Social media has made job interviews (and meeting your partner’s parents) so much easier. Provided the interviewer (or soon-to-be in-laws) aren’t sticklers for privacy, you can find out everything about them by just stalking them on social media.
So your mom-in-law-to-be loves brooches? Wear one, bring her one, talk about the antique shop that sells pins and brooches, get an “I love brooches” tattoo…
Casually mention how much you love cats to the crazy-cat-lady interviewer (but probably avoid calling her that).
Talk to your scientist father-in-law about your favorite sci-fi TV show.
You know what they like, so making them like you is easy.
How can you show a similar swagger when it comes to impressing the socks off potential leads that you encounter along your sales process?
Stalking every single lead on social media would be rather time-consuming (and also a little creepy), but if you could have a generic profile of sorts and an idea of what makes them tick, it might go a long way, right? It would at least point you in the right direction.
That’s how a sales playbook improves your sales enablement process.
In fact, this sales tool does a lot more than tell the sales team whether potential leads like brooches, cats, or science.
So what is a sales playbook, and how does and how does it improve your sales enablement process?
A sales playbook is a ready reckoner or a guide for new hires and existing sales reps alike. It covers your customer profile and buyer persona, along with their pain points and goals. It gives the sales team a picture of what the ideal customer looks like.
A sales handbook includes case studies, use cases for your product and its value proposition, KPIs for sales and marketing teams, and information on pricing - in a thoroughly detailed manner.
Information and diagrams pertaining to the sales cycle, buyer’s journey, sales process, and sales funnel may also be included, along with any other workflows and SOPs.
The sales playbook will also include call scripts and email templates, sales plays, and tips for lead qualification and closing deals.
The enablement team - or the team that puts the sales playbook together - will also typically throw in tips or examples of what to say in a discovery call and what to say (or not say) in an elevator pitch. They will always include battle cards or tips on dealing with common objections.
Overall, a sales playbook is supposed to be a useful tool in onboarding but also an everyday guide for existing sales reps to get quick answers in real-time.
The idea is to offer fresh inspiration, updates, and realistic, attuned-to-the-environment KPIs to existing sales reps and to give new hires a sense of familiarity and direction that they can reach for in real-time.
Sales playbooks aid sales enablement by answering many questions that would otherwise have to wait for a sales leader’s input. This means that the salesforce need not wait on a sales leader to have a free moment to answer their questions. They get instant clarity from the playbook.
Tips to use your sales playbook to improve your sales enablement process
HubSpot defines sales enablement as “the iterative process of providing your business’s sales team with the resources they need to close more deals. These resources may include content, tools, knowledge, and information to sell your product or service to customers effectively.”
In today’s context, where sales leaders might not have the opportunity to meet, gather, and share best practices with the salesforce in person, the sales playbook IS the sales enablement process for a lot of sales organizations.
Of course, there’s the weekly stand-up that a lot of teams have, and the month-end “are we on track to meet our targets” meetings. However, in terms of general sales enablement and onboarding-linked sales enablement, the sales playbook is the go-to resource.
Here are four ways to make sure you are creating and using your sales playbook in the most optimal way:
- Create an enablement team
The sales playbook should be created by a team that is able to tie in all relevant stakeholders, that is sales, marketing, and product teams. Therefore, although the team will be led by a sales manager, it must include a representative from each of these three departments.
You do need someone from the product team to share important details about the product and interesting nugget about what customer feedback prompted x feature and so on.
Sales and marketing teams need to work together to make sure your messages are aligned.
You also need hands-on salespeople as part of the enablement team as they know what information and “enablement” they need from doing the job hands-on. They are the ones who will use the sales playbook.
💡Pro tip: The playbook enablement unit needs to be a dedicated team where creating and updating the playbook becomes a KPI for enablement team members. If not, other “more pressing” tasks will take precedence, and your sales playbook will always be on the back burner, never quite coming to life.
This is an additional responsibility so that you could offer workload discounts to members of the enablement team, or alternatively, you could also rotate and roster enablement team duties.
- Make a checklist of inclusions
If you’re reading this article as a member of the enablement team, setting out to begging to build the sales playbook, chances are that you might not know where to begin. Like all challenging tasks, a checklist is the best place to start.
Since we’re your Wingman and all of that, here’s a leg-up of sorts for that checklist:
- Buyer persona + customer profile with pain points and goals, demographic and purchase pattern information. A lot of this information can be retrieved from the treasure trove that is your past calls. Learn how to carve out buyer personas using existing data from call recordings here.
- Product information - don't forget to tie features to goals and pain points
- Sales plays
- Phone call, email, voicemail, text message, and follow-up scripts
- Battle cards and sales objection scripts
- Pricing, payment modes, packages, discounts, and special offers
- Scripts for elevator pitches, discovery calls, and asking for referrals
- Examples of the best and worst calls
- KPIs and targets for the period (we did say you would be updating the playbook regularly)
- Use an effective sales playbook template
The checklist above makes for a great sales playbook template in terms of inclusions but you should also look around for a design that is a perfect match with your team’s personality and that matches your product and sector.
Be sure to change your template every few iterations (say once a year) to avoid a “been there, done/read that” sentiment toward the painstakingly crafted sales playbook.
Tip: Design - very much like fashion - witnesses trend cycles. Look for templates that look current and fresh.
- Make it skinnier and prettier
We’re just saying that your sales team is already running off its feet. Keep the content light and relevant, and do away with repetition. Look for bits that can be shaved off and trim the content down till you have only what is necessary.
Once you have as little text as possible, lay it out to be easily accessible and skimmable as possible (Oh yes, they’re going to skim! Don’t take it personally.) You can achieve this by using bullet lists, call-outs, text boxes, and other design elements.
Don’t forget to intersperse the text with images.
- Update your sales playbook regularly
Iterating on your sales playbook once a quarter is optimal, especially if you have a product or market that evolves very rapidly.
Bi-annual sales playbook updates could work reasonably well so long as your product, KPIs, and targets are not evolving faster than the playbook.
If you’re a really lean team or your product is very static, perhaps updating your sales playbook once a year will do - but do give it a glance, an update and a facelift annually.
- Get feedback
This is 2022, and you will probably have a digital sales handbook which means that you can get data and insights on the most frequently read sections and the least read sections, opens, and deletes.
Be sure to ask for feedback in a way that will actually get you information that helps iterations to come, such as:
- Which section did you find the most useful?
- Which section did you find the least useful?
- Is there any virtual information (that would enable you to sell better) missing?
Use tools to find out the average reading time of your sales handbook and try to keep it to under 15 minutes.
Ace your sales enablement process with Wingman
Putting your sales enablement content together can be a quick and easy process if all the data is readily available, right?
With Wingman’s conversation intelligence tools, all the data is indeed readily available.
Wingman supplies you with perfectly organized call recordings and transcripts of call recordings that you can include in your playbook. It also draws insights and metrics from all the data that the sales team’s calls are teeming with.
Skim transcripts to get fodder for buyer personas not just from the sales team’s calls, but all sources including your CRM. Use metrics and data to benchmark achievable and realistic targets and sales goals. Find actual calls to include as sales plays on “how to win a customer over” and the like.
Wingman enables your enablement process. Wingman lets you win.