Do you want your sales team to have a cohesive strategy that aligns everyone with the same strategies and goals? Then you may need a sales process guidebook tailored specifically to your business.
A sales guidebook is an in-depth document that explicitly defines sales tactics, best practices and methodologies that your sales team will use to interact with customers and close deals. It is an evolving document that should be updated according to your current business demands to include only the most effective techniques. To develop an efficient sales guidebook from beginning to end, you must understand the benefits of creating yours, what it should include and who should be involved in creating it.
Why a Sales Process Guidebook is a Good Idea
Integrating an effective sales process guidebook into your business ensures that you’re more likely to meet quotes, retain customers and improve lead conversion rates. Following are the five major benefits of creating a guidebook for your sales team:
1. Improve Training Processes
It’s a lot quicker and easier to train your sales team with a sales process guidebook than it is to simply "wing it." The book provides new hires with a clear understanding of who your customers are, their pain points, how they buy products, how to communicate with them, and basic facts about the company. They can use this throughout the life cycle of their sales career, not just during onboarding. The guidebook will serve as a written reminder on how to approach any issues they may face during their time on your sales team, so they won’t have to check in with colleagues for answers — they can get that straight from the document.
2. Increase Sales
Having a written guidebook frees up your sales team from developing their own messaging, questions and resources for interacting with prospects. Thus, they can focus more on selling, closing deals and making money for your business by using the most effective techniques and ready-made content provided in the sales guidebook.
3. Disseminate Proven Methods and Best Practices
If someone is using a method or tactic that has great success, then you can share that with the entire team to improve their productivity by putting that technique in the guidebook.
4. Successful Marketing
The sales process guidebook can help your sales team minimize inefficiencies by following a step-by-step approach to provide customers with positive and consistent experiences.
5. New Field Initiative
The guidebook provides you with a systematic framework to follow when you’re dealing with new market opportunities, new sales channels, product launches, new buyers, or an acquisition of a company.
What Your Sales Guidebook Should Include
Always keep your sales process guidebook comprehensible and easy to follow, since your sales team will be relying heavily on it. It should equip your staff members with all of the content and strategies they’ll require to close deals more efficiently. The guide should include the following content categories:
Company Overview - This section summarizes your company’s history, mission, vision, values, organization structure and hierarchy, the business’ overall strategy and objectives, and how your sales team fits into that bigger picture. It also explains what makes your company different from others.
Sales Methodology - Here you’ll find details of your company's step-by-step sales approach, offering direction to convert a lead into a customer. It also includes various situations that your sales team might encounter as they interact with customers, and resolutions to any hiccups. It highlights the key activities of each stage (planning, discovery, pilot, etc.) of the sales process, who should be involved in that stage, and the goals and results of each stage.
Buyer Personas - This section includes details about your ideal customers’ profiles, like their industry, needs, job titles, experience, qualification, pain points, how and when they make purchase decisions, and factors driving those decisions. This helps your sales team to identify the most qualified leads.
Sales Team Roles - In this part of the guidebook, you’ll find an explanation of the roles and responsibilities of your sales team, including expected activity levels and estimated quotas. It also outlines how the guidebook will help each team member achieve their goals and improve their performance.
Call Scripts and Sample Messaging - This section covers email templates and sequences, positioning statements, calling and voicemail scripts, meeting agendas, presentation strategies and structure, and common objections (plus how to handle them). It should also provide the sales team with links to recordings or webcasts of high-quality meetings, and call and demo recordings, to make the selling process more efficient.
Product Offerings - Here, you’ll find an in-depth description of every product or service your business offers, along with associated pricing models, use cases, unique selling points of the products, core value offerings, buyers and end-users, and related industries or verticals.
Customer Relationship Management – This section highlights how to use CRM to manage your sales process more effectively, track customer progress and interactions, create and analyze reports, operate the dashboard, assign tasks and schedule appointments.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) - Here, you’ll cover metrics that allow you to measure the overall success of a sales team. This helps the sales team to understand expectations. It’s important to update KPIs with changing roles and goals of the sales team.
Sales Compensation Plan - You can find information here about rewards for the sales team for hitting certain milestones, their compensation structure, and the quota-setting process.
Additional Resources – This section includes additional information to empower your sales teams, such as case studies, negotiation questions, proposal guidelines, datasheets, testimonials and customer references.
Who Should Be Involved in the Creation Process
Building and updating the handbook with the varying sales processes, product lines, potential buyers, approaches, market opportunities and sales compensation plans requires a team of sales members working together, and may include the following team members:
Top-Performing Sales Representatives - These people can share the methods, tools and tactics that work best for them.
Marketing Teams – Your marketing colleagues can provide you with information on buyer personas, product messaging and market positioning.
Subject Matter Expert - SMEs can offer valuable input on the structure of your guidebook and insights to create winning sales collateral.
Project Manager - A dedicated person should be assigned for setting a timeline, outlining the goals of the sales guidebook, content submissions, content approval, and audit of all the current sales information.
Editor – You’ll want a staff member who can edit, adjust, align, compile and finalize all of the content listed in the book.
Once the guidebook is ready, disseminate it to the team and update it frequently to ensure that it always has the most current information in it.