The sales playbook you create for a $500 product will look very different from the playbook you create for a $5 million product. The playbook you use when selling to manufacturers will look very different than the playbook you use when selling to retailers. And your playbook as a whole will be different than anyone else’s – even your closest competitor.

Just like a football coach who knows not to run the same combination of plays against two different teams, your sales reps need a strategy and tools targeted specifically to your business, your market, your products, your customers, and your team. 

So when creating a sales playbook, customizability means success. Your sales process, buyer personas, target markets, objections, competitive landscape, scripts, and templates are your own. But creating something like that seems like a pretty big task, especially if you’re starting from square one.

Good thing that, despite the differences, there are commonalities and best practices that make all great playbooks great – and off of which you can create even better sales playbooks that really are your own.

Inside creating your sales playbook!

Before you do anything else, make sure you cover these seven areas:

Your business

Buyers do their homework. So should your reps. If they don’t know your company or your products, the deal’s off before it even started. Speak with confidence and knowledge, though, and your reps are more than just salespeople – they’re helpful experts who really, really know their stuff.

Include information about:

  • Your company’s values, vision, and mission statements: Capture who you are, what you do, and why it matters – this differentiates you from your competition.
  • Your products: Spell out what it is you sell. Your reps should also have a clear idea of what it’s like to use your products, along with a thorough understanding of what’s under the hood and how it’s priced.
  • Use cases: How do you help customers? In what situations do you help most? How are your solutions used in each situation? Reps should be able to answer all three. 

Get started with Playbook to Onboarding a New Account Executive

Your buyers

From the macro to the micro, spell out who’s on the other end of your pitch and what makes an ideal customer for your business. This helps your reps weed out the most qualified prospects from the rest and laser-target their selling strategies throughout the sale. 

Make sure to capture:

  • Buyer personas: Who is your ideal customer (and who isn’t)? What makes them right for your business? Consider their background, demographics, identifiers, goals, challenges, and how you help. 
  • Pain points: Remember, there’s always a human at the other end. What’s their role, what are they struggling with, and how does your product or service solve that problem?
  • The buyer’s journey: What do they think, feel, and do at each stage? This is an exercise in empathy that should match up nicely with the steps in your sales process.

Get started with Personas Template

Your sales process

Break it down, step-by-step, from finding good prospects to signing that contract. You should end up with an easy-to-follow guide that includes sales activities and resources that reps at any level can follow, that keep things consistent and are proven to perform.

Map out:

  • Your sales methodology: Do you SPIN? Are you NEAT? Prefer to SNAP? You probably follow at least one methodology. This is the place to explain what and why.
  • The steps in your process: Explain why they’re there and what your reps are expected to do at each stage. Pair each stage with relevant templates, scripts, blogs, whitepapers, ebooks, videos – whatever you’ve got to help buyers make decisions.
  • Insights from other reps: What works? What doesn’t? Your reps have a ton of tribal knowledge drawn from their experience. Tap into it.

Get started with Clozeloop’s Sales Development Playbook

Your market

Your buyers are probably considering other options in your market. If you’re going to come out ahead of your competition, you need to know your competition – and how to talk about your products in a broader (and favourable) context.

Tackle things like:

  • The market: What trends are happening in your market or industry right now? What does the overall landscape look like? Keep your finger on the pulse.
  • Your competitive intelligence: Know your direct competitors inside and out, from their pitches to their products – and how you measure up.
  • Competitive messaging: How do you talk about your competitors’ strengths – and your own weaknesses? This is an exercise in being honest and being smart.

Get started with Competitive Intelligence Template

Your team

Reps should get a flavour for what your team is like through your sales playbook, and what it means to be a part of it. This is the place for everything from your individual roles and responsibilities to your pay structure and career advancement plans.

Spell out:

  • Who’s who: Just like your organizational structure in your company overview, you’ll want to map out who’s on your team and what they do.
  • Expectations: Reps should know the KPIs on which they’re measured, and what success looks like in their role – with examples or scenarios that crunch the numbers.
  • Professional development opportunities: How can your reps become even better reps? Share resources to hone their skills and get to the next level in their career.

Get started with Uvaro’s Sales Career Advancement Playbook

Your technology

Juggling multiple systems is a time-sink if reps don’t understand how to use the tools they have, how everything fits together in your tech stack, or why they have to use them at all. But when used correctly and at the right times, those same tools can supercharge your reps.

Arm your reps with:

  • A tech stack overview: List the different tools you use on a regular basis, where to find them, and what each one does.
  • The “how-to”: This isn’t a full user manual; rather, it’s an explanation of how each tool supports each step in your process and when they should be used.
  • Usage tips: Include the little tricks that make each tool more effective, like user customization, automation, and integrations.

Get started with Sales Hacker’s Playbook to Building the Right Sales Stack

Your resources

Customer stories. Infographics. Templates. Scripts. One-pagers. Pricing comparisons. Webinars. Whitepapers. Ebooks. Podcasts. Videos. We could go on – but basically, if they help your reps sell, they go here. Including them in your playbook makes it easy to find when reps need it the most.

Include things like:

  • Your sales content: See the list above (and then some). Your playbook can help you keep it on-hand, in-context, and organized for everyone on your team.
  • Your internal content: Keep everything from your battle cards to your objection handling in one easy-to-find place. 
  • Your reps’ fave resources: If there’s a podcast that inspires them or a sales expert they follow, encourage them to share.

Get started with Business Development Representative’s Playbook to Outbound Outreach

 

Creating a sales playbook that’s all your own

Maybe you have one playbook that captures all these details. Maybe you split it up between different (but still connected) playbooks. Maybe you need a separate playbook for objection handling, or for hiring a specific role, or for boosting productivity. There’s no one “right” way when it comes to creating a sales playbook, but whatever yours looks like, these sections will help you start from a solid – and flexible —foundation.

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