3 Problems with Sales Playbooks (And How to Solve Them)

3 Problems with Sales Playbooks (And How to Solve Them)

For years, B2B sales teams have relied on sales playbooks to standardize processes and help reps take the right actions to close deals. These playbooks are the golden standard for the way your company approaches selling, but here’s the big question: how effective are they long-term?

We’re going to go out on a limb here and say that if you’re still using traditional sales playbooks, you’ve experienced one of these problems:

1.    Sales playbooks are a huge project to update and manage

When was the last time you reviewed your sales playbooks and verified that they were in line with your actual sales process and organizational goals? Even if the answer to that question is “last week,” the odds are within months, certain aspects may need review and exhaust resources vetting the materials for accuracy and relevancy. Playbooks have to stay relevant to be effective, but the result of this process are methods and materials that your reps are married to until marketing can catch up with any changes instituted by leadership (or the sales teams’ outcomes themselves). Doesn’t sound as effective as it could be, does it?

2.    Sales playbooks have to be digested and studied to be practiced

Most likely, your playbooks are a valuable resource during the onboarding process for new reps, but let’s be real: once the reps get into the daily grind, how much time do you think they spend in the books? Realistically, how much time do you really want them in the books versus the field?

In a perfect world, reps would remember everything from their onboarding and apply it to their day-to-day activities. But we don’t live in a perfect world. As a matter of fact, studies show up to 90% of sales training is forgotten only one month after the rep learns it. While interesting videos and interactive files may help a rep learn what to do, you will get more productivity out of your reps if you can help them remember and act on what they’ve learned. So that poses the question: “how can management effectively reinforce best practice in daily rep activities?”

3.    Sales playbooks can be complicated to simplify

Playbooks have to be general enough to help the majority, but detailed enough to point reps with complex situations in the right direction.  You want to find the perfect balance, but this usually results in a compromise of information or flexibility. Speaking to all possible scenarios is not only a huge undertaking, but will also burry information and impact the effectiveness of the playbook. But, unique situations are not exclusive to small opportunities, so how do you ensure guidance for reps that are dealt this hand?

The Solution: Guided Selling

Imagine providing guidance and tips for specific opportunities in your CRM as your rep is working through his daily activities. What if you could serve up a prioritized list of each rep’s opportunities based on variables your organization determines “attractive?” Furthermore, what if in one click, your rep could complete the action they were just reminded to take? Introducing Guided Selling. Playbooks are great for teaching reps the ways of your organization, but guided selling is the only way to reinforce performance-enhancing behaviors and sales plays in practice, and without wasting valuable selling time.

With true guided selling, you’re able to provide helpful insight for any situation without overwhelming your reps with information irrelevant to them. Additionally, guided selling solutions are often centered on big data, and some can even analyze their success and evolve overtime to improve. Recommendations or goals can be updated ad-hock to ensure reps get the most accurate and appropriate guidance, even when your playbooks and training documents are under review.

It’s hard to imagine that sales enablement software can really help reps with tips and recommendations that make a difference in closing a sale, but it’s possible through the power of big data. Thousands of sales situations, opportunities, and best practice actions are analyzed and automatically translated into actionable recommendations. The rep can learn the right thing to do and then do it immediately.

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