How to create winning sales documentation

by Steli Efti

lean

We've already established that in the long run, sales teams working with scripts outperform those working without scripts. What we haven't covered is how to actually create sales documentation.

Some questions to consider:

  • Should you hire a sales consultancy to do this for you?
  • Should you lock yourself in a room for a day to create your sales documentation?
  • How extensive should the documentation be?
  • Should it be just a general outline to direct the conversation, or should it be an elaborate multi-threaded script that covers almost every possible twist and turn of sales conversations with prospects?

Start now, but start small

My advice is to keep it simple to get started as soon as you're done reading this post .

Create a first rough draft in just one hour. (It will be incomplete, full of errors, and with much to improve upon, but that is the way it is supposed to be). Distribute your first draft among your sales team, and let them work with it.

Tell them that next week, you will all sit together for an hour to revise this first draft and that you want everyone's input. You will repeat this process every week: set aside one hour to revise and expand upon your sales documentation.

Involving everyone from your team in this process has 3 major benefits:

1. You will create consensus among the team members and a common sense of ownership of the document, which will improve the adoption of your sales documentation within your organization.

2. Your sales documentation will be strengthened by a wide spectrum of experiences, opinions, and techniques your team members possess.

3. The discussions that ensue every week around how to improve the latest version of your sales documentation will function as a collaborative training session for your sales reps. During such conversations, new ideas and effective approaches can be discussed and shared among the team.

Why one hour a week?

Setting aside just one hour a week to work on the sales documentation helps you to focus on the highest priorities. Moreover, dedicating only one hour per week to the process will help you to keep it going on a regular basis.

The final effect your sales documentation will have on your bottom line will be much larger if you spend one hour a week for 8 weeks than if you spend 8 hours during one day shaping it.

Involving your team in the ongoing process of refining your sales documentation and bring back the insights and wins they created in the field will help you prevent a common mistake sales leaders make when introducing documentation into their sales force:

They spend an excruciating amount of time and money on developing the complete documentation from scratch. Then they expect their sales teams to adopt and use this documentation. 

This is how it goes instead: a big announcement is made from the top, and all the sales minions must follow the order to sell from a script.

After the sales director has reaped all the glory, the documentation is forgotten.

Every once in a while, a stern reminder to make better use of the "perfect script" will be broadcasted, but over time, the sales leadership will resign itself to the fact that sales people just don't like to use sales scripts.

Summary

Create your sales documentation as quickly as possible, even if you have to start with a very rough draft.

Then set aside one hour a week to edit and improve the draft together with your whole sales team, and your team will have a sense of ownership of the document, will contribute its expertise, and, most importantly, will implement it in the sales process.

Resources To Get You Started: