Use a Sales Playbook for Repeat Sales

Michele Warg
Posted by in Sales

Companies may use a sales playbook, similar to a playbook in football, to successfully close a sale time after time thanks to a repeatable process. Much like a coach drills his football team on what various plays entail, a sales team manager does the same with training, sales products and lead generation.

A sales playbook helps turn sales into a predictor that may forecast whether a team or individual can close a sale. Similar to the football analogy, one play gets the drive going in the series. The next play moves the ball forward. Several incremental steps later, the playbook produces a touchdown, provided a sales team follows the steps prescribed by the coach. In the sales model, a playbook has much shorter steps.

How a team leader manages a sales playbook depends on the types of products the company sells and the demographics of potential customers. However, every playbook contains three critical elements. The first element includes the description of individual plays, or how particular plays work. Information in this playbook ranges from market analyses to trends and buyer profiles.

The second element revolves around a diagram that shows what plays happen where and when within a sales playbook. The opening play should show different strategies than plays used to close the deal. A sales team leader lists appropriate activities for each play.

The third portion of a playbook uses tools and customer assets to create a personalized sales strategy. Information included within these tools acts as a guide to show a sales team how to use data as an advantage.

The sales playbook starts with a qualified lead before going to specific stages of the sale that generate success. Once a sales team takes over, it determines qualifying opportunities based on the needs of the customer, potential customer problems, a sales agreement and then a closing. The playbook has a list of tools to assist the team through every step of the process, rather than a flow chart of sales theories. The playbook includes practical information and tips instead of generic takes on the fundamentals of sales.

One such play defines how a team member responds to a hesitant buyer. Employees can expound on the value a person gets for the price of the sale rather than show how costly an item becomes. A salesman's expertise with the product, combined with years of experience, may help a client overcome any objections and sign on the dotted line. Sometimes, a playbook describes precisely when a person swoops in to take over a play.

Once a team discovers what works in a sales playbook, the process should repeat itself over and over to achieve successful results. This is where metrics and data come into play as managers track how each important step turns into revenue and profits. Leaders may find that even one omitted play may end in a loss.

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at



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