Visible Impact -- Sales Playbooks
Post on 13-Apr-2017
Whats Your Game Plan? Putting a Sales Playbook Program at the Heart of Sales Enablement
By recognizing the essential factors of a successful playbook program and then smartly partnering to execute it, you can strengthen the capabilities of your selling team and reinforce the skills needed for sustained growth. Read on to learn how top performing sales organizations have achieved these results.
As a sales leader, youre challenged to win more business and produce predictable results even as you increase sales efficiency. You have to accelerate ramp times for new recruits, develop your existing talent, and retain high performers.
With prospective customers more demanding and difficult to acquire than ever, companies like yours are actively investing in sales enablement initiatives. One
asset in the sales enablement mix thats getting a lot of attention iiss tthhee ssaalleess ppllaayybbooookk..
But theres more here than youd initially imagine. While some sales organizations have treated the playbook as a mere tool or document, the most successful ones recognize its potential as a ttrraannssffoorrmmaattiivvee aanndd ppeerrffoorrmmaannccee--ddrriivviinngg ffoorrccee..
Intensifying Market Pressures and the Rise of Sales Enablement nt
Sales Enablement is Now Coming Into Focus
90% ooff ssaalleess ttrraaiinniinngg has no lasting impact after 120 days.3
ooff mmaarrkkeettiinngg mmaatteerriiaallss dont get used by sales.2
ooff ssaalleess ccoonnvveerrssaattiioonnss do not meet the expectations of executives.1
and sales leaders may not like what they see.
1 Forrester Research, 2 American Marketing Association, 3 ES Research Group 3
Despite the distinctions between different sales organizations, some patterns are consistent. Here are tthhrreeee ppaaiinn ppooiinnttss that sales leaders like you are struggling to address:
3 Key Barriers to Sales Force Effectiveness
Making your sales conversations matter.
Making your message compelling and memorable while ensuring your team members speak with a unified voice.
Clarifying and reinforcing your selling process.
Ensuring your selling organization fully understands and is committed to your selling methodology.
Developing and retaining high performers.
Accelerating time-to-performance among new team members while enhancing the performance of existing members.
1 Making your sales conversations matter Initial sales conversations often revolve around a suppliers solutions and thats why they fail. To make your message compelling, your people mmuusstt ttrruullyy eenntteerr tthhee wwoorrlldd ooff yyoouurr bbuuyyeerrss.. But this empathic shift is difficult for many companies and sales people to make. Its much easier to focus on your own products and offerings. Resist the temptation.
To support powerful sales conversations, you need messaging that addresses the specific concerns and pain points of your targeted buyer. It must ccrreeaattee aa sseennssee ooff uurrggeennccyy.. You cant lead with your products or solutions. Your message has to revolve around your prospective client and then lead back to your strengths and differentiators.
Just getting to this point is a huge barrier for many. You are challenged to pprroodduuccee aa mmeessssaaggee,, mmaakkee iitt vviivviidd aanndd iinnssiigghhttffuull,, aanndd eennssuurree yyoouurr ssttaakkeehhoollddeerrss aarree bboouugghhtt iinn.. That last point is critical. According to the American Marketing Association, 90% of the materials created by marketing dont get used by sales.
2 Clarifying and reinforcing your selling process You have a sales process you want your people to consistently execute. You cant scale or drive new efficiencies without it.
Your sales process determines how limited resources are invested and deployed. IIttss ccrriittiiccaall tthhaatt tthhiiss pprroocceessss bbee cclleeaarrllyy uunnddeerrssttoooodd bbyy yyoouurr tteeaamm mmeemmbbeerrss.. You cant clarify the method and cadence of your sales efforts if you havent documented, presented, and reinforced the approach in a powerful way.
Whats more, ssaalleess oorrggaanniizzaattiioonnss aarree iinnccrreeaassiinnggllyy ssppeecciiaalliizzeedd.. You have different processes for different roles: lead response; sales development; quota-carrying inside reps; quota-carrying outside reps; and strategic account managers. As your selling team grows more specialized, its difficult to drive performance gains unless content and coaching is fully matched to these roles.
3 Developing and retaining high performers OOnnee ooff yyoouurr kkeeyy ggrroowwtthh ffaaccttoorrss iiss yyoouurr aabbiilliittyy ttoo aattttrraacctt,, bbuuiilldd,, aanndd rreettaaiinn aa pprroodduuccttiivvee sseelllliinngg tteeaamm.. But existing training and professional development approaches may not address the personal demands of your team members. That leaves you vulnerable to excessive ramp times, high turnover, and high sales expenses.
Your training and coaching content may be highly focused on product knowledge as opposed to business, selling, and conversational skills. And, when your solution is conventional sales training, theres a tendency to deliver material just in-case its useful. When you arrange training events, tthheerree mmaayy bbee ttoooo mmuucchh ccoonntteenntt oorr ttoooo lliittttllee tthhaattss ddeelliivveerreedd ttoooo eeaarrllyy oorr ttoooo llaattee..
Thats not consistent with the way your people learn or apply what theyve learned. TThheeyy nneeeedd ttoo aabbssoorrbb nneeww iinnffoorrmmaattiioonn aatt tthhee ppooiinntt aanndd mmoommeenntt ooff nneeeedd.. They want it to be actionable. Otherwise, much of what is taught is incomprehensible or merely forgotten. To truly excel, your people need solid coaching and constant guidance.
Its Time to Take Action The barriers you face can be surmounted by provisioning your team to perform.
If you could,
youd drive sales performance to new levels. Youd empower your selling team to engage more prospects, produce more pipeline, and close more deals.
you could enable your people to engage in extremely compelling sales conversations?
What if ?
you could ensure your team was fully committed to and capable of executing your sales process?
What if ?
you could bring a superior approach to coaching, professional development, and performance management?
What if ?
A growing number of companies are adopting a playbook approach to sales enablement. The playbook represents a core source of modular content thats designed to arm and enable your selling team.
You may package the content as spiral-bound notebooks, digital guides, and curriculum modules. You can go print or digital, fixed or mobile or all of the above. You just want the content to be rich, vivid, visual, and easy to navigate.
Playbook Programs, however, go beyond playbook production important as that is. The approach is about building an advanced capability and competency. You leverage it to strengthen your selling organization and reinforce winning behaviors.
Your Playbook Program: Going Beyond the Book
WWhheenn ttoo CCoonnssiiddeerr aa PPllaayybbooookk PPrrooggrraamm::
New territories or incentive plans 6
1 Onboarding new reps
2 Sales kickoffs or other in-person events
3 New product launches or marketing campaigns
4 New sales process, productivity or methodology initiatives (e.g. social selling, new sales skills training)
5 New sales technology rollouts
Targeting new markets 7
To ensure adoption, you need a flexible approach thats fully suited to your environment. Youll want mmoodduullaarr ccoonntteenntt designed to support a diverse and fast-paced sales force. Youll want to use your playbook as foundational curriculum for a ccoonnttiinnuuoouuss lleeaarrnniinngg aanndd ccooaacchhiinngg ppllaann.. With the right support, you also can ensure proper measures are in place to enable ppeerrffoorrmmaannccee aasssseessssmmeenntt aanndd ddrriivvee ppeerrffoorrmmaannccee iimmpprroovveemmeenntt..
You have to produce content that arms your team and package it effectively. TThhee ccoonntteenntt mmuusstt bbee cclleeaarr aanndd ccoommppeelllliinngg,, iinnssiigghhttffuull aanndd aaccttiioonnaabbllee.. When it comes to your message, you must ensure you are locking on to your buyers world and creating a sense of urgency. And you nneeeedd ssuuppppoorrttiinngg aasssseettss that guide your people through your sales process. Your playbook must be eeaassyy ttoo nnaavviiggaattee aanndd aappppllyy,, providing the right guidance at the right time.
The success of your Playbook Program depends on three key factors:
DDeessiiggnn aanndd DDeevveellooppmmeenntt
RRoolllloouutt aanndd RReeiinnffoorrcceemmeenntt
CCoonnsseennssuuss aanndd CCoommmmiittmmeenntt
Your efforts to build a compelling message and instill process discipline will not be successful unless you hhaavvee yyoouurr kkeeyy ssttaakkeehhoollddeerrss ffuullllyy eennggaaggeedd iinn tthhee wwoorrkk ooff ppllaayybbooookk ddeevveellooppmmeenntt aanndd pprrooggrraamm ssuuppppoorrtt.. With the involvement of a messaging specialist and facilitator, you can ensure youre driving consensus in the creation of your content while securing the support youll need to maximize your impact.
3 Key Factors in Playbook Success
YYoouurr PPllaayybbooookk PPrrooggrraamm wwiillll bbee aann eesssseennttiiaall ffoorrccee iinn yyoouurr eeffffoorrttss ttoo bbuuiilldd aa ttrruullyy hhiigghh ppeerrffoorrmmiinngg ssaalleess tteeaamm.. Whether you are responsible for enabling an inside sales team, a field sales team, or both, such programs ensure you are producing powerful support tools and building critical skills that propel your organization forward.
Visually outlining the choreography of a sales conversation.
Clarifying objectives of your campaign or initiative to maintain focus.
Leading your conversations with facts, data points, and other icebreakers that grab attention.
Introducing pain points, costs, and consequences to create a sense of urgency.
Presenting a business solution that highlights your impact, value, and differentiation.
Sample Pages from a
To accelerate and enhance the rollout of your Playbook Program, youll want to consider bringing in a partner that can support your efforts. You want to ensure success. WWhhaatt ccrriitteerriiaa sshhoouulldd yyoouu uussee ttoo ddeetteerrmmiinnee wwhhiicchh ppaarrttnneerr iiss rriigghhtt ffoorr yyoouu?? Here are a few to consider:
Decision Criteria: What to Look for in a Playbook Program Partner
Expertise that spans sales, marketing, and product management.
Youll want a playbook partner that can span functional boundaries while driving ccoonnsseennssuuss aanndd ccoommmmiittmmeenntt.. You need to bring your stakeholders together. So you need someone with the presence and confidence to work the room someone with the skill to capture critical insights and get full buy-in from your stakeholders.
Expertise in conversation design and coaching.
You need a mmeessssaaggee tthhaatt aarrmmss yyoouurr sseelllliinngg tteeaamm for all stages of a buyers decision process. You have to answer the buyers key questions: Why should I pay attention? Why should I change? Why now? Why you? You want a story that cuts through the noise and addresses the core concerns of your buyers various decision team members.
Expertise in playbook design and navigation.
Your people wont use your playbooks unless they are eeaassyy ttoo nnaavviiggaattee aanndd uussee.. Thats why design matters. While some consultants merely focus on documenting messages or processes, its important that your playbook be designed to maximize adoption. You want your playbook to be an actionable tool that your sales team actively embraces and applies.
Expertise in program rollout, reinforcement, and performance measurement.
You want a partner to help you mmaaxxiimmiizzee tthhee iimmppaacctt ooff yyoouurr rroolllloouutt.. That may include participation in, or leadership of, various forums designed to facilitate, accelerate, and reinforce skill development. Be sure to work with a partner that understands performance measurement and has the same results-focus as your quota-carrying sales leaders.
Ready to Explore a Playbook Program?
If you are exploring a Playbook Program for your selling team or organization, youll want to clarify where you stand and examine your options.
Consider this offer: Visible Impact will provide a complimentary review and assessment that addresses your organizations Playbook Program Essentials.
AAss ppaarrtt ooff tthhiiss rreevviieeww aanndd aasssseessssmmeenntt,, yyoouullll rreecceeiivvee::
An Executive Summary and Preliminary Outline of your sales playbook
A Program Plan that clarifies key actions necessary to execute your Playbook Program
YYoouurr VViissiioonn.. VViivviiddllyy EExxpprreesssseedd.. Relying on Visible Impact, youll have the insight-driven positioning and messaging you need to:
Help your buyers visualize the case for taking action
Vividly communicate the full value of your solution
Make your message go viral within a decision team
With Visible Impact, you can bring your selling and marketing teams together to produce compelling positions, messages and insights that create a sense of urgency and win more business.
Contact a client strategist with Visible Impact today to learn more.