What is a Sales Playbook?

Does your prospecting team know who the company is targeting? Do they struggle to handle objections? Do they know what message works best for each Ideal Customer Profile? If the answer to any of these questions is no, that means your team needs a Sales Playbook.

A Sales Playbook is a guide of your company, product, and clients for your SDRs. When done right, it can reduce the onboarding time, increase the efficiency of your prospecting team, and it will ensure that the operations and strategy of your company are aligned.

So what’s not to like?

Why do you need a Sales Playbook?

A Sales Playbook is a must-have in any prospecting team. It boosts productivity and performance and aligns management and operations. 

But if we haven’t convinced you yet to start your own Playbook, here’s some specifics –

  • A Sales Playbook brings together the vision of the C-Suite and the operations of almost every department, so you’re sure that every team is working towards the same direction.
  • It’s an SDR’s guide to how to do their job. So once you’ve created your Playbook, that’s a big bit of your onboarding process sorted! Also, if you don’t help your team to do their job, they’ll have to figure things out. Spoiler alert, that’s not always a good idea.
  • If you had all your resources in one place and you knew who each resource is aimed to and when to use it, wouldn’t it make your life much easier? Wouldn’t it help you be more effective? Well, that’s exactly what a Playbook does. 
  • It brings together the best practices that have proven the most effective. So you know what works best, when it works best, and for who it works best for. So you can make sure you’re not missing out on any opportunity and enter your pipeline. 

Sales Playbooks boost productivity and performance and align management and operations.

What should be on your Sales Playbook?

By now we should all agree that not having a Sales Playbook is a recipe for failure. So now that we know how important it is to have a Playbook, let’s talk about what should be included in it –

1. Company overview

First of all, your team will need an intro to the company. It should include all the basics: the company strategy, mission and values, organizational chart, and roles and responsibilities. 

2. Products and pricing

What products do you offer? How do they work? What value proposition does each product have for each ICP? 

The SDRs should not sell the product, they should close a meeting with the Account Executive. That’s right. But they need to know the product they’re offering so they can engage their prospects. 

3. Buyer personas and target market

Let’s have a closer look at what each of these concepts are –

  • The target market is defined by three variables: size, geographical region, and industry. 
  • The buyer persona is determined by three variables: title, position and function.

If you’ve got this far into the post, you’ll know that the more specific your message is, the more successful you’ll be. 

This will help your SDR team anticipate the prospects’ needs, foresee their objections and clearly state their value proposition. 

4. Lead Qualification Criteria

Each company will have a different criteria. 

It’s not because you know who you’re addressing that you’ll automatically find qualified leads (if only it was that easy, right?). 

Although there are many ways to qualify leads, BANT is one of the most popular ones. 

5. Sales Process

What happens from the moment a lead enters the pipeline until the deal is closed? Give an in-depth description of every step on your sales process, including who is involved in each stage and what outcome can each situation bring.

6. Messaging and cadence

On this point we’ll cover how to approach leads. This includes –

  • Sales Cadence: sequence of outreach methods that SDRs will use to contact their leads. The most common methodologies are cold calling and email, and LinkedIn messages. Make sure to also specify for how long and how many times should the lead be reached on which platforms.
  • Email and call scripts: To set up an automated process, it will be beneficial to provide your team with scripts that have repeatedly proven effective. 
  • Elevator pitch: What should your sales reps say once the leads have responded to their outreach?
  • Discovery/Qualifying questions: SDRs will use these questions to qualify the leads and also make sure they’re targeting the right pain points to deliver the correct value proposition.
  • Objection handling: There’s always a “but”. How should your sales reps face these situations? 

7. Selected plays

Select the best practices that have proved to be successful. This is when you need to get your superstar SDRs together to share their experience and specific examples. 

Each play should include –

  • Strategy
  • Goals
  • KPIs 
  • Content for engagements and follow-ups
  • Objections and how to handle them
  • Examples

8. Resources

This is where marketing steps in. Did you know that marketing can actually help sales sell more? Well, they can. But the sales and marketing teams need to be aligned.

How can marketing help sales? Glad you asked. Marketing creates content that will help the prospecting and sales team engage their prospects

This content can be incredibly useful, but this means that SDRs need easy and quick access to it. So make sure all your content is located in the same place. It should be stated for whom (ICP) and at what stage in the buying process it is to be used. 

9. Key Performance Indicators

Let your team know which metrics are tracked more closely. What KPIs should they focus on? 

You will also need to specify the methods used to track KPIs and for which KPIs SDRs are responsible.

10. Tech Stack

Share the tools that are available for your team. Explain where to find them, how to use them, and when. Does your CRM have any integrations?

This might also be a great place to explain how leads are managed/tracked.

How to create a smashing Sales Playbook

1. Create your Playbook team

Put together everyone involved in the creation of the Sales Playbook. We’d suggest the participation of –

  • Sales leaders and top performers will be aware of the best practices and will ensure that the Playbook is user-friendly and relevant.
  • Marketing carries out the content creation and are proficient in framing the messages to customers.
  • C-Suite – we said that Sales Playbooks help align the company strategy with the operations, right? 
  • Having the insights from other experts in IT or Customer Success can be very helpful when it comes to understanding technical details about the product.

2. Define your buyer persona

By now we should all agree that a fair share of the success in closing a meeting is knowing who you’re addressing, what their pains are, and deliver the most accurate value proposition for that specific prospect. 

So it makes sense that the first step is to define our buyer persona, right?

3. Assess your existing content

Ask your top performers what messages they use, what resources are the most effective, what challenges they face, and how do they overcome them.

4. Messaging

For each ICP (Ideal Customer Profile), you’ll need to define your pitch and value proposition based on their pains. There will be a positioning statement and key benefits of each feature. 

This is where you’ll include examples of call and email scripts, best practices, plays…

It is worth mentioning that Sales Reps shouldn’t follow these scripts word by word. SDRs need to sound natural when contacting the lead; how natural can you be when you’re using someone else’s words?

Where should your Playbook live?

Now, the million dollar question. 

Quick answer? A place where your SDRs can access easily.

The whole idea of a Sales Playbook is to make your Reps’ life easier, safe them time so they can be more productive. So what’s the use of having a smashing Sales Playbook if your team can’t access it? 

Some companies have it in the cloud, some others keep within their CRM.

Let’s get to work

Creating a Sales Playbook will take time. But, believe us, it will be worth it. 

Almost every candidate mentions training on the product and processes when asked what they expect from the company they’re interviewing for. And in short, this is what a Sales Playbook is.

As long as you keep it updated, Playbooks will help you with remote onboarding and it will help your team stay efficient and motivated (isn’t this what we all want?). 

And for those CEOs reading this, if this isn’t a selling point for you, consider aligning your strategy to daily operations. Or maintaining cohesion among all teams in your company. 

If you’d like to know more about onboarding, check out this article.

Want to read more fresh content about the role of an SDR and sales teams? Check out more articles.