Sales Bible, Playbook, SOP – Sales Operational Manual – call it what you want, but you can’t scale your sales function without one.
An unmapped, unmanaged, unregulated and un-templated sales process is as damaging to your business as not knowing your cashflow.
Yet, right now, in your business there are pockets of hidden genius. Someone has the best opening one-liner that has the highest engagement on LinkedIn. Somebody else has the best research and analytical method to figure a prospect’s core problems. Someone writes the best sales copy, someone else has the best qualification technique. Someone is a demon at follow up, or closing. You get my drift.
This is not about ‘scripting’ your sales process – I hate scripts. Hated using them as a salesperson, hated it when I had to make a team I managed use them, hated the reaction and frustration it created in our customers. They’re rigid, inflexible and suck out all the creativity and empowerment from your team.
Templates meanwhile – I luuuuuurve a good template. I have a rule in my business. If you write or say something more than twice (and it works) template it and add it to your Bible.
Start by mapping out all your core customer journeys. Your new business process. Your onboarding process. Your account management process etc. and build your workflows and IT processes to align your business with the most efficient way to meet your customer’s expectations. But as always, the devil is in the detail, and that’s why you need to layer on-top a Bible.
Here’s three core steps to build and populate your Sales Bible;
1.Decide where your Bible will be hosted
This could be a simple folder structure within your shared work area. Be that Dropbox (if you’re old school), Sharepoint, Google Drive,
or many of my clients host their playbook on an internal wiki such as Confluence.
Top Tip: Build as many templates or ‘how to’ guides into your CRM as possible. The more your templates slot into your team’s daily workflow the better compliance you will have.
Another Top Tip: Ensure your templated information is exactly that – templates. Don’t mix live operational content with Sales Bible guidelines.
2. Decide how to populate it
This is often the step that - even with the best intentions - is the reason most Bibles never get populated. Let me tell you what doesn’t work. Giving this as a ‘project’ to one team member, or team leader. My advice is to make this a team task and give everyone a timescale within which to document all their best practices.
We created our Company Shortcuts Bible at a time when we were switching our systems over to Google. We gave the team two months to copy over any files or sales templates they wanted to keep before we restricted access to the old file structure. It worked a treat and had the added benefit of cleaning up our internal document library at the same time.
3. Keeping your Bible current
Now you have the codification of ‘how we do sales around here’, someone needs to be responsible for maintaining (then improving) those standards. Watch out for silos forming that undermine team compliance. Are people following the guidelines on how to create a customer record for example. Do your team write Newcastle-upon-Tyne in the city field or simply Newcastle, and as for Postcodes … don’t get me started!. As a team, review your results, review your process at least every six months and update your templates accordingly.
The world and customers’ expectations are ever evolving, and we need to ensure we continue to build Sales Engines that enable our prospects to purchase from us in a way that they want to buy – and to do so consistently.