Having a high-performing sales team is essential to business success. And for sales management, having up-to-date information on the company’s processes and best practices can be the difference between success and failure.
In order to manage a sales team effectively, organizations need to have a reusable framework that they can rely on to drive consistent results.
This framework is called a sales playbook.
What Is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a document that outlines the various steps involved in a sales process, from initial contact with a potential customer to closing the deal. The playbook should also include information on who is responsible for each step in the process and what resources are needed.
Sales playbooks are designed to improve consistency and efficiency in sales teams. By clearly understanding the steps involved in a sale, teams can avoid duplication of effort and ensure that each member is aware of their role. Additionally, a sales playbook can help to identify opportunities for improvement in the sales process. For example, if a particular step takes longer than expected, the playbook can be used to determine why this is happening and how to fix it.
Ultimately, a well-designed sales playbook can be a valuable tool for any sales organization.
- Sales script: a prewritten set of questions or statements that salespeople use to guide them through a sales call.
- Sales guide: a document that salespeople use to reference product information, pricing, and other data.
- Guided selling playbook: a sales playbook that uses user flows to help salespeople identify the best products or services for each customer, based on their specific needs.
Benefits of a Sales Playbook
HubSpot reported that salespeople only spend 34% of their days actually selling. They spend much of their time writing emails, entering data, and looking for new sales leads.
In B2B SaaS companies, sales teams waste lots of time on:
- Waiting for the sales manager’s approval for the next steps in the sales process.
- Finding the proper resources for a specific sales process or prospect.
- Creating new resources or customizing existing ones for a specific client.
- Trying to remember what has been successful in the past with similar deals or customers.
- Reinventing the wheel for every new scenario.
With a playbook, sales teams can avoid much of this wasted time. A few key advantages of sales playbooks include:
Speed Up New Hire Training
Onboarding new sales team members require a significant investment of time and resources. Sales leaders must show them how to use the various sales tools, introduce them to the company’s processes, help them learn about the product offerings and unique value proposition, and provide guidance on how to best sell the products or services.
When organizations have a framework for their sales process, it becomes much easier to train new hires. Rather than trying to remember all of the steps involved in a sale, new hires can simply refer to the playbook.
By streamlining the entire process, sales management can also ensure that each trainee is up to speed with the latest best practices. This is especially important in fast-paced industries where new technologies and approaches are constantly emerging.
Increase Sales Efficiency
For sales orgs, time is one of the most valuable resources. Most buyers select the vendor who responds first. By creating a sales playbook with buyer personas, talk tracks, and possible objections, sales teams can close more deals in less time.
A playbook also provides a step-by-step guide that salespeople can follow when engaging with customers. This ensures that each interaction is purposeful and leads the customer closer to a buying decision.
Sales playbooks also have email templates, call scripts and other resources that salespeople can use when working with prospects. These templates help to standardize the sales process and make it easier for salespeople to stay on track.
A sales playbook can be used to document successful sales strategies as well. When a sales team member discovers a new method for closing deals, it can be documented and replicated in the future.
Create Effective Selling Workflows
The goal of any sales playbook is to help salespeople close more deals. To do this, the playbook must be designed with an effective workflow in mind.
A good sales workflow includes the following steps:
- Qualifying the lead: A sales playbook can give sales reps insight into how to spot the difference between a qualified lead and someone who is not a good fit for their product.
- Researching the customer: To get the most out of their prospecting, salespeople need to know where to look and what to look for. With a sales playbook, they can quickly find the information they need.
- Building rapport: Once a sales rep has qualified a lead and gathered some basic information, it’s time to start building rapport. This is where the sales playbook can provide some valuable guidance.
- Asking questions: Asking the right questions is critical to closing a deal. A digital sales playbook will have a list of questions that salespeople can use to gather information about a prospect’s needs.
- Making the pitch: This is where the sales rep will use the information they’ve gathered to make a tailored pitch. The sales playbook can provide guidance on what to say and how to say it.
- Handling objections: Objection handling is a sales rep’s most important skill. A digital sales playbook will list objections and how to overcome them.
- Closing the deal: The close is the most important part of any sale. A digital sales playbook will have a list of closing techniques that salespeople can use to seal the deal.
Within each company’s sales process, many nuances are specific to that organization. A sales playbook is customized to include these, making it an even more valuable tool.
How to Build a Winning Sales Playbook
To get the most out of a B2B SaaS sales playbook, businesses need to make sure that it is tailored to their specific needs.
What’s Included In a Sales Playbook?
Every sales playbook is different, but some common elements are typically included.
The following are just a few examples:
- Lead qualification criteria
- Research resources
- Learning resources (e.g., videos, articles, internal whitepapers)
- Rapport-building techniques
- Question lists
- Pitch and call templates
- Objection handling scripts
- Closing techniques
- Competitive analysis
- Sales KPIs
A B2B SaaS sales playbook should also include custom sales plays specific to the company’s product and market.
Custom sales plays could include:
- Upselling techniques for current customers
- Cross-selling techniques for complementary products
- Churn prevention strategies
- Customer success stories/case studies
- Tactics for selling to specific buyer personas
- Guidance on how to use product features
- Following up after the first meeting
Each of these gives salespeople the opportunity to learn exactly how to sell the product in a way that is most likely to be successful. This, in turn, can transform the organization’s sales culture.
Sales Playbook Best Practices
Once an organization knows what to include in its sales playbook, it’s time to create a winning strategy.
Here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Prioritize the UX of the sales playbook
Readability and navigation are key. To make a sales playbook as user-friendly as possible, businesses should keep the following in mind:
- Use clear and concise language.
- Organize information logically.
- Include plenty of white space.
- Make use of headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
- Add visual elements like images, charts, and graphs.
- Utilize hyperlinks to relevant content throughout the playbook.
Keep it updated
As a company’s product, market, and sales process change, so should the sales playbook. Businesses must update their sales playbooks regularly, especially as their products and customers change and they scale their operations.
Include a mix of content types
Include text, images, videos, infographics, and other types of content to appeal to different learning styles.
Make it accessible
Salespeople should be able to access the sales playbook at any time, from any device. This means that businesses must ensure it is hosted on a cloud-based platform that can be accessed from anywhere.
Sales Playbook Examples
Every business uses its own sales playbook, but some common elements are typically included. For more insight into what businesses include in their sales playbooks, a few useful resources include:
- 8 Steps to Accelerate Your Sales Process
- The Ultimate Guide to Revenue Operations
- How to Create an Effective Sales Engagement Strategy
- How to Consolidate Your Sales Stack
Trends in Sales Playbook Technology
While the contents of a sales playbook will vary from company to company, the technology used to create and deliver it has become more standardized.
There are now several Sales Playbook platforms on the market that businesses can use to create and manage their playbooks.
Sales Playbook Software
Sales playbook software is designed to help businesses create, deliver, and track the performance of their sales playbooks.
These platforms typically offer a mix of features, including:
- Template creation tools
- Drag-and-drop interfaces
- Content management systems
- Analytics and reporting tools
- Integrations with other sales software
Digital Sales Playbook
A digital sales playbook is a sales playbook delivered and accessed electronically, typically through sales playbook software.
Digital sales playbooks offer several advantages over traditional, paper-based playbooks, including:
- They are easier to update and change.
- Salespeople can access them from anywhere, at any time.
- Sales teams can personalize them.
- They can be integrated with other sales software.
- They offer analytics and reporting capabilities.
Sales Playbook Integration with Other Sales Tools
A well-integrated sales playbook can be a powerful tool for any sales team. For example, by integrating with a customer relationship management (CRM) system, a sales playbook can help ensure that reps are following best practices and staying on top of their leads.
By integrating with configure, price, quote (CPQ) software, a sales playbook can help reps quickly generate accurate quotes for potential customers. A playbook by itself can provide guidance on processes and best practices, but it cannot automate key tasks or provide real-time visibility into sales performance.
That’s where a tool like CPQ comes in. CPQ software is designed to help sales reps create accurate quotes and proposals. It can also help to streamline the order process and provide valuable insights into customer behavior.
By choosing the right CPQ to integrate with a sales playbook, businesses can help their reps close more deals faster, while also gaining a deeper understanding of their customers’ needs.
People Also Ask
What is the point of a sales playbook?
A sales playbook is a critical tool for sales teams. It provides a clear and concise guide for how to sell a product or service, and it helps ensure that all team members are using the same process.
By having a sales playbook, teams can avoid spending time reinventing the wheel every time they make a sale, and they can focus on honing their skills and growing their business.
Furthermore, a sales playbook can help new team members hit the ground running by providing them with a step-by-step guide to the sales process.
In short, a sales playbook is essential for any sales team that wants success.
How do you structure a sales playbook?
First, make sure to clearly define your target market. Who are you selling to? What needs do they have? What are their pain points?
Next, consider what type of products or services you will be selling. What are your unique selling points? What are your competitors offering?
And finally, put together a step-by-step plan for making a sale. What is your process for prospecting, qualifying, interacting with customers, and closing a deal?
Use your current business structure and customer data to guide you as you build your sales playbook. And remember, your playbook should be a living document that evolves as your business grows and changes.
What is the difference between a sales playbook and a sales kit?
A sales playbook is a document that outlines the sales process and provides guidance on how to close deals. A sales kit, on the other hand, is a collection of materials (such as product brochures and case studies) that salespeople can use to generate leads and track their progress. In many cases, a sales kit will be bundled with a sales playbook to provide sales teams with the necessary resources to succeed.
While a sales playbook is focused on strategy, a sales kit is focused on execution. The former outlines the steps that need to be taken to close a deal, while the latter provides the tools and resources needed to implement the strategy. Sales leaders typically create sales playbooks, while marketing teams assemble sales kits. However, in some cases, sales teams may create their own kits.
A sales playbook and a sales kit can be incredibly valuable resources for closing deals. However, it’s important to note that they serve different purposes. A sales playbook helps salespeople understand the strategy behind closing deals, while a sales kit provides the materials they need to implement that strategy.