• February 2, 2014
  • Mark LaCour
  • 0


When a football team acquires a new player, they hand that player a playbook. Inside that playbook is every play that the team runs. The player is expected to memorize all of the plays. He is expected to know how to execute his role so that the play—and his team—succeeds.

If the player doesn’t know how the play goes, he will make a mistake and the play will fail. If he doesn’t execute his role in that play, the play will fail. Every player knows their responsibility on each and every play, and they rehearse those plays over and over again.

How does this equate to sales and sales organizations? Mostly, it doesn’t. But it should.

Is the Same As Not Having a Playbook

Many sales organizations, especially smaller ones, don’t have a sales process. The larger sales organizations all have a process, but they don’t use it. Imagine a football without a plan for winning a game. Imagine one who has a plan they don’t use.

Few sales organizations have a real playbook that integrates all of their product knowledge, their sales process, their buyer’s roles, the necessary sales dialogues, and competitive information in some format the salesperson can actually use.

Too many salespeople don’t rely on the plays, the process, or the playbook even when they are thoughtfully put together. Having a playbook and not using it is the same as not having one.

Start Writing Down Your Plays

Your playbook is your plan to win. Your playbook should include your sales process. You can easily reverse-engineer all the steps you take from target to close, including all the commitments you and your prospective client make together. Write down everything you need to accomplish to target, qualify, discover, present, prove, acquire, and close new business.

You’re playbook should also include the dialogue that accompanies each play. What questions do you need to ask to acquire the information you need? Who do you need access to and what do you need from these stakeholders? Look, you already know most of the tough questions your prospective client is going to ask you? Why wouldn’t you codify the best, most effective language possible?

As you run your plays, the idea is to advance the opportunity, much as a football team advances the ball down the field. You only advance the opportunity when you create enough value for the buyer that they agree to move forward. You know who these buyers are. You know what they need. You know what they find valuable at each stage of their buying process. Embed this in your sales playbook.

How much better would your results be if you did the work to thoughtfully build the plays and the playbook to accompany it? How much more confident would you be as a salesperson if you knew in great detail how to most effectively run every play?

If you are the owner, manager, coach, or position coach, what is your responsibility to your players in providing the plays and the playbook?

I watch about one hour of television a week. But today, I will watch the Super Bowl. Here’s what I see when I watch the big game.

Play the game like it counts this week! It does! See you back here next Sunday.


Contributor Anthony Iannarino is an entrepreneur, speaker, author, and consultant. He writes daily at www.thesalesblog.com and you can subscribe to his newsletter at www.thesalesblog.com/newsletter