How to Develop — and Maintain — a Sales Playbook Your Team Will Actually Use

Janey Zitomer
June 30, 2020

Tommy Deluca, VP of sales at NY startup PebblePost, can tell you what a sales playbook shouldn’t look like: “It cannot be a rigorous doctrine that requires exhaustive step-by-step instructions.”

Instead, the direct mail company’s playbook is rooted in a consultative approach to customer success. And as a result, it’s always evolving. DeLuca said his team spends a significant amount of time listening to what their brand partners are saying about their products and processes. Then, they adjust outreach strategies accordingly. 

“Although our mission and our company values remain consistent, we adapt alongside market trends and partner feedback,” DeLuca said.  

Being highly adaptive goes hand in hand with opening one’s mind to good ideas, wherever they might come from. At the end of the day, a large part of DeLuca’s job is to maintain a sales playbook his team will actually use, and sometimes that requires throwing out the current playbook entirely and taking a more nimble approach to the process.

“The playbook should be used as a blueprint for success, but it is not the only design that leads to positive results,” DeLuca said.  

 

PebblePost
PebblePost
Tommy Deluca
VP of Sales

How do you format and deliver your sales playbook to the team, and why? 

The evolution of PebblePost’s sales playbook is as follows: the content goes from my notebook to a shared Google Doc to a PowerPoint presentation that is eventually delivered to the team through one of our (now virtual) team meetings. 

This format allows us to foster collaborative thinking among both sales leaders and department heads, in order to align the sales playbook with our company goals and the PebblePost vision.

Rooted in a consultative sales approach, the PebblePost sales playbook is based on efficiency and streamlined tactics for driving new business and maintaining existing partnerships. With that said, we utilize a number of technologies and tools to keep us organized, focused and over-communicative, including Salesforce, Google Hangouts, Outreach.io, SimilarWeb, Jira, Confluence and Slack.

What processes do you have in place for keeping your playbook up to date? 

Any good playbook needs to evolve as a business evolves. Although our mission and our company values remain consistent, we adapt alongside market trends and partner feedback, continually striving to be leaders in digital to direct mail space. For example, we spend a lot of our time focused on customer segmentation and identifying which types of brands could most benefit from PebblePost, particularly as our platform evolves and expands. 

Doing so changes our prospecting and outreach strategies and subsequently alters our playbook. In regard to processes, we listen to what our brand partners are saying about our products and processes. We listen to what our board of directors is seeing in the marketplace. And we listen to our employees regarding how we can improve both internally and externally. You’ll know it’s time to tweak your playbook when you listen well enough to see that your current plan is outdated. 

You’ll know it’s time to tweak your playbook when you listen well enough to see that your current plan is outdated.’’ 

How do you include your salespeople in the process of developing your playbook? 

Keeping salespeople involved in the process is essential. They are the ones using the playbook. At PebblePost, we strive to foster a culture of learning and curiosity. Feedback from our salespeople has prompted a redesign of our sales onboarding program for new hires. Additionally, it sparked several sales product trainings, as well as an improved resource library for important content and collateral.

For me, a playbook is a guideline for best practices. It cannot be a rigorous doctrine that requires exhaustive step-by-step instructions. It’s more important that sellers are given the proper framework and the autonomy to make it their own. Everyone’s selling style is different. The playbook should be used as a blueprint for success, but it is not the only design that leads to positive results. 

Recently, one seller changed our campaign proposal process, resulting in a stronger deal and a happier client. It was a brilliant tactic that was consistent with our consultative directive. We have since adopted the new process into our playbook. Flexibility, collaboration and teamwork are vital to ensuring our playbook remains relevant and effective in a fast-paced marketplace. 

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