7 Tips for Building The Sales Playbook

Brian Groth
Brian Groth
In Sales management
Brian created and leads the sales enablement efforts at Xactly, where he helps the sales organization deliver solutions for customers to design and manage the ideal incentives to drive their business and inspire their people.

As the Sales Enablement manager at Xactly, one of my primary tasks has been to build a Sales Playbook. The goal of the sales playbook is to be a point of reference for the sales reps and managers to turn to for guidance on all aspects of their job. There are a variety of companies out there that can help build a sales playbook and integrate it into your Customer Relationship Management (CRM) or Learning Management System (LMS) tools. However, I chose to build it myself, with help from our sales managers and top sales reps.

Building it in-house allowed for:

  1. A focus on our own best-practices regarding customer interactions (methodologies), specific activities (sales process), and the use of CRM and sales tools.
  2. A dialog between sales managers to force agreement as to how various sales activities should be done, because if everyone is working off of the same playbook, your training will have broader reach, deals will be worked the same way, and forecast discussions will be easier to have.
  3. The managers and top sales reps will feel a shared ownership, since their knowledge went into it.

After building it, then what? The entire thing is not a single document to be printed out, since nobody will take the time to read all of it, and it’s always evolving. So, to drive utilization of it, I suggest:

  1. Organize it by activity and skill. Examples include: Giving an overview demo, prospecting, cold-calling, social selling, forecasting, booking an order, negotiating and so on. I have a folder for all content related to each topic. All of these folders make up the sales playbook.
  2. Differentiate based on roles when it makes sense. Much of the sales playbook will apply to everyone, but sales managers, sales engineers, and sales development reps all have slightly different needs compared to closing sales reps. So, create unique documents or folders of documents for each.
  3. Align the content to your on-boarding and on-going training. The training presentation (PPT & video) and role-play documents for a topic should be in the same location as overall guidance documents for that same topic.
  4. Let your sales reps know when something updates or when something new is created; always pointing to the files and folders in the sales playbook. Then repeat the announcements at different times and on different channels (e-mail, newsletters, Chatter, Yammer, etc.)

Other tips:

  1. Create a common look for the documentation  so reps recognize that the different docs are related.
  2. Make the written guidance one page per topic if possible. This way, if reps finds it valuable, they can print it and post it on their cubical wall.
  3. Note when it was last updated and who owns and authored the document.
  4. When people ask for something that’s in the playbook, point them to the file, don’t attach it in an e-mail. This will hopefully remind them where to find the materials the next time.

What other tips can you share regarding your own sales playbook? Tweet @Xactly and let us know!

 


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7 Tips for Building The Sales Playbook

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