You’re a quarterback and you’re down by five points. It’s fourth and goal at the seven yard line with 13 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter. You need a touchdown for the win—you need a play.

Create a Killer Sales Playbook

You can’t rely on a Hail Mary – and you shouldn’t hope for your competition to call a horrendous play (sorry, Pete, you must have forgotten about Marshawn Lynch). And like with football, when your deal is on that critical make it or break it path, a series of questions enter your mind: Have I seen this situation before? Do I have the right personnel on the field? How might the opponent respond? What play should I call?

High stress calls for guidance to help you through – and relying on a sales playbook prepared by your coaching staff for this very game can make all the difference.

Like a game-day playbook to a quarterback, digital sales playbooks can provide the pivotal next move to a salesperson. They can shorten sales cycles, increase win rates, ramp up new salespeople, bolster deal sizes, and optimize overall sales performance. In other words, they help salespeople win.

Sales playbooks are a collection of your organization’s sales processes supported by the content, tools, messages, and strategies a sales team needs to close business at each stage of the buying process. They provide salespeople with the guidance and situational coaching they need to advance and win deals. And they can be developed for any recurring selling situation in which you want to drive repeatable behavior. So how can you create a sales playbook that wins?

These four steps to creating a killer sales playbook will help you think strategically about the game of sales, providing situational guidance to stay agile and always ready for when the nature of sales throws you a curveball:

Step 1: Assess – Preparation is key. Take time to assess your selling situation and make sure to: focus on a strategic selling objective, identify selling situations where you want to drive repeatable behavior, conduct a discovery session with a number of the most successful salespeople, and finally seek to understand how your sales team sells.

Step 2: Build – As you build your playbook, identify gaps on what tools, resources, and other information may be missing from your initial assessment and assign ownership to these materials so they get created or refreshed for your sales playbooks.

Step 3: Launch – Launching your sales playbooks requires some thoughtful planning. As you release them, ensure that your end users are properly educated, that change management issues are considered, and that a roll-out plan has been created. While sales playbooks should be very intuitive, they are still a new tool and process that should be given due attention when launching.

Step 4: Evolve – Consider establishing your baseline metrics as you define your stages and activities. Identify key goals and metrics for what you want to understand about your sales playbook usage. Leverage current sales effectiveness or pipeline analytics you use today and then begin to expand them within the context of the playbooks you design.

So there you have it – you’re primed with the four key components to creating a killer sales playbook. By following these steps, you’ll get your first sales playbooks up and running in no time.

But if you’re hungry for more guidance and content to make sure you’re fully covered for your next big deal, be sure to check out our complete free guide How to Create Killer Sales Playbooks today.