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The buyer of today doesn’t need to rely on a salesperson to find out about a product or service. They are least interested in what the lead score is, or how the sales process looks like and have developed a sort of an allergic reaction to the run-of-the-mill kind of sales pitch.
The buyer doesn’t want to buy because you as a salesperson told him to do so. He wants to buy because you have created the need for that.
With the evolving times, the expectations, roles, everything related to sales in your small and midsized business (SMB) changes. This isn’t the era of self-aggrandizing pitches or loud claims. The buyer is in the driving seat. Your traditional methods and play are no longer useful.
It’s time to change.
The biggest asset that a sales team of an SMB can possess, other than an incredible workforce, is the sales playbook. This resource is the differentiator between a good and a great company. This is a go-to resource for everything your team needs to successfully close deals. This includes target prospects, buyer personas, their common pains and problems, call scripts, email templates, discovery questions, sample presentations, and competitor info.
Creating a sales playbook isn’t a matter of a joke. Your sales playbook is unique to your SMB business and it needs to be compiled comprehensively and effectively. We can’t summarize the whole sales playbook for you, but here’s an abridged version of the steps for creating your playbook that applies to nearly any industry’s sales team.
Outline your sales playbook goals
Outline your sales playbook goals. These goals may revolve around questions like the following:
- What does the playbook need to include?
- Which specific aspects of the buyer’s journey and sales process need to be touched on?
- What are reps struggling with that can be explained in the playbook?
- What do you hope to get out of the playbook?
- When should the playbook be finalized?
Make your playbook goals specific. For example, if your biggest priority is improving product demo quality, your playbook should cover presentation strategies and structure, various value propositions linked to your product’s features, and sample messages.
Determine the parties involved in the creation process
Determine who all need to be involved in the sales playbook creation process so you can invite them to collaborate. The people and teams that might be involved, include:
- Sales reps
- Sales VPs, directors, and managers
- Marketing team members (specifically, marketers who work on content, product, and sales enablement materials)
- Subject matter experts
This is also a good point in time to identify the sales playbook creation designated responsible individuals (DRIs) so other team members know who’s leading the effort and who they can reach out to with questions and comments.
Align your sales team with your marketing team.
And speaking of getting everyone involved, sales alignment with the marketing team is critical to the sales playbook creation process.
By keeping the communication and collaboration lines between Sales and Marketing open-
- Sales can inform Marketing of what types of content and materials they need to streamline and enhance the selling process.
- And Marketing can reach out to Sales with information about their latest campaigns and content about new products or feature updates.
Your sales playbook, no matter its focus, is bound to need content, sales enablement materials, and educational information that reps can refer to and even share with prospects.
Collect your buyer persona information.
A buyer’s persona is a boon for a sales team. Sales Reps must have a deep understanding of them. That’s because the goal of your sales playbook is to help reps meet leads where they are.
It’s meant to help them by supporting through a specific part of the sales process. Collect that information and share it with your reps so they’re able to refer to it when prepping the sales playbook (and while working through the rest of the sales process).
Remember, as your business grows, the product line expands, and the base of customers includes more people, frequently update your buyer personas as needed.
Provide product and feature training and education for reps.
This is a critical step for all aspects of selling, not just the creation of your sales playbook. Your sales reps must understand the product they’re selling inside and out.
No matter how good your sales playbook is, or what it contains, your reps won’t be able to apply it effectively unless they have a deep understanding of your offering, its capabilities, and its features.
Think about ways to encourage and host this training as well as when your reps will undergo training.
Audit and update your sales enablement materials and content.
You must audit your existing sales enablement materials. In doing so, you’ll be able to determine what already exists and can be used as-is, or needs to be edited. You’ll also be able to make note of which sales enablement materials need to be created.
This is precisely the reason why the sales and marketing teams need to collaborate.
Implement and share your sales playbook
Once the sales playbook has been audited, edited, and is ready for use, implement and share the final copy with the relevant individuals. The playbook needs to be shared with your reps, sales managers, directors, and VPs.
It may be helpful to share the finalized sales playbook with the Marketing team as well to continue collaboration and transparency between the two teams.
Analyze the success of your playbook
Assessing and analyzing your work is as important as planning for it. So, once your sales playbook has been shared and used by the sales team, keep a check on its relevance, success, and helpfulness.
Ask them for their opinions on the playbook and its usefulness. For example, you can conduct a survey to get feedback on the playbook. Based on that you can update, edit the playbook to ensure an effective and impactful result.
In sports, playbooks are used to guide every member of the team and tell them what their specific position for that exact moment is. Playbooks for your sales team should serve the same purpose. They help you to give your sales team the winning tactic to know what questions they need to ask, how to respond to objections, what documents to send, what team members to loop in, etc.
A well-crafted sales playbook along with the right CRM solution for your SMB can go a long way and it shouldn’t be surprising if the return on investment (ROI) seems to go uphill. If you are wondering how your sales team can hit those targets without beating around the bush, connect with us real quick. Or, download our exclusive Sales Playbook created for SMBs like you.