How to create a sales playbook that drives productivity

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How to Create a Sales Playbook

Let’s face it. The world of sales is complex and busy. From understanding territories, keeping track of conversations with prospects and customers, and moving deals through the sales cycle, sales teams have to juggle a lot of day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. It’s no small feat, which is why the best sales teams establish sales policies and procedures.

A sales playbook helps sales teams sell more efficiently and therefore improve your organization’s bottom line. That’s because a sales playbook outlines and includes repeatable steps that sales reps should follow to keep operations running smoothly. These processes and procedures provide clarity on how to engage with customers, acquire new customers, and expand relationships with existing customers. Every sales process playbook should also include definitions for company-specific terminology to make sure everyone’s on the same page. It should also go without saying that it’s extremely important for your sales playbook to thoroughly explain each step to eliminate the risk of confusion.

Why Do Organizations Need a Sales Process Map and Playbook?

If you’re a sales leader, you’re likely familiar with the seven-step sales process, also known as the selling cycle. This framework moves a prospective buyer from an early stage in the pipeline, like awareness, to a closed sale. However, your team also needs a sales process template that breaks down the policies and procedures that we mentioned earlier for even greater success. This type of sales resource can positively impact your sales team and promote ongoing growth for your entire company. While there are a number of reasons why you should have an established sales action plan, here are some of our favorite benefits.

Improves sales onboarding and training

Since a sales playbook outlines everything from who your customers are to how they buy your products and everything in between, new reps can easily and quickly reference it to learn new information. A playbook also streamlines training in a way that gives reps access to information as they need it instead of learning, and likely forgetting, everything at once.

Improved organization

First, a sales handbook gives your entire sales team the actionable steps they need to take in every deal. This ensures that every teammate marches to the beat the same drum and ultimately creates a consistent salesforce. Once everyone becomes familiar with each step of the process, they’ll feel confident and comfortable with their roles, which means you’ll likely see improved efficiency as well.

Accountability

Like any team and any organization, employees need a clear understanding of what they’re responsible for and what they’re held accountable for. By giving your sales team a sales handbook that clearly outlines what they’re responsible for, you’ll reduce the risk of confusion for existing and new employees.

Increased revenue

When your sales team fully understands the tasks and processes they need to follow, they can focus on what they do best: selling. A thorough and clear sales process makes it easier to keep track of deals, approach new customers, and succeed overall. Simply put, a sales process template guides every sales team to close more deals and do better work.

How to Create a Sales Handbook with a Sales Playbook Template

If you don’t have a well-defined sales process, have no fear! There are a few steps that any sales leader can take to create an effective sales handbook. First, consider talking to the people who know the ins and out of sales the most—your sales representatives. While you may be inclined to just talk to the most seasoned and successful members, it’s also beneficial to talk to newer reps. These conversations can remove the guesswork of what steps your reps are currently taking and where there may be room for improvement.

Once you have a better understanding of the sales process that your teammates are currently following, you can dive even deeper. For some, that may mean documenting and mapping out your sales process on your own and with your team. But, others may want to start with a rubric or sales process template that lays the groundwork for them. No matter which route you take, we’ve got some examples to help you get started.

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Sales Process Examples

No two sales teams are the same, so your sales process guide will probably look different than another sales organization. And, that’s OK. At the end of the day, you should use a sales playbook template that works for your team’s wants and needs. So whether you’re creating a small B2B sales playbook or a global enterprise sales playbook it should address your current sales strategies and tactics and provide room for additional changes and continuous improvement. If you’re trying to figure out what to include in your sales action plan we suggest some of these sales playbook examples.

Policy standards

It’s the sales team member’s responsibility to own and manage every opportunity that they pursue. Because this is so important for every deal, your sales handbook should first and foremost explain the steps they need to guarantee that every opportunity is verified and properly tracked through your organization’s CRM or other applicable sales enablement tools. This also means that your sales policies and procedures should list key pieces of information like contract start and end dates, lead sources, and billing terms that every rep needs to track and record.

Sales territories

Territory development is a key part of any sales strategy. That’s why it’s important to provide an overview of each territory that your team manages and works with. If your sales team is broken down between commercial and enterprise territories, you should also highlight how many employees a company can have in order to be classified as commercial or enterprise.

Account ownership rules

This section details the types of accounts and the proper ownership rules of your sales team. This is especially important to include in a SaaS playbook if your sales reps earn commission or bonuses for deals. This policy will ensure that ownership and account activity is properly assigned to the right teammate. This should also list various types of activity and engagement that count towards your reps’ quota and goals.

Rules of engagement

Establishing rules of engagement breaks down everything that your team is responsible for when it comes to moving deals through the pipeline. This gives everyone a clear understanding of what they should be doing during every deal so that customers and prospects have the best experience possible.

Prospecting

While there are various types of sales strategies that focus on prospecting for new customers or expanding opportunities with existing customers, it’s crucial to outline how this process should take place. Let your sales team know if they have time or territory constraints and what they should do to properly hand off accounts to other teammates if needed.

Create and Use a Sales Playbook

At the end of the day, a sales playbook can greatly improve the efficiency and productivity of your sales team. Here are 3 quick tips to remember when it comes to creating and using your sales playbook:

  1. Include important information like an overview of your company, product and service details, sales KPI’s and goals, buyer personas, and links to helpful sales enablement materials.
  2. Share a draft of it before you’re ready. Here at Lessonly, we’re big fans of sharing ideas and getting feedback from others. After you make the first draft of your sales playbook, get some feedback from a few seasoned sales reps to ensure it makes sense and includes everything that reps really need.
  3. Update it often. Sales processes evolve, your products and services may change, and your customer demographics shift over time. It’s important to update your sales playbook with each and every change to ensure reps have the most up-to-date information.