proc·ess – a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.
A business playbook (sometimes called a corporate playbook) houses all your company’s processes, policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs) in one place. And it outlines exactly how your business does what it does – down to each role, responsibility, business strategy, and differentiator.
Most companies want to do playbooks last, preferring to try to get quick wins with a sales activity short-term marketing campaign, or some shiny technology. While this may generate a short-term blip in the results, these things rarely create ongoing revenue growth. Playbooks create a consistent client experience. They clearly describe the experience you want to create during each stage of the customer journey with the goal of reducing friction and improving motivation. Playbooks outline the steps of the process to deliver that experience. They include content and tools to maximize conversion and
velocity. They leverage automation.
The problem is that many companies tend to put playbook creation last on this list of priorities. Instead, they direct resources to things like:
“Let’s build a new website!”
“We need a new proposal template!”
“We just need to go sell something.”
“Let’s run an email and social campaign to generate some demand.”
“Let’s do a webinar.”
“Let’s get a new CRM—that will solve our problems!”
“Check out the new buyer intent solution!”
All of these are great. However, outside of a broader strategy combined with a way to execute, most of these initiatives end up being temporary shots in the arm. Sometimes they are simply a waste of money, not yielding any measurable results. These things seem urgent. They look like they will bring the needed revenue. However, when we are honest, we all know that short-term thinking yields short-term results. Instead, what if you took Stephen Covey’s advice and “began with the end in mind?”
First, craft the client experience you want to create. Secondly, build your playbook with each stage of that journey in mind. Then you will have the context you need to create content, do activities, and apply technology.
Here are five reasons playbooks need to be done first:
1. The process of creating playbooks gets everyone to think through the details of execution.
You want to get the full picture of what it is like to do business with you through the client’s eyes. That means you must look at the cross-functional input from marketing, sales, and operations. Having these multiple perspectives reveals the issues in the client’s experience. The creation of playbooks allows the cross-functional team to build and document what it takes to orchestrate a frictionless client experience that is consistent from start to finish. At this point, the team understands the content, activities, and technology needed to support the Ideal Client Experience.
2. Playbooks define the content that needs to be created.
Most content focuses on demand generation. While we need to get the attention of our prospects, that’s only the first step. At each stage of the ideal client experience, different content is needed. Potential clients have predictable questions at the various stages of their journey. Not answering these questions leads to friction. Proactively answering these questions creates motivation. Once they become a client, the marketing shouldn’t stop. Instead, content should focus on helping the client onboard and adopt the solution. Then, content can be created to support cross-sell growth, helping clients get the
best and highest value from their relationship with your company. This content becomes useful in creating velocity through the experience, increasing close rates, decreasing sales time, and maximizing cross-sells.
3. Playbooks create scalability
If you want to grow, you need scalability. This means new sales and operations people need to be onboarded into a consistent system. One of the most expensive investments a company can make is in salespeople. When a new salesperson sits down at their desk and finds a stack of business cards and a few brochures even with relevant industry experience you cannot expect them to know the way your company sells. Playbooks maximize sales success. Now your new salesperson sits down to detailed documentation about your sales process. They understand the experience you are trying to create. They
see how it all fits together. They find content and tools to support their journey. They discover automation that makes the experience easy and predictable. The same goes for operations. service or client success roles how to interact with customers in a way that not only maximizes satisfaction but also supports cross-selling. Playbooks make onboarding easier, helping new team members get up to speed. They create consistency. All of this enables scalability.
4. Playbooks create a basis on which things can be improved.
Documenting your ideal client experience in a playbook now gives you a basis for improvement. As your company grows having the playbooks in place gives you something to improve. You can say you want to improve something, but do you have a mechanism to ensure that improvement becomes part of your company culture? With playbooks, you can say, “This is how we do it now.” Then you can roll out the improvement in a new version of the playbook that says, “This is how we are going to do it in the future.”
5. Client experience playbooks force alignment between marketing, sales, and operations.
Marketing, sales, and operations alignment have been elusive for most companies. By creating playbooks together, marketing, sales, and operations build alignment. They see the big picture. In co-creating playbooks for each stage of the Ideal Client Experience, they end up aligning efforts. All of this drives more revenue while improving customer satisfaction.
If you don’t have playbooks, we would love to help facilitate their creation. Contact us today to explore how other entrepreneurial companies are accelerating revenue. Use our contact form or just email Judy@nextlevelconsultingus.com.