Five Essential Steps to Building an Effective Sales Playbook

14 Mar 24

Here’s how you build an effective sales playbook to help your reps win more deals.

For many commercial leaders, helping sellers to be more effective poses significant challenges. Despite innovative methods constantly being introduced into the sales process, commercial leaders often find their sellers relying on ineffective approaches that aren’t tailored for today’s buyers. Then, how do you scale up any improvements made across the sales organization? What about new hires?

The key for leaders to navigating this situation begins with establishing a solid foundation: a sales playbook. Instead of just introducing new methods, building a single source of truth for sellers to learn from can help them identify the best approaches for their buyers. All you need is to understand what the steps are to building an effective sales playbook, and why.

Step 1: Map Buyer Process to Sales Process

To move forward with confidence, you should have a clear understanding of the buying behaviors of your key buyer personas, only then you would be able to marry sales motions to specific buyer processes.

Start by documenting every stage of the buying and sales process and identify the exit criteria for each. Ask: what would the buyer be looking for at this stage? Once you set clear expectations and demands, you can move to identify tactical actions to help the buyer progress into the next phase of the process.

Step 2: Conduct Content Audit

When sales reps spend too much time curating content, they can’t focus on nurturing deals and closing sales. The playbook aims to address this by evaluating and mapping relevant content to sales and buying stages, helping to progress and accelerate sales cycles.

To begin, create an expert panel of sales and marketing peers of subject-matter experts in their respective functions. They will be crucial in helping you to perform an audit of all sales collaterals and sales tools. Then, start associating the content to the appropriate stages and buyer actions, ensuring that sellers will get the content they need at any point in the buying process.

Step 3: Create Sales Tools and Collaterals

Now that you have allocated your existing content to the sales process, you have the opportunity to cover any gaps left by past content strategies. This is where you create new sales tools and collaterals that can enhance and accelerate the deal cycle.

Make a clear distinction between sales tools, which are internal-facing, and collaterals, which are meant for the buyers. Collaborate with your marketing peers to develop a content creation plan to cover any gaps identified earlier and update content to current industry best practices.

Step 4: Establish the Playbook

The culmination of all the previous steps is when you put the strategy into action. Aided by the tools and collaterals developed earlier, design the tactical plan on how to execute the sales process.

This stage also provides you with opportunities to double-check and refine the steps taken thus far. Before moving on, ensure that all the content is mapped to the appropriate stage and buyer action. Crucially, any tactics demonstrated in the playbook should be aimed at progressing the deal from one stage to the next and helping sales reps get there.

Step 5: Iterate and Evolve the Playbook

While the playbook is done, efforts to improve it shouldn’t be. Commercial leaders should maintain a fluid and agile approach to the design, feedback, and evolution of the playbook to keep up with ever-changing buyer demands. Content and processes can change, and the best leaders recognize that change is essential to maintaining a competitive edge.

Identifying a need for evolution in your playbook comes from acceptance of feedback: surveys, expert panels, and reviews are just some examples. Move swiftly to close the gaps in the playbook, and respond quickly to changing markets and buyer behaviors to ensure that your sellers are always well-prepared for their next winning deal.

Did you find this guide helpful for building your sales playbook? Follow our blog for more insights into sales enablement and how you can drive commercial excellence.


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