In sales, the person with the best process wins. So how do you ensure that all the players on your team are running the right plays to maximize growth?

Build separate playbooks for new business, account management / customer success and sales management that clearly define the:

  • What
  • Why
  • Who
  • How

This article will focus on key client conversations related to the playbook for new business and account management / customer success. A sales manager playbook should follow the same structure with a focus on key employee conversations.

Step 1: Define WHAT the ideal sales process is
Clearly identify the key client conversations that are required to achieve growth in new business, upsell and cross sell.

For account management / customer success, this is often a quarterly value review process. For new business, it’s defining the key client conversations surrounding the qualification and commercial process.

“How do you ensure that all the players on your team are running the right plays to maximize growth?”

It’s typical for an organization to have a sense of what this overall process should be, although an attempt to document it can often spur valuable discussion around alternative approaches.

The rest of the playbook adds the why, who and what to each of these key client conversations, so it’s important to have full alignment on the ideal process before moving forward.

Step 2: Clarify WHY each conversation is necessary
The task of articulating why each step of your process is necessary is a good gut check as to whether it’s actually needed. It can be helpful to frame both the key activities of each meeting, as well as the exit criteria / goals.

  • Key activities: Key areas of focus for the conversation, qualification (new business) and value confirmation (account management / customer success) are just a few examples.
  • Exit criteria / goals: Next steps that define completion of a given stage of the process. For example, a scheduled commercial conversation (new business) or signed renewal (account management / customer success).

“The task of articulating why each step of your process is necessary is a good gut check as to whether it’s actually needed.”

Step 3: Define WHO is involved in each step of the sales process (R&R)
This is especially critical when cross-team collaboration is required for success, like the hunter to farmer handoff for new clients. It’s important to have alignment on roles and responsibilities for the meeting to ensure collaboration and fluid co-facilitation.

Step 4: HOW does the team execute the actual conversation
This will be the most detailed portion of the playbook and should be consistent with any training and professional development efforts. A playbook should feel like an extension of the sales learning and development program.

Separating it into three areas can be helpful:

  1. Pre-meeting planning: Assignment of tactical meeting preparation items to each team member along with strategic planning considerations.
  2. Talk track: The structure of the meeting supplemented with sample language for guidance. Talk track ≠ rigid script. Align the talk track with the best practices being taught in training and reinforced during sales manager ride-alongs and role plays.
  3. Post-meeting debrief: Assignment of action items and strategic planning considerations.

“A playbook should feel like an extension of the sales learning and development program.”

Once a playbook is developed and shared with the team, be sure to host it publicly for everyone to access easily and often.

It’s important that each playbook be a living document that is updated with the latest learnings via an iterative process with the team so this good work doesn’t go stale and lose relevancy.