In the old days, a sales playbook may have been nothing more than a fat 3-ring binder with some tabs in it. While talking on the phone to a prospective buyer, a salesperson could tuck the receiver under his ear, grab the playbook off the shelf, and flip through the tabbed sections in it to find the play he was looking for. Then, as now, the sales playbook was a source of cumulative knowledge from the sales team and guidance from sales management, gathered together into a single resource. It spelled out best practices and diagrammed the required steps to lead the prospect through the sales cycle to the desired finish: the sale.
The sales landscape has transformed drastically since then, and yesterday’s playbook won’t cut it anymore. Sales has become more complex than ever. In fact, a majority (70%) of sales reps report that they are experiencing more complex sales processes. This is up from 64.5% last year. The buyer’s journey has taken the place of a more rigid sales cycle so that sellers need to be able to react as the process unfolds and provide personalized responses to prospective buyers at a moment’s notice. In the age of the modern buyer, they come to the sales interaction better prepared and better informed than ever, with expectations for a fully digitized and seamless experience.
Like the sales landscape, sales playbooks have evolved and are now a crucial component of sales enablement strategies that serve to make sellers more efficient and effective. According to Aberdeen Research, this is why 42% of best-in-class companies use sales playbooks (versus just 14% of laggard firms), resulting in better attainment of quota, higher rates of customer retention, and higher lead conversion rates.
Today’s sales playbook has to be practical and easy to use. It must be adaptive and interactive to keep up with ever-changing content needs — therefore, it must be digital. It must be targeted to today’s buyer throughout his or her journey while providing insight and value to the sales team and across the organization.
Today’s digitized sales enablement platforms are the best means of accomplishing effective collaboration. Modern tools can bridge the gap between sales and marketing, allowing sellers to effectively connect to the buyer’s journey and take the lead in the sales conversation. This creates a win-win for all parties — for the seller when she closes the deal, for the marketing team that works to support the sales effort, and for the buyer when he finds an effective solution to his business problem.
The key to this process is a modern sales playbook built on today’s technology.
- Define your sales methodology. 51% of sales playbook users follow a specific, named sales methodology, versus 36% of all other firms.
- Map your sales process to your buyer’s buying process.
- Design clearly defined plays, making it straightforward for the seller to take effective action in a given specific scenario.
- Emulate your “A” players and harness their knowledge within the playbook.
- Keep it succinct and don’t make the seller have to sift through and consider which content is most pertinent.
Start laying the groundwork for successful sales playbooks with these five steps. For more on sales playbook best practices and tactical steps on getting started, read the How to Land the Modern Sales Playbooks whitepaper today.