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By Eric Morse April 15, 2014

Inside Sales Management: The Value of a Sales Playbook

roadmap_-annerYou’re a sales leader, working with your team to achieve increased sales targets but you are struggling to get there. You need a new plan but where to start? In our last article Success Tips for the Inside Sales Process we talked about some quick tips to get a rapid boost in Inside Sales performance. For longer-term, more sustained performance, however, implementing a Sales Playbook as part of your sales planning should be something that you strongly consider. 

So what is a Sales Playbook and what does it do? The Sales Playbook is essentially a codified manual for your Inside Sales team which unifies both your selling strategy and your sales process. Additionally, it critically aligns your sales messaging so that it very clearly resonates with your selling prospects and/or future potential clients.

What it means for you-- having a Sales Playbook allows your team to increase your sales representative’s selling ramp up time by as much as 30%. Sometimes even more. This is because your sales team will now have clear definitions on and the ability to articulate; WHAT you are selling, WHO you are selling to and HOW your organization sells, so that it is very tightly integrated with how your customer buys.

Some key considerations to having a Sales Playbook are the incorporation of customized sales tools that your team can put to practical use immediately. Leading an outbound sales effort, you know that it is urgently important to have proper methods for lead generation in place so that you are efficient in prospect targeting. And yet, how many times are your sales representatives pursuing dead end sales leads, continuing to call a prospect even though they show no apparent interest in buying or even listening?

Many questions spring to mind. Is the company’s value proposition for your product or services as effective as you need it to be? Are your sales representatives talking to the right people in the prospect’s organization? Have you clearly defined the “signals” for your sales team so they know when it is OK to move on to a more productive prospect? Does the “language” that your sales team speaks match the language (in terms of industry definitions) that your prospect uses? If the language doesn’t match, it almost certainly means lost sales because your client prospects won’t understand the value proposition that your company is trying to convey. Furthermore, the potential client won’t even try to understand it.

 Many companies take a haphazard approach to calling on their clients and the result is also haphazard—a massive loss of selling efficiency and numerous deals “left on the table”. In fact, some potentially fantastic opportunities with real value creation won’t even see the light of day. But it doesn’t have to be this way. It starts with realizing that the background preparation to make a client call is just as important as the call itself. It starts with a plan.

 And that’s where a Sales Playbook can help.

For outbound calls, especially to SaaS companies, it is important to be able to properly identify the right sales prospect, to truly understand the prospect’s buying process and then to map your selling process so that it aligns with how your prospect buys.

Some of the critical components of a great Sales Playbook:

WHAT You Sell

Defining Your Product or Service Offering.
Business Pains and Benefits (how you solve pain)
Value Proposition
Competitive Overview
Objection Handling

WHO You Sell To

Defining your Prospect Personas.
Verticals Overviews
Opportunity Qualification
Market Segmentation

HOW You Sell

Creating a Defined Winning Sales Process
Mapped to the Buying Process
Proper Objectives
Key Activities
Key Metrics
Selling Tools
CRM Implementation
Closing Plans
Forecast and Funnel Reviews

An Inside Sales Playbook gets you critical ROI. Proven ROI. If you could wave the proverbial magic wand and suddenly gain a 30% improvement in closed sales for example, what would it mean for your overall performance? 

Just remember: It’s a plan that helps you get there. But it also has to be a good plan

Topics: Sales Management, Sales Playbook, Sales Strategy

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