10 Reasons why every sales team needs a sales playbook

What is a Sales Playbook?

A Sales Playbook is your sales guide to success. It gives you the right process, approach, and tools to maximize your level of success; describes the perfect sales engagement with your customers; helps you in making the right decisions, pitch the right way, and engage with your customers to get the best results possible. A good Sales Playbook describes these best practices in such an easy-to-understand, high-quality, practical way, that your sales team can use it frequently to sell smarter and better, so deal sizes increase and conversions go up. 

A Sales Playbook is never generic. It always takes your market, and your product/service into consideration, so content is highly relevant. Therefore, we would like to present to you 10 reasons why you need a Sales Playbook to get the most out of your sales team and its business potential. 

1. For Better Results

The biggest challenges for most B2B sales teams is achieving targets, being productive, and doing the right things. When a sales department is able to specify their sales engagement and refine their process, dialogue, approach, and opportunity management properly, everything improves, from activity level to quality level. 

Karel Van Gool, CEO of EVG START – “The Sales Playbook process resulted in a much more streamlined sales process, directly resulting in shorter sales cycles. I should have done this from the beginning.”

2. To Scale Sales Management

The main task of a sales leader is to coach and guide the sales team to increase performance. As sales teams grow more dispersed internationally, the span of control is under pressure. To constantly guide sales professionals with similar best practices becomes not only highly inefficient, but also ineffective. A playbook accelerates and actually scales this type of sales management. Sales professionals know what is expected from them, with the tools that will help them to deliver it. As a manager, you can then focus on the challenges, instead of reminding them of what can be assumed that they already know.

Teun Levering, Commercial Director NetDialog – “For me, The Sales Playbook helps the entire team to focus on what matters and knowing every step of the way how to qualify, gain commitment and move deals forward.”

3. To Onboard Faster and Better 

In a competitive environment, how you onboard directly influences the predictability of success for new sales hires. A Sales Playbook enables the new hire to ramp up quickly, without stumbling forward or just learning on the fly. To unlearn poor sales engagement is a lot harder than learning the proper way to sell. The faster a new hire is onboarded the sooner the potential of the new sales hire can be identified.

Onboarding is a challenge: On average, new sales hires spend 10 weeks in training and development and only become productive after 11.2 months according to the Sales Management Association.

4. To Create a Consistent Sales Environment 

When every sales professional in a sales team has a different approach to sales, every lead will be followed up differently. Every opportunity in the pipeline cannot be interpreted the same way. Unfortunately, the majority of sales forces around the world are struggling with this. It is no surprise that sales leaders of B2B sales teams are therefore constantly chasing salespeople to understand opportunities better. This can all be avoided if a more uniform approach to sales is implemented. A consistent approach has the best chance to lead to continuous improvement. 

Sales Forecasts Cannot Be Trusted: The disconnect between forecast and reality is even more dramatic than 2016 looking at CSO’s numbers. There’s a huge gap between what sellers ‘think’ they do and what they actually do. Only 28% of Business Deals Are Forecast Accurately according to research done by xant.ai.

5. To Implement Smart Sales Plays

There are always smart sales actions and strategies, e.g. to shorten sales cycles, to increase grip on DMUs, or to outsmart the competition. These smart little tactics can have a big impact on sales results. A Sales Playbook can help salespeople identify, recognize, and use these smart tactics to increase their performance.

50% of sales go to the vendor that responds first (xant.ai).

6. To Replicate the Top 5% Sales Performers  to the other 95%

In every sales team, there are always a few contributors that close those big deals the company is relying on. These top contributors implement a sales approach that works, based on experience, insight, and intuition. When you can capture that and replicate parts of it to the rest of the team, the overall performance rises. 

77% of executive buyers claim salespeople don’t understand their issues and where they can help, and 78% claim salespeople do not have relevant examples or case studies to share with them (Forrester Research).

7. To Focus on the Right Sales Activities

In a world where one is constantly distracted with messages, whether it is Slack or Whatsapp, coupled with the fact that salespeople are spending too much time on ineffective prospect researching, it becomes harder and harder to focus on the right activities and the right deals. When there is no process in place, you can’t blame salespeople getting swamped with their operational activities, if you don’t help them to do it differently. 

“Today’s sales professionals spend just 34% of their time selling. Sales teams struggle to keep up with data entry, quote generation, and other tasks that take them away from customers. Unsurprisingly, 57% expect to miss their quotas this year” (SalesForce 2019 State of Sales Report).

8. To Close the Gap between Marketing and Sales

So many marketing and sales teams don’t collaborate well – too many potential good leads don’t turn into opportunities. The marketing and sales gap is often that undefined grey area that nobody touches, where good leads get lost. A Sales Playbook ensures what the best follow-up process is for every type of lead, including all the sales content that is required to take the lead further. 

Brahim Samhoud, CEO BNZSA – “A Sales Playbook is the best way to help marketeers aligning the sales so you reach the highest conversion of quality leads.”

9. To Give Sales Confidence and Sales Pride

Salespeople can increase their confidence when you can rely on a working sales approach and knowing how to engage on different levels. This common language that you share as a team also creates a bigger sense of pride of what you represent. A Sales Playbook captures the exact sales messaging, so you are always aligned with the different buying personas your team needs to deal with during typical sales cycles.

Michiel Munnike, CEO M2Mobi – “My sales organization now sells completely differently, resulting in signing bigger deals and much faster. The biggest change is that we have better control of our sales processes with senior executives.”

10. To Simplify Your Sales 

When every salesperson is completely free to manage opportunities, it is up to the level of improvisation and sales intuition of the salesperson to determine how successful he will be. When no common best practices are applied, sales data becomes difficult to analyze, leaving you guessing as a sales leader what you should focus on and how to improve results. By achieving a level of standardization, it allows the team to quickly identify potential pitfalls or actions required to close deals. A Sales Playbook simplifies the process, making it easier for both the customer and the salesperson to do business together.

93% of world-class sales organizations say their management team is highly effective in helping advance sales opportunities, but only 47% of average sales organizations say the same (MHI Global).