How do you talk about your company to customers? How do you service clients? How do you onboard new employees when they join your business? In short, what is your framework for success across your business?
Playbooks are used within companies for a range of different purposes, across training up new sales representatives or as an onboarding resource for new employees. They are also used to train employees on how to position new products or services.
So, do you have your processes documented in a Company Playbook?
What is a Company Playbook?
A company playbook is where you document ‘how you do stuff.’ And perhaps a bit of why you do that ‘stuff,’ what that ‘stuff’ is, how you ideally want it communicated and performed, and who does it, and when and where.
So, here’s an example. Say you own a restaurant, you might have a Company Playbook that talks about your restaurant, why it was started, what you serve and why, why you’re the best and the experience you aim to deliver to customers, and your mission and values. Like an intro to your company.
But you might also have an Operations Playbook – potentially a couple of them, relating to different areas of the business. So you might have an Operations Playbook that relates to customer service; detailing how serving staff should greet customers when they come in through your restaurant doors – do customers wait to be seated, or do they find their own tables? Who is responsible for showing a customer to their table – a particular staff member or any staff member who sees a customer waiting? What is the process if a queue starts to form?
An Operations Playbook documents what you do, how you do it and who should be doing it – all documented in one place.
What are the different types of playbooks?
A Sales Playbook is your crib sheet for your product, service or company. Some organisations have just one Sales Playbook, while some have a Playbook for each product they sell. It is like a simple guide for anyone selling your product or service which educates them on how to position your product, the challenges customers are facing in the market, and how to align your product to those challenges, and manage common objections – plus a whole load of extra useful sales information.
A Company Playbook is a guide to your company – basically, what your company does and why. It usually includes a company overview, company history, what you do for your customers, how you engage with your customers, your mission and value statements and how you operate.
An Operations Playbook is all about how you deliver your services to customers. So, for example, an Operations Playbook for a restaurant might explain the steps that waiting staff go through when looking after a restaurant guest, from whether guests wait to be seated, to how you greet new customers. It’s your playbook for how to operate.
Reseller or Channel Playbook
Many organisations create Channel Playbooks for their reseller community to give them the information and tools to go and sell their products – all in one central playbook structure. This can be a mix of a company playbook and a sales playbook – demonstrating how to sell particular products and services and how resellers should engage with the vendor and partner ecosystem.
Why do you need a Playbook?
How do your teams handle common customer objections? Can everyone pitch your solution or product succinctly? Is your sales messaging consistent?
We often speak to organisations who have all of this information, but it’s disjointed – sitting in brochures, websites and customer proposals. For example, a sales playbook brings this information together into one document for a consistent approach to sales success.
Having everything codified and documented into one place shows your employees that you have a set framework for success – this is what a successful process looks like, this is what a happy customer looks like, and this is what a successful sales process looks like.
It also helps you to spot issues in your operations – and the playbook should be a living document that gets updated regularly. For example, perhaps you keep getting asked by customers at your restaurant for a jug of water for the table. Perhaps you should integrate automatically providing guests with a jug of water and glasses on arrival – to speed up operations and improve customer service.
What should you include in your playbook?
Depending on the type of playbook you are creating (sales playbook, operations playbook or company playbook), the sections you should include will differ.
For sales playbooks, my company, Contemsa, put together a free guide of the Top Ten Sections to Include in your Sales Playbook and we also have handy templates ready to go that you can fill in to create your own playbook.
This is a good place to start, and will give you some ideas for what to include in your sales and operations playbook too.
So, start thinking about how to build your company playbook to define a framework for success.
A version of this post was originally published here.
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