Sales Playbook Examples and Templates
Looked at correctly, sales playbooks are actually a kind of repository for the company’s sales strategy and best practices that strengthen sales training and productivity, helping sales reps hit their quotas. In this article, we will present a few sales playbook templates tailored for the common stages within a sales cycle to help you empower your sales teams to excel.
Even though sales playbooks are too often relegated to merely theoretical or abstract handbooks and tend to be briefly referenced during team onboarding sessions, they are super important.
Looked at correctly, sales playbooks are actually a kind of repository for the company’s sales strategy and best practices that strengthen sales training and productivity, helping sales reps hit their quotas.
In fact, according to Aberdeen Group research, “best-in-class companies reported a 42% current adoption rate of sales playbooks, compared with 29% of industry average organizations and 14% of laggard firms.”
The same research also revealed that utilizing sales playbooks increases the likelihood of sales reps meeting their goals by 54%, compared to the 46% success rate of those who do not use playbooks.
Sales playbooks have the power to support sales reps in real-time, acting as a constant coach to navigate each stage of the sales process while implementing proven best practices.
In this article, we will present a few sales playbook templates tailored for the common stages within a sales cycle to help you empower your sales teams to excel.
Common playbook types:
The goal: Determine if your product is a suitable solution for the buyer and lay the foundations for a solid relationship with them.
The main slides:
#1. Set the agenda
HubSpot reveals that 59% of buyers say their most significant pain point is when sales meetings run longer than expected. To address this pain point, your first slide should let prospects know exactly what they can expect and how long the meeting will take.
#2. Product overview
This slide explains how your solution can provide the prospect with the most value, without going into too much detail.
The in-depth description will come later in the sales cycle. For now, keep it short and sweet.
#3. Qualification questions
Turn the focus back on the prospect and ask the right questions to get the information you need about them.
Ask questions that cover different areas:
- Background. Get an overview of the prospect’s business to assess their compatibility with your solution. What is their activity? Which sector do they operate in? What is the size of their organization?
- Context. Understand how this meeting came to be. Where did the prospect hear about you? What made them agree to meet you?
- Objectives. What are the primary goals and desired qualitative and quantitative outcomes of the prospect? How can your solution help achieve those objectives?
- Challenges. What are the primary challenges or pain points the prospect is currently facing? What compelled them to seek a solution at this moment? What obstacles or factors hindered them from addressing these issues before?
- Competing solutions. What tools or solutions do they presently use? What other solutions are they considering?
- Your solution. What value can your solution offer the prospect? Which specific features of your solution provide them the highest value?
- Implementation. What is the prospect’s projected timeline for implementing the solution? By when does the prospect expect the solution to be in place?
- Budget. What is the prospect’s budget for this solution? If they haven’t already allocated a budget, when do they expect to do so?
- Objections. What possible objections can the prospect have regarding your solution? How can you effectively tackle and overcome these objections?
Once you understand what the prospect’s challenges are, which tools they are currently using, and so on, you can determine if it makes sense to move on to the next stages.
#4. What’s next
You’ve both decided you’re a good fit? Congrats! Now it’s time to outline the next steps and schedule your next meeting.
The goal: Understand how your solution can fulfill the prospects’ needs and help them reach their objectives.
The main slides:
#1. Set the agenda
When you’re at the discovery stage, most of your effort should go into listening to your prospect and asking them open-ended questions.
I want to dedicate 10-15 minutes to listening to you and fully understand your specific needs, and I can help, mainly to determine if we’re a good match.
I also want to discuss the common pain points of your industry to find out which ones are relevant to you.
Finally, I will provide you with an overview of our solution. If you're interested in moving forward, we’ll discuss the next steps.
#2. Uncover pain points and use case
Ask good questions to uncover the prospect’s pain points.
In addition, your solution probably has several use cases, so ask questions that will help you identify the specific use cases that align with this prospect's requirements, and later on, you will be able to tailor a sales pitch that suits their specific need and business.
- How have you been affected by recent [industry trends or world events]?
- Who is your main customer base?
- What are your company’s goals for this year (or quarter)?
- What does your workflow look like?
#3. Common industry pain points
Use insights you gathered from other customers and prospects, and from your own research on this particular prospect. Your aim is to show the buyers you understand their industry and guide them toward your solution.
The goal: It’s finally time to provide a comprehensive demo of your solution.
The main slides:
#1. Set the agenda
In this stage of the sales cycle, the agenda breakdown will often include a recap, an in-depth demo of your solution, and the next steps.
Here’s what we’re going to cover in this meeting:
For the next 15-20 minutes, I will present our solution and explain how it can provide you value.
If you’re interested, we will then set our next meeting.
Do you have anything you’d like to add before we begin?
In this slide, quickly recap what was discussed in the previous meeting. Make sure to only go over the key points from the first talk, such as the prospect’s challenges, goals, and needs.
This step will help deepen your discovery efforts and reveal new details that can help validate how and if your solution can help.
#3. Product demo
Time for the main event!
For effectiveness' sake, it’s very important to focus your demo only on the product’s features and capabilities that are relevant to the buyer.
Start by providing an overview of the product and then go deeper into details to show your prospects how your solution is the right one for them.
Here are a few tips for providing winning demos.
- Tell a story. To keep your buyers engaged, don’t forget to combine data and storytelling to engage both left and right-brain thinking. According to Forbes’ Kate Harrison, this is what will drive your prospects to take action. Your story should be based on success stories demonstrating how your solution helped others solve similar challenges.
- Persuade. To be a good persuader, you need to establish trust by:
- Showing empathy and listening carefully to your prospect;
- Customizing your message to the needs and challenges of the prospect;
- Providing proof. This is achieved by combining stats and examples that resonate emotionally. To do that, simply talk about problems and challenges relevant to your prospect.
- Harness neuroscience. There is a well-based, tried, and tested psychology and neuroscience behind the art of selling. You can utilize it by:
- Remembering that according to research, humans retain the information that was presented to them at the beginning and end of the presentation, so start strong and end strong.
- Understanding the rule of three and that the human psyche responds well to it. For this reason, it’s best to include lists of threes and present three value themes in your demo.
- Keep in mind that our brains are wired to pay attention for about 10 minutes, so get to the point and keep it as short as possible.
The goal: Provide further pricing details and finalize the deal.
The main slides:
Briefly go over the key points discussed in the previous meeting and ensure everything is still relevant.
#2. Pricing options
Where relevant, clearly provide pricing tiers, inducing discounts and bundles, and specify the benefits of each option.
#3. Next steps and client onboarding
Agree on the execution plan and explain what your client onboarding process looks like. The buyer should understand what will happen once they sign the contract, and how you will guide them through the product implementation process.
It’s worth noting that there are different closing techniques that are suitable for different sales scenarios. Here are the four most common ones.
- The Assumptive Close. If you properly completed a sales process and all its steps successfully, then you can assume the sale will close. This means you will be able to confidently say things like, “now that we went over everything, how does next Monday sound for delivery?”
- The Urgency Close. This is the best technique when you have some kind of special offer, such as a discount. For example, if you offered your client a special price and they say, “Let’s discuss again next week,” your answer should be something like, “Great, but I do want to make sure you understand this offer is only available for a week, so please keep this in mind.”
- The Options Close. This is the right technique when you can offer the prospect more than one pricing option. If you use this technique, it’s best to keep the number of options limited to no more than three. For each option, explain exactly how it meets the buyer’s goals and needs to make it easier for them to make a decision.
If your discovery stage was done correctly, you will probably be able to provide options that are perfect for the buyer.
- The Take Away Close. This technique helps you deal with prospects who are indecisive and consistently ask you to follow up in "one more week" or "just 30 more days". The Take Away Close technique can have a significant impact. Still, it is important to note that this closing approach should only be used if you are willing to remove your business from consideration in order to prompt the client to make a concrete decision. It is crucial, therefore, to be prepared for the possibility of the prospect declining.
You could say something like, "When we initially discussed your needs, you mentioned that you needed A, B, and C. I believe we have found an excellent solution for you. However, considering your hesitation to move forward, I'm beginning to question if this is truly the ideal solution for you. Do you still believe this is the right solution, or do you now feel it may not be the best fit?"
Politely and kindly let them know that it appears they have changed their mind and that you won't be contacting them further. Surprisingly, many prospects who were previously undecided may reach out to you once they face this finality. And if they don't? That's okay too. You can remove them from your list.
A few playbook tips
Although each playbook is unique, there are a few elements that should go into every playbook.
- To ensure a seamless conversation, it is recommended that every sales meeting, regardless of the sales stage, takes place with both the seller and prospect appearing on camera.
- Start with making sure all participants are present.
- Confirm that the meeting duration agreed upon beforehand still suits everyone's availability.
- Make a note of each attendee's name, job title, and contact details for future reference. Sales playbook software that automatically syncs meeting notes and general sales call flow with your CRM, will save you a lot of time and hassle down the line.
- Reiterate pain points.
- Use positive and empowering language.
- Be genuinely interested and spend most of your time asking questions when you talk.
- Close with next steps and a clear timeline.
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