“There are good playbooks, and there are bad playbooks.”
That was the simple but provocative thought behind the conversation Eric Nitschke, managing director at Corporate Visions, had with Howard Kamimoto of NetApp and Jay Costello of NACCO. The three shared a few best practices for sales playbooks in a sales enablement breakout session at Conversations That Win. Here are some of the most important guidelines they touched on for creating not only good, but great playbooks:
- Align content to important selling activities — A sad but true fact is that 9 out of 10 initial sales calls fail. And it’s not necessarily because of bad salespeople—it’s because sales people aren’t having the right conversations. Sixty-three percent of sales training is focused on products, but an upfront conversation about features and benefits usually isn’t good enough to break the ice with a prospective buyer. Instead, salespeople should have “opportunity creation” conversations that include business-selling stories. This will enlighten the prospect about an unknown challenge, and then describe how it can be solved with your solutions.
- Match content to conversations — Content is only useful to your sales team if it’s packaged right. It must be accessible, digestible, and timely, and the perfect way to do that is with sales playbooks. They allow your sales people to find and leverage content that will resonate with the target audience.
- Improve sales skills while telling a different story — One of the hardest things to do is getting salespeople to make customers the heroes. Most sales conversations are about how “we can do this for you” rather than how “you can do this with our product”. This subtle change in language shifts the salesperson into the customer’s world and gives them the credibility needed to continue the conversation.