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In the tv show "How I Met Your Mother," Barney, the playboy bachelor, spends multiple episodes talking about a playbook. As the series continues, we discover that this book is a compilation of plays that Barney declares as foolproof dating tricks (to put it mildly).
In real-life, playbooks are not merely "dating advice books" but rather play-by-play best practices for professionals. They vary according to business areas and help guide professionals in their jobs.
In sales, playbooks can help reps and managers do their job more efficiently. In today's post, we'll talk about how to write a sales playbook that delivers results. Plus, provide some templates you can use when creating your playbook. Shall we start?
Before addressing the focus of the post, let's briefly discuss what a sales playbook is and why it's so important.
A sales playbook, or sales guide, is a tool used in sales to facilitate processes. It includes anything from selling techniques to information about buyer personas, product features, and more.
In other words, it is a compilation of all sales best practices throughout the buyer journey, plus a valuable overview of your company and product.
In sales, playbooks help guide professionals on what they should know, do, say, and share throughout the buyer journey. This provides a lot of value to sales teams, as both their time and efforts in selling can be substantially cut down in three different ways.
By grouping all sales processes and valuable product and customer information in one place, sales managers don't need to spend months at a time coaching new reps. Therefore, the onboarding of new hires can be cut down significantly.
Of course, this doesn't mean new reps don't need any coaching. They do! But their jump-start into company culture and sales strategy can be facilitated tremendously with a sales playbook in hand.
Why fix what's not broken? A sales playbook represents a manual of best practices. Or in other words, fully tested and audited sales techniques have produced the most wins.
With a manual of best practices, reps can maximize close rates by using proven selling techniques and objection-handling approaches.
Plus, in the situation of market shifts or new target opportunities, best practices can be updated, so reps continue to use only winning techniques.
Sales playbooks allow reps to focus on what matters: selling.
With all process information in one place, reps can spend less time researching and preparing talking points before calls. In addition, if all reps follow best practices, managers can reduce 1:1 coaching sessions and performance gaps between team members.
All in all, this results in an overall efficiency boost in sales teams.
To write a sales playbook that works, you need to first define your processes and establish an answer to the following questions:
Once you answer these questions, you can divide your playbook into four chapters:
As the name mentions, this is the introductory chapter of your playbook, where you'll detail all relevant information about your company and product or service. Some plays you can include are company overview, product and feature description, pricing plans, and existing customer list.
Educate your team on what your company is all about. Compile all relevant information about your company's mission, values, and vision in this section.
Make sure your team is on the same page. Include a detailed description of your product/service purpose, features, and integrations in your playbook to reduce discrepancies.
Do you offer a pricing plan? List all available pricing models, current deals, and respective terms and conditions here for reps to easily consult.
Social selling works. Include a list of current customers you're working with for potential mentions. Divide them according to industry and company size if you're interested in building some statistical proof or sales report.
The second chapter should focus on the market you are targeting. Some plays you should include are buyer personas and ideal customer profiles.
Who does your product or service most benefit? List all potential personas and add detailed information about their demographics, interests, goals, challenges, fears, and communication channels here.
In which market are your personas positioned? List ideal companies that would benefit most from your products or solutions. You can include information about their industry, business model, company size, country, estimated revenue, and more.
Next comes the strategy. In other words, all the best practices SDRs and reps should follow throughout the buyer journey. Some plays you can include are: prospecting best practices, lead qualification surveys, product demo guidelines, winning sales pitches, objection handling strategies, follow-ups, and closing talking points.
In this section, detail all the processes your team should follow when prospecting. For example, which tools to use when searching for prospects, the best messages to initiate cold outreach, etc.
How should your team qualify leads? Include all questions reps should ask prospects to determine whether they are a good fit for your product/service here.
Do you have a comprehensive product? Most likely, qualified leads will benefit from a demo video or call. In this step, detail how reps should act. For instance, when should they offer a demo, how should they do it, what verbiage needs to be highlighted, etc.
Maximize closed-wons. Include all best pitches and scripts to use in calls in the section to optimize sales output.
How should reps reply to prospect objections? Analyze past meetings and come up with a list of common prospect concerns and ways to overcome them. This will help your reps to be ready and act fast during calls.
This section is reserved for how your team should handle follow-ups. Tone, message, and, most importantly, structure. Detail all strategies reps can use after demo calls, email outreach, and more.
Although each rep has their closing style, outline all the best arguments that have worked in the past.
Finally, no compelling argument is made without proof. This chapter should include all the relevant data and content your team can use during the buyer's journey. Some examples are customer testimonials or referrals, use cases, demonstration videos, white papers, articles, and battlecards.
Customer testimonials are a great tool to persuade prospects.
Use your accounts to your advantage. Interview some of your customers and detail their challenges, their goals, the solution, and the results your company provided. Compile everything into a humanizing story that easily compels prospective customers.
Demonstrate how your product or service can help solve challenges in multiple industries or job functions. Prepare detailed case studies for reps to engage prospective customers.
Help your team engage leads better. Add compelling demo videos about your product/service for your team to send during the buyer journey.
Sometimes actions speak louder than words. Back up your team's arguments with proven data and show how your product or service can help prospects in numbers.
In this section, prepare content that can help move leads down the sales funnel. Work with Marketing, and develop articles that help attract, engage, and convert prospects.
Prepare your team to battle. Create one-pager visual aids that thoroughly compare your company's product/service to competitors. This analysis will help reps understand the areas of value your product/service excels and improve sales arguments.
Now that the basis of how to write a sales playbook is covered let's dive into the different types of content you can include in your sales playbook. Here are six examples of content you can include in your sales playbook.
Sales pitches come in all shapes and sizes. They can be used in different types of situations. However, their goal is always the same: persuade potential clients.
Elevator pitches do this in a very short/straightforward way. Here's an example you can use in your playbook.
Follow-ups are vital to engaging busy prospects. Sometimes, initial outreaches don't resonate 100%. Other times, prospects are just busy with work. If you want to push for a call, here's a good example you can use.
Creating a buyer persona map allows you to better understand the needs and wants of your potential customers. Spend time researching and developing a detailed description of the types of people that represent your target audience with the following template.
One of the most common objections salespeople face is "I'm not interested ."Here's a template you can add to your playbook when this situation arises.
The secret of any good lead qualification survey lies in the structure of your questions. You need to extract as much information as possible from your prospects, and this means avoiding yes or no questions. Instead, use open-ended questions to fully understand your prospects' needs, goals, and challenges.
Here are some examples:
Battlecards are great tools to address competitors and highlight your product/service value. Here is a template you can use in your playbook.
Now that you know how to write a sales playbook in depth let's talk about how you can optimize it. Thumb's sales intelligence platform helps sales teams record, transcribe, and analyze sales calls in depth. All you need to do is invite Thumb to your sessions, put your playbooks to the test and get analytic insights about your sales strategy. Use Thumb's conversational analytics to surface the most effective selling techniques and optimize your sales playbook today.