of your Sales Playbook. You may understand your company perfectly but if you don’t define it clearly to your salespeople then you can’t expect them to define it clearly to your clients. The same can be said about your Vision and your Strategy. 

 2. Team

Don’t just think of your Sales Team as a group of individuals, think of them as a sum greater than its parts. Just like a sports team every person will have their different strengths. Some will be better than others at cold calls, some will be better closers and most will be better together. I strongly recommend doing a culture or personality profile such as Predictive Index to measure your team members’ strengths and weaknesses. These are also great tools that I highly recommend when hiring for any position. 

Once you have a clear perspective of who is on your team, what their strengths and weaknesses our you should work on developing them. A sales training program should be established that should include the Sales Playbook and also sales processes and procedures. Sales Training should also be paired with skills assessment to ensure that your training program is achieving the desired results. 

You can also use your company Core Values to  manage your sales team along with the other departments in your company. 

3. Target Customer

This section is not only for defining the companies you want to target but also the people within the company. For some smaller companies you may be targeting the C-Suite and for smaller companies you may be targeting a middle manager. In a lot of organizations you will have multiple decision-makers you need to include in the process. 

This section will vary for your organization and the industry that you are in but it will go a long way to make your sales team more efficient. 

4. Tools

The tools your company uses in can make life a lot easier for the salespeople as well as the sales manager. This is where a lot of pushback is common when implementing a Sales Playbook. A CRM, for example, can increase productivity and close-ratio quicker than any other tool when used correctly but a lot of salespeople see this as a monitoring tool or a risk to their job security. It is important to select the right tools for the right reason. 

It can be very difficult and costly to implement a CRM but there are many choices that are free or low cost that can be just as effective as the more costly solutions. The reward for a CRM will be better a much more consistent sales process. 

Depending on what industry you are in there are different ways to collect leads. Lead sourcing ranges from free to expensive and useful to useless. 

Automation is also a tool that can help save hours of time collecting leads, following up with customers, sourcing recommendations, reviews or feedback. 

5. Market Condition

Market Condition research is important to understand the condition of your market and your position in it. This not only encompasses researching your customers and competition but also understanding any economic factors that may be causes for concern or indications of growth opportunities. Market research can include methods such as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), Porter’s 5 Forces and other methods. Find the methods that works best for you and use it periodically when market conditions change or you review your Sales Playbook. 

Another key aspect of market condition is your position in it. When you analyze the competition you are best suited to compare yourself to those companies that are most like yours. If a competitor is in 3 more markets than you, they have proprietary technology that is better than yours and they have 2 other verticals than you do then they aren’t competitors. It is important to understand who your closest competitors are so that you can differentiate and gain market share from those competitors first. 

This section also includes Pricing Strategy, Growth Strategy and your Unique Value Proposition (USP). 

6. Marketing Strategy

This part of the Sales Playbook is also unique for different industries. If you are a SAAS organization you will rely more on digital and B2B marketing than a Life Coach. You will need to not only define the marketing channels you will use but how you will use them. Whether you are marketing to consumers or businesses you should have clear and consistent communications with your clients. 

Think of each way that you communicate with clients and each type of communication you have. Then think of how to best communicate your message in each medium. If you have emailed someone 3 times and they still haven’t responded will you quit emailing them, pass the lead to someone else or perhaps send a greeting card with a box of chocolates to their office. 

This is also a good time to define your event Marketing Strategy. If you know that events are a good opportunity for your company then you should define the type and amount of events you want to do each year and then hit those goals. Too often companies want to do events but when an event comes up and they see the expense, they find excuses for not doing them. 

7. Prospecting Strategy

This is an important section that often gets overlooked. A good salesperson should know where to find leads right? More often than not, a salesman will go the path of least resistance. Instead of calling a customer and asking for a referral, they would rather blindly message people on Linkedin. A good referral strategy will reap more rewards than randomly messaging people with a target customer. 

Your prospecting strategy should also include how to handle inbound leads from social media, your website and industry events. Plan a step-by-step system of communicating and nurturing those leads. 

A step-by-step system should also be planned for outbound leads. The most common reason people don’t like cold calls is that they don’t really know what to say. Roleplaying cold calls is an effective way to help polish what you are going to say on cold calls. 

8. Action Plan

Show me the KPIs! Key Performance Metrics are the Batting Average of the sales world. You have one salesman that makes 40 cold calls a day and made one sale, you have another salesman that made 5 calls and sold $50,000 of business, which one is the better salesman? No one knows because you didn’t measure it correctly. 

By this point you have a pretty solid Sales Playbook in place. You have a clear message of who you are and what your strategy is. You know who your target customers are and how to communicate with them. You know your competitors and how to differentiate yourself from them. Now it’s time to get out there and make some noise. How do you know if your salespeople are making as much noise as you want them to? By establishing and tracking Key Performance Indicators or KPIs.

KPIs are not the same for every organization and you might find the need to change what you track from time to time. Sales is more than a numbers game, but it is still a numbers game. Take two salespeople with the same playbook, the same training and the same talents. One salesperson makes 20 calls a day and the other makes 5. I don’t have to tell you which one will most likely bring more revenue. Your KPIs may not be cold calls, they may be emails, miles driven or leads collected. You have to decide what metrics are most indicative of success and how you want to track them. 

Don’t assume that more KPIs mean more sales. Pick a few KPIs and try them out. If they aren’t working for you then swap a couple out until you figure out which ones work best for your organization. 

9. Goals

Now that we have the HOW, its time to figure out the HOW MUCH. Set realistic goals for Revenue, Deals, New Customers or anything that you want to achieve. If your sales team is meeting their KPIs and you aren’t meeting or exceeding your goals then you need to review your Playbook. 

Your goals can be anything you want. Revenue, Jobs or Deals, you decide what goals to set based on your ability to measure them and the ability to measure your performance or motivate your team. 

10. Budget

You may wonder why budget is part of your Sales Playbook. In Sales & Marketing, a lot of things can be limited by budget. How many industry events do you want to do? How many lunches will you allow your salespeople to take prospects to? How much swag are you going to give out to gatekeepers or customers? All of these things are part of Sales & Marketing Strategy and often come under fire when sales are down. The time to decide your budget is before you spend it. 

A budget doesn’t have to be for swag and golf. You also need to include the software, lead sourcing, and promotional materials as well. Your budget can be a percentage of sales, a percentage of salesmen or even a percentage of net profit. You decide what works best for you. 

Sales Playbook Cover

Make the dream a reality

Now that you know what you need to do, it’s time to get to work!

You can go spend the next two hours in your basement sipping whiskey and slap together a Playbook or you can get the team together and work on it for two months. The most important thing is that you get started now. A Sales Playbook that is done correctly will have an ROI that far surpasses the effort and expense that it took to create it. 

To get started you should first outline your goals. You shouldn’t expect that your first iteration will be perfect because you will change it many times. You just need to focus on each section and if you have problems with a section it is probably one that you really needed to work on to improve your sales process. 

You should include as many people as possible in the process. Everyone in your company has an effect on sales and even if they don’t have any input on the playbook they can certainly learn more about the company. This is a great time to consider bringing in a consultant or a mentor to help in the process. An outside perspective can help uncover areas of your sales effort that are lacking and they can help gain an outside perspective on your industry, your company and your competition. 

If would like a free consultation on your Sales Playbook, call us at (361) 944-1290, send us an email at or Click Here to set up a meeting. 

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