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Sales Playbooks Best Practices for High Performing Sales Teams

April 30, 2021
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Sales Playbooks Best Practices for High Performing Sales Teams

There are numerous barriers that sellers will come up against throughout a sales cycle. A few roadblocks are unavoidable, but some may be caused by an inefficient sales process. An ineffective system can result in unengaged clients, overly generalized materials, lack of overall clarity, and wasted time finding resources and information. Sales playbooks can be a fundamental solution for these common hurdles.

What are sales playbooks exactly?

In short, sales playbooks are organized and informative guidebooks that assist in the selling process. Playbooks are internal resources for the sales team to utilize throughout every stage of the sales cycle.

Playbooks allow sellers to take advantage of data, checklists, and market research while selling. With a sales playbook, reps have the necessary resources to clearly define the product and prepare for every sales call.

Comprehensive playbooks and content for modern sales teams are not only a helpful resource for selling. They can also increase productivity and performance. The Aberdeen Group, a strategy and research company, found that 54% of reps using sales playbooks are likely to meet their sales goals versus 46% of reps who do not have an accessible playbook in their organization. Sales playbooks act as a personalized and centralized hub of information. When this information is accessible and scalable, it allows reps to spend less time preparing for meetings and more time focusing on their customers.

Integrating playbooks into your sales process will help your team enhance their skills and cultivate their client relationships. This article will discuss the overall benefits, guidelines for ensuring effectiveness, and best practices for creating your own playbook.

The benefits of sales playbooks

Sales playbooks are not only a helpful resource during the sales cycle. They can also have a larger impact on the entire sales organization. Here are some benefits of incorporating sales playbooks into your company.

Reduces ramp time

A playbook acts as a roadmap by giving a new hire an overall understanding of the sales cycle, conversation tips, and common objections. This benefits new sellers because it enhances the onboarding and training process, which means they can start selling quicker and more efficiently from the start.

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Consistent messaging during sales calls

With a common core message that is easily accessible in a playbook format, reps can ensure they are on the same page and using best practices while selling. Playbooks can ensure that every salesperson is maintaining the same messages across the team.

Increases sales team’s efficiency

Creating team sales playbooks means less prep time for your reps, which is especially important considering 31% of reps' time is spent searching for or creating content. All of that extra time spent preparing for calls can be eliminated with a centralized source of information and resources.

Improves the effectiveness of sales calls

When sellers are informed and prepared for every call, the prospect becomes more engaged — leading to establishing trust and open communication. Playbooks also instill clarity on the next steps, eliminating miscommunication and ensuring the call is as productive as possible.

It’s important to remember that simply creating a playbook is not the key to closing the deal. Having open and thoughtful discussions with clients throughout the sales cycle are the most vital steps in the process. Playbooks can provide essential resources for selling, but the relationship with your customers will always be the prime focus.‍

Sales Playbook: 31% of reps' time is spent searching for or creating content

Sales playbook guidelines

However you decide to create your playbooks, it’s important to establish certain guidelines to make them as advantageous as possible. Here are some general ground rules to follow that can make a sales playbook the most efficient tool for your calls:

Teamwide

Sales playbooks need to be accessible from a central location for all reps at any given time. This is especially resourceful for remote workers who can access and edit their tools from wherever they are located.

Consistently updated

It’s important that the information within your playbook is kept current with the market. Sales metrics, data, and feedback are great ways to facilitate regular reviews and improvements of your sales playbook. This also facilitates the continual sharing of useful sales techniques, proven closing methods, and other selling best practices.

Easily scalable and adaptable

Playbooks should be user-friendly and easy to adapt in any sales organization. It’s an additional benefit if the playbook has compatible integrations with CRM systems and other sales tools for seamless tracking and reporting.

Creating a playbook: best practices

Versatility is one of the most important aspects of an efficient playbook — this enables reps to customize accordingly. Here are some helpful questions to ask when creating your playbooks:

1. What’s the purpose of the meeting?

The stage of the sales cycle has the most impact on the type of playbook you will want to create. Do you need a playbook to qualify your inbound lead or are you prepping for a demo pitch? Are you onboarding the client or performing a post-sales call? The purpose of your meeting will dictate the focus of your conversation and how your playbook will be structured.

Sales Playbook: Dedicated Playbooks

2. What’s the main goal of the meeting?

The purpose of the meeting will decide the particular goals of the conversation. If the purpose of the call is to qualify the lead, then what will you need in your playbook to assist in confirming the demo pitch? When you determine the purpose of the meeting, then you can tailor your playbook accordingly.

3. What are the customer’s main pain points and how can you solve them?

If you are going into a discovery call, your job is to ask questions that will help identify the key pain points the prospect has. Then, once you are in the demo meeting, you should already know which pain points to highlight when sharing your solution. These pain points can already be included in your playbook and objection handling battle cards so you are ready for anything that comes up. As a best practice, try using the One Feature Framework to create focus in your call.

4. How do you need to structure the meeting?

Always tailor your playbook structure and content to your customer and their specific business. Customizing the call to the needs of your client makes the conversation more effective. Therefore, there is more chance to progress the sale further. How can you allow space for conversation and engagement?

5. How do you use the playbook to increase customer engagement and retention?

Take note of what has worked for other reps in their calls — did they incorporate visuals, websites, or other interactive tools into their presentations? Implement these techniques into your own sales organization to see what works well for you and your team. To level up engagement in your meetings, include websites or use a tool that can allow customers to interact directly with your product.

6. How product or value-focused should the presentation be?

Depending on what stage of the sales process your prospect is in, you will need to tailor the presentation to be more value or product-focused. If you are in the beginning discovery or early demo phases, you will focus more on the value your product provides to the prospect. Whereas in the later stages of the sales process, like an onboarding call, you will be highlighting what the product can do to solve its main pain points.

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7. How can you prepare for objections?

Common objections and hurdles should be shared internally across the sales team. Including battle cards in your playbooks with common FAQs, will ensure you are prepared for anything the prospect asks. Additionally, make sure to allow enough time for questions and track these queries in your playbook as a post-call reference.

8. What information do you want to collect about the customer at each stage of the call?

Before the call make sure you prepare the questions that you want to get information about from the customer. Throughout your conversation, use this information to keep the call focused and on track. With Demodesk you can prepare specific tokens that will connect to the CRM system. So by the time you finish the call, the important information is going to be in your CRM system automatically. Come up with the next steps or potential roadblocks together with your client. Then document them as preparation for the next stage.

Pro tip:

  • Have a max. of 1 slide every 2 min. (if slides are necessary)
  • Contain a font bigger than 30 pt.
  • Keep text and design to a minimum
  • Include websites, apps, or other interactive aspects to engage

Playbooks will vary in content based on the stage of the sales cycle and the main goals. Take the time to thoroughly think about all of the aspects of the conversation and adjust your sales playbook accordingly. This will ensure it remains the most effective tool for you to have for a successful sales call.

Demodesk’s Playbooks are great examples of how to easily create and organize playbooks that are convenient for all reps in any step of the sales process. Sales playbooks in Demodesk are integrated into the presentation itself so everything is easily accessible in one place. Presentation slides are prepared in advance, along with battle cards and the corresponding playbook for reference. Even better, everything loads automatically at the start of every meeting. So, you will never have to go searching for any resources during a call!

Conclusion

Sales playbooks are one of the most important tools for your sellers. By incorporating playbooks and centralized resources, sellers can have more valuable conversations with their customers. These beneficial calls will eventually lead to higher win rates and increased revenue.

Based on research performed by the TAS group, companies who have invested in a thorough sales process are 33% more likely to have a high-performance rate — though almost half of all sales teams don’t have a playbook. Create a system that allows your sales team to lessen their prep time and have more effective conversations. The result will lead to larger sales and stronger client relationships.

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