Every stage of your sales cycle requires a specific sales play. Reps need to know how to properly showcase their product, ask the right questions to get to know the prospect’s challenges and handle objections during the sales call. This is where your playbooks come in handy.
Sales playbooks act as informative guidebooks to assist reps during the selling process. These resources are internal tools for the sales team to utilize and customize throughout the sales funnel.
In addition, creating sales playbooks can lead to more productivity and help when scaling your sales team. The Aberdeen Group 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 within their organization.
In this article, we’ll break down a few sales playbook examples based on common stages within a sales cycle:
- Playbook 1: Intro call/qualification
- Playbook 2: Discovery and product overview
- Playbook 3: Pricing/mutual outcome plan
- Playbook 4: Customer Onboarding
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Slides you need for each sales stage
Every aspect of the sales cycle should be broken down to determine the essential resources, questions, and talking points to hit during calls.
However, if you don’t have time to customize multiple playbooks, use 1 core playbook that reps can use for each sales stage.
For example, your agenda slide will be dependent on a prospect’s specific sales stage. But the opening conversation speaker notes or the scheduling of the next call slide can be created as a simple template that can be used for every call.
Regardless of the sales stage, every call should start with a simple camera view of the rep & client. This way, reps can begin the call with a genuine greeting and natural conversation with their prospect.
Here are some important conversation topics to hit during the opening conversation:
- Confirm attendees
- Confirm that the time still works for everyone
- Ask for recording consent
Reps should also use this time to take note of each attendee’s name, title, and contact information for future reference!
Playbook 1: Intro call/qualification
The main goal of a qualification or a discovery call is getting to know the prospect and determining whether they could potentially benefit from your service or product. This means setting up your playbook with the right questions for reps to ask the prospect.
Slide 1: Agenda
This slide is your outline for the call. This slide should be at the beginning of the playbook so the prospect can know what to expect during the conversation. It also shows that the rep has comprehensively prepared for the presentation by doing their research.
When creating the agenda slide, ask the following:
- What question is your customer trying to answer?
- Can you answer their main concern by the end of the meeting?
- How can you enable them to have all the information they need to answer that question?
- Does your product solve their problem? How?
Remember that the agenda will be different depending on whether this is an outbound or inbound discovery call. For example:
- Outbound agenda: Reps will first need to explain why they reached out to this prospect specifically, then move into the overview of the call.
- Inbound agenda: Reps will first need to determine how familiar this prospect is with your product, then move into the agenda (with the flexibility to adjust the playbook where necessary).
You can create two different playbooks based on outbound versus inbound leads. However, you can also set them up as one concise playbook with specific speaker notes for either scenario.
Slide 2: Framing the conversation
Depending on your prospect’s familiarity with your product and your specific offering - this could be a website, application, or any other program that gives an overview of your product. The purpose of this is to frame your conversation and for your customer to gain a basic understanding of what aspect of their business your product may be able to fit into.
This should help give some context to your discovery and for your customer to be more forthcoming with information since they better understand where your questions are coming from.
Remember to keep this slide short and concise. Reps should keep a more in-depth overview of the product demo stage later in the sales cycle.
With the Demodesk sales playbook feature, your company’s website can be integrated into your sales playbook. This way your sales team can save time by having everything in one place since they don’t need to mess around with different tabs and share their messy screen.
Slide 3: Transition into discovery/qualification
Whether you want to use the customer’s website or go back into a camera-only view, this should act as a reminder to keep the rep focused on the customer.
This can also be known as the Client Slide. Reps can use this slide to analyze what they are currently seeing on the prospect’s website or from their product.
Include qualification questions in your playbook so reps can hit on the important facts of their current situation. For example, include questions like:
- Which tools are they currently using?
- What are their goals?
- What are their needs?
Once reps have a more concise understanding of the prospect’s challenges, goals and priorities, they can determine whether they should move onto the demo stage.
Slide 4: Book in next steps
If the prospect and rep have mutually decided there is a potential fit, then having a booking link or next steps slide built into your playbook will help improve the conversion rates, shorten your sales cycle, and keep the momentum going in your deal.
Having the link available in an interactive screen within the playbook means the client can directly schedule the next call during the presentation in real-time. The rep can confirm the next call time instantly and not worry about chasing down a prospect to schedule a time to chat.
Additional tip: Remind reps to have a 10-minute buffer before their next qualification or discovery call. They will want to have time to thoroughly summarize and document their conversation. They should also use this time to send a quick recap of the meeting to their prospect after the call has ended.
Playbook 2: Discovery and product overview
During this sales stage, reps actually get to show their prospect your tool and how it would work for them. This is when you'll want to get additional stakeholders involved to ensure your deal is multi-threaded.
This will require additional discovery to have a complete understanding of the goals, challenges, and priorities of everyone involved in making this decision.
Make the demo engaging and interactive — this way prospects can truly get a taste for how to implement the product and what it would look like for their team.
Slide 1: Framing the conversation
The agenda will be dependent on a few conditions. Most commonly, whether this demo is coming from a previous SDR qualification call or if it was self-scheduled by the AE. Who is attending the call? Are the new stakeholders involved? Make sure reps adjust the agenda accordingly!
Slide 2: Context and recap
Here is where reps can include a brief customer recap to remind all parties of previous information. It also opens up the conversation to any updates or changes that may have occurred in the meantime.
If this meeting was passed over from an SDR, you want to show a cohesive process. Include the notes from the previous conversation and take the time to confirm all of the information. This is also going to be the time to dig deeper into the impact and uncover additional information from additional stakeholders.
Before showing anything about your product, you need to know each stakeholder’s
This is going to provide your rep guidance for how to structure the demo and only show what is relevant to the customer.
Slide 3: Product overview
The number of slides that break down the product’s beneficial features will be dependent on several factors like your client’s needs and your distinct offerings. But remember to keep these slides concise.
Reps should only show what is relevant to the prospect and show what they need to know, not everything they know.
It’s common for reps to want to broadcast all of the amazing features of the product (understandably so!). However, the demo will go much further with the prospect if you implement a One Feature Framework format in your playbook slides.
Slide 4: Pricing
Once the value has been established and confirmed, you should absolutely talk about pricing during this conversation. You probably didn't have the information needed to put together exact pricing ahead of time - but you should be prepared to give an idea or range for what an investment in your solution looks like.
Additional Tip: Reps should allocate a five-minute buffer before their demo call, so they can review the previous conversation notes and specific information about the prospect. Not to mention, a brief rehearsal of their demo!
Playbook 3: Pricing/mutual outcome plan
This stage is all about the rep finalizing their sale and getting deeper into pricing details.
Slide 1: Pricing breakdown
This is where you present your pricing options in the most succinct and clear way possible. Maybe you have an upfront pricing discount or a bundle option. Really focus on the different options you have available and the benefits of each.
Reps can utilize this information while keeping in mind any past concerns that the prospect may have raised.
For example, let’s say the client had previously mentioned that their yearly budget is lower this year. This is where reps can show them how they can actually save X amount of money if they bundle two or more add-ons to your product.
Slide 2: Mutual outcome plan
A mutual outcome plan is an opportunity for your rep to really nail down the distinct steps needed to move forward with the prospect. Also known as a joint execution plan, this slide assists the rep with confirming the need-to-know details so both parties can move towards a beneficial outcome, together.
Collaboration is key here!
Review your own sales cycle history and create a template with the frequent conversation topics used to guide prospects towards the final sale. For example, include questions like:
- What is the next step for you internally to make the decision?
- What does your timeline look like for finalizing this deal?
- Do you need any additional information to help make this decision?
- Can I clarify or answer any other questions you may have?
By solidifying these points, reps are more likely to keep the prospect on track towards making their decision. It also creates more precise forecasting since reps will have a stronger and more accurate accounting of their open opportunities.
Slide 3: Onboarding
Let prospects know what the onboarding process will look like if they end up signing the deal. This is especially useful if your internal process means passing them onto a Customer Success or Account Manager. The last thing you want is for your client to be caught off guard by the handoff process.
Let them know that they will still be guided through every step, even after they’ve become a full-fledged client.
Slide 4: Case studies
Having a slide with current clients and their success stories is great to have handy! If reps are feeling like their prospect is still on the fence about the pricing, then these studies will be a great confidence booster for why they should buy your product.
Reps can maintain a prospect’s engagement through storytelling and finding a common ground between them and a specific success story.
Never underestimate the power of telling stories. They elicit emotional responses in the brain and can intensify the alignment between their challenge and your product’s solution.
Additional Tip: Include objection-handling battle cards in your pricing playbook. Cost is a frequent roadblock for sellers, so having answers to FAQs and common concerns will be a helpful addition for your reps in this playbook.
Playbook 4: Customer onboarding
The post-sales playbook may look different than the SDR/AE playbook, but it is still just as essential. The AMs/CSMs are crucial to the continued success of the sale. They are responsible for maintaining the client’s happiness, keeping churn rates low, renewing contracts, and even upselling when possible.
Camera view - no slide
The AM/CSM should be prepared with the same conversation starters like attendee information and recording consent. However, since this will be a new face greeting the client, this slide should also include an option for the rep to weave in some introductory information about themselves. Topics like:
- Official title
- How long they’ve been at the company
- Past experience
- Fun icebreaker fact
A positive AM/CSM and client relationship are essential for success. By starting off the meeting with some personal facts, it can establish a positive and warm relationship from the very beginning.
Slide 1: Success plan and criteria
Your sales playbook should contain a success plan for the client, even once the sale has been finalized. This playbook should also guide the AM/CSM to open up the conversation so clients can share what success looks like for them as well.
The handover from New Business to your CS or Account Management team is critical and should be as seamless as possible. Make sure all of the information from the sales process has been passed over so your team can come into the call already having an understanding of how the customer would like to work together.
For example, let’s say the client’s main pain point is efficiently onboarding their own employees. This success plan would then lay out how the rep plans to help improve this process. Maybe the AM/CSM will offer monthly demos for their new employees. Or perhaps they suggest setting up weekly 1:1 open office hours for any questions that come up for the client or their employees during the week.
Slide 2: Business overview
The business overview slide is where the AM/CSM can ask questions about the company and get to know more about their mission, strategy, and goals. This slide can include conversation topics like:
- Tell me more about the company and the service it provides.
- How did the company get started?
- What aspect of the company are you most proud of?
- Do you hope to expand the company in the coming years?
The client relationship requires understanding, trust, and attention. Asking and documenting the answers to these questions are essential for the relationship between the client and the AM/CSM to succeed.
If reps start their first conversation with thoughtful questions, then the client will know right away that they are in supportive hands.
Slide 3: Internal processes
Understand what aspect of the customer’s business will be impacted by the solution that you provide.
With this in mind, reps are more adequately prepared to determine when it may be the best time to renew and/or upsell the account. Knowing when to have these conversations is essential to decreasing churn rates and keeping retention high.
Example: At Demodesk we discuss customers’ revenue processes. On this slide, the CSM can learn more about the client’s inner revenue processes. Information like their fiscal year breakdown, their revenue motion, and their overall revenue structure are all helpful to clarify right from the start.
Slide 4: Revenue motion
Similar to the client’s internal process, this slide can help the rep determine the growth capabilities of the company. Reps can ask questions like:
- Are you growing a certain percentage YOY?
- What are your predictions for the upcoming fiscal year?
- Do you foresee any challenges with your company's goals?
One of the main roles of the AM/CSM position is to always know their customer’s current health status — meaning, are they satisfied and are they doing well? With this slide, they can have this conversation during their initial call, but can also use it when performing regular check-ins and business reviews.
Sales Playbooks are indispensable tools for sellers. They:
- Reduce ramp time
- Improve onboarding and training structures
- Help maintain best practices for your sales team
Creating sales playbooks doesn’t need to be an overwhelming task. Key slides for each sales stage can be created once. Then, reps can adjust them according to their prospect’s specific challenges, needs, and goals.
Now that you’ve already established a solid foundation for your playbooks, it’s time to take the next step and put them into action! Schedule a demo with us and we’ll help you create effective sales plays to help your reps close more deals, faster.