Sales Webinar | 12 Elements of a Great Sales Playbook


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Effective implementation of a Sales Playbook results in 33% additional revenue, but just over half of companies have one. Travis Hill of The TAS Group shared the 12 Elements of a Great Sales Playbook that you should use to easily realize this revenue gain.

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  • Before we get started today, I have a few housekeeping items. 1.     Everyone attending today’s webinar will receive a link to the archive and presentation deck. You may also access the archive following the webinar by going to—under the resources tab. 2.     If you have a question, please use the question box on your screen or tweet your question to @thetasgroup. Questions will be addressed at the end of today’s presentation. 3.     Join the conversation on Twitter – please use HASHTAG #politicalmapexpress4.      
  • (Pause -3 seconds)Thank you Suzanne for that kind introduction and thank you everyone for taking the time out of your busy day to join us. I'm really excited to share with you the history of over 25 years of sales process development and sales automation which has led us to this point in time where we can develop automated sales playbooks to make our sales organizations more efficient and effective.To start out, I am going to spend some time discussing a few recent trends in sales process automation. We’re going to ask a couple questions of the attendees, very quickly discuss some recent research on the benefits of a structured sales process. Then we’ll go through the 12 Elements that make up a great sales playbook and from there jump into an actual demonstration of what this should look like in Salesforce.Finally we’ll end with a Q & A session.   
  • So what is a smart sales playbook?It’s a documented guide that helps your sales people understand how to better sell our products or services. It incorporates a winning, repeatable sales process, and a good one will also be embedded directly into the daily workflow of your sales organization. But there are other aspects to carefully consider…and we’ve identified 12 of these elements through the development of over 20,000 sales processes at world class organizations around the globe during the last 30 years.  First, to establish a baseline understanding of where we've come as sales professionals and where we’re heading, I would like to talk a little bit about the history of sales automation.
  • Over the years, sales people have seen a lot in terms of sales automation.It started with Excel and for some, Excel is still used to help organize contacts, help with forecasting, but it doesn’t really have much to do with facilitating sales process.Then sales people were given tools like ACT, Goldmine and other desktop based “contact managers”. Again, great tools but not embedded within sales process. Then led the way to help sales teams become more social and mobile through cloud service. was smart to give us the ability to add sale process stages to opportunities. Unfortunately, the sales person is left in charge of making a “judgment call” that’s often not based on empirical data to determine which stage an opportunity is in. So as sales methodologists we asked “What’s next for sales teams?” To answer this question you need to know what sales people expect and want out of their tools. As a sales professional I want my automation tools to be everything I’ve described and also make me smarter in how I sell to my customers and provide me with intelligent insight throughout the sales process. As a sales manager, I want to know where my team is, in the deals they’re working, so I can provide help when it makes the most sense. And I believe that companies who can nail this “sales process automation” and provide intelligent insight within the sales process will reap significant benefits. And we’re already seeing this in a number of organizations.
  • So first question of the day…how many of you have a defined sales process?Great, this is good to see and what we had hoped for. A well informed, intelligent listening audience that understands the importance of a good sales process:
  • Weanalyzed 750 participants in a Sales Performance Study, and learned that 2 of 5 companies still don’t have a defined sales process that is embedded in their sales organization. When you look at individual high performers vs poor performers. Those who are considered high performers are 33% more likely to follow a structured sales process. And second, Salespeople spend about 2.5 hours each week on sales forecasting, and for most companies, the accuracy of those forecasts leave a lot to be desired. In fact, based on this research; companies who do not define and execute a sales process have inaccurate sales forecasts 71% of the time! Those who do have a defined sales process, still aren’t always accurate in their forecasting but do a much better job. Now…why are those who have defined, strong process still not 100% accurate?Well, this is where sales automation comes in… just because you as a sales executive or sales operations/effectiveness professional have defined a sales process doesn’t mean that me as a sales person is going to follow it.
  • Now, before you answer that. Ask yourself, how do you know your sales process is being followed? If you don’t have a sales process, then the question has already been answered. But if you do, there is a couple things to consider quickly because breakdowns in sales process will have symptoms. Some of these symptoms are listed in orange on the right.Inconsistent performance, longer than expected sales cycles, poor coaching from sales managers, sales people are selling products vs. solutions, difficulty replicating high performer tendencies, and pipeline visibility is non-existent or speculative at best. All these are symptoms that your sales process isn’t being followed by everyone. With that in mind, please take a moment to answer the poll.********These are very common responses. The goal of this question is really to show everyone that getting your entire sales organization to follow a winning sales process is hard. But with the use of an intelligent sale playbook, it doesn’t have to be.In fact we’ve seen the benefits of integrated playbooks (which are by the way listed in green on this page) work for many of our customers.
  • A good example of the benefits one our clients had by implementing a sales playbook is ITS set aggressive growth targets and then developed strategic plans to meet its goals. One central objective was to improve its sales achievement, and the company decided to do this by investing in existing human capital rather than extending the sales teams. In addition, they embarked on a new action plan that included the adoption of a formal sales process and implementing Salesforce as their CRM. BenefitsITS, saw a huge improvement in so many sales variables:Numbers of Deals: Up 47% Average Deal Size: Up 26% Win Rate: Up 58% Sales Cycle Length: Down 27% ITS now has close to 90% user adoption, and 90% of managers are reviewing their deals using the playbook. ChallengesOne year later, however, ITS executives found a series of problems. First, adoption of Salesforce had declined to unacceptable levels and it was increasingly difficult to convey to sales people the value of using the system. At the same time, there was a lack of understanding about the sales process, and consequently, it was not being followed consistently. Also, communication across teams was poor, especially in teams that were geographically dispersed. When they dug deeper, the executives found that these were symptoms of some underlying failures. The company had not carried out enough training on the sales process, so it was not well understood or adopted within the sales organization. In addition, they operated a range of unconnected systems and this made sharing of information troublesome. For example, while ITS had been very thorough in providing process guides and other tools, these were in paper and spreadsheet formats. SolutionDealMaker Smart PlaybookDealMaker Opportunity ManagerDeal Maker Account Manager+virtual learning
  • Here are some other clients of ours who have automated parts of their sales function through one of our products. Feel free to go to our company website and you can see some of our customers talking about how they use our products and the benefits they get from them.
  • These are the products we offer. Smart Opportunity Manager integrates sales methodology into the sales process to help you understand competitive strategies to employ, coach your reps through deals, help reps understand formal and informal political structures, etc. Smart Account Manager helps you unlock revenue in your biggest accounts. Our CEO Donal Daly actually wrote the book on Account Planning in Salesforce…its call Account Planning in Salesforce.We’re talking about playbook today. And finally, if you want to measure the effectiveness of your individual sales reps rather than just quota attainment, you should ask us about our Smart Analytics.
  • And now to get into the meat of the conversation, so we’re going to go through the 12 Elements of a Great Sales playbook. This is the summary page and will be made available to all participants after the call. In the meantime, I want to break them down and explain each one. Then we’ll jump into the application and show this in context.  
  • The first and one of the most important reasons for using a sales playbook is creating a:1. Repeatable Winning Sales ProcessesWhen everyone performs the same winning behavior’s all of the time, the sales team can achieve remarkable results. Winning sales processes are going to come from the best practices of your top performers. This ensures your salespeople are repeating the actions that will most likely result in success.  When everyone adopts the same sales process, there is a common language that is understood, not just by sales, but by the whole organization. The result is an increase in productivity, a shorter sales cycle, quicker on-boarding for new sales reps and more wins for the sales team overall.  2. Customized to the Buying CycleCustomers buy in lots of different ways and customers know every step they need to take buying cycle. Particularly because of the increasing influence of procurement departments. The buying process has been systemized by your customers, so you want to follow that system. They have business problems to solve, alternatives to consider, decision criteria to meet, and again, a procurement process that is unlikely to be overturned. In short, they have hurdles they need to jump and in order to win consistently you need to make sure you are fully aligned with your customer’s buying activities.  3. Sales Tools in Context at Each StageAt each stage of the buying process, salespeople need to employ right tools, at the right time to advance the sale to the next stage in the process. If you’ve ever been a sales person you know that you are frequently faced with a myriad of options. This can make life confusing. We have marketing documents, whitepapers, ROI calculators, pricing cheat sheets. Usually found on a shared drive somewhere or embedded in Salesforce’s Content tab. Meaning sales people always need to search for what they should have at their finger tips. Putting the right tool in the right place of the sales process is important and part of a great sales playbook.  
  • 4. Industry Sales Process TemplatesIt is widely accepted that tailoring your sales process to the specific needs of an industry will increase your chances for success. As you build your playbook, you want to leverage what has worked before in that industry and it will give your sales people an advantage. If you aren’t sure where to start. Go to It’s a free service offered by the TAS Group and in 15 minutes you can have industry sales process templates ready to go.5. Many Simple and Complex ProcessesOne playbook or sales process does not fit all. Sometimes your sales process is complex and requires 6 or 7 stages. Sometimes your sale is going to be very transactional in nature and you’ll only need 3 sales stages. Don’t make your sales people go through un-needed steps. It’s the best way to keep them from adopting your process. So create sales processes that fit the particular sale and let the sales person choose.  6. Process, Benchmarks and InsightWe want to see continuous improvement and that starts with understanding where you currently are as an organization and where you want to go. When a sales playbook incorporates a benchmarking process that captures these things then “true value” can be quantified.
  • 7. Team Visibility for the Sales ManagerSales playbooks are often designed with just the sales person in mind. Remember that the sales manager is the critical link and important coach. If you can leverage your playbook initiative to increase your sales managers visibility into the sales teams pipeline, you can give your manager visibility into where deals are in the pipeline and provide opportunity based coaching for your sales reps. Knowing at which point to get involved in a deal is really hard but if done correctly elevate a lot of frustration on the sales rep and sales managers part. 8. Integrates with CRM SystemThis one should be a ‘no-brainer’. Complete integration with your CRM will deliver the best experience for the sales person. It will be integrated in their day to day workflow, and it will provide sales managers with greater flexibility on how they view the data.  Not all integrations are created equal. If you’re on Salesforce, then your playbook will benefit hugely if it is ‘native’ on the Salesforce Platform. Now I don’t mean just “linked” to Salesforce, or just lightly integrated, if your playbook is Native, this means that your data resides in the Salesforce Cloud, with the same security as Saleforce, the same performance as Salesforce, and all of the data captured within the playbook is inherently accessible to Salesforce reports, dashboards, and other applications. You don’t have to worry about the security of a third party Cloud, the data transfer issues that occur with non-native solutions, or the reliability of a third party hosting infrastructure.  Complete integration with your CRM is very important if not crucial.9. Informs Sales Forecast VisibilitySalespeople spend about 2.5 hours per week on sales forecasting. Your sales playbook should help you to give those 2.5 hours back, not to mention improve the accuracy of the forecast for each opportunity. If done properly, your forecast will be based on empirical data, not subjective insights that change based on how well the sales person is doing that particular month. We’ve all had sales reps who forecast everything under the sun and others who sandbag deals. A good playbook should be able to stop this.
  • 10. Motivational and VisualThere are only two reasons why an individual doesn't complete a task. Either they don't have the “skills and knowledge” to complete it, or they’re not motivated enough. Having a playbook that solves these 2 problems is huge. Sales people are not only motivated by money. They are also motivated by progress. In fact, a sales person is more motivated day-to-day by seeing that a deal is progressing, than they are about the money that might come 3 months from now. Being able to visually see a deal progressing, is incredibly satisfying for sales reps.11. Social and CollaborativeWinning sales people use social platforms to expand relationships which increases productivity by understanding and influencing customer relationships. It also creates new channels for research, and increasing responsiveness to customers. Sales leaders are using social tools such as Chatter in Salesfore, Twitter, LinkedIn, to improve collaboration in their own sales outreach. And this should be incorporated into an effective sales playbook.  12. Mobile and CloudUnless your playbook is mobile and in the cloud so it can be accessed from anywhere at anytime, your playbook isn’t going to be used.
  • From a sales person’s point of view:I just go into my opportunity because its Native on Salesforce. It is completely integrated into my opportunities tab. I can vividly see my sales process and how my deal is progressing. I can also see how likely my deal is to closing and my probably close date. When I click in…Again, I can see the things I just mentioned but now I can expand the stages to see the qualifiers that make up each stage.I have sales tools attached at the right time in the process.You’ll also notice that the playbook informs my forecast. If I change the answers to the different qualifiers, the playbook will adjust my probable close percentage and date appropriately. I have mandatory qualifiers that need to be answered in order to progress the sale. If I don’t…look at what happens. I also have different template based on the type of sales (transactional vs. Enterprise)If I’m a sales manager I want Team Visibility
  • Ask for and address any final questions.
  • Thank you everyone for taking the time to join us today. I'm really excited to share with you the history of over 25 years of sales process development and sales automation which has led us to this point in time where we can develop automated sales playbooks to make our sales organizations more efficient and effective.  In today's call where going to try to understand how technology and how sales process have evolved over the years, and get an understanding of the importance of having a repeatable, winning process, that is embedded directly into the daily workflow of your sales organization. And hopefully you'll leave here understanding the 12 elements that make up a great sales playbook. These elements have been discovered through the development of over 20,000 sales processes at world class organizations during the last 30 years.  To establish a baseline understanding of where we've come from as sales professionals and where we’re heading I would like to talk a little bit about the history of sales automation. 
  • Sales Webinar | 12 Elements of a Great Sales Playbook

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