How to Take Back Control of Your Sales Playbook

Before finalizing the latest version of your sales playbook, what are you thinking?

Is it “How long before I have to update this again?” or “I hope my reps pays attention to this version (not last month’s)” or even, “Am I sure that we corrected all of those typos?”

If so, you’re not alone. For many sales and marketing managers, distributing a new sales playbook can cause more concern than celebration. Once it’s been released into the wild, there’s a huge question hanging over their heads: “What next?” Much like preparing to weather a storm, they expect that there will be some critical typos to track down, outdated versions to retract, feedback to incorporate from the field, and overall, will struggle to keep all of their reps on the same page—literally.

What’s the problem here? Largely, it’s one of controlling the distribution of information. In this post, we’ll dig into the root of the distribution problem, and how it’s possible to regain control.

Content Creation: It’s a Group Effort

It probably goes without saying that your sales playbooks contain some of your company’s most business-critical content. They’re chock full of value propositions, competitive positioning, pricing details, and internal procedure—exactly the type of content that is crucial to closing the sale.

And yet, even though playbooks are indispensable for well-informed reps, they can also be the most prone to human error and mistakes. Most sales playbooks are created using a variety of software solutions, with input from product marketing, content specialists, sales leaders, sales operations, sales reps, and subject matter experts. As it passes between team members, it’s easy for your content to pick up mistakes or inconsistencies along the way.

Content Sharing Gone Awry

Once your sales playbook has jumped through the necessary hoops, however, distributing it out to your reps—whether through email, file-sharing mechanisms, or intranets—simply takes the push of a button. But even though these sharing tools might have made content distribution easier, they’re also the culprit behind content fragmentation, or having many versions of the same document live in different places. Content fragmentation gives reps too many choices: which version do they pull? Is it in their email or their shared folder? If reps aren’t absolutely sure which document to use, they’re at risk of recycling the wrong information. (To your customers, no less.)

Large, global corporations tend to deal with this issue constantly, reporting significant numbers of employees and partners using incorrect information during day-to-day business activities. Added up, even a small error, such as a numerical typo, can lead to serious financial consequences and inconsistent representation of your company. In the US and UK alone, according to a report from the IDC, employee actions stemming from misunderstanding or misinformation of company policies and processes add up to $37B—a number that could be drastically reduced if companies were able to alter or amend their content on the fly, in real time.

The Mobile Solution

To get the right content out to employee faster, mobile devices are the perfect vehicle for real-time updates. They are always connected to the web and play an increasingly central role in the lives of employees. In fact, “some 95 percent of knowledge workers own smartphones, and they reach for them first to do all kinds of tasks,” reports TechCrunch.

So how do you both optimize for the mobile trend and account for the certainty of human error in your corporate content? Look for a single integrated system that helps you build mobile-first content, distribute it easily, and update content on the fly, all from one platform. This so-called “single source of truth” enables total transparency in what is being distributed to everyone, while real-time updates can mitigate costly mistakes and enable critical changes quickly. What’s more, content is protected and strictly permissioned, so you have total control over who sees what when.

The Bottom Line

All too often, business critical content is distributed through “irreversible” channels, such as e-mail or PDFs, and yet is made increasingly visible through mobile use. The right content platform should allow you to take advantage of mobile devices’ accessibility, without giving up security and control. That way, companies can focus less on fixing errors and more on empowering their salesforce with the right information to grow their bottom lines.

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