It's fall in New York, and nothing is falling faster than the local support for the last place Jets and Giants. As I was lamenting the other day to sales guru Jack Daly, he told me that pro football makes him think about sales. Wait, what?

"There isn't a coach in any sport at any level who'd consider putting players in the game without training and practice," he said. "That's why every team works hard to develop a thorough playbook. Players have to know what plays they need to run, and practice them to be game ready. Can you imagine a coach saying, 'Nah, let's just take the field and see if we can win the game!'?"

Unfortunately, according to Daly, that's exactly what most businesses do. When companies hire him to train their sales team, Daly typically says, "Terrific! Will you just send me your most recent sales playbook with all of your current systems and processes, so that I know how your people are doing it now?" About 98 percent of the time, they respond with stunned silence. The vast majority are sending their salespeople into the field without no proven systems or processes, nothing to help them to win more than they lose.

Daly thinks that these companies should learn from pro football's example and develop a sales playbook. Having a regularly updated sales guide that contains all the proven systems and processes that your company knows will bring the highest payoff results.

In his newly released bestselling book The Sales Playbook: for Hyper Sales Growth (Advantage Media Group 2016) Daly and co-author Dan Larson highlight that companies who take the time to develop and implement a thorough document have an advantage over the competition in three key ways:

1. Creating focus.

"Focus drives greater success," according to Daly and Larson. Managers and teams need to know which are the High Payoff Activities (HPAs), and how to apply them with the high payoff targets. They ask, "How will you replicate your success and continue growing it unless you capture your proven systems, processes, and best sales practices?" A playbook shows your people exactly where and how to focus their energy.

2. Guiding management.

The sales manager's job is (or should be) to focus on continually raising quantity and quality with your people. Unfortunately, many get promoted or hired into a job without knowing how to coach their staff on process or the value of training and practice. Daly and Larson share this surprising observation. "When Sales Managers actually start tracking their salespeople, they find that many of them aren't doing that well. They don't understand that it's not the salesperson's fault, but theirs." A playbook provides a clear guide for management to work with people on doing the right things the right way.

3. Capturing the heads and hearts of your players.

If your sales force isn't "in the game," how can they drive the numbers where you need them to be? And how can they commit if they spend most of their time frustrated and confused about the right moves? "A playbook teaches them the HPA's that produce big wins," claim Daly and Larson. A team member with the right training and strategy is a player who can't wait to play.

Daly and Larson summarize the following way: "The Playbook maps your proven People, Processes, and Practices so your people do the right things consistently. And you make it repeatable and trainable."

Published on: Oct 28, 2016
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