5 Signs Your Sales Playbook Needs a Refresh
Successfully running a business means leaders must wear many hats – from accounting to operations to marketing. Whether managing a Fortune 500 company or a small mom and pop business, the most important “hat” is sales.
Why? Because a business cannot borrow its way to success. At some point, it must consistently sell products or services – and consistent sales results start with a sales playbook.
The playbook is your business’s go-to-market strategy. It defines your market, the products and services for sale, your price, and the customers most likely to buy them. It presents a step-by-step sales methodology for your salespeople to follow, articulates a value proposition, and identifies all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
It’s THE foundation for effective sales growth. Without it, sales teams risk floundering in inefficiency, confusion, and missed opportunity.
Sales playbooks are not, however, one-and-done documents. They must evolve with your business, the market, competition, technology, and other factors that influence sales results. When’s the last time you updated your playbook?
Below are 5 signs your sales playbook may need a refresh.
5 Signs Your Sales Playbook May need a Refresh
1. Plateauing revenue
Are your sales flatlining? Revisit the playbook to ensure target customer personas are still the right ones; that the sales methodology is still right for the times; and that products or services still meet the market’s needs. Are new factors influencing your customers’ buying decisions? What are competitors doing differently to close more deals? Some new thinking, ideas and perspectives might lead to small playbook tweaks that can revitalize sales.
2. Unclear Value Proposition
Your value proposition succinctly explains why your product or service makes your customers’ lives better. It anchors your sales efforts. If it’s not compelling, easy to grasp, and direct, your salespeople will spend more time explaining it to prospects than selling – which means they’ll also risk losing out to more eloquent competitors. A clear value proposition sets the tone for the playbook and inspires clear messaging for effective sales and marketing. It also helps focus sales processes and methodologies on what customers prioritize.
3. Outdated Sales Methodology and Structure
The sales methodology is the step-by-step flow of activities between qualifying a lead and closing a deal. If it’s up to date, it maximizes sales effectiveness by engaging prospects in ways they value most. If it’s not current, you risk annoying prospects instead of nurturing their interest. Invest time in understanding how your customers prefer interacting with salespeople and update your methodology to reflect any changes you uncover. Updating methodologies also forces an examination of how digital workflows and solutions like CRM tools may support or improve sales efforts.
4. Compressed Margins
If sales margins are shrinking, revisit the sales playbook to see how well it does or doesn’t reflect your product or service pricing and other factors that influence what customers are willing to pay. Is pricing for products or services up to date in the playbook? Does contract guidance permit too much flexibility on price? Improvements here can help your salespeople better structure and close more favorable deals to ease pressure on margins.
5. Changed industry and revenue trends
The sales methodology that worked in the past may not work as well now if the business landscape has shifted. Playbooks that prioritized in-person follow-ups or lead generation at conferences, for example, were obsolete overnight in March 2020 when COVID-19 required social distancing and remote work. Playbooks must change with the times.
If you’re seeing any of these signs in your financial reporting and sales activities, it’s probably time to dust off the sales playbook and take a careful look at your strategy. Revisiting it, tweaking where necessary, and then recommitting to the methodology it puts forward will help keep sales teams closing consistently – and give leaders more time to put on some of those other hats to keep running their businesses well.
Ready to close out the year with incredible momentum? Fahrenheit Advisors’ Sales Transformation practice can revitalize your sales strategy with custom playbooks that close more deals this year and next. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to get started.
About the Author
John Atkinson is a Managing Director at Fahrenheit Advisors and leads the Sales Transformation practice. He is a sought-after sales leader with nearly three decades of experience leading, growing, and managing sales teams, and driving profitable revenue for companies of all sizes. He is passionate and obsessive about helping clients solve their most vexing sales challenges and achieve their loftiest revenue goals.