The White House recently released their U.S. Digital Services playbook, consisting of “key ‘plays’ drawn from successful best practices from the private sector and government.” While obviously it is entirely focused on the improvement of government services, much of its content can be applied to sales. Here are a few tips that all sales organizations can glean from the government’s playbook:
Understand what people need
An effective sales playbook should be built around a high level of customer analysis. It should help your reps develop a clear understanding of their buyer personas, as every sales organization has a different focus. Who are your buyers? What are their pain points? The government outlines a series of detailed questions for its services team to ask about their users. Your sales playbook should include the same.
Address the whole experience, from start to finish
As important as it is for your sales playbook to outline your sales process, it should also address the buyer’s journey. Many salespeople wrongly assume that their sales process aligns with their customer’s buying process. This is rarely the case. Buyers may engage late in their journey after they’ve already realized a need, done some research and established buying criteria. Your playbook should support multiple stages and be agile enough to move around – sometimes customers will take one step forward and then take two steps back. Chock your playbook full of functional information to help reps drive outcomes, not tasks.
Make it simple and intuitive
Okay, so the government is obviously talking about the use of their services in this context, but – for the sake of this blog post – let’s just say that it’s speaking to playbooks. While the purpose of a sales playbook is to act as a guide for your reps, too much complexity can be stifling. You playbook should leave enough wiggle room for your reps to respond intuitively to certain situations, but be robust enough to support the critical thinking required throughout a deal. Too many steps and you’re micromanaging, not enough steps and they’ll see no value.
Bring in experienced teams
A playbook, whether used by sales, services or actual sports teams, should be a centralized repository of best practices, tools and winning documentation. Where does this come from? Your organization. Everyone in your company is a goldmine of information to include in your playbook. Sales operations, professional services and finance are all great departments that may be able to supply information, templates or forms for your playbook. While experienced sales managers seem like the obvious, go-to source, all reps (no matter what level of seniority or title) should be sharing their best practices and the steps they took to win a deal. If the information is pertinent, include it in your sales playbook.
Deploy in a flexible hosting environment
Where are you housing all of this information? Excel, Word and PowerPoint – all wonderful tools – are not the best environments for everything involved in a sales playbook. A playbook needs to bring your sales process to life by being highly visual so that your sales reps will want to use it. It also needs to be easy to use. Otherwise, what’s the point?
And the best tip of them all…
Don’t let your sales playbook end up like Healthcare.gov. Spending a giant chunk of your company’s money to deploy any sales initiative that doesn’t work – or nobody wants to use – will not deliver the results you want despite your best intentions. Also, don’t wait to deploy a sales playbook until after something is already broken.
This article was syndicated from Business 2 Community: 5 Sales Playbook Tips from the White House
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