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Sales Playbook Challenges

Sales playbooks enable salespeople to be more efficient & effective, making them a crucial component of any sales enablement strategy. Playbooks contain content & strategies to prepare reps to be successful in their calls, meetings, & presentations.

DSG and Highspot surveyed 144 sales, marketing, and enablement professionals across 74 organizations about the contents and creation of their sales playbooks.

There can be difficulty on the way to playbook perfection! In the survey results, there were four common challenges creating sales playbooks. This infographic covers common pitfalls and shares what to expect and avoid when creating your next sales playbook. For more on sales playbook best practices, download the eBook for full survey results.

1. Sales Playbooks are Hard to Create

All too often, it’s left to one group within the company (perhaps product, marketing ops, or sales ops) to build the playbook for the entire sales team. This approach creates challenges for the group tasked with the creation and can lead to a second-rate end product. For example, marketing teams are not aware of the best account engagement strategy nor will they have the best insights on when to engage buyers in the buying process. Similarly, sales teams may not have the best information on product differentiators. Tasking one group with playbook creation leads to missed expectations and a sales playbook that’s not as helpful or useful as it could be. Instead, the playbook creation process should be used as an opportunity for sales, marketing, and product to come together and produce a useful tool with cross- departmental input.

2. Sales Playbooks are Hard to Update

The platform where your sales playbook is stored has a significant impact on how easy, or hard it is to update. It’s hard to update everything in a sales playbook without data that helps to indicate which sections may be ineffective or outdated. Analytics can help to provide areas of priority. With analytical data you are aware of what playbook content is being used most frequently and what isn’t being used. Here are a few strategies for updating sales playbooks based on analytics:

  • Update most frequently used content

  • Delete unused content

  • Create new content based on demand

3. Sales Playbooks Can Have Too Much Content

A common problem with sales playbooks is providing so much content that it becomes overwhelming for a sales rep to utilize. Too much content, even if it’s great content, can make your playbook ineffective. Here are several strategies to combat the “too much content” pitfall:

  • Be directive in what content is displayed. Only show focused content based on the current stage in the buying process.

  • Sequence content release over time. Don’t overwhelm the sales team with too much all at once.

  • Deliver content in a variety of ways, helping to create an engaging playbook. Beyond text-based assets, provide educational videos, tools, and infographics.

4. Sales Playbook Delivery Poses Challenges

There are a lot of options for deploying a sales playbook, it just comes down to which one is the best fit for your organization. One response should be called out however: 20% of respondents use physical playbooks. —BUT physical playbooks are not the recommended option!

Physical playbooks (including slides and PDFs) are not the recommended option because they pose two big challenges:

  1. Hard to update. Physical playbooks make it more difficult for enablement teams to iteratively update playbooks. This delivery method also increases the likelihood a sales rep will reference an out-of-date version, missing out on the latest insights.

  2. Hard to find the content you need. With a physical playbook, reps are forced to flip through pages without an easy-to-use digital interface or search capability. This means it will take reps more time to find what they are looking for while decreasing the chances they will return to the playbook when in need.

40% of respondents feel there are good digital platforms available for building playbooks. A modern, digital sales playbook allows enablement teams to easily push updates to the sales team and refresh sales playbook content on a regular basis.

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