What are sales playbooks? And how do you create and roll one out to your sales team efficiently and effectively?
A sales playbook puts the right strategy and resources at the fingertips of salespeople, so that they can take the right steps, at the right time, with the right people. It helps your salespeople work smarter and faster so they can ultimately turn more prospects into customers. This is the secret to increasing new business revenue and overall conversion rates.
In this episode of Sell Smarter. Sell Faster., Harry Clark, CRO at Market Enginuity, steps through the process of implementing a sales playbook with a sales team, its effectiveness and efficiency, and how that has helped the team sell smarter and faster.
Tune in now or keep reading for a brief overview
What is a Sales Playbook?
A sales playbook is a robust guide to everything your salespeople need to know and access in order to do their jobs. This includes things like:
Steps of your sales process
How to overcome different objections – including talk tracks
Competitive battle cards
Breakdowns of your different services and offerings with positioning and key resources
Breakdown of your target buyers’ personas and their unique buye'rs journeys
And, of course, sales plays.
Sales plays are the meat of a sales playbook and are essentially you’re taking every scenario a salesperson might be in, and you break it down step by step. Our standard sales playbook starts at 12 to 15 sales plays. Examples include:
How to find a great prospect
How to approach a new prospect and get the first appointment
Conducting a great discovery meeting
Creating a proposal
Following up with an inbound lead properly
What to do when a prospect goes MIA
The best sales plays include email templates, call scripts, and links to resources salespeople can use at each step. By having all of this information in one place, you’re giving salespeople the ability to work smarter and faster.
During the interview, Dani states, “I have yet to come across a sales organization that wouldn’t benefit from having a sales playbook. It’s really about taking everything you have in different places, in owners, managers, or rock star salespeople’s heads, and putting it all in one place.”
She continues, “By compiling all of this into a living, breathing internal document – your salespeople can easily access what they need when they need it, you can update it as needed and know everyone has the most up to date information, and it really helps with onboarding new hires.”
Introducing Harry Clark
Harry Clark is the Chief Revenue Officer at Market Enginuity. Market Enginuity links mission-driven media clients and sponsors in mutually beneficial partnerships.
As the largest public media sponsorship sales force in the U.S., Market Enginuity represents local and national sponsorship for clients ranging from public media stations in media markets #2-44 to independent podcast networks. Comprised of podcast sponsorship specialists and pioneers in the industry, Market Enginuity Podcast Group is the sponsorship sales agent for PRX — the third largest podcast network in the U.S. and public radio’s largest distribution marketplace.
Harry leads revenue strategy for all Market Enginuity local, national, and network sales teams. In collaboration with sales leadership company wide, he focuses on tactics to unlock more revenue for every station and producer Enginuity represents, ultimately ensuring every team has clearly defined goals and is equipped with the right tools and support to exceed potential.
Harry’s media experience fostering successful sales culture and large-scale customer solutions spans both commercial radio and public media. He served as general manager of integrated media sponsorships for New York Public Radio prior to joining Market Enginuity in 2015. There, he built the team who pioneered podcast revenue generation in public media. Upon joining Enginuity, he first led the KCRW Los Angeles sponsorship team to record-breaking revenue before expanding his oversight to all Enginuity’s sales teams.
Problems a Sales Playbook solve
Market Enginuity has local, regional, and national teams — with just over 100 salespeople across the county. They work with sponsors at a local level and have embedded sales teams in stations around the country, working with local sponsors and expanding that reach across different regions.
As the Chief Revenue Officer, Harry's main focus is to make sure all teams have all they need to be successful. "We've been in the market for developing sales playbook for a long time," he states. "I saw Tom Brady speak at an Adobe conference, and he talked about how they practice and practice every detail of this playbook — and the team knows when to apply different plays, so it got me looking into playbooks and understanding what was out there."
"Our problem was that we had a lot of new salespeople and sales managers at different stages of either their sales career or understanding public media and the difference in what sponsorship was about. Trying to get all that aligned with all the tools and knowledge in a consistent way – that was the tough part."
Harry mentions how the teams had a lot of great information, but it was all stored in different places. "Nothing was written down. so being able to align the process and share best practices in a consistent way made it so that our team didn't have to reinvent the wheel every time they faced an objection."
Tips for building a Sales Playbook
During the interview, Harry mentions how the organization tried building its own sales playbook over the years but decided to outsource to the experts. "This is a huge project, and we couldn't find the bandwidth to get started and keep it moving." He continues, "When the opportunity came for us to bring in the experts at LeadG2, we took it. After seeing examples, we said this was it — this is what we need to do! LeadG2 had a process, and by us participating in that process, it got us over the finish line."
When asked what he felt worked well and tips for others that are looking to build a sales playbook, Harry said, "A sales playbook grounded our ability to understand our clients and prospect's needs, their objections, and new issues they were facing."
"LeadG2 took us down a path that guided us to something uniquely us – it was great to surveys and the interviews of our sales team because we were not making assumptions. The sales playbook helped us organize everything, so that we knew exactly where everything was, what was missing, what we needed to create, and it gave us a central intelligence to build on."
Specific Tips for Building a Sales Playbook:
Bring your team in to help.
Ask what problems your team is facing.
Create it with the end-user in mind.
Roll it out as a "best practices guide," not "here is how you do things..."
Sales playbooks obviously benefit new team members, but experienced salespeople also find value in the information. "We have group conversations that break into subgroups with different experience levels, and even the most experienced members learn something new. They often find a model or something that makes their day easier, or they share best practices across the organization. It's truly valuable for every one on the team," Harry states.
Favorite Pieces of Sales Playbooks
When asked his favorite part of the sales playbook, Harry replied:
Buyer's journey — Knowing where we are in the journey and seeing where we may be stuck.
Battle cards — Understanding the competitive landscape and how others are positioning themselves, so we can see where we can be different.
Valid business reason (VBR) — This opens the door to conversations that show value and why someone should meet with us.
Sales plays — These help in a lot of ways, but specifically getting that second meeting.
For more information on how Market Enginuity rolled out their sales playbook and how they keep it up to date, tune in!
"The biggest benefits we've seen from a sales playbook is enabling teams to sing their own song with their own voice," Harry explains. "It promotes learning and development and allows teams to learn at their own pace and leverage parts that are useful to them. It also helps with the onboarding process, so we're less reliant on sales leadership."
As a final tip, Harry advises anyone thinking about building a sales playbook to just do it! "There are so many benefits! And the process moves fast, so have your team ready to provide time and input because the more you do that upfront, the better the product."
Don’t miss another episode of the Sell Smarter. Sell Faster. where Dani Buckley, VP/GM of LeadG2 speaks with experts and thought leaders across a variety of industries and learn how they implementer of some of the most proven sales enablement and inbound marketing tactics and strategies. Visit SellSmarterSellFaster.com to learn more.
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