Sales development representatives (or SDR) playbooks are treasure troves of information. They contain everything sales and SDR teams need to pitch their companies and products and generate more business.
But some teams might shy away from creating SDR playbooks for fear they’ll be quickly out of date. And in the age of social selling – using networks like LinkedIn to prospect and build relationships with potential customers – these fears can be magnified. After all, if there’s one thing that’s defined the social age, it’s how quickly some networks have risen and fallen, from Friendster to MySpace and how fast the game can change for businesses.
Today, we’re going to look at how companies can have no fear and create social selling-friendly SDR playbooks that will give their sales teams paths to more leads generated and more deals closed.
SDR playbook basics
We’ll be the first to admit: Sales playbooks aren’t always the most popular of items. BOLD CEO notes nearly 50% of sales teams weren’t using playbooks, with the numbers of SDR playbooks likely even lower. Meanwhile venture capital firm noted data showing that 68% of companies use SDRs.
But that doesn’t mean playbooks aren’t valuable. BOLD CEO noted that companies with good playbooks perform 33% better than those without and have a win rate of around 50%.
And that’s not all. As Harvard Business Review noted in a 2021 piece about sales playbooks for B2B teams experiencing success, “In our experience, leading sales operations teams attribute 60% or more of their total pipeline in any quarter to actively designed and deployed sales plays. The playbook provides a reliable view of whether they are on track, and if not, recommends ways to deploy more targeted, alternative plays.”
In other words, having a good SDR playbook – essentially, a comprehensive guide to a company’s products and services and its customer base – can make all the difference. So what holds companies up?
Common challenges with creating SDR playbooks
Sales, particularly B2B sales, is a busy life, with Forrester Research finding in 2020 that the average B2B seller was logging just over 52 hours of work each week, with managers only getting to spend 14% of their time on coaching activities. To be in sales is to know pressure to generate business with or without inbound leads, to hit quotas, and to keep doing it.
Amidst this tense, results-driven environment that often depends on a lot of outbound or boots-on-the-ground work, creating an SDR playbook can seem pretty far down the list of priorities for businesses.
Beyond this, many representatives might not see the value or want the constraints of using an SDR playbook. They might prefer to act intuitively, getting to make the rules and scripts as they go. For companies, meanwhile, it can be demotivating to know that even if they commit time and resources to creating a valuable SDR playbook, it might not get much use.
There’s also the question of what exactly should go into an SDR playbook. Some companies might err on the side of adding more information, though with playbooks, less is often more. Too much can bog down the representatives who are supposed to use these guides.
Determining SDR playbook goals
Goals for what an SDR playbook can and should do are individualized. What might be of paramount importance to one company might not be as pressing for another. Appropriate goals can also be dictated by a company’s size and market segment.
That said, some general principles can help determine SDR playbook goals. One good goal to have is for the playbook to be a dynamic and evolving resource. It should also exist to help sales development purposes and ideally boost metrics.
In addition, playbooks can be used to help forge new paths, such as creating social selling strategy. This might seem like a tough nut to crack, by the way. But with a few tricks, it’s not that difficult to create an SDR playbook that can help companies capture more of the social selling market.
Essentials for social-friendly SDR playbooks
When a sales development team decides to codify its processes into a sales playbook, it might add in a wide range of general and company or industry-specific information.
The typical sales playbook might include:
- Value propositions;
- Objection handling;
- Background about a company’s history and service offerings;
- Ideal Customer Profiles, or ICPs, which “defines the perfect customer for what your organization solves for,” according to HubSpot;
- Buyer personas, which are less idealized and more reflective of a company’s actual customer base;
- Common industry problems or pain points that a company’s solution can help the buyer to overcome;
- Marketing decks, collateral, and other potential presentations;
- Case studies (which seem to be all the rage right now with customers);
- Sales scripts and sequencing guides for how often to reach out to prospective customers;
- Lead generation avenues;
- Key performance indicators, or KPIs and other salient metrics.
SDR playbooks geared toward social selling can contain all of that information. But they should also have some assets specifically geared around social selling. Here are four to consider including in your SDR playbook:
- An appeal to the value of social selling training
Social selling is still something of a new frontier, with the American Marketing Association’s San Francisco chapter citing stats that 75% of sales reps don’t have social media training.
Sales reps and account executives primarily forgo training on social networks because they don’t understand how to use the platforms. To some extent, it’s understandable, with LinkedIn having a bit of a learning curve to avoid some potential missteps, such as writing posts on the network in a regrettable, but popular style that’s known as broetry.
But reticence to learn the ins and outs of social media networks like LinkedIn and how to develop business on them is unfortunate. As one survey noted, “72% of salespeople using social media as part of their sales process outperformed their peers and exceeded quota 23% more often.”
A good sales development playbook can attest to the value of social selling training and encourage reps who haven’t gotten it yet to seek it out, be it through free resources online, one-off paid courses, or partners like CoPilot AI who have an intensive, weeks-long process geared around social selling.
- LinkedIn profile creation and maintenance guidelines
A lack of social media training can also mean a haphazard approach to setting up a LinkedIn profile and keeping it going.
Any company that wants to build up its sales and lead generation efforts with sites like LinkedIn will first want to take a close look at how their staff has positioned themselves there. Sales development personnel might be using unprofessional or otherwise off putting profile photos. They might have profiles that focus more on generalized professional accomplishments than appealing to their Ideal Customer Personas.
The good news is that there’s a lot of information out there on how to optimize LinkedIn profiles for the B2B space. These tips and tactics can be adapted for SDR playbooks.
- Ideal Customer Personas for social channels
A company’s Ideal Customer Profile might seem fairly static between social and other channels. At the end of the day, so much of the world is now on social media – with an estimated 3.96 billion users projected for 2022. The social world is not a niche subculture, but a mainstream channel that you need to participate in, else you fall out of relevance.
Still, it’s also smart to not paint every social channel with the same brush. Some, like Twitter or Instagram, seem to skew younger. LinkedIn is a generally more professional crowd, though it has become more similar to Facebook in recent years, evolving into more of a portal where certain power users can log heavy amounts of time.
It’s incumbent on companies to take stock of each social channel they plan to prospect heavily on and then craft detailed personas of the exact type of buyers they’d like to reach.
- Social-specific outreach and sequencing guidelines
Many sales teams already have a pretty good idea of how often they should be messaging prospective clients and what those messages should say. This is also known as sales cadence and getting a sixth sense for this can be the difference between fumbling through sales interactions and deftly maneuvering and nailing follow-ups.
Still, it’s generally good practice to also develop sales cadence specific to social channels like LinkedIn. Otherwise, SDRs can easily wind up bombarding would-be customers with far more contacts and information than they need. They can also do more work than they have to, with SDR playbooks a good repository for stock outreach messages and templates.
How CoPilot AI can help keep SDR playbooks up to date
Creating SDR playbooks might seem like a lot of work. Happily, partners like CoPilot stand at the ready with a number of strategies to help companies craft usable playbooks.
CoPilot AI is a LinkedIn tool that helps companies prospect far better on the site, yielding actionable data and even being able to do outreach. Our strategies for helping the companies we work with, in ways that can help them to improve their SDR playbooks include:
Intensive and consultative onboarding
A survey some years ago found that 57% of companies were taking 10-30 minutes to onboard vendors. At CoPilot AI, we turn this on its head. Our onboarding process focuses on quality and ensuring our partners aren’t left in the dust.
The onboarding can double as social selling training, which can produce a lot of solid material for an SDR playbook.
Prospecting tools to help identify Ideal Client Profiles on social channels
LinkedIn can sometimes seem completely overwhelming, with more than 722 million total members. Trying to identify Ideal Client Profiles on social networks like LinkedIn might seem like a tall order.
All the same, CoPilot AI makes it easy by automatically being able to sift through the large number of active profiles and find prospective customers and decision-makers within target business demographics. CoPilot AI can help lead your company to the customers best-suited to bring the greatest ROI from social selling channels.
Regularly-evolving messaging and outreach templates
We can also help keep an SDR playbook up-to-date with the large number of message snippets and templates in our repertoire.
Instead of having to type the same email hundreds, if not thousands of times over, CoPilot AI makes it so that detailed, nuanced, and unique messages can be sent. Our tool enables scaled outreach as well.
At the end of the day, it’s just another part of everything we do to help the companies we work with craft the most social-friendly SDR playbooks.
Help craft better SDR playbooks and close more deals with CoPilot AI. Book a demo today.