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Effective selling requires more than just the right skillset. Creating a sales playbook can improve your numbers in a big way.

When you look at a successful salesperson, what do you think makes them successful? They probably seem confident, persuasive, assertive… 

It’s true that these qualities are important, but they’re not the main success factor.

To succeed, you must focus on sales as a process (and structure this process correctly). That’s why you need a sales playbook.

Basically, a sales playbook is a resource that outlines how your ideal process works. It encompasses every stage you take a prospect through until they make the final buying decision.

Having this structure can take your sales game to a whole new level. By systemizing your sales, you give your salespeople’s performance a powerful boost.

What does this look like in practice? For reference, you can check out our sales playbook template to see how it works. Of course, when you create your own playbook, it might be very different.

So, how do you create an effective sales playbook? Let’s dive into the essential steps..

Sales Playbook Step #1 – Establish Your Company’s Mission

A clear and inspiring mission statement is critical for your business. It serves as a guide for every employee in the company, including the salespeople. The mission also tells the market why your business exists and what makes it different from the competition.

Assuming that your company has a mission statement, does it perform those functions? Are you staying true to it in everything that you do?

It might be a good idea to revisit your mission to see if this is the case. It should combine realism with optimism and serve as a source of motivation for your salespeople. Write your mission in your playbook first, then you can move on to the next steps.

Sales Playbook Step #2 – Outline Your Sales Team Roles and Responsibilities

Every salesperson should know precisely what you expect of them on a day-to-day basis. Once you have the mission in place, you must show your people how they’ll contribute to it. This means outlining their tasks in clear, concrete terms.

In this regard, focus on the general rules, targets, and performance levels that you expect. By doing so, you’ll show your sales team what their day at the office should look like. Go into as much detail as possible to ensure that your playbook contains actionable steps for maximum performance.

Sales Playbook Step #3 – Identify Your Ideal Client

For the longest time, a good salesperson was “someone who could sell ice to an Eskimo.”

But today’s expert salespeople know that this is a fundamental error. Much like Eskimos don’t need ice, not everyone needs your offer… And trying to sell to those people can only be problematic.

Who are the people who can benefit from your offer the most? What’s their age, occupation, salary, and main pain point? If you can’t answer these questions off the top of your head, it’s time to sit down and identify your ideal client.

Dig deep and identify the characteristics of that ideal someone who truly needs what you provide, then add that character sketch to your sales playbook so everyone knows exactly who you’re serving. With that, you can go on to fill your pipeline with qualified leads and smooth out the sales process.

Sales Playbook Step #4 – Run a Competitor Analysis

This is a critical sales playbook step, and there are many reasons for that. No matter what your business does, it’s almost certain that you will have to compete with other companies for the same audience. You must be perfectly clear-eyed about the level of threat that other businesses pose to your success.

This means running a thorough competitor analysis to see what the other companies in your niche are doing. How are you ahead of them? How are you falling behind?

Identify your top 10 competitors and dive deep into their processes. Look at their offers to see what makes them unique. Compare their content, SEO, and social media engagement. Compare all of the facets of your company  with your competitors’. That’s how you can find your points of difference and your unique position in the market.

Sales Playbook Step #5 – Find the Sequences That Work

Every salesperson is different. Some prefer to talk on the phone while others excel at written communication. Some are fantastic closers, and some are better at storytelling or objection handling.

You must account for this when defining your sequences. Everyone should have an opportunity to focus on what they do best. This is how you can blend every salesperson’s unique strengths and create a powerful, synergetic effect.

This step might require a lot of testing. You’ll have to experiment with different sequences and compare the results to come up with the winning formula.

Sales Playbook Step #6 – Work Out How You’ll Communicate Your Product’s Value

There are salespeople who don’t know the difference between features and benefits. A feature relates to your offer, but a benefit speaks to the customer. You must know the difference and communicate your value in terms of the benefits.

Once you’ve identified the key benefits, you can create a solid benefit statement. Here you should focus on the customer’s main problem and how your offer will make it go away. Look at your value from your customer’s perspective, and write that into your sales playbook for everyone to understand.

Sales Playbook Step #7 – Set Your Goals (Then Reverse Engineer Them)

When creating a sales playbook, you should start with the end in mind. Know the ultimate goal of the process, then see what it takes to achieve it.

Start with the outcome you want to create and compare it to your current position. Use the information in your sales playbook to find the best methods to bridge the gap. Lastly, set clear milestones as a way to track your progress.

Not every sales interaction will end in a closed deal. Sometimes you only want to get someone interested in the next stage of the process. This just means that you should have a clear goal for each sales activity, and find the most effective way to reach it.

A Roadmap to Success

Creating a sales playbook can be one of the smartest business moves for helping you scale your sales team. It eliminates guesswork and inefficiencies, allowing your salespeople to perform at their best.

If you don’t already have a playbook, now’s the perfect time to create one.

Best of all, you don’t have to figure it out by yourself. If you need help with any of the sales playbook steps, sign up for a free strategy session.

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