B2B sales is not an easy process. It is a highly sophisticated undertaking that requires various elements to be in sync. Just to give you an idea, there are seven steps in a typical B2B sales process:
- Connecting and qualifying leads
- Researching the company
- Delivering effective pitch
- Handling objections
- Closing the deal
- Nurturing and continuing to sell
Each step requires a well-crafted approach in order to master the sale. The average B2B sales cycle is 4 months. This makes it hard for sales representatives to be consistent, effective, and productive in B2B sales without the support of additional tools. That’s where the role of the sales playbook comes into play. It is one of the tools used by B2B companies to sell products efficiently and effectively to their customers.
In this post, we will look at a sales playbook, how a sales playbook can help your sales team, and how to create a B2B sales playbook.
What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a manual that includes sales processes, workflows, best practices, tactics, and strategies to be used at the different stages of the sales process. It is a living document that keeps your sales process in line. Without the standardized process, your sales team has to develop a different angle whenever they face a new situation, or talk to a prospect or lead. Having a sales playbook in place ensures consistency in sales operations.
What are the Benefits of Using a B2B Sales Playbook?
Before understanding the benefits of a B2B sales playbook, it is very important to understand the challenges a B2B business faces in sales. The most common challenge a new B2B business faces is the scattered sales process. When a business does not have a well-defined sales process, it uses random tactics and follows the hit and trial approach. This eventually leads to a lack of consistency in sales operations, reduced productivity, poor brand messaging and positioning, low returns on investment, and higher ramp-up time. Using a sales playbook has a range of benefits for B2B businesses. First,let’s look at some of the key benefits of using a sales playbook.
Make Your Sales Process Consistent
With a sales playbook, your entire sales team follows a standardized approach. A sales playbook includes sales materials, strategies, discovery call questions, KPIs, buyer personas, sales process details, etc. It helps you consolidate every pitch, tactic, email, and call script. This helps your sales team send the same brand message to the prospects and clients. As a result, there is no discrepancy in the company’s positioning and messaging. This brings consistency to the sales operations, since everyone speaks the same brand voice.
Improves the Productivity of the Sales Team
A good sales playbook can significantly boost the productivity of the sales team. It includes the best sales practices, discovery call questions, messages, and other content. It also frees up time for the sales representatives, allowing them to focus more on converting leads than searching for content.
60% of clients want to connect with a sales professional during the consideration stage after researching their options and devising a shortlist. Your sales team can focus more on nurturing the leads and finding new ways to close the sales by effectively using the sales playbook.
Provides Support to Sales Professionals
Top B2B companies stress sales enablement practices. Sales enablement provides support to the sales professionals in the form of information, content, and tools that help them sell more effectively. A sales playbook is part of the sale enablement effort. A digital sales playbook includes the materials that help salespeople in critical situations when dealing with clients.
19% of buyers want to speak with a salesperson during the awareness stage of their buying process, when they’re first learning about the product. This is why it is a good idea to have a sales playbook to assist your sales team. If your sales professional has any doubts regarding the product, they can refer to the sales playbook for more information. This helps them better convey the message to the client and handle any questions a client is asking about the product or services.
Makes it Easy to Train New Salespeople
A sales playbook covers all the aspects of the sales operations, making it easier for the sales managers to train new salespeople. A salesperson spends on average 18 months in an organization, and it takes 3 months for a salesperson to ramp up to full productivity. A sales playbook makes it easier for the sales professional to understand the company products or services, processes, and workflow so they can function at full capacity.
Adopt the Best Sales Practices
A sales playbook is a great business tool to help bring the best out of your sales team. You can add the best sales strategies to your playbook, and everyone can have access to them. Not only that, most sales playbooks can be customized. If you want to make any additions and alert everyone in the meantime, you can just change the sales playbook. To improve your operational efficacy, you can add the best sales plays to your sales playbook. A sales play is a set of repeatable steps, actions, and best practices for sales reps during a specific stage of the sales process.
How to Create a Sales Playbook for Your Business
Creating a sales playbook for a business is a step-by-step process. Every business has a unique sales playbook, but a few basics are common in creating a sales playbook.
Review Your Sales Process
The first step to creating a sales playbook is to review your current sales process. Next, you need to create a sales playbook that includes your current goals, the way your sales representatives sell, your latest products and features, your buyer personas, and more. An in-depth audit of the sales process helps you find out your objective.
Define The Objective
Every sales playbook has a goal. First, decide on what objective your sales playbook is going to cover. You can ask the following simple questions to find out the objective of the sales playbook:
- What do you want from the sales playbook?
- What are the current challenges you are facing?
- What are the things you want to include in the sales playbook?
- What are you expecting from the playbook?
- When should the playbook be finalized?
All of these questions help you find the goal of the sales playbook.
Decide on Key Contributors
A sales playbook is the living document on which your entire sales process will stand. First, decide on the people involved in creating a sales playbook. Include the key players such as sales VPs, directors and managers, sales reps, B2B consultants, and marketing team members while writing a sales playbook.
Create The Content
The next step is to create the content of the sales playbook. This is the most important step because a sales playbook provides training and education for sales reps. A sales playbook includes the best sales practices, strategies, processes, workflows, information on products or services, etc. Carefully craft the content of the sales playbook using the sales playbook framework and templates.
Analyze Your Sales Playbook
Once you have created the sales playbook for your business, the next step is to implement and share your sales playbook with the team. After a period of time:
- Analyze the success of your playbook.
- Take the feedback from the sales representatives.
- Keep an eye on the relevance, success, and helpfulness of the sales playbook and compare the efficacy of the sales playbook against the original set objectives.
If your sales playbook needs improvement, make the necessary changes.
Using the Company Expert sales playbook framework, you can create an effective Sales Playbook for your organization.