For the past 25 years, I’ve helped drive sales at a number of software companies. That’s given me a ringside seat where I’ve seen many changes in the engagement between buyers and sellers. Most of those changes have been evolutionary, but recently we are experiencing a revolution.
Access to information over the Web and on every device has dramatically shifted the way that companies evaluate vendors and make their buying decisions. Customers have so much information that by the time they engage vendors, as much as 80% of the buying process is completed. Sellers need to be fully prepared to engage buyers on their terms and in an aggressive timeline.
This change in the buying process has led to the creation and proliferation of a new generation of sales playbooks. Playbooks have traditionally been created in the form of binders that are handed to sales teams and promptly given a permanent spot in the bookcase. More recently, electronic playbooks have emerged as a modern substitute. They have, up to now, been mostly static, difficult to adapt to the rapidly changing environment, and highly prescriptive. While a highly prescriptive playbook may benefit new sellers or work in high transaction environments, it often does a better job of enforcing an overly simplistic seller’s journey instead of supporting the real-world buyer’s journey.
We are finding that many organizations see these playbooks follow the same path as the binders did — they become rapidly outdated and go mostly unused. Highspot has leveraged an advanced content engagement platform to provide support for a different kind of playbook — one that is paired with a new breed of sales and marketing portal to support a rapid sales cycle with a highly informed and demanding prospect.
I had the opportunity recently to converse with CeCe Bazar from OpenView Labs on the topic of playbooks. OpenView Labs is a team of highly skilled professionals dedicated to building great companies and is an arm of OpenView Venture Partners. The Labs brings industry standards, functional expertise, and best practices to OpenView’s portfolio of expansion-stage companies. CeCe recently published a blog post titled, Does Your Sales Playbook Need a Makeover? It’s informative and includes a list of content to include in your sales playbook. Check it out.