Why Sales Playbooks are Essential for Sales Effectiveness

Sales messaging is often missing

Organizations produce messages on different levels. There’s a corporate strategy which influences strategies for growth. There’s marketing strategy that turns into brand messaging, determining how to position your organization in the marketplace.

The Sales Messaging Pyramid - Brand Messaging = Positioning, Sales Messaging = Conversations

Below that level is “sales messaging.” This level of message is often missing. It’s different from brand messaging (which often receives the most resources) because “sales messaging” is focused on the tactical customer conversations level. Salespeople need bite-sized practical resources in order to have effective buyer conversations. This type of content focuses solely on enabling more productive conversations with prospective buyers – questions to ask in a meeting to demonstrate insight, customer stories, whiteboard models to draw during a meeting…

While sales messaging requires a different focus, it shouldn’t be disconnected from the corporate strategy and marketing strategy. There should be consistency between strategy and what salespeople actually say during customer conversations.


You need salespeople to deliver the right message

Sales reps will say something in a sales conversation, and it can be either the right message to differentiate your company or an off-book message. Research shows that salespeople end up creating their own presentations. The “State of the Sales Rep” study by Brainshark shows salespeople report that they end up creating 51% of the content they use on their own. Without being equipped with the right messaging, sales will take ownership of generating the message.

How do you build, package, and deploy content and tools in a way that sales will actually use it? Playbooks provide a repeatable structure for delivering content on the “sales messaging” level.


What to put in a sales playbook

Which of the following describes your definition of sales playbooks? Instructions on how to sell products or solutions, provides coaching for sellers, describes sales methodologySales playbooks consist of content and strategies focused on preparing sales reps
to be successful in their calls, meetings, and presentations. Playbooks can cover a wide variety of sales plays—from guidance on a comprehensive enterprise story to a narrowly focused play like a specific persona, vertical, solution, or partner.

DSG and Highspot surveyed 144 sales, marketing, and enablement professionals across 74 organizations about the contents and creation of their sales playbooks. Here is how those organizations are using sales playbooks:


Sales Playbooks Contain

  • Instructions on how to sell products or solutions

  • Provides coaching for sellers

  • Describes our sales methodology

  • Instructions on how to differentiate from competition

  • Instructions on how to sell to different personas

  • Instructions on how to engage specific industries

  • Contains best practices of top performers


Top reasons for creating sales playbooks

What business growth strategies created a need for sales playbooks? Shifting from product to solution selling, new message, new productSales and marketing leadership creates a plan for future sales growth. Having a sales playbook helps to implement that strategic direction across the entire sales team, connecting strategy to the sales conversation. The top two reasons for creating are shifting to solution selling and implementing a new message, according to the survey. A sales playbook is especially crucial for supporting a new sales strategy that requires behavior change from sales reps


Read the eBook for full survey findings on additional topics like who should create playbooks, how to deliver sales playbooks, and common playbook challenges:

Best Practices for Sales Playbooks eBook

Rachel web2017By Rachel Bodayle
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