With ongoing changes in B2B buying and selling DNA, your sales playbook is the most valuable asset for your team for post-pandemic survival and growth. Sales teams that don't center their efforts around modern buyers' preferences constantly struggle with unfulfilled quotas, insufficient pipelines, and low margins.
Modern Buyers acknowledge the "delightful experiences" sellers can provide using digital collaborative platforms that help buyers navigate the complex buying journey, provide seamless communication between internal and external stakeholders, and offer real-time value realization.
A sales playbook is an important tool for any organization that wants to succeed in sales. It is a comprehensive guide that outlines the sales process, techniques, and strategies that a company uses to sell its products or services.
Here are some reasons why a sales playbook is important:
Overall, a sales playbook is a valuable tool for any organization that wants to improve its sales process, increase efficiency, and drive revenue growth.
The contents of a sales playbook can vary depending on the company, industry, and target audience. However, here are some common elements that are typically included in a sales playbook:
Join CROs Shankar Ganapathy, Steve Shauk, and Zeeshan Hafeez as they discuss digital selling and how you can adapt the sales playbook to cater to modern buyer preferences with Sales Enablement Collective for the Virtual CRO Summit 2022.
If you're a revenue leader, this would be worth a read. Alternatively, you can view the recording below.
Steve: Whenever I think of modern buying behavior, I think of Tesla. One can easily purchase a Tesla through their mobile device, which indicates the changing buying behavior today, and how buyers want to be digitally enabled. Furthermore, buyers want to:
As sellers, we need to mimic the buyers and think like consumers every day to understand their expectations better.
Zeeshan: It's interesting to see how the virtual environment has replaced the traditional traveling seller's role. A multimillion-dollar deal involves no travel, eating out with buyers, or wine and dine in today's market. With Steve's metaphor of the Tesla buying experience, the whole buying experience has changed. So the way sellers behave, act and sell has completely been transformed.
Shankar: As we think about the modern buyers and Steve's Tesla buying example, the B2B buyers are also starting to expect "the experience."
Zeeshan: Sales leaders should not only be conditioned to sell in the new virtual environment, but they should also train their sales reps to succeed under this makeshift.
Modern sales leaders want to:
With virtually driven B2B operations, you need powerful tools to succeed.
Steve: A tech stack shouldn't be just an internal platform; it should also:
Shankar: Today, the sales team is not working in person and has to conduct the water cooler conversations remotely. It is amusing how we understand the challenges of the sales team but don't know much about the challenges faced by the buyers. It is important to note that significant buying conversations occur when sellers are not in front of them. According to Gartner's research, 83% of the buying process occurs in the absence of a salesperson.
Before I plunge deeper into the question, I want to share an interesting story from one of my previous jobs. In my last job as an account manager, I was looking forward to this significant renewal uptick from a multimillion-dollar account three months away from renewal. While we had proven incredible value to the customer for the last two and a half years, making the new economic buyer realize measurable value from our service stood as a challenge.
From a seller's perspective, we have a sales, implementation, support, and customer success team equipped with seller-centric CRMs and information handsets offering everything to the stakeholders easily; there's very little that the current tech stack does to simplify the customer's journey.
Over time, there have been substantial improvements in the traditional sales stack in effectiveness and productivity. Digital customer collaboration, buyer enablement, and streamlining the value creation process for customers will be the next significant innovations in the new business reality.
Steve: The pandemic has proved that sellers can close deals without in-person interactions with buyers. Today, the CFOs are winning more business while growing their margins off the chart without the need for their team to travel anymore. Why would any sales leader blow those margin dollars on T &E when their sales team can get it remotely? In my previous organization, I had one of my sales reps close a $5 million deal via texts in my earlier organization because that's how the customer liked to communicate.
The best way of connecting with buyers is by asking them if they prefer connecting over texts, email, calls, or LinkedIn messenger!
Shankar: The Go-to-market teams (Marketing, sales, and Customer Success) have become closer. New terms like Account-Based Marketing or Account-Based Selling are replacing SQL and SAL to define modern B2B relationships. Sales and marketing are building deeper connections.
Zeeshan: There are three things that sales leaders need to carry out in the modern market :
It's fascinating to see how much the modern market has evolved. When I worked with Microsoft as a field enterprise sales rep, we had already experimented with managing enterprise-level virtually, and it worked!
When I joined the insides sales department at Google, right before the pandemic in 2019, Google was getting rid of its inside sales organization, convinced that it wouldn't work. Three months into 2020, not only Google but every single seller is now an inside sales seller or a digital seller.
Shankar: In a SaaS organization, it is most likely that 70% of the growth or existing revenue comes from recurring revenue. And to continue this growth, your customers need to see more value than what they had earlier. The traditional licensing model for selling something for ten years took almost three years for its enterprise-level implementation.
Today, with the movement towards proof of performance, buyers need to justify their spending to the CFOs and CIOs, and so the vendors should:
This is where Customer success is emerging as a critical component of the GTM teams. While some companies view Customer Success as a support team that manages tickets or helps customers understand the product, others are increasingly viewing CS as a strategic function to the frontline sales in ensuring that the customers get value from your services. Today, mature organizations have more sub-teams, like pre-sales, value consultants, and salesforce solution consultants, in the CS frontier to ensure customers are getting value from the solution.
Steve: The customer success experience is about making sure the customers are thrilled to be your customers and delighted after using your technology and services. From a business standpoint, customer success is the "Trojan Horse." If you effectively deploy your CS team, they won't be focused on the next sale, and they'll be steered towards making your customers happy. In this way, your CS team not only protects the revenue that comes in each year but also brings forth new opportunities for the customers.
Shankar: Today, there are two significant trends that modern sales leaders are adopting:
Steve: In the modern marketplace, a sales leader should be willing to learn the idea of iteration. Nobody saw the pandemic coming, and so if you're not ready to evolve with changes, you'll never align with the ever-evolving needs of your prospects and customers. How do you iterate? You conduct virtual meets and webinars to connect with your peers and learn from them.
The GTM team is part and parcel of the revenue machine, where everybody speaks the same language and is driven by the same outcomes. It doesn't matter if you're focused on an outcomes-based sales point-of-view or hitting the objectives from the CS perspective; it's all in the same hymnal.
Zeeshan: Despite a robust tech stack, you'll be inefficient in retaining your sales reps if you lack a strong sales culture. It takes at least a year to become completely valuable and productive to an organization. So if you don't build a strong culture in your sales team, you won't be able to retain them for long.
Next, talking about the sales tech stack, you have to create a power tech stack for your team and ensure that they're entirely onboarded with its features and usage. Your tech stack is a waste of your expense if it fails to generate value!
And finally, if you want to get the most out of your sales team, ensure you stay on top while training your reps and keeping up with all the ongoing changes in this modern sales environment.
Adapting your sales playbook to cater to modern buyers' preferences is more crucial than ever. The post-pandemic business landscape requires sales leaders to re-examine their current playbook and leverage the power of a digital collaborative platform to stay atop of deals while aligning with the buyers at each step of their buying journey.
BuyerAssist is a customer collaboration platform used by B2B revenue teams and their customers to work together efficiently. It drives clarity, alignment, and visibility at each step in the enterprise sales, implementation, and customer engagement process.
Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.