How to Create a Spectacular Sales Playbook in 6 Easy Steps

Your sales playbook isn’t perfect…not even close.

But let me clarify, a sales playbook can’t just be a jumbled up list of worn call scripts and checklists haphazardly thrown together with a loose paperclip. 

An ideal sales playbook is a tool that lets you take an in-depth look at every aspect of your pipeline’s success, but still gives you an actionable way to fix every mistake you make along the way. This rare sales playbook is crucial to any sales team’s training process and overall growth. 

But obtaining this holy grail of sales tactics is a bit easier than sprinting away from a runaway boulder with your trusty whip at your side.

All it takes is six steps:

1. Thoroughly identify your buyer. 

The first step you need to take before you even think about putting words down on a page is to take an exhaustive look at your buyer persona.

I’m not saying you need to follow one of your prospects into their local diner and peek at them behind a newspaper with some dollar store disguise on. That’s a surefire way to get a restraining order.

However, it’s important to get as much info about your potential buyer as possible. Sift through your contacts and find patterns between similar prospects in the same role. Check with your sales team to see what they’ve noticed when they’re talking to them. Interview similar clients yourself if that’s what it takes.

When you can find what makes your prospects tick, it becomes easier to personalize a sales strategy around their needs.

2. Hone in on your Unique Selling Proposition (USP).

Now that you know exactly who you’re selling to, it’s time to focus on what you’re selling.

But if I’m your client, and you try to tell me you’re selling advanced computer software, cybersecurity or even girl scout cookies, you’ve already lost my attention (though I’ll take a box of thin mints for the road). 

What you’re selling to your clients is the catch-all solution to their problems. So you need to put it in terms of what your product can do for them.

In order to figure that out, you need to ask yourself a few questions: 

  1. What does my company offer that no one else can? 
  2. What does my target buyer look for in a product like this? 
  3. What problems could they have that would make them look elsewhere?

Once you can answer these questions, you can make your sales funnel a much more compelling process for your prospects.

3. Iron out the all-star plays in your sales funnel.

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

There’s a reason that your existing sales funnel works. Maybe you’ve really gotten the timing down on some of your touchpoints. Or maybe your sales funnel gives your client a CTA that they just can’t refuse.

While a simple “copy+paste” isn’t going to cut it, it’s crucial that you understand what sales tactics work for your company, and go from there. And once you figure out your key tactics, learn how you can personalize them for each prospect.

But you need to understand that these plays don’t always work in a vacuum. You can’t just implement your killer email marketing campaign for your new sales funnel if you don’t understand why it was killer in the first place. 

Every remarkable play has an underdog play leading into it. You can chop down your favorite tree, but if you want it to keep growing, you need to take the roots with it…

4. Investigate every play that’s lagging behind. 

…but if the roots were an active detriment to the tree, maybe it’s to get the excavator.

For every stellar tactic in your sales pipeline, there’s bound to be some plays that act as dead weight. Take a look at your retention rates for each step in your sales funnel. Even the most subtle drop-offs can mean that your team hasn’t tapped into their full potential at each step.

I can’t tell you that a perfect sales funnel exists, but you’ll push the needle in no time when you know how to tune-up the black sheep in your pipeline.

5. Keep tabs on your competition.

I’ll stress again that I’m not telling you to stake out your local competitors with a pair of binoculars to find out their ace in the hole (trust me, I’ve tried). But you need to understand what your clients might want to leave you for.

What can your competitors do that you can’t? In sales, you always need to play to your strengths, but if you’re advertising top-of-the-line quality when your competitor is Microsoft, it’s not a battle you’re going to win.

Sometimes, you need to get creative. If you can’t offer the most value for your clients, maybe you can focus on your best-in-class customer service. There’s always a USP to take advantage of, but you can’t find it if you don’t know what makes it distinct.

6. Make. It. Repeatable.

This is the most vital step to creating a sales playbook. What’s the point of going through this effort and market research if you can only use it for the next year or so?

If you’re Procter & Gamble, you’re not going to bank on someone going viral trying to down a container of Tide Pods every few months…hopefully.

Find processes that fit into a quarterly or yearly pattern you and your team can rely on. What months are going to bring you the most prospects? What months are easiest to close the deal for your specific product?

When you can create repeatable patterns in your sales playbook, you’ll find much more stability in your sales cycles in no time.

But always keep an eraser handy.

You should never set your sales playbook in stone. Unless you like the look of charcoal on granite tablets, in which case, get with the times already. 

The “best” playbook doesn’t exist because nobody can predict the future. The key to sustainable growth in sales is the ability to adapt your sales playbook to whatever comes your way. So it’s important to always keep an ear to the ground and a pencil in hand.