How to Create Successful Sales Plays and Playbooks
Marketing and Sales Enablement are continually asked to quickly churn out Playbooks to increase sales resource productivity and to focus the salesforce on being more strategic when positioning company solutions.
Playbooks, however, often do not produce the outcomes desired by sales or marketing because the company has failed to do pre-requisite activities that are essential for developing winning Plays:
- Define a common understanding of the sales process
- Outline benchmarks for behavior and leading indicators
- Agree on the Definition of a Play
- Understand the Customer, including
- Ideal Customer Profile
- Value Proposition (Concise Description, Best Use/Application of Product, Competing approach/differentiation from leading competitors, “Why” choose)
- Buyer Personas (Age, income, education, habits, purchasing process)
- Qualification Criteria (Annual Revenue, Buying Stage, Need, Activity/Marketing Score, etc.)
- Leverage resources like content and sales tools to help customer buy faster, including:
- Prospecting Content (e.g. Buyer’s Guide, Info graphic, research report) and Sales Tools (e.g. LinkedIN connection, appointment booking script)
- Qualification Content (Whitepapers, Webinars) and Sales Tools (Lead Qualification checklist, SPIN selling questions, Feature – Advantage – Benefit tool)
- Demo/Consideration Content (Case Studies, Datasheets, Customer Testimonial Videos) and Sales Tools (Demo script, objection response, key account analysis)
- Proposal / Decision Content (ROI Calculator, customer reviews from 3rd parties, presentation decks, proposal template, influencer map)
- Customer Success / Contract / Implement (On-boarding package, Implementation Services Guide, Customer Community, Pricing Guide)
- Provide a basis for handling different types of calls and prospect interactions within the process
- Create an Approach on How to Prioritize and Choose Plays
- Create the Plays and Playbook
What is a Sales Play?
A Sales Play is a repeatable market or sales offering and sales motion that is aligned to enable specific sales teams (or channel partners) to successfully sell a solution to a specific set of customers and personas during a defined period in time.
What is a Sales Playbook?
A Sales Playbook is a complete and concise set of instructions, enabling tools, content and resource links that will be used by the sales team to understand and execute the Play.
Use a standard process to prioritize which Plays should be developed and supported to enable and successfully help execute the company’s go to market and sales and/or retention strategies. Define each Play to the point that the “what, why, who and how” of a specific sales objective is clear.
When there is agreement on the difference of between a Playbook and Play – and what a Play is – the organization is ready to create a focused set of Plays to create and execute during the year.
Sales Play Samples
There are defined steps within a sales process design that represent specific sales plays. For example, the sales process includes a prospecting stage, a discovery or qualification stage, a demo stage, a design, propose, negotiate stage and a sold/customer stage..
The detailed activities within prospecting stage include sales plays, the objectives and desired behaviors and leading indicators of success:
Transactional vs. Complex Sales
There are important distinctions to be made from transactional sales processes and playbooks and complex sales processes and playbooks.
There are any number of variables. For example, for a simple or transactional sale, the prospecting stage’s end result may be to schedule a discovery meeting with a product demo.
In a complex sale, the goal for the prospecting call my me an initial discovery meeting where a capabilities overview is the goal without a demos.
For complex sales, customer onboarding may be significantly longer and more involved where a transactional sale’s support may be simply an online community or FAQ.