After revolutionizing mass factory production, Henry Ford went down in American history as a pioneer of efficiency. By introducing the first assembly line at his Highland Park plant in Michigan in 1913, he not only streamlined the automotive sector, but influenced companies and industries around the world to be more economical.
If you’re wondering what Ford has to do with sales, the truth is, you have more in common with the car industry mogul than you might realize.
Just as sales leaders strive to create an environment where their reps can close deals as efficiently as possible, Ford similarly set his mind on finding a way to get his workers producing more cars in less time.
He figured out that the best way to accomplish this was to develop a set of standardized procedures for each worker to adhere to. He discovered that time, confusion, and other factors that contribute to inefficiency are minimized when one step of a process flows seamlessly into the next.
Starting to sound familiar?
Like the inefficiencies that slowed Ford’s production process, there are plenty of things that can bog down your sales cycle. Whether your reps are spending too much time on proposals, chasing dead leads, or losing track of deals in the closing stages, there’s always room for improvement.
With a streamlined workflow, you can have each of your reps operating like their own individual sales assembly line. By laying out all of the steps in your sales process and providing the resources to complete them, they’ll easily be able to move prospects through the sales cycle and close more deals.
The most effective way to do this is by giving them a sales playbook.
What is a sales playbook?
A sales playbook describes your company’s process for finding leads and moving them through the funnel until they sign on the dotted line. Often referred to as a sales playbook template, it also includes all of the content your reps need to close the deal, such as ready-made messaging and scripts. It can often have handy information about your company, sales team’s strategy, and goals, in order to keep everyone on the same page and moving in the right direction together.
To remove any ambiguity when a new rep joins your team, we suggest that you give your sales playbook to them on their first day. This will help them start learning your process from the get-go and hit the ground running.
The essentials of a winning sales playbook
Having trouble coming up with a playbook to give them? Look no further. If you want to create a more successful, scalable, sales process, these steps are essential in creating a winning sales playbook:
1. Build your team
The first order of business should be designating one person to oversee the production of your sales playbook. They’ll be the person in charge of compiling the content, setting deadlines, and keeping the project on track.
2. Perform an audit
Before you jump into creating new content, take an audit of what you already have floating around. See what phone and email scripts are working best for your reps and add those to your sales playbook. Review your marketing materials—blogs, articles, white papers, and other content can be extremely useful for sales reps and it can help you align your marketing and sales efforts. Not only does repurposing save time and resources, it also highlights the content that delivers results.
3. Pull in stakeholders
From there, you can start pulling people from your company to pitch in. As the sales manager, you can provide high-level sales team and company intel like goals, sales strategy, and best practices. Ask your top-selling sales rep to give their input on which sales closing techniques work best for them.
Tap your marketing team for their expertise, especially those in content. They can help put your advice into words in a way that will be easy for your new reps to absorb. They can also ensure the sales playbook matches your company’s voice and tone. Additionally, they may have valuable input on the structure of your playbook, so you should include them in early discussions when creating the outline.
Your in-house ace in product marketing should also be involved in order to share details on your targeted buyer personas, where your product fits in the marketplace, and your product messaging.
4. Ask the experts
If there’s anyone who you believe would be valuable in the creation of your playbook, give them a seat at the table. For example—since the playbook should act as a digest on your product, you might want to ask someone in development to contribute to the section on product features.
5. Tailor your approach
No two companies are the same, so no two playbooks should be identical either. You may want to deep dive into a particular part of the company, product, or sales product and break out a section to address it in more detail. Use our sales playbook example as a guide, but use your judgement to adjust it to suit your sales team.
What’s covered in the sales playbook template
In our sales playbook example, we’ve outlined for you the eight chapters you must include to make yours a success. They are:
Using our sales playbook template, you’ll learn what’s important to include when introducing your company to your sales reps. This could include topics like your company history, values, and mission, but the details vary with each new prospect and project.
Beyond a background about the company itself, you’ll also want to lay out the structure of your sales team, and clearly state where the reps fall in the hierarchy.
Products and services
A salesperson won’t be successful in their job unless they know what they’re selling. Our sales playbook example highlights all the boxes you need to check to make sure your reps are confident with their product knowledge.
In this section, you’ll want to explain to your reps precisely who they’re targeting and how to reach them. In our sales playbook template, we take a deep dive to tell you everything you need to include to give your team members an accurate description of your ideal customer.
This section is the meat and potatoes of your sales playbook. This is where you walk your sales rep through your selling processes and messaging, from finding and qualifying leads, all the way to closing the deal. With our sales playbook template, you’ll be able to minimize inefficiencies by having your reps follow a step-by-step approach to closing each deal.
Using the CRM
To be successful, each member of your team must know how to use your CRM. In this section of our sales playbook template, you’ll learn what information you should include about your CRM in order to help your reps get the most out of it.
Your selling methodology
If your company follows a specific sales methodology, your reps should be introduced to it in your sales playbook. We’ll give you insight into how to brief your team on your sales methodology, and what they should expect for initial and long-term sales training.
Measuring activities & outcomes
To ensure that your reps are performing at their best, you’ll want to make your expectations of them crystal clear. Our sales playbook template offers suggestions on how to use sales metrics and analytics to communicate your expectations and goals for your reps, both as individuals and as a part of your sales team.
Compensation & commission
Compensation packages for salespeople can vary significantly from company to company. Some are more complicated than others, with multiple ways to earn money on top of the base salary, each with their own terms and conditions. Our sales playbook template will guide you through delivering this information in a way that’s easy to understand and easy to reference if they are looking for additional motivation.
Ford’s assembly line reduced the production time for a Model T down to just 93 minutes by dividing the production process into 45 steps. Thanks to his optimization, the plant was producing cars faster than the paint on them could dry.
You can have your reps moving leads through the funnel just as slick by giving your team all of the tools they need for the job. A sales playbook is the easiest way to present your tried and true processes and techniques, and have all of your reps inking deals like a well-oiled machine.