How to Create Winning Sales Plays
So you’ve heard of sales plays, yes? Of course, you have. That said, are you using them, and if so, how effective have they been?
Every customer touchpoint and conversation is a chance to get your message across and deliver value. It is time you have to convince your prospect or customer to invest more in you.
We all know this, but unfortunately, we often go about it in a random (siloed) fashion.
We probably prep ourselves in our own minds. I know that I do. And rehearse what it is we want to say. But! And it’s a big BUT! If we are not rehearsing the right message, or indeed, contradicting a previous one with different content, say, then we are doing ourselves and our customers an injustice.
Our own research has shown us that we are not getting the number of high-quality leads that we want. So why are we treating each lead as a one-off experience? You’ve had some successes, so leveraging those in a coordinated plan can drive upwards of a 30% increase in revenue growth.
What is that plan? A Sales Play.
In this post, we will look at what goes into a great coordinated sales play, when they should be used, and how to measure their success.
Key Components of a Winning Sales Play
As with most things in life, a winning sales play starts with a clear objective. Before you ever think about your content, audience, or value proposition, it is essential that you can measure success. This may sound obvious. But we all have a tendency to develop content first. Myself included! My blog posts often suffer from this sometimes too… I can assure you of that!
Once we have decided on how we will deliver and realize the value of our sales play, we can focus on the audience.
This is not just about picking a set of customers that we wish to target. No, it is more detailed than that. Sales Plays are specific in nature. They are the opposite of broad-based marketing outreach.
A sales play consists of a value proposition, targeted at a specific role within a particular corporate environment. It contains content, targeted training snippets, and a structured plan.
Think of it as fertilizing a flower, not the whole garden.
How to Determine Your Target Audience
Your target audience will be based on specific attributes. These are data points that identify the companies and people you believe your value proposition will resonate with. The characteristics you choose will be based on your objective and will help you refine a broad list of prospects down to a manageable set of companies and roles.
Why do I distinguish companies from roles? It is not about your marketing personas. Good Sales plays are made up of multiple plays. You will have several iterations of plays based on who it is you are talking to, and what their influence is on the decision making process. Each play will present a different slant on your value proposition.
The data you use to refine your audience and plays will come from many sources, both internal and external. The key factor is that it must be accurate, as each of your sales plays is dependent on your message resonating with its target audience and locking-in to your buyers’ mindset.
Every Play Has Its Own Content
The content you use in support of your sales plays, whether it be video, decks, talk tracks, or marketing material must be unique to the play. Think of the flower. What nutrients does it need, where should it be planted, how often should it be watered. If you think about your content in this way, then it will truly resonate with the target role.
Your content should have an internal and external component. All of your revenue engine teams should be aware of the material and focus their communication on it. External partners should also be converse in the plays, as you don’t want them contradicting your message.
Objections Are Buying Signals
Every play must have a minimum of one objection. There is a strong likelihood that a role will either object directly to your value proposition or defer to a higher power. The consistent handling of objections is critical. You need to have thought this through and have come up with ways to handle them. You have this knowledge inside your organization, so capture it.
Mini training videos and reference materials are an excellent way of ensuring consistency.
Practice, Practice, Practice
There is no point in giving your outbound salespeople your sales plays and saying ‘go nuts’. That is a sure recipe for disaster.
Remember, firstly, your sales plays are not the sole property of your salespeople – think of your buyer’s journey and all of the different touchpoints along it.
Secondly, train all of your internal and external revenue engine teams on the value proposition of each play – so they know what current and new customers will hear. Any conversation that deviates from that message, whoever may have it, will immediately devalue the play.
Don’t hurt yourself by digging a big hole you can’t get out of! Make training specific, timely and structure short coaching sessions to practice!
Sales plays will not last forever. Nor should they. Customer situations change, as will yours. Time cap your sale plays. This will allow you to not only measure your success within a given period but will also help you determine how successful you were at identifying your target audience. Lessons learned are invaluable!
Big companies have go-to-market teams that focus on the development of sales plays. They know the value of coordinating resources, messaging and training to impact revenue.
Smaller companies don’t often have this luxury. That said, if you think about your total addressable market, with a great sales play approach, you will find your customer’s buying experience improves along with your win rates.
If you need advice on how to develop truly great sales plays inside your organization, feel free to contact me directly.
Chris Fletcher is one of the founders of Huerdo Inc. She is an International Master Coach, and previously was the general manager and SVP of sales for Europe, Middle East, and Africa at SAS Institute. In her current role, Chris is responsible for developing and leading The Revenue Engine Sales Method team that helps Huerdo’s clients get out of first gear.
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