10 Critical Components of a Winning Sales Playbook
2020 has been a year no one anticipated when the ball dropped back in January. However, one of my favorite 2020 moments was seeing my hometown Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LIIV for the first time in 50 years, and then follow that up with signing their MVP quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, to a staggering 12-year deal worth over half-a-billion dollars. Chiefs' General Manager, Brett Veach, also magically signed KC's best defensive player, Chris Jones, All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, and a few other integral players from their championship roster, all while staying under the salary cap.
It's another tremendous feat for an organization with incredible ownership, one of the winningest and most respected coaches in the league, the most dynamic player and the face of the NFL for the next decade, and the most significant home-field advantage in Arrowhead Stadium. But what truly makes this organization unique is their playbook, which continues to baffle the minds of opposing coaches and players.
What is a playbook?
In football, it's the set of plays that encompass the strategies and tactics a team will use to win the game. In business, it's no different.
How do you plan to win as an organization within your industry? How will your sales team gain an advantage over the competition and win customers? How will your customer success team maintain the highest standards to keep customers happy?
All of this must be considered, discussed, written down, and put together into an easy-to-use manual that every person in the organization can understand and fully support.
Here are 10 critical components of a winning sales playbook:
1. Strategy for hiring great sales talent
90-95% of positions within any organization are operations-based roles, and most internal recruiters are strong at finding talent for these roles. Sales professionals are a different animal, a rare breed, and it takes a different approach to find the best sales talent available to your organization.
We've partnered with the most recognizable sales professionals in the world to recruit, vet, and train sales-minded professionals exclusively for your organization.
2. Proper training and ongoing coaching for sales professionals
Great sales professionals are like fine-tuned athletes; although they can accomplish excellent results, they still need structure and leadership to turn your business into a world-class sales organization. The right training coupled with ongoing coaching makes all the difference.
3. Simple commission plan
Sales professionals need to know what they will make when they sell a product or service. It shouldn't be a complicated math equation, a guessing game, or some random, inconsistent number based on the deal. It should all be laid out in the open, easy for anyone to understand, and designed to incentivize your sales team to close, not to make phone calls or send out emails. Compensation plans based on productivity rather than winning deals is misguided and not effective.
4. Outstanding leadership to guide sales professionals towards success
There has never been a championship team that didn't have a world-class coach leading that team to success. Look at the great teams in any sport, and you'll find a great manager/head coach, which should tell you something about the quality of individual you should hire to lead your team. And keep in mind, a great sales leader may not be the best sales producer. The skills set for each role are drastically different.
Some of the greatest coaches in sports weren't the most significant players, and some of the best players ended up being terrible coaches, so think twice before throwing your best sales professional into a sales leadership role.
5. Effective lead generation and lead qualification processes to fill the pipeline
Filling the pipeline with leads who are aware of your company and your products/services, who are interested in using those products/services, and who can purchase those products/services are critical to a successful organization. Any company that says this is purely the job of sales professionals - to hunt down all new customers - is being lazy or cheap, or both.
It would be ideal to have a reliable lead generation team to spend time working through leads to tee up the best opportunities for your sales professionals to close quickly. This conveyor belt approach to moving customers into and through the sales process is truly in the best interest of your company and a worthwhile investment.
We accomplish this for our clients by providing accomplished sales professionals in Colombia, South America, who are competitive, ambitious, coachable, and have the highest levels of English proficiency.
6. Easy to use CRM with system admin to organize and provide structure for sales professionals
Failing to use a CRM effectively and efficiently is like having a map and not using it. You'll never arrive at your destination. And if you do, it will take you a lot longer to do so. Using a CRM correctly will provide structure and simplicity for sales professionals to stay organized and focused during the sales process.
Many salespeople are not organized individuals by nature, so this structure is critical to keeping sales on track. It also provides insight into the health of a sales pipeline and the overall organization through accurate reporting. The most effective way to use a CRM correctly, is to have a CRM admin on your team to maximize its features and usage.
7. Rules of engagement in place to ensure sales professionals understand how to work together to manage open leads & opportunities
Sales professionals are competitive, ambitious, hungry, and hard-working. Rules of engagement ensure your sales team doesn't implode over arguments of whose lead is who's. It pays dividends to know how to handle new leads/opportunities as they come in to ensure each sales professional has an equal number of options to produce. It also minimized the food fights in the breakroom!
8. Solid script to guide conversations
Sales conversations should not be scripted, but they should be outlined. A solid script is paramount in leading sales professionals to a place of competence in which the script & pitch are so memorized it can be delivered in a conversational way throughout a discussion. Don't expect your sales professionals to follow a script to a "T," but having a script for sales professionals as they are getting started and for additional coaching is so important.
9. Create alignment with the marketing team
In far too many organizations, marketing is seen as a separate entity or is entirely non-existent. This doesn’t make sense. The marketing team should be responsible for filling the pipeline and driving new customer acquisition too. This starts by setting goals that marketing and sales execute with strategy and tactics.
Most companies fail to do this because it is an investment in time. Companies that do commit to solid marketing strategies often see their pipeline continuously filled with steady leads.
10. Open your pipeline to include marketing strategies
Open your sales pipeline to inbound and paid media tactics. Inbound is a long-term investment in time but costs 62% less than other lead generation tactics. Over time, through monitoring and optimization of efforts, inbound will become a steady drip that is always working to fill the pipeline.
Paid media, such as pay-per-click, can produce more immediate results for your team and supplement the work your sales team is putting in on the phones. By including marketing tactics as ways to fill the pipeline, your sales team will have more people to talk to, helping them close more deals.
Our job at Lean Sales is to make sure your company becomes a world-class sales organization starting with your sales playbook. We provide the tools to help you hire & train better talent, generate warmer leads, and effectively use technology & other tools to move those leads to winnable opportunities.
Reach out to us today to discuss the X's and O's of your business and put the Lean Sales Playbook into your team's hands. It's time to Win the Day.
Trey Griggs is a sales executive that, during his nine years in the transportation industry, has gained experience in several sectors within technology, including load boards, rate analytics, TMS systems, visibility solutions, digital freight-matching platforms, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Trey enjoys coaching teams to be great, as well as speaking on sales & marketing strategies, leadership & organizational structure, and technology. When he’s not building world-class organizations, you can find Trey spending time with his family, traveling, renovating his home, playing golf, working out, reading & playing music.