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A Sales Playbook for Success


Several years ago, I owned an electronics recycling business. We were small but we were doing some things that our competition was not, and we were winning in the marketplace.

As the business grew, I felt the need to seek out and obtain a few very high-level certifications. These were related to process; how we operated and demonstrate our commitment to environmentally sound practices. An investment that certainly paid dividends!

But… what about SALES? In retrospect, I wish I had invested the time and energy to create a set of processes around how we attracted prospects, qualified them and became their trusted advisor… and them… our client. I didn’t.

Instead, I did what most small to medium business owners do. I sold through bruit force and relied on my personality. Hey if you know me, don’t laugh. I can be a nice guy when I need to be. The long and short of it was… sales turn-over, wasted time, money and energy, long sales cycles, lots of free demos, a pipeline that was unmanageable and revenue that rose and fell like the tides.

If I knew then what I know now!

So, we had a Playbook for operations (heck it was certified by a nationally recognized authority. We had a playbook for our Environmental Practices (also nationally certified). But the (arguably) most important function in my business was managed by the seat of the sales rep’s pants.

Every winning team has a Playbook, it’s sacred! We had no Sales Playbook! Here were some or our challenges:

Didn’t have an efficient and effective way to develop new opportunities.

  • I struggled finding quality salespeople.
  • Our forecasts were unreliable. As the CEO, I couldn’t trust the pipeline.
  • Our sales cycles were long and unpredictable.
  • Deals stalled and we didn’t always know why.
  • We had no common language across the organization.
  • Sales performance was inconsistent.

Look, I'm sure you never struggled with any of this. You probably had a great playbook all along.

What’s a Sales Playbook?

A playbook is a shared collection of systems, talk tracks, and other best practices that enable the whole team to be on the same page and operate on the highest level possible.

Here’s what the Interweb says: A business playbook contains all the pieces and parts that make up your company's go-to approach for getting things done. According to Accenture, a playbook includes “process workflows, standard operating procedures, and cultural values that shape a consistent response—the play.

  • Do you have one for Sales?
  • When was it last updated?
  • Would you like to know more?

If the answers to those questions was something like… “No, I Don’t Know and Yes”. Maybe we should talk? Let's grab some time on the phone or on a Zoom call... here's a link to my calendar, grab a spot that works best for you.

Frank Gustafson

Frank Gustafson