No matter the market segment, the product or service, B2B companies today face more competition and challenges to success than ever before. The need to deliver a more effective sales process underlies every business’s strategy for growth. However, in organizations where there is an ill-defined sales funnel or ad-hoc approach to delivering sales results, understanding what works, and crucially, where failings are occurring, becomes increasingly difficult.
A defined sales process
Data is essential to business success today, both in terms of customer information to gain insight into behavior and market expectations, and in assessing internal business performance across all processes, including sales. However, without clearly defined processes such data collection is imprecise, and not only fails to give the accurate insight required in modern business strategy but can also fail to identify issues with processes themselves.
This is especially important in terms of the sales strategy, where repeatable performance is essential to realize the outcomes the business needs for sustained growth. For a B2B company, the sales strategy itself covers numerous stages and employees. To maintain a consistent message and customer experience, as well as understand which of those activities add the most value for the business, having a single, unified approach that covers all aspects of the sales funnel allows for accurate evaluation, aiding refinement and enhancing outcomes.
Introducing the Playbook
Every organization is unique and requires a bespoke approach to selling across the organization that gets results to create a defined sales process, or a simple to follow script is not the answer. That is a quick fix to sales issues that ultimately fail; your business must speak with its own voice and deliver a credible message to potential customers. Following an externally written script can never fulfill that credibility and ultimately only harm your brand.
Instead, a unified selling approach should be a framework that the sales teamwork within, but that evolves as both customer expectations and business solutions change. With the Sales Playbook, we have created such a solution, which defines a systematic approach to the sales process built around a collection of best practices and strategies that offer proven success for sales professionals.
It remains a framework though, the guide to an internal sales process that fits within your unique business needs, and allows sales teams to prepare for important calls, overcome objections, and guide sales professionals through each stage of the sales funnel. With this detailed playbook, you can craft a more targeted approach to securing new customers, adding efficiency as well as effectiveness to enhance the overall value and deliver on growth targets.
However, before we look at the ways in which the playbook can aid your business performance, it is important to understand what it does not do. If you are looking for training or coaching in sales techniques, the Playbook is not the answer– it provides the framework in which to effectively apply those tools, but it is not a guide to acquiring them. It is also not simply a guide for underperforming members of the sales team, the cohesive, defined approach to the sales process requires all team members to follow the framework for it to be truly transformative and maximize the effectiveness of the approach. Without that, you still have the ad-hoc solution that ultimately fails to deliver the performance or insight needed today.
The Playbook Contents
So, understanding that the Playbook is a comprehensive guide to the entire approach for B2B sales across the organization, a framework to guide your whole team through a defined, measurable sales process, the question is, what does that look like in practice?
The Playbook helps at every stage of the sales process, firstly in understanding clients. By understanding who they are, their challenges and pain points, their values and goals, your sales team have a clear insight into their persona, giving your sales team a way to build that relationship and understand the best way to present your service to meet those identified goals.
At every stage of dealing with clients, from that initial contact to closing a deal, your sales team will face a number of objections that they must overcome. From price to being too busy, the product or service not being a good fit, or choosing the competition instead, these objections need to be countered naturally and effectively. The Playbook outlines a path through these objections, not by providing a script to read from, but by providing an approach to each.
The guidance shows how to build an effective counter to each objection scenario, and once completed in advance of the client meeting, leaves your sales personnel well-equipped to deal with potential issues. The real benefit of this approach is that, rather than memorize a template, the guide allows unique answers to be created for every client, creating a much more natural flow to the conversation that enhances the likely outcome.
With templates in place to create client profiles, objection answers and all stages from awareness, through consideration, and decision making, the Sales Playbook has everything needed to create an effective approach to each client. This ensures that your B2B business sales are tailored to the individual client, but also follow an established, effective and measurable path.
Aside from the main sales process itself, the Sales Playbook also includes guidance in positioning and messaging, helping you to plan an effective strategy that differentiates your business from the competition and presents an attractive, value-added offer that is enticing to clients. Additionally, it features a detailed toolset in assessing metrics and managing expectations for clients, including templates for identifying opportunities and so on.
A complete framework for your sales initiatives
With a comprehensive framework that all your sales team are working within, data comparisons of performance and other metrics take on extra value. Here you can identify both weaknesses in your team, allowing for additional training to help individuals overcome deficiencies in their skillsets, as well as areas where adjustments in the sales approach itself need to be made.
This could be the way the product or service is presented, the brand identity and client response, or other significant factors to the sales approach that can be carefully adjusted to improve overall performance.
The Sales Playbook is not a script to follow, but a framework to build your unified and measurable sales strategy that still retains your brand values and uniqueness that separate your B2B business from the competition. With the Playbook, you can implement and refine a cohesive sales strategy that supports your sales team in delivering a bespoke, but a repeatable, approach that will build growth and achieve your goals.