Shankar is part of a panel which will be discussing how to adapt your sales playbook in order to cater to modern buyer preferences. We asked him about a number of topics, including:
- What makes a good sales playbook?
- What are common mistakes made in sales playbooks?
- How have buyer preferences changed?
- What challenges come about as a result of these changing preferences?
What makes a good sales playbook?
A good sales playbook has the customer, their buying preferences and buying journey at the heart of it. Traditionally, sales playbooks bring together call scripts, best practices, and other strategies needed at different stages of the sales process.
While it provides great advice and best practice to individuals in the sales team, it doesn’t bring everything together leading to a loss of context and speed as the customer moves between various stakeholders in the sales and customer success teams.
The modern sales playbook moves everything upside down by putting the customer (instead of the sales and customer success team) as a central character in the sales playbook. In fact, the sales playbook will be rechristened as the revenue playbook by the best revenue teams.
What are common mistakes that you see in sales playbooks, and how can they be avoided?
Most vendors have a land-and-expand go-to-market (GTM) motion. While they may put in a lot of effort in defining the land sales playbook, a lot of expand and retain playbook is left to individual preferences.
If you are like any growth company, 50-70% of your recurring revenue during any year is coming from the install base. Why is it that there is no playbook to drive expansions then?
Integrating all the GTM teams into working as ONE unit is a big part of this transformation. Customer sees ONE team and this ensures faster and more value realized leading to bigger and happier customer engagements.
If you could give one piece of advice to someone designing their first sales playbook, what would you say?
Talking to all your customer-facing teams to get their inputs at the design stage can make a world of difference. While you may still start off by creating a sales playbook, make sure the handoff points are clean and well defined.
Also allow the customer success (CS) leadership to provide inputs on the sales playbook. In parallel, start working with CS Ops to integrate the CS playbook with the sales playbook. Overtime, make it ONE.
How have buyer preferences changed, and what’s the most significant change?
The biggest change in the world of the B2B buyers is the movement towards a performance economy. Modern buyers buy performance and not subscription, and they are willing to pay a premium to vendors who can deliver measurable performance.
This coupled with the shift towards self-service and digital first buying is forcing sales organizations to rethink thir sales playbook. There is also some fascinating research by Gartner, Forrester, Salesforce and Accenture on these changing trends.
Some stats worth noting are - 4 out of 10 buying attempts end up in no decision, 43% of the millennial buyer prefer a seller free buying experience (even for large and complex purchases) and 62% of customers decision to renew is based on the installation experience.
The buyer is more informed than ever before. What challenges does that bring, when sellers are interacting with extremely knowledgeable buyers?
The best sellers obsess over value creation - going deeper in the customer problem, the solution and the space has become a non-negotiable.
Most organizations are already investing into sales enablement programs to drive this behavior change. But this is not enough.
The best sales organizations rethink their sales playbook by putting their buyer at the center of it. This means focussing on buyer enablement, buyer collaboration and integrating the GTM teams to work as ONE team.
What should the relationship between a CRO and sales enablement look like?
Having sold sales enablement technology to 100+ companies in my previous company, one thing is clear: sales enablement is emerging as one of the most important and strategic teams for the CRO.
In the future, CROs will look towards sales enablement for not just owning sales readiness and content management, but also for enabling the digital customer experience across the customer lifecycle. The relationship between sales enablement and the CRO will become even more strategic and one where there is a daily collaboration between the two parties.