Chris is the product sales manager of a multinational insurance company. He was under fire recently, for failing to achieve the sales targets for his company’s newly-launched group insurance product. Chris analyzed the reasons for the debacle thoroughly and found out that his reps didn’t succeed in retaining many existing customers and converting leads into buyers in an effective manner.
This is a common problem faced by many product sales managers. How can the problem be resolved? What does it take to see your reps perform efficiently? Well, you need to use sales playbooks.
What is a sales playbook?
According to Aberdeen, sales playbooks are technology-enabled tools and processes that provide "guided-selling" assistance to various selling job roles - internal, in the field, and/or to channel partners. They are very useful to ensure consistency in the messages delivered to buyers and enhance the brand image of a company. They help sales folk configure their materials to meet the needs of individual customers. Sales playbooks can also be used to capture comments and ratings.
These tools go a long way in boosting the revenue of the organization. Here are the results of a study which indicate the usefulness of sales playbooks.
How do sales playbooks help improve your reps’ performance?
Explain to the customer how the product can benefit him
The research report “You” Messaging for Buyer-Centric Marketing and Sales Communications states that reps who tailor sales messages to meet the unique requirements of the prospect are often successful. And, this can be done by developing sales training content which trains the rep on how his firm’s offering can provide solutions to the issues of a particular buyer persona.
Convey the product message effectively
Sales playbooks are very useful to enable reps deliver the sales message very effectively to the target buyers. The report Sales Playbooks: Taking the Guesswork Out of Sales Enablement published by the Aberdeen Group states that playbooks help sales people “match” the sales training content to the requirements of potential buyers and sales cadences. For example, to sell a high performance, fuel-efficient automobile to a racing enthusiast, the salesperson needs to project the car’s powerful engine. But, to close the deal with a cab company, he needs to stress the mileage aspect of the vehicle. The report reveals that 57% best-in-class firms focus on getting the sales message right compared to 43% of all others.
Integrate the activities of sales and marketing departments
It is well-known that effective coordination between the sales and marketing departments goes a long way in ensuring the success of modern organizations. The report by the Aberdeen Group states that most companies that used sales playbooks were able to integrate their sales and marketing departments efficiently. The report also points out that firms with “well-connected” sales and marketing efforts are able to deliver a consistent message to buyers and this helped them sell very effectively.
OK. What does it take to create a good sales playbook?
You can develop effective playbooks by focusing on the following aspects.
Information about your sales organization
It is important to “enlighten” your sales staff on the vision and target buyers of your company. You need to explain your corporate strategy and how the sales team can help implement it in an effective manner. This goes a long way in ensuring you sales reps direct their efforts and sales pitch towards meeting the company’s goals.
Details of the buyer persona
This is arguably the most important aspect in the development of a good sales playbook. Buyer personas are very useful in providing valuable insights into customer needs and buying behaviors. They eliminate guesswork and arm the reps with tangible information about the prospective buyer. Buyer personas enable efficient segmentation of customers, and this facilitates delivery of targeted and relevant messages to potential buyers in each segment. For more information, check out this informative post on buyer personas.
Clarity of roles and responsibilities
You need to make sure your reps are fully aware of their roles and responsibilities. It is necessary to clearly tell what you expect form them and explain the quota assignment process in detail. This makes things clear and leaves no room for ambiguity.
Sharing of time management practices
It is well-known that reps who utilize their time efficiently often emerge successful. You need to advise your sales folk how to manage their time properly. You need to draw schedules for various activities they perform and educate them on the best practices of handling sales calls. You need to ensure your reps are organized and structure their workday in such a manner that they meet their quotas in an effective manner.
Explanation of the sales process
Good knowledge of the sales process helps increase the selling efficiencies of your people. It helps guide the selling activities in a systematic and effective manner, leading to the best results. Research by the Aberdeen Group shows that companies which train reps on the sales process perform better than others. It is advisable to include the following in a sales playbook:
Utilization of sales enablement software
Today, most companies are using sales enablement software. It is imperative you train your staff on the process of using sales enablement software. It is necessary to explain the steps involved in tracking leads and using data generated by the software. This data plays a key role in sales forecasting, vital to the formulation of sales plans.
Sales playbooks enable your reps to convey the product message right and help integrate your sales and marketing efforts. To create a good sales playbook, you need to provide details of your sales organization and buyer persona. It is important to make the roles and responsibilities of the reps clear to get the best results. You need to provide time management tips to your sales staff and train them effectively on your sales process and sales enablement software. Hope you liked this article. Do share your views.