Creating a Sales Playbook
A guest post from Leap's Co-Founder Gary Kagan and Leap Advisor Josh Lam
If you're a company selling a product or service, then you need to have a sales playbook. We’ve spoken to many founders and early-stage companies that believe having a sales playbook isn’t necessary and sales reps just need to “figure it out” as they start with the company.
It’s important for founders to remember that not everyone is a founder and just gets things done. Creating documentation and process to help sales reps succeed is critical to be able to learn and eventually scale your business.
The term "sales playbook" is complex because it encompasses a wide range of topics and terms, and it should be an evolving and adaptable document. To better understand the process of creating a sales playbook, think of the process a sculptor undergoes when creating a beautiful portrait sculpture.
Just as a sculptor needs to understand the raw material they're working with, such as marble or clay, entrepreneurs or businesses must identify their Ideal Customer Profile(ICP). This involves understanding the pain points that your product or service solves and gaining insight into the daily lives, priorities, and language of your ICP.
For instance, if you're selling a product to the dental field, you'll need to consider various factors. Are you selling directly to the dentist? Would it be more effective to sell to a Dental Support Organization (DSO) that already manages hundreds of dental offices? Although you're ultimately selling the product to the same client, the language and pain points that make a dentist or DSO willing to work with you will differ significantly.
Creating a sales strategy is akin to defining the shape and form of a sculpture. Your value proposition serves as the head, while your customized sales process acts as the foundation. Most sales processes follow the same basic building blocks: prospecting, outreach, qualifying, presenting, handling objections, closing, and onboarding.
Develop a clear value proposition and design a customized sales process that is easy to replicate and adapt. This is where having a written sales playbook becomes crucial. If you're unable to create a flowchart outlining the steps needed at each stage, based on your ICP, you'll be prone to making repeated mistakes and experiencing setbacks.
Below are the topics we believe should be included in your sales playbook:
Introduction to the company: Provide an overview of the company's history, mission, and values, as well as the products or services that are being sold
Target market and customer persona: Describe the ideal customer and their characteristics, including demographics, psychographics, and pain points
Sales process: Outline the steps of the sales process, including prospecting, qualifying, presenting, handling objections, and closing
Sales tools and resources: Provide an overview of the sales tools and resources that are available, such as CRM software, sales scripts, email templates, recorded calls and sales collateral
Competitive analysis: Explain the competitive landscape and how the company's products or services compare to those of the competition
Objection handling: Provide guidance on how to handle common objections that may arise during the sales process, such as price, timing, or competition
Sales metrics and KPIs: Define the key performance indicators (KPIs) that are used to measure sales success, such as conversion rates, sales cycle length, and average deal size
Sales onboarding & training: Walk through what onboarding looks like as an employee of the company as well as what sales training will take place to help the new sales rep absorb all the material within the playbook
Sales team structure and roles: Describe the roles and responsibilities of the sales team members, including sales reps, sales managers, and support staff
Hand-off: Walk through the approach to make each new client successful as well as the process to best hand-off a client to Customer Success
Sales Compensation & Quotas: What are the targets and how are the sales reps compensated for their work
Continually sharpen your skills and adjust your sales playbook, empowering future sales teams or sculptors to reproduce your masterful design.
Comment on this post if you would like us to go deeper on any particular section of a sales playbook 👇