Three Steps To Growing Sales With A Playbook

By Jack Daly

Think of any team sport at any level. No matter what sport you choose, they all have one thing in common: the coach is always focused on a playbook for success. All coaches—well, at least the ones who want to win—train their teams based on a specific, proven playbook.

Now think of your business, specifically your sales team. Like sports, success in sales is a performance-based endeavor. Victory is tied directly to the team’s preparedness and execution. As business leaders, why would we ever consider putting our sales people—the “players”—on the field without training or practicing before playing in the “game?”

Here’s my advice: the only route to bigger sales results is through using a playbook. Having a go-to sales playbook for your sales team is a proven strategy for building bigger results. But what’s the best way to get it done? Or even get started?

Here are three actionable steps you can take to begin building your sales playbook:

  1. Identify your top 1, 2, or 3 sales problems.

Some common sales problems are: prospecting/lead generation, selling your true value effectively, and increasing closed sales. What specific problem(s) will make the biggest difference to your business once improved and/or fixed? Decide where you need to focus and then get started on problem #1.

Below is a basic starter outline you can use.

Prospecting & Lead Generation: Outline the key activities that really matter to drive results.

High payoff key activities for prospecting:

a) Target Prospect List Prep & Planning: Based on pre-qualifying criteria.

b) Warm & Cold-Calling: Set minimum standards of measurement to meet goals.

c) Emailing: Always remain customer-focused; use effective email templates to make efficient.

d) Networking: Set targeted events and goals for number of leads at each event.

e) Referrals: Be proactive; ask for referrals after value has been delivered; make it easier to refer to you.

f) Door-Knocking: When making face-to-face sales calls, who else in the area can you stop and open up? Prep a list in advance.

g) Social Media / Networking: LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. People don’t want to be sold, but these are good outlets for building familiarity.

h) Leads Tracking & Follow-Up: Recap what actions to be taken; track status and next steps in CRM.

  1. Create some processes, tools & practices.

Build processes to make success repeatable. Example: A clear sales process helps your sellers focus on the right high-payoff activities in each step. Plus, it becomes more easily trainable.

Create cheat-sheet tools to help sellers quickly know what to do and how to be more effective. Examples of tools include: qualifying criteria for your smart, right-fit prospects; skills-based tools and training such as best questions, objection responses; success stories that illustrate problem-solving results for prospects based on relevant situations.

Document the best practices of your top producers to help all sellers model the masters and be more effective.

  1. Start Simple: Get started with one thing and improve it.

Work to improve your one big problem and get it moving! Building a playbook is a continuing process of: build, practice, execute, and improve.


Jack Daly is a serial entrepreneur, international sales expert, and author of Hyper Sales Growth with ForbesBooks, the exclusive book publishing imprint of Forbes Media. Learn more at jackdaly.net.