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Build Predictability through a Sales Playbook

Monte Wyatt & Brad Sugars, Jul 18, 2019

Your company needs a step-by-step sales process. It is the only way to make your sales predictable. Sales are a component of the Discipline of Business Development (along with marketing and customer service), that leads to predictability.

An efficient sales process doesn't just educate a potential customer about products and services. A proper sales process first guides salespeople to determine if a prospective buyer represents the company's core customer. A sales process then determines whether the potential customer will be happy with their purchase. This process leads to high conversion rates, avoiding problems caused by selling to the wrong audience, not understanding buyers needs, or attempting to sell them something they don't want.

A reliable sales process helps salespeople by having them confirm each step in the sales process with customers to keep them involved and informed and to provide a sense of urgency to help close the sale. The goal is to reduce or eliminate risk by satisfying concerns before they become unresolved issues that block a sale.

For this reason, it's necessary to ensure that everyone in the sales department has a copy of the company's sales playbook. It's a reference manual that codifies the sales process, so it's predictable, repeatable, and scalable.

Here are the 10 nuts and bolts of a powerful sales playbook:

One, an outline of annual goals or Key Performance Indicators needed for success. This includes a history of results and past measurements along with the following items:

  • number of appointments;
  • conversion rate;
  • average dollar sale;
  • total revenue;
  • margin;
  • number of total customers needed;
  • number of new and repeat customers.

Two, written expectations of salespeople and others involved in the sales process. This includes skills and behaviors, as well as weekly and monthly expectations for the following:

  • activity;
  • productivity;
  • individual KPIs;
  • individual goals or measurements of success.

Three, the playbook should contain the essential characteristics of your core customers or customer segments. This includes their needs and wants, their demographics and their psychographics.

Four, the playbook should contain your products, services, pricing, and terms.

A sales playbook may also include pieces of the marketing plan to share where you fit in the market, comparisons to the competition and clear positioning of where you stand in the market and what sets you apart.

Five, the playbook should have tools and resources to assist in gaining and managing sales. These include brochures, one-page sales sheets, white papers, internal and external incentives promotions or sales programs.

Six, an outline of the sales process these are the steps you use to guide a prospect in professionally helping them make a decision.

Seven, proven, open-ended questions that reveal the prospect's needs and wants. These include:

  • Examples of actions, touchpoints, and steps to initiate, build and deepen relationships;
  • Options and activities to ask for the order.

Eight, the sales playbook should have the common objections that you are likely to receive, and how to handle them. These include:

  • listing of six to eight typical objections;
  • methods or scripts for resolving these situations without the need to escalate them.

Nine, the playbook should have the following steps that a sales person will take after confirming a sale:

  • How to place the order;
  • How to onboard a client or customer;
  • How to fulfill the order or service;
  • Flowchart showing who does what.

Tenth, the playbook should wrap up with ways to show gratitude and to thank a client for being a customer.

To recap, a reliable sales process helps salespeople throughout the sales process to they can confirm each step and keep customers involved and informed. This builds strong, long-lasting business relationships.

We'd love to hear from you. What is your company's sales process like? Thank you for sharing.